Why Writing Matters

That is the question, and The Writing Center invites you to join a conversation that is going on in the Cal Lutheran Community: What is the role of writing in your life and work?


In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are. The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions." 

Barack Obama
President of the United States, 2012 Person of the Year

Read more:  http://poy.time.com/2012/12/19/person-of-the-year-barack-obama/#ixzz2gQNiwNPJ 


In my life, I use writing to inspire visual imagery that forms the basis of my illustration work. Writing can add clarity or alter a preconceived viewpoint. Well- written material allows one’s cognitive activity to conjure up unique, original, and often quite complex images.

Timothy C. Hengst, M.A.
Professor, Multimedia Program




In my life, writing is liberation. It liberates to paper & screen, my nebulous inner wrestling. It gives voice where there may not be voices. Engaging others’ writing liberates me from my own parochialism.

Rahuldeep Singh Gill, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Religion




In my life, writing is vital, both as a means and an end? I am fed by the intellectual and creative exercise of translating what is thought, sensed, and intuited into words on the page, and receive great satisfaction in shaping a creative work with attention to both form and content.

Writing is perhaps the most intentional way I engage with the phenomenal and noumenal world. Through writing I observe, explore, mimic, question, argue with, mourn and adore the world. Writing brings my attention to the sentence, the word, the sound, and then I feel like I can hear everything.

Jacqueline Lyons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English


Writing is discovery and wonder. Writing models an encounter with a world of artifacts I think I know but really don’t: the words, ideas, texts, and objects grown superficially familiar through superficial use. The more I write, the more curious and unfamiliar the world becomes because writing slows down my mind and allows me to reacquaint myself with what I only thought I knew. But writing is also an opportunity to shape the world around my mind. Metaphors, analogies, and arguments do more than describe the world. They participate in the collaborative project of creating it, because the world is always being written.

Bryan B. Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English


Though the best writing is so often simple, the craft of writing is difficult. Though writing is often difficult, the act of writing is an experience in catharsis.Though writing can be personally cathartic, the goal of writing is to create a community – a community that engages ideas, provocative language, each other.

So writing is never something that we do in complete solitude.

 Peter Carlson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Religion


LewisWriting is a way to have your voice heard or to convince, inspire, or educate others about different topics. It is a powerful tool that will help you in whatever field you pursue. Having great writing skills will set you apart from others.

Cindy Lewis
Director of Career Services



ThomasWriting is a human act. And it is a humane one. When I write, I encounter the limitations and the possibilities of my own understanding and expression, my own location and longings. Writing is a way to connect—to my own inner life, to others, to the world around me. The experience of writing can be exquisite and it can be excruciating. To write is to be bound up with the happy fulfillments of creative expression and its many necessary failures.

 Sam Thomas, Ph.D. 
Professor, Religion



Writing is the outlet of those frantic ideas ruminating in my head in either English, Chinese, or Taiwanese. It shows my multiple identities in different voices, languages, and rhetorics. It helps myself see all the possibilities of who I am and what I know in where I am in the world around and beyond me. Writing is personal, social, cultural, political, intellectual, emotional, therapeutic, creative, and influential. It is a powerful tool that breaks the boundaries and transcend the limits of defined identities. It gives me the time and a process to say what I’ve really meant to say.

Scott Chiu, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, English
Director of The Writing Center

LedbetterWriting matters just as speech matters, as feeling matters and seeing and smelling, because they are all part of Being. Writing is that component of Being that transmits, formalizes, plays and creates what the senses pick up. Often writing does what Wordsworth said was instinctive and vital in his great poem “Tintern Abbey,” when all but transfigured by beauty and the imagination, he takes in “ the mighty world/Of eye, and ear—both what they half create,/And what perceive…” This identification of seeing and recreating in the imagination was an epiphanic moment, and we are the beneficiaries of that moment through his writing. As creative people—and all of us are in many splendored ways—we resonate with beauty and want to write, dance, sing, paint, think, feel,-- and pass it on. The urge and need to transmit the moment of beauty to another is certainly one of the strongest drives humans have, and when we are all alone with the transcendent, we feel with Christina Rossetti  that “Beauty without the Beloved is like a sword in the heart.” Writing sums up experience, says its name, and offers it up as one of the rare gifts of which we are capable, being mortal. Write on! 

Jack T. Ledbetter, Ph.D. 
Professor of English, Emeritus

MikeIn my life, writing mathematics has multiple purposes. First, it is a way to communicate ideas and discoveries with the rest of the mathematical community. Second, mathematical symbols are short-hand notation for complex ideas and sentences. Writing creates a manifestation of these complex mathematical ideas which allows me to manipulate, verify and improve the ideas instead of spending brain power just storing them.

Michael Gagliardo, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Mathematics


CiaWriting has become entwined with the most meaningful aspects of my life. It takes the form of practical guides for work and frivolous notes to friends, highly structured scholarly texts and dreams scribbled down before they evaporate, handwritten letters to family far away and political tweets to no one in particular... Writing has made my life financially, emotionally, and intellectually richer, and, most importantly, it has made my connections to others deeper and more meaningful.

Cynthia DeMartino, Ph.D. 
Director of the Center for Teaching and learning

 NelsonWhen my passions are aroused, I find it difficult to put my feelings and thoughts into words. My racing thoughts become jumbled, my tongue twists up the words so that what I say does not clearly reflect my intent. Writing, and re-writing, give me the opportunity to untangle my thoughts, to bring order to my feelings, so that I may better share what is in my heart and in my mind.

David G. Nelson, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, History