This verb originally meant 'to scratch, carve'. In west Germanic languages, its meaning started varying following the different dialects. While Old English and Old Saxon kept its meaning 'to carve' and then evolved it into 'to write', Old Dutch, Old Frisian and Old High German kept its 1st meaning 'to scratch' and then evolved it. In Middle Dutch, this verb meant 'to hit, strike, tear, rip' and then gave its modern Dutch meaning 'to argue, quarrel, have a split, strike'. In German, this verb survived as reissen meaning 'to crack'.
In modern Dutch, a duplicate of wrijten also exists under the form rijten. Its meaning seems more conservative as it kept the Middle Dutch meaning of writen 'to tear, rip'. This second verb may also be from Proto-Germanic *hrītaną.