What is Writing?

Last weeks class discussion made me feel as though I was running around in circles. When I think of writing, the first think that comes to mind is academic essays or teen novels by Judy Blume. I found the class discussion to be very interesting because I was able to hear what other people thought writing was in their definitions. It was rather difficult for me to expand my horizons and view writing as something that can be displayed in various areas/mediums. I was starting to be more accepting of different mediums that were being mentioned as writing and felt I left the class with a more open mind of what writing really is and how it is present everywhere.

Something that stood out to me in Ong’s piece was that writing is completely artificial and “there is no way to write ‘naturally’ in contrast to the same way that oral speech is natural.” Although we discussed in class that writing can be present in multiple mediums, I agree with Ong in the matter “writing is governed by consciously contrived, articulable rules.” Although what Ong explains is straightforward, it further describes how many pieces of work, whether it be plays, music, or a video montage, would not be possible without the art of writing.

Furthermore, the most interesting point I found Brandt making was that although it is presumed that reading precedes writing, one day that may not be the case. I think that this connects back to our class discussion and the point Brandt makes about connecting writing to the arts, in that writing varies among people doing different things. To some writing is an art and to others art is considered writing. I do believe that there is a line that constitutes what writing is and although that line remains a bit blurry for me, I hope to discover what writing means to me throughout the minor.

My goals for the minor are cut and dry in the sense that I want to become a better writer. I have always enjoyed reading novels and articles, however my desire to write was never overwhelming. I feel that writing well is one quality that can enhance a professional career. I have always experienced writing in a strictly academic manner and I believe that the minor in writing will allow me to expand my horizons in becoming an effective writer.

Allison Skaggs

Hello all! My name is Allison Skaggs and I am a junior at Michigan. I am from Orange County, California and decided to come to Michigan for a different kind of college experience! Currently, I am on the women's varsity water polo team and plan on majoring in Sport Management. Some things I enjoy during my time off are reading, swimming, attending sports games, and spending time with friends and family.

2 thoughts to “What is Writing?”

  1. Allison, it sounds as though we entered the gateway course with similar perspectives on writing and therefore hold similar goals for the minor. While some may call us overly simple, I believe much merit lies in our more traditional view. The What Counts as Writing gallery and subsequent discussion, however, left me no choice but to open my mind and reconsider my classification, and perhaps even my goals for the minor. While I truly did open my mind to all things posted in the gallery (art, music, video), the proceeding discussion lead me full circle, and I ended very close to where I began. Ong’s statement articulates a happy medium for me in terms of classifying what counts; writing must be artificially, consciously produced in accordance with articulable rules. Perhaps I will have a solid stance on exactly what falls within these boundaries by the end of the gateway course.

  2. Allison, something that struck me about our What Counts as Writing gallery was the lack of academic essays and novels. I agree with you that novels and papers are primary examples of writing, and I find it interesting that we (at this point) are highlighting certain examples that need more justification. I think this pattern feeds into Ong’s point about writing being a technology. Technology, by definition, is something that evolves (we discussed this in class). I think our discussion and both articles attempt to examine the possible outcome of the current evolution of writing.
    Your goals are solid and seem universal among everyone in the cohort. I personally think the word ‘effective’ could be picked apart in order to find even more specific goals. For example: What aspects make a piece effective? What literary devices enhance your ability as a writer? Etc. etc.

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