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Where Did Writing Come From?

Most people think that writers write books, but the truth is that writers can come from anything. Some come from a desire to create beautiful pieces of art, while others want to tell a particular story or express an opinion. Regardless of your motivation, writing is a skill that can be harnessed in many different ways. Below you will discover some interesting insights into where writing comes from and how it developed.

The Beginnings Of Writing

While most people think that writing evolved along with the invention of the modern book, this is not true. Back in the day, people wrote in a variety of ways – on cave walls, in sketches, and even on pieces of bark that they found lying around. Some of the very first texts that have been discovered were poems and letters that were collectively called the Epigraphic Record. This record was written between AD 600 and 700 and mainly consisted of poems, invocations, and short stories. One of the most fascinating things about these texts is that they were actually meant to be read by others. Unlike modern texts, which are usually hidden in electronic devices, these archaic texts were intended to be seen and enjoyed by the person who was reading them.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey is often considered to be the first ever novel, and it was written by the Greek epic poet, Homer, around the 8th century BC. The Odyssey follows Odysseus, a Greek hero who is returning home after ten years of having been shipwrecked. Along the way, he has experienced many trials and tribulations, including the loss of many of his men, the encounter with a giant rat, and his family being turned into swine by an angry god. When Odysseus finally arrives home, he is greeted by his wife, who has not recognized him for ten years. His children do not know him either because they have grown up without a father. During his adventures, Odysseus has gained a son named Telemachus, who eventually takes over the rule of the household. To this day, the Odyssey is considered to be one of the most influential literary works of all time.

Quotation Marks

It is often said that a writer is only as good as the words that they use, and this could not be more true when it comes to literature. Quotation marks, which we commonly associate with the end of a sentence, are actually a product of the 17th century and were originally used to indicate, not only that you were quoting someone, but also by whom and where the quote came from. In other words, when you use quotation marks, it usually means that you are placing an emphasis on what you are saying (you are shouting, in other words). As a rule of thumb, try to avoid using quotation marks unless you are specifically quoting someone or some authority. It is usually better to keep your writing as original as possible, avoid using jargon, and write in clear, simple language.

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is often considered to be the quintessential collection of English literature, and it is a must-read for any aspiring writer. This 14th century collection of tales features people talking about writing, and the many different ways that they want to do it. Most of the stories in The Canterbury Tales revolve around a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, where one of the central characters, Geoffrey Chaucer, the writer of the collection, is buried. While on this journey, the pilgrims discuss the various skills that they have and the different ways that they can contribute to the art of writing. For example, one of the tales ends with the following exchange:

  • Prioress: May you live in peace. 
  • Friar Laurence: And you may prosper to write more books. 
  • Bridget: Amen to that. 
  • Prioress: May you live in peace. 
  • Laurence: And you may prosper to write more books. 

The Aeneid

The Aeneid, by the Latin poet, Virgil, is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Western literature. This 12th century epic poem is often compared to the Iliad, an earlier work by Homer, and it won the Latin poet, Virgil, the honorary title of Princeps Senatus (or “chief senator”). The Aeneid is structured in such a way as to emphasize the contrast between good and evil and the cyclical nature of fate. The story centers on the epic struggle between the virtuous protagonists Aeneas and his son, AEneas (named after him), and the ruthless god, Jupiter. After many trials and tribulations, including the loss of his children, Aeneas finally fulfills his quest to found a new home and has a new family of his own in the form of Dido, who becomes his wife and the mother of his two children, Ascanius and Naevia. Like with the Odyssey, The Aeneid is often cited as one of the defining pieces of Western literature and its themes of family and fidelity continue to resonate today.

Writing As An Art Form

Although most people think of writers when they think of creating literature, this is far from true. Some writers think of their writing as an art form that is meant to be appreciated for its linguistic beauty, and they strive to produce artistic works of fiction rather than simple narrative. Modernist writers, such as Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald, were often referred to as polymaths because of their interests in many different fields, including literature, history, biology, and mathematics. These writers were also known for their use of language, which was seen as a form of art in its own right. They strove to use words to evoke images and sensations in their readers, and therefore used a lot of experimental techniques, including playfulness, in their work.

Whether you consider your writing to be art or not, the fact remains that it can be seen in many different ways – as a career, a profession, or a hobby. The great thing about writing is that it is accessible to everyone, and it does not require any special training or education to be able to do it. With the right mental attitude and some dedicated practice, anyone can become a successful writer.