My name is Sara Estes and I’m a senior in my last semester here at Michigan (still in denial about that). I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio but have loved calling Ann Arbor home for the last three and a half years — especially because of all of the amazing restaurants throughout the city.
Speaking of food, one of my writing communities is an online food publication called Spoon University. I used to be a writer but now spend most of my time editing and managing the editorial operations. Spoon is geared toward a college-aged audience, and includes everything from recipes and restaurant reviews to opinion pieces and articles about news in the food industry. That being said, Spoon prides itself on not having a specific “voice” because we can each write in a casual way as if we’re talking to our peers. Even though writers are not very restricted in our style of writing, we definitely follow some unofficial rules in the way we write. Most articles have a light-hearted tone with colloquial language, humor, and sarcasm.
Switching gears a bit, my other writing community exists within a class I took last semester. It was an upper level writing Economics course, which was a little hard for me to wrap my head around in the beginning. It turned out economics requires a very specific style of writing, and our professor even made us buy a whole book dedicated to economical writing. As I wrote my 2-page assignments each week and eventually my research paper, I quickly learned that my lengthy and descriptive style of writing was not going to cut it. I received my assignments back with words, phrases, and even entire sentences crossed out. Introductory words and phrases like “this,” “these,” “in addition,” and “finally,” are frowned upon and adverbs are an economical writer’s biggest enemy. Writing about economics means writing in a very straightforward way with no “fluff” added in between.
At first it seemed like these two communities of mine had nothing in common. But with some more thought I realized that they share a similarity in their styles of short and straightforward sentences. For Spoon, these short sentences come with the creative freedom that writers can use as they include a mix of short and long sentences for various desired effects. With the economics writing, these short sentences are necessary, if not required, in order to have an effective piece of work. I think this similarity also highlights a huge difference between the two: with Spoon there are virtually no rules, but with economics writing the rules are key.
It wasn’t until after joining Spoon that I realized my love and passion for writing, and it was a main reason why I applied to the Writing Minor. I loved being able to write about topics I liked in a very informal yet creative way. After taking this upper level writing Econ class, I have found yet another reason to love writing. There are so many different types of writing, and I really enjoyed exploring a new style and broadening my skills and knowledge, though it was definitely a challenge. I now find myself looking into new forms of writing all the time, so I guess I have Econ 491 to thank for this newfound curiosity within writing. I can’t wait to see what this semester in the Capstone has in store for me!