Writing Communities


I’m a senior studying Econ currently in my final semester at UM. My four years here have been incredible, and it’s tragic to think I’ll be leaving Ann Arbor in four odd months. Some things I really like are entrepreneurship, world travel, rap, and Asian food. I estimate that I consumed Kang’s hot stone bibimbap over 30 times last semester. I grew up in Chicago and can’t see myself ever living outside of a city. After graduation, I’m planning to travel Europe/Asia (tbd) with friends before moving to Austin, Texas where I will work and become an active participant of the real world.

Writing has been an interest of mine throughout college as it has provided a means of catharsis and synthesis I can’t achieve merely by speaking. The spring semester after my freshman year, I participated in a six week program in Grenoble, France and kept a blog throughout to chronicle the experience. Writing in this format was a lot of fun as most of the content was story-based and very informal. This gave me the opportunity to be creative in how I chose to tell each story, and in the end, even added tremendously to my overall experience. It also formalized the notion that creative non-fiction is both my favorite medium of writing, as well as the medium that comes most naturally to me.

I’ve also done a substantial amount of business writing as a result of the job recruiting I spent an unfortunately large amount of time doing last semester. It’s frustrating to think of the number of cover letters and follow-up emails I wrote during September – November. Most of this writing adhered to a fairly established format, and to be completely honest, as I got deeper into the process, copy and paste became an essential strategy. My writing was very succinct, and largely void of descriptive language and humor. It provided a unique challenge though as I had to be clear and informative in a way that is not aligned with the way I speak.

This was the primary difference between these two types of writing. The blog came very naturally to me as I was writing the stories in a similar manner to how I would tell them orally. On the other hand, writing for business purposes was much more laborious. I rarely struggled to put words on the page while blogging, and was able to put out quality information fairly quickly. I’ll happily choose that over uninspiredly staring at my computer while trying to come up with a thoughtless, 3-sentence follow-up email. Still, there was significant overlap between these two types of writing, primarily in the sense that I was always striving to effectively communicate my point. I strived to write each sentence in a manner that would resonate most strongly with my audience. Unsurprisingly, this was effective (people liked my blog and I eventually got a job!) and I look to employ this strategy in all of my writing.

4 thoughts to “Writing Communities”

  1. Hey Max!

    Embarrassingly enough, the first thing that caught my eye about your post was the bibimbap at Kangs. Have you ever tried it from Rich JC (that tiny diner-looking place on South U)? I love it–definitely worth a try. Anyways, I can definitely relate to both of your writing communities. I went abroad last semester and started a blog to write about my travels and experiences in Prague. Your program was a bit shorter (and sounds so cool by the way), and you were much more successful than me at being consistent in your writing, but it’s awesome that you were able to write about your time in France and feel like that added to your experience–I wish I would have kept up with my broad blog more! And as I begin my heavy job search and countless cover letters and applications this semester I can’t help but dread it, but it’s always great to hear other people’s success stories, so congrats on the new job!

    Can’t wait to read more of your work this semester!


  2. Hi Max!

    I can definitely relate to the amount of business writing you describe. In the last year I have written countless amounts of cover letters that all had to follow a pretty similar format. Although cover letters may not be the most exciting for of writing I do agree that they helped me find a very succinct way to advertise myself to potential employers. I am envious that you already have a job and can stop writing cover letters (for now)! Congrats!



  3. Hi Max!

    Like Sara, I was initially excited about your post because of your mention of BiBimBop-I too am obsessed with it and I’m sure it will become more of a staple in my diet throughout the next few miserable, wintery months. I am also from Chicago where the list of amazing restaurants goes on forever, and I’m sure you’re going to be able to find some cool spots in Austin.

    I just had my first meeting of English 325 this past Thursday, where the topic was creative nonfiction. Honestly, I didn’t know what creative nonfiction was before Thursday and I still admittedly am a little confused about it, but I loved reading about your passion for the genre. I also studied abroad where I kept a diary, and never considered it creative non-fiction, but you’ve encouraged me to look at the genre in a different light.

    Although you said you struggle with concise, sharp business writing, I found this blog post itself to be quite sharp and convincing. Also, you got a job out of it, so you must be doing something right!

    Congrats and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts throughout the semester!


  4. Max,

    I really enjoyed taking a look at your blog! It’s easily conveyed how inspired you were to write what you wrote and how you wrote it. As someone with very little background in Econ and business, I’d be interested to see how your less-inspired writings, cover letters and follow-up emails, compare. I have a similar plight as far as writing communities: one uninhibited and one uninspired. More specifically, my twitter account serves as a sort of public journal for me to catalog good memories and hilarious jokes. Like your blog, my twitter is significant in that it allows the use of multimedia–namely, images. Most of the writing I do for academia drains my soul and limits my creativity. It’s reassuring to see similarities in writing communities throughout the minor.

    I look forward to seeing more of your pieces,

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