What? I Can’t Hear You, Reader!

Writing tends to be a one way conversation. You write what you are thinking and how you feel without feedback. In a normal conversation with a friend you receive feeback and responses to what you say, which is what helps guide what you say. When writing, you don’t have these responses. In an essence, you are blindly writing knowing that the reader cannot respond. What I have learned this week is that we do need to think of our writing as more of a two-sided (or more!) conversation!

For class this week, I was assigned to read “Reading and Writing Without Authority”. One of the main points of the piece was that your writing should sound like a group full of people talking and discussing different views on a topic, with the author also participating with their opinion. I was excited to see that the prompt this week was directly related to my reading!

If a writer were to incorporate views other than their own in their writing, they allow their readers to have a voice, as well. If the reader doesn’t agree with your personal opinion, they may agree with one of the other voices in the “conversation” of your piece. This can actually help keep the reader interested and involved with your piece rather than simply disregarding it if they disagree with your view.

When writing an argumentative piece, the author’s goal is typically to guide the reader to agree with their opinion. If the author doesn’t shove their personal view down the readers throat by including opposing viewpoints, the reader will probably be more likely to “listen” to the conversation and be open minded.

As I continue writing essay in classes, I plan to take this idea to heart. Sometimes when we are so passionate about a topic, it is difficult to want to include opposing viewpoints, but the bottom line is that by including them we could actually have a better chance of swaying our reader’s opinion!

Well, that was officially the wordiest piece of writing I have written. Sorry about that! Hopefully you were able to follow along…!

6 thoughts to “What? I Can’t Hear You, Reader!”

  1. Sara,

    I completely agree with everything you wrote about in your post! Although I haven’t read “Reading and Writing Without Authority”, based on what you explained it sounds very accurate. It is very easy to forget about your reader as you are writing. I find myself often getting carried away with my own opinions and ideas, and I neglect to recognize that my readers may have a very different point of view! If there is one thing that I have taken away from the readings we did in class last week, it is listen to your reader. As writers, we must imagine who our readers are and try to anticipate how they will be thinking about and interpreting our writing. Hopefully I will be able to take this advice to heart with my own writing for the rest of this semester!

  2. Hey Sara!

    I love how you talk about the effect opposing viewpoints have on the reader’s opinion! It’s SO true. And it’s so much more evident when you’re reading a piece of writing that’s arguing for a certain point, and all you can think about is playing Devil’s advocate and pointing out ALL the other possibilities. And when you get to the end and they make no reference to all the other possible thoughts that their audience could have…you get SO annoyed because honestly, it just feels like they’re writing to get their own words out (which is totally fine) but they don’t care about how the reader’s reacting, or the feedback their getting. To tie that to Sullivan’s Why I Blog…blogging gets people to react and respond instantly! That prompt feedback really makes writing and reading a conversation rather than just a newspaper article that people read and get facts from and don’t think beyond that.

  3. You weren’t too wordy, no worries. I agree with you very much on the need to present other voices in a persuasive argument, but I also like your assertion that doing so isn’t giving up your own voice/position but rather strengthening it. I think students frequently give a passing nod to alternative arguments to eliminate obvious gaps in their own position, but I don’t think that they embrace it enough as an opportunity to really explore the whole conversation and conclude with why their view is “best”. So I’m completely with you on the notion that giving voice to the other parts of the conversation is a great way to really engage readers and achieve the most potential persuasion.

  4. I actually followed very easily, so nice work there. I totally understand what you mean when you say that when we are passionate about a topic, it can feel like a major “downer” to bring up the opposing viewpoint. I liked your last point on how its inclusion can actually strengthen your argument. Relating that back to your example of having a conversation with your friends, it’s almost like going into a debate prepared. Sure, you know that there are opposing points that are bound to come up, but part of winning a debate with flair is having a brilliant rebuttal!

  5. First off, I love the title of this blog. I was also moved by that aspect of our reading from last class. When I write, I tend to write in a conversational tone, rather than formal or stiff. I find that this helps remind me to stay conversational in my writing, offering various outside opinions and even comparing them to my own. When you add other opinions into your writing, that also gives you the opportunity to rebut the opinions and explain why yours makes more sense…This makes YOUR argument stronger. And who doesn’t want to be right in their own writing!?! Great Post.

  6. Sarah

    I absolutely agree with the fact that we have to put in viewpoints other than our own into our writing. It’s also very true that if we do not consider our audience, our reader, that they probably will not take well to what we’re discussing. It’s interesting, because the biggest thing I took from Eng 225 (Academic Argumentation) is that every argument, whether it’s to mediate, argue a side, explore a topic, MUST include all sides of the argument, or it will not be taken well.

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