“Writing is the act of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” – Joan Didion

Ever since I took English 225 (Academic Argumentation), I constantly feel a need to write aggressively.   From the beginning of a paper, I aggressively attempt to convince my audience why I have authority and why I deserve to be listened to.  Simultaneously, I gear my paper towards an intended audience, which often is the well rounded and open-minded college student or instructor.  This concept of envisioning an “intended” audience is a major difference between the writing I do in college and the writing I did as a young girl.  Like George Orwell and Joan Didion, I loved creating my own stories.  Often these stories involved magical people and talking animals inspired by the everyday characters and experiences of my own life.  I remember writing and illustrating these stories when I was little, never once thinking about the audience who would read them.  The stories were purely personal and childishly innocent.  My motives for writing then were simply to express myself.  I wrote because I loved it and I wrote for myself, not for anyone else.

Now when I write, I write to convince my audience and change their minds.  I write persuasively and aggressively to prove my credibility and validate my opinions.  Just like when I was a young girl, I write passionately, but with a completely different passion.  As a college student, I write enthusiastically about topics that matter to me because of my life experiences and knowledge I have gained through taking a wide range of classes on various subjects.  I agree with Orwell that it is impossible to “assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development.”  All writers are shaped and biased by their experiences, communities, and the world at large.  All writers and people in general transition from a childhood of unintentionally disregarding the perspectives of others to the realization that there is indeed an audience.   In that sense, writing is like human development and reflects one’s transitions through life.

One thought to ““Writing is the act of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” – Joan Didion”

  1. Reading your blog, I was very intrigued when you said that you write to “validate” opinions. As much as I write, I have never thought of writing as an act of validation; it is interesting to me that my own act of writing might be just that.

    Typically, when I write an essay for school I am responding to a given assignment or prompt. In this case, I feel that I am writing to validate my own opinions, however not in my own eyes. When writing a graded essay, I am seeking validation in the eyes of my professor/GSI who is ultimately in charge of my grade.

    After reading your blog and thinking about this idea of validating my opinions, I now think that, to some extent, writing is an act of confirming what I hold as true (based on my “experiences, communities, and the world at large” as you said). I find it unfortunate, however, that many times I change what I hold as true simply to receive validation from a professor or GSI because I want to receive a good grade.

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