What is writing?

It’s interesting to read this article toward the end of my semester in the gateway course, because it makes me reflect on how my personal writing and perceptions of writing have changed over the course of the semester. Clark quotes Andrea A. Lunsford in saying, “we need more expansive definitions of writing along with a flexible critical vocabulary and catalogue of the writing and rhetorical situations”. On one of the very first days in Writing 220 we were asked a question: “What is writing?” We all were required to bring in different examples of writing, which led to a very expansive collection of print and digital, visual and written, past and present writing. My definition was rather limited at the time, and my examples were all classic word-based texts: to-do lists, letters and recipes. I had never been faced with this question before and so never realized the number of answers it has. Writing 220 has definitely expanded my personal definition of writing and the projects have allowed me to experiment with the more visual and digital interpretations of “writing”.

Not only have the projects, especially the remediation project, developed what Clark calls “digital literacy,” but the class blog and the e-portfolio have forced me to create a persona online and digitally represent myself as a writer. While the blog may have given me more anxiety than anything else, I agree with Clark that it allows for collaboration, and I think that’s an important thing to cultivate in students. I’ve always been somewhat shy and self-conscious about my writing – probably why the blog stresses me out sometimes – but I’ve definitely become more comfortable with giving and receiving feedback and opinions from my peers, both through the blog and our in-class peer workshops. I agree with what Clark says are the benefits of an e-portfolio. She says students “look forward to sharing their work with employers in the future” and “actively seek authorship, gaining confidence and a particular authority over their own experiences”. I originally thought I would design my e-portfolio with an audience of my peers in mind, but I’m now creating it with future employers and colleagues in mind as well. I feel very proud of the work I’ve done this semester and how much I’ve developed as a writer and so I feel more comfortable creating my online identity and sharing it with the professional world.

3 thoughts to “What is writing?”

  1. The question “What is writing?” is one that I am starting to believe may never be answered. On the first day of class, I strongly believed that writing had to be written. That writing required the use language. And I think I still stand by this. I see how more artistic forms of expression have effects similar to those of writing, but I don’t believe that that makes them writing. Similar yes, but nonetheless not the same. Yet I also feel that I could be persuaded. I am no longer so strongly tied to this idea. I feel like anything could be writing if you think about it for a long enough time.

  2. It’s interesting to me that you sort of compared the blog to the workshops we do in class. I started to think about how workshops are perhaps the best physical manifestation of what happens in digital spaces, since we’re literally invited to comment and critique each other’s writing. In making that connection it can help explain why existing in the digital sphere as a writer is so daunting sometimes.

  3. I agree with your point on how the blog makes us more comfortable giving and receiving feedback. I was initially anxious when I found out we were doing blog posts because I, too, am self-conscious about my writing. However, after completing a whole semester of blog posts I now understand the value of collaborating in digital spaces and how fortunate we are to be students in an age where this is possible. I think having our set blog groups helped because that way we actually had a more personal connection with our peers. I felt like we were less apt to misinterpret comments because we were able to interact in class and understand each other’s thought processes better.

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