Writing as Theater?


I feel like when I typically write, I write for myself. Meaning, I write as if I am the audience. If I am writing for prompt, I feel as if the only audience I tend to write for is teachers. This is bad. After reading The Craft of Research, “Engaging Sources,” I realized that I should be thinking more about the audience as I write.

In the past, I have typically been the person who never wants anyone to read my writing because I was too concerned what people would think. I worried it wasn’t good enough, didn’t sound intelligent enough, or was filled with grammatical errors. That’s why initially the idea of blogging for this class somewhat scared me. Now I realize though what is the point of writing if no one ever reads what you write. As quoted in the article “your research counts for little if no one reads it.” I spend so much time writing papers and doing research for paper and no one ever even sees it.

I think this is why I never really considered audiences in my writing, because I never really had one. When writing for teachers, I wrote as the rubric, assignment, or guidelines told me to, and that became my audience. But The Craft of Research emphasizes the idea that we have to consider their audiences and use their judgment in order make the writing stronger and more focused.

I want to become the writer who helps people “understand something better,” or who has “found an answer to a question important to you” or “found something really interesting” or “found a solution to a practical problem important to you.” Often, I get too caught up in research and offer readers a “collection of known facts” or too many complex quotes that they may not even understand unless I clarify more.  I never really considered the idea of creating a “relationship” between readers and myself. If anything I always just thought of my writing as informative, so therefore it would be a teacher student relationship. I like the idea of “cast[ing] your readers in a complementary role, one giving them a specific reason to read your report.” Creating this “social contract” with readers is something I definitely want to begin with the readers and audience when I write specific pieces, and something I even need to begin considering in my prewriting for papers (and probably now in this really boring blog post?)

One thought to “Writing as Theater?”

  1. Interesting points. I especially like your reflection at the beginning about one’s perceived audience and the effect it can have on writing. Throughout my writing “career”, I–like you–have also tended to view my audience solely as the person doing the evaluating. So I know what you mean when you say that it’s tempting to write just to fulfill the rubrics for a given assignment. It seems to me, then, that this course can actually be viewed as an attempt to remedy both these shortcomings so often found at the university level. First, as you pointed out, the blog allows for a much wider audience than just the professor. And secondly, the gamification grading does not put pressure on writers to conform to his/her preferences. Do you think this will have an effect on your writing for this class? I know it already has for mine.

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