How Writing Leads to Thinking

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was said in “How Writing Leads to Thinking,” by Lynn Hunt. She talks about the process of writing as unveiling the unconscious mind’s thoughts. When writing an essay, I like to brainstorm so that my ideas are visually in front of me and I can expand on them as I write. My favorite part of a research paper, though, is the conclusion, where I get to take all the energy that has accumulated behind my paper and express myself moment by moment, as I punch out my thoughts on the keyboard. These final thoughts in my paper are the ones I feel most strongly about, yet they are the least “thought out”. I think that the Minor in Writing is going to have a similar effect. Though I may have an idea of what will happen, my thoughts will be shaped by my time in the program and what I learn from my teachers and peers. In the end, I will hopefully be able to birth my unconscious thoughts onto paper or some other medium through the capstone course.

Hunt also talks about the importance of authentic writing, which really stuck out to me. I found this to be the most moving aspect of the piece because I related to it the most. I want to push myself to always write authentically and to learn from my mistakes. I love that she wrote, “Writing requires an unending effort at something resembling authenticity.” The idea that writing is an ongoing, seemingly endless process gives me comfort in knowing that any word can be scribbled out and made clearer, any phrase can be reworded, and any sentence can give me something new to think about. I want to always come across as my authentic self through my writing and I see many opportunities for that in the minor, like with the ePortfolio and through the process of editing and peer-editing.

Reflection of How Writing Leads to Thinking

In How Writing Leads to Thinking, Lynn Hunt explains writing as a torturous and rewarding system, “a magical and mysterious process that makes it possible the think differently.” Similar to myself, Hunt bounces between extremes in her process: writing and researching excessively, destroying her works in progress, or refusing to write for fear that her mind is void of original ideas. She claims that these inefficiencies do not come from the mind of the writer, but because of their psychological state. The idea of creating a reflection of themselves for is terrifying, but Hunt argues that writing something clear and meaningful so that she might “stand up before the firing line and discover that no one ordered [her] execution” relieves that worry. I believe that as the Minor requires students to publicly display their work, this fear of harsh critiques will subside as few people offer them. I hope that this allows me the same confidence and steadfastness in my writing process to implement Hunt’s “radish rule”, as steady writing will be necessary in my future career. Also, since writing correlates so greatly with thinking, implementing Hunt’s methods of patience and endurance in composition will help establish a healthy and positive way of problem solving for my other academic disciplines.

How Writing Leads to Thinking

One point I enjoyed from this article was when she talked about how writers aren’t born, people become writers, it is a life long endeavor. I liked this because when I remember back to middle school and the beginning of high school, I hated writing. It was painful, getting my ideas on paper was impossible, yet here I am minoring in writing at the University of Michigan. Now I can say, however, that I enjoy writing. As I have matured and benefited from some great teachers and classes along the way, writing has become a sort of escape that helps me think. One skill she talked about a fair amount, and one I think the Minor of Writing can help me with is editing. While this is something I think I have improved sine I have been at Michigan, I think I still have a long way to go. I think the minor could teach me skills that can help me consistently turn my shitty first drafts into a polished, final product. Another point I enjoyed from the essay that I think the minor will help me improve is the lesson she learned from Donald Hall about a never ending effort to be authentic. I always want my voice to come through my writing. I want my reader to be able to connect with and I think that will be easier the more truthful I am. Like Pinker said, a good writing uses the same style throughout their writing, and I want to make sure my style is consistently truthful. I think as long as I use the minor in writing to hone these skills, being honest, editing and lastly pre-writing, something I did not talk about but something I need to improve; It will be an invaluable experience and I will be a much stronger writer because of it. One long-term goal I have for the minor more broadly is to use my Eportfolio after this class and after this program. I think its very valuable to have a good online presence and I think what ends up on my website, and what I add to it going forward will be a collection of pieces I am proud to put my name on and want people to see.