What Is Writing? Wyatt Frank

Writing is many things. Everyone has their own definition of writing because writing, like many things, exists differently for everyone. It also connects with everyone differently. Poem-reading in high school english class wasn’t necessarily fun, but at least it taught us that meaning in writing is often up for debate and discussion, if nothing else. In conception, writing is total freedom to be creative, abstract, daring, or just straightforward and informative. It is the ability to have a voice – yours or whomever you want to emulate – and to add to a network of discourse, reference and thought. And as Brandt points out in her example of plagiarism insurance, the “commercial value of writing is nested within the moral economy of reading” (Brandt, pg 143). AKA: as readers and as appreciators of writing, we all value the individuality of each writer’s voice, and the essence of writing’s individuality and the freedom it invokes, even regardless of how we may feel of the content. Ong builds on this idea in an interesting way, posing the question of voice as one “for myself… or how I hope others will imagine me” (Ong, pg. 101).
At the end of the day, you can keep your writing for yourself (and maybe have it released without your approval, after you die: see Harper Lee’s, “Go Set a Watchman”) or you can share it with the world – and these days sharing your writing and your voice is marvelously easy, and as always but now in new and exciting ways, daringly permanent. Writing in that respect can be scary, as there is always pressure to truly put your best foot forward in your writing, representing not only yourself, but what you want to be imagined as, in reference to Ong’s point. That being said, it is important to note, I think, how much goes into and comes out of any given piece of writing. No writing is simply about information, or voice, or context, it is about all of the effects and possible impacts and impressions it can have on the reader, and ever the writer, looking back after time has passed, on the voice of a past self.

2 thoughts to “What Is Writing? Wyatt Frank”

  1. Hey Wyatt!

    I appreciate your commentary on the fact that sharing our voices through writing in todays society is “marvelously easy” because, as we learned in The Atlantic’s piece named “Why I Blog”, the internet providesus with this ease of sharing ideas. It is, in fact, quite dangerous though. Writing can put its writers into a vulnerable position. As scary as that sounds, vulnerability is something that anybody who produces work with their creative instincts for others to experience will come across many times throughout their career.
    I am truly excited to get to work by your side throughout the course of this semester. See you in class tomorrow!
    -Caroline

  2. Hi Wyatt,

    First off, I loved your incorporation of Harper Lee’s unjustly-released “Go Set A Watchmen” (in her case not released posthumously, although there has been pretty significant speculation that she was unable to consent to its release due to effects of her age). Not only is it a subject that I feel strongly on, but it’s a subject that I think a lot of people feel strongly about (primarily fans of “To Kill A Mockingbird” who were crushed by the new novel’s defaming of a beloved literary hero). And because of this, mentioning it serves a powerful rhetorical device – by bringing in an element that many can relate to, they almost automatically relate to the argument you’re presenting. But, on a more macro level, I think you bring up a wonderful point about the nature of writing, and how, no matter how much we break it down from an academic standpoint, the most important thing will always be whatever part of his or herself the author leaves in his/her writing. Great post.

    Best,
    Chad

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