Writing Becomes Fun Again

After reading the excerpts from Ong and Brandt and looking at the gallery compiled by our class of what constitutes as writing, I’ve come to a rather abstract conclusion. I still firmly believe that writing is not defined by written text alone, and to me, it’s a language that comes in various forms. Although after our discussion in class I found that some may disagree, I believe that any sort of compilation of work can, and does, constitute as a form of writing. Looking at the media gallery constructed by our class, the things individuals classified as writing ranged from something as controversial as a photo with no text to a seemingly middle ground of text/image compilations to examples as concrete as a purely written note.

Noting that most of our class comes from various backgrounds of every major and previous academic experience, it didn’t shock me that there was some disagreement amongst the group in terms of what counts as writing. I didn’t expect a Pre-Med major to perceive a painting as writing. Based off of my own preconceived notions and judgements, I unfairly assumed that because of the concrete, science-minded academic culture they’ve been entrenched in for the past two years, individuals of this breed wouldn’t be able to conceive the idea that something as obscure as a painting could count as writing. However it shocked me that others of more liberally academic backgrounds felt the same way. Many didn’t think a painting constituted as writing at all, and in fact, it seemed that most of our class agreed there had to be some text involved for something to count as writing. Is it because of the rigidity of our previous academic experience that most of us feel this way? As a Communications major I’ve spent the past two years of my college experience writing to analyze, argue and synthesize, as most of us have. I, as well as others, am fully aware that all of these things constitute as writing, but maybe the fact that I’ve spent so long doing all of these things is why I’m now yearning for a more open-ended of idea of what does count as writing. I think, even if it’s not (although I don’t really believe there is a correct answer), I want what constitutes as writing to be more open-ended than what I’ve been used to my entire college experience because for me, that’s why I love to write.

As noted in the Brandt reading, “Several people that I interviewed made analogies to the arts in describing their workplace writing, highlighting inventiveness and perspective taking often associated with painting, sculpting, filmmaking, fiction writing” (Brandt, 155). As noted in the reading, even in the professional world, writing can be as equally expressive as a painting. So, in my opinion, it’s a simple connection that not only can writing be like a painting, but it doesn’t feel far-fetched to say that painting is writing. Looking at what I enjoy as a writer, the array of examples in our media gallery and pulling from the reading, my goals for the minor in writing have become pretty clear to me. I want writing to be fun again. I would love to express myself, entertain others and weave in various media forms to convey messages. I think that throughout this course and the minor as a whole, I’ll have the opportunity fulfill these wants. Hopefully the minor will allow me to grow as an expresser and as a learner, so that all of the work I produce is something I feel is creative, but not too abstract. I feel like the minor will allow me to grow my creativity projected in my writing, hopefully making what I produce more powerful because of it. I want writing to be open-ended because I want writing to be fun again.

What Counts as Writing?

I found our conversation on What Counts as Writing to be very thought provoking. When I sat down to add my three screenshots to the gallery, I felt any form of words written thoughtfully or with the intention to communicate could be considered writing. For this reason I added screenshots of map directions, a research poster, and emails. However, the screenshots of art, videos, and sheet music found in the gallery made me reconsider my arguably simplistic view. Following the short discussion time in blog groups, I became satisfied with categorizing art, music, and videos as writing. After all, screen plays and songs involve substantial amounts of writing to produce. The full group conversation further pushed me to think deeper into the aforementioned examples.

The discussion point about communication versus writing proved to be a turning point and interestingly directed me back towards my original view. Although writing often goes into the creation of a video or song, the video and song as an entity should not be classified as writing. The “What is ‘Writing’ or ‘Script’” section of the Ong reading further solidified my personal classification of writing. As Ong states, notches on sticks led to writing, but did not constitute writing. Music, art, and videos can be thought to inspire writing (or be inspired by writing), but cannot inherently be classified as writing.

My goal for the writing minor is to become a more professional, effective writer through mastering control of language. While our What Counts as Writing discussion did not ultimately change my classification of writing (ie: I will still focus on writing words throughout the minor), it did open my mind to a broader range of writing genres and mediums I hope to explore. For example, I initially questioned whether the cut up machine exercise was actually writing but I now feel content classifying my jumbled sentences as such.