Too Many Questions

When faced with this question of Why I Write, I found that it’s not easy to answer. It’s not everyday that I ask myself: Why do I do this? Or, why do I do that?  And it’s especially hard to answer these questions without a clear definition of what this/that is. At first, I was chasing a yes or no answer. It’s easy to say I write because I like to, but that leaves the question: What do I like about it? Introducing a whole slew of new ideas. So I decided to take a different approach, and start by asking myself a question that I know the answer to: What is my definition of writing?

This reminded me of an essay I wrote about essays. “Essays are used not to just communicate ideas, but to do so in a way that entices and interests the reader. An essay is a writing form that blends thoughts with that creative edge.  That’s what makes an essay a genre of its own.” And I was able to write over four pages about the genre alone.

This got me thinking about how essays relate to other genres. In fiction writing, a material can be presented and left to the reader to analyze. In argumentative writing, the author argues a point and supports it with research. In an essay, the author needs to present an idea or story and dissect it under a specific lens to get his/her point across.  Other genres can do the same thing, but in essay writing it is vital the author does so. Otherwise, the essay is no longer an essay.

As you can tell, I have a lot to say about essays. I could tell you the difference between an essay and a short fictional piece. I could also tell you where to put in a comma before a conjunction. My point is: I could I tell you a lot about writing, but there is still even more that I don’t know. And there are always more questions to answer.

On that note, I decided to limit my scope to just the questions I can answer. I’ve found that my definition of writing lies in all of those little pieces. What is an essay? Where do I put the comma in this sentence? How do I introduce this character in my story?

To answer this question of Why I Write, I need to connect all of pieces in the puzzle. Meaning, I need to collect all the information I know about writing and form an overall idea of what it means to me.  Instead of asking myself the broad question of Why I Write, I need ask myself: What is this aspect of writing, and why do I use it that way? I cannot answer Why I Write with questions I don’t know the answers to.


4 thoughts to “Too Many Questions”

  1. You mention a lot of different styles of writing in this blog entry, such as fictional writing, analytic writing, and critical thinking. Maybe one thing that may help is determining what kinds of writing you do most, and compared it to which type of writing you enjoy doing?

    On another note, I often wonder if fictional writing can be categorized as imply as dissecting a story? I’m personally more comfortable with writing nonfiction analytic essays, so for a paper geared more towards the creative elements such as our assignment, I find that I have to rethink the purpose of creative writing in fiction and nonfiction.

  2. It seems like you are pretty good at writing in most genres. Which one is your favorite/your comfort zone, I’m just interested? I can’t write fiction/narratives for the life of me, so I’m going to avoid those as much as possible. I also really enjoyed reading your piece about not-intellectualizing everyday things, like writing. We studied this in my AMCULT class pertaining to superstitions. Usually, people don’t think about what they are doing, rather, they just do it. I really like the prompt of this essay because it challenges me to think about this commonplace activity that I excel at, and get to the underlying reasons on WHY I am good at it, and HOW I get it done. Great post.

    1. Its hard to choose one type of writing thats my favorite/comfort zone because, as Stephen pointed out, some are very similar to others. Also I kind of feel like all writing is out of my comfort zone. It can be tough to write I try to keep the same tone in all the writing that I do. I like to be consistent in the way I write (i.e. word choice, voice, and style). I guess thats because its easier for me that way. But I’m with you on avoiding fictional/narrative pieces at all costs. Its easer to determine what genre of writing I’m least comfortable with than the genre of writing I’m most comfortable with.

  3. I like how you simplified things in this post. I agree, it’s easy to get lost in the huge range a writing prompt (especially “Why I Write”) brings. Creating something known out of this huge prompt is useful, and should give you a solid base for why you write.

    Your “Why I Write” piece might get even more interesting if you use your solid base of understanding a specific portion of the writing process to analyze other parts. For instance, when looking at “what is an essay,” use that definition to look at other parts of writing. Maybe your definition of an essay can help shape your definition of a non-fiction piece. There may be many different kinds of writing, but really, they all fall under the same umbrella.

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