What Writing is to Me

Writing in current-day society has lost a lot of the formality that once defined every handwritten sentence.  In the past, monks used to spend hours transcribing written texts and embellishing pages through extensive processes using rarities, such as gold leaf. But has a lessening of this more formal form of writing decreased what counts as writing in general?  I, along with my fellow Writing 220 classmates, would like to think not.

Upon reflecting on what writing means to us, we discovered just how many genres of writing exist.  We also learned that “writing” means something very different to each individual.

One of my fellow classmates chose an email as an example of something that counts as writing to her. This interested me greatly because prior to this assignment I did not realize just how essential this subform of writing is to me. An email requires professionalism when done in a business environment but can also offer a space for humor or storytelling for friends, family, and acquaintances. Thus, it creates a forum for imagination and seriousness, all depending on the situation. In this sense, it gives the author a lot of power over how their words will be perceived.

Another interesting example was that of the image of room 5 of Pompeii. Many of us have heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and it is fascinating just how true this is. What I love about works of art is that interpretation depends solely on the viewer. It is a fascinating way of viewing writing – the observer essentially becomes the storyteller.

These examples, among many others, gave me great insight into modern-day writing. Emails, text messages, statuses, and tweets are all great ways of communicating quickly and efficiently. A sense of conciseness and directness encompasses these modes, and viewing how these forms impact my life made me realize the importance of directness in writing in order to maintain an audience.

The use of paintings and calligraphy also made me realize that a lot of our ways of writing have not changed over the years. There still is an appreciation for the written text.  Paintings, logos and other depictions still have great meaning in our lives, even many years later.

As a Minor in Writing student at the University of Michigan, learning what writing means to me is essential. I discovered that to me, writing is a sense of expressiveness and freedom. It is a way of gaining the respect of others, a way of telling a story in a new way, and a way of getting a message across in the best way possible. By using it to express my voice clearly and concisely, I have discovered that writing today, in even 140 characters or less, is still just as strong as ever.

Amanda Kemmer

Amanda (noun): Ross BBA senior. Avid puppy lover. Detroit International Half-Marathon runner.

2 thoughts to “What Writing is to Me”

  1. It is crazy to see how much writing changes as technology progresses, and it makes me curious of how short and direct the writing of the future will be. Regardless, I agree with your point that it is important to be able to utilize these new forms of writing to get points across. Now, maybe more than ever, it is important to write with purpose and be direct. Less and less people have the time or desire to read lengthy pieces, so as writers we must change in order to be heard. Though I wonder, is the purpose of writing to be read? Is the success of a written piece determined by reach?

  2. I will admit, I have never really thought about art as writing. To me writing always required some type of words placed in a phrase. However, if you look at writing as anything that gives meaning, I guess pictures, art and photos could be considered writing under this definition. One way to look at it is to see art as writing that is open for interpretation. At the same time technology, such as e-mail has created a type of writing that leaves little room for interpretation. I find it interesting that what caught your eye the mosts were two types of writing that are on opposite ends of the spectrum of writing: the more open one in the form of art, and the more streamlined one in the form of e-mails.

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