In the past, I had not really felt a sense of connection between my readers and myself as a writer. I’ve only experienced it to the extent of occasional peer proofreading and grading. I’ve avoided blogging (I guess I couldn’t avoid it forever) for fear of regretting what I post and didn’t show any of my journal writing outside of class. Having such a limited scope of audience has caused me not to consider the idea much. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from “Craft of Research Reading”, it’s to really think about what my audience expects from me.
It’s one thing to make your ideas come across as clear, but it’s another thing to give the audience what they’re looking for. In general, the author lays out this concept very neatly. To see the kinds of things that my readers would expect and what kinds of things I could tell them categorized makes the subject much easier to think about. I especially liked the idea of the role, and how the readers and writer each have one. The author claims, “In fact, writers cannot avoid creating a role for their readers” (page 19). It makes conversation seem much like teamwork, less solitary. It’s akin to a theater performance. The actor/writer expresses something and waits for their feedback. Meanwhile, the audience looks out for what they should expect, according to what the actor/writer lays out. So in a sense, it is important the actor/writer and the audience work together and end at a point of understanding each other, maybe not agreeing with each other, but understanding.
After taking notes on the section of the reading about taking notes, I realized if this assignment were in a different context, they probably would have seemed to be written poorly. The notes were not cited, nor were they even made in complete sentences. To that end, I don’t quite agree with the point about reading until you understand the writer, judging, then taking your notes. I often find that taking notes themselves is what helps me understand something. I first take general notes, make an interpretation, and then check if my interpretation aligns with what the author says. From there, I agree with the rest of what the author says: “But once you understand the source, you are free to disagree”(page 95). Finally, I make my own conclusion and opinion about what the writers says. I believe that the process of coming to this point varies. Personally, I tend to write notes to understand, either on the text itself or on a separate sheet of paper.
That aside, I liked the idea of being open to whatever sparks your interest very comforting. One shouldn’t be married to a statement and look for ways to support it already when taking notes from resources. After all, the process of research writing is a learning experience. At the same time, the process of writing itself, though manifested in the form of note taking, I believe is a process of thinking through things.