The Power of Writing: Scribo ergo sum

April 17, 2019

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Looking at the title of this essay, you might be curious that it sounds like a familiar expression. Yes, you are right. The title was adapted from the ‘Cogito ergo sum’, meaning “I think, therefore I exist” coined by Rene Descartes, the French philosopher living in the 17th Century. Through that expressions Descartes seemed to mean to emphasize the importance of thinking activities, because awareness, understanding, and knowledge can be obtained only by thinking. For Descartes, only people who think can realize that they exist (exist). Conversely, people who don’t think never realize that they exist. Adaptation in the title of this essay was made by replacing the word Cogito (to think) into Scribo (to write) in order to show the interconnection and synergy of writing and thinking. Both activities are synergistic because writing is essentially one form thinking process and means.

For some people, writing means conveying messages, ideas, or feelings through written symbols. Nothing wrong with this idea, but it oversimplifies the nature of writing. While I was writing down ideas about the essence of scribo that are equivalent to the essence of cogito into this essay, I had to explore, remember, collect, organize, select, connect, and evaluate various information in my mind before it was transformed into written symbols in this essay. All of these activities took place in my mind, and all of them are thinking activities. (I believe it is not a coincidence that all of these activities are in line with Bloom’s taxonomy). That experience of mine revealed that writing is undoubtedly a thinking process. This is supported by Hunt (2010) who stated writing is not just expressing ideas that have previously been in mind. Writing is also a magical and mysterious process that allows the author to construct (make) new or different ideas. He asserted, “… writing is not the transcription of thoughts already consciously present in my mind. Writing is a magical and mysterious process that makes it possible to think differently.

One of my students asked me once “If writing is a means and process of thinking, what about people living in ancient time who did not write and read? Did they never think?” As stated earlier, writing is one (not the only) means and process of thinking. So even though they did not use written language, pre-history humans did think. However, the absence of writing made their thinking processes and abilities very limited. The absence of writing, at least, disallowed them to record their previous thoughts. As a result anytime they study something, they should always start thinking about it from zero. In addition, they could not think abstractly. To think of something, the object must be visible to them. So, if they wanted to think a horse, that animal must be present to them.

The absence of writing, which made prehistorical people thinking ineffective accentuates that writing is essentially a very (and probably) the most effective means or way of thinking. According to Menary (2007), while we are writing, the different parts of our thinking, including neurons involved in the thought process, are integrated with the physical act of writing (drafting, manipulating sentences, editing, etc.) and emerge a new structured thought. Based on the results of a study, Miller (2013) conveyed that because writing and thinking are so closely connected, challenging writing assignments are an ideal way for students to explore deep, serious thought in whatever subject they are studying.

What implications can we draw from the paradigm that writing is thinking? First, writing ability reflects thinking ability, and vice versa. Someone who is used to think systematically, logically and analytically, is automatically able to write in a coherent and easily understood manner. This indicates that a messy and difficult to understand passage must be written by someone who is unable to think systematically and logically. Second, because thinking and writing are skills that are closely interrelated and synergistic, if you develop your writing skills then you also develop your thinking skills, and vice versa. So, the more diligently you practice in order to write well, the better organized your mind will be. And, to relate to the title of this essay, the more productive you write, the more you think. Thus, no one will doubt your existence. You write, therefore you exist!


  1. I think if we want to become a profesional writer we must start from zero, start to writting a simple text like diary, or short story..
    Moreover if we want to write something we also use our mind and it can make us more critical.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. in my opinion being a good writer we can start by writing a short story or writing our own diary can also make us a good and true writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This article is quite interesting to me and I agree with the opinion of this essay. Yes, right. Writing is a delivery of messages, ideas, or feelings through written symbols. Because we write we indirectly provide code or information to everyone. By writing we can also improve our thinking patterns to be more organized and increase our creativity.


  4. In my opinion, I we want to be a good writers, first, we must start to reading. The more you read, the more words you can know. And through reading we can increase our mindset, and knowledge to write something.
    So that what we write, can be beneficial for the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with the article above, we can also know that humans have existed since ancient times because of their writing. Their writing is a proof that they once existed. Even though we never saw them at all and never knew how they lived. With writing, we can find out their whereabouts and know their life stories in the past. From this example I conclude that writing have a function like a teleportation, because writing can connect the present time with the past and the future. With writing, we really can prove that we ever existed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In my opinion, to be a good writer is we must start by write every day, for example like writing a diary. And also reading, reading is very important for the writer because there are lots of info obtained. And can also get along with writers so that we can understand what is needed to become a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. According to me, writing are very important to everyone. Because writing can improve our knowledge. When we write a essay, every people can read it. So, they will give suggestion for us. We can therefore learn to correct the mistakes we have made and sharpening continues to write. When we are continually getting it, the getting essays get better. In the end, people will come to know us from essays or writings that we publish.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with this article we must start to writing first so we can have idea to writing and also right if we writing therefore we exist even though we are not life again but our writing always exist and all of people can read anytime. Like me when I’m feel alone, sad, happy I’m always write in my note, since junior high school. And after write i feel i’m happy, so i want to tell if we write we can feel better no matter what we feel try to start writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In my opinion, writing can add to our knowledge and can generate new ideas. Writing is difficult but if we practice then we can, and I try to write by making stories in the Wattpad application. There I can make stories with my ideas, although sometimes I feel difficult,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m totally agree with this article.
    After reading this article now I know that writing not only conveying messages, ideas, or feelings through written symbols but also showing our identity, and like the writer said that writing we can also explore, remember, collect, organize, select, connect, and evaluate various information in my mind before it was transformed into written symbols in this essay. By reading this article I think, “we are what we think, therefore we are what we write”.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with the article. I think, writing is very important and can add to our words. and to become a great penis, we must train ourselves to be more diligent in writing. because the success of an author begins with the craft we write. for example we compile paragraphs, we often get comments and suggestions from our friends. and from those comments we can review our mistakes and correct them to write the next paragraph we will no longer be wrong. and from paragraphs we can train ourselves to make articles, stories, and more and publish them in our social media. from there we will become good writers

    Liked by 1 person

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