Through the readings and assignments this semester I have had many opportunities to review my theory of writing. Originally in my first blog post defined writing as a written form of expression and a way to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. While in part I still agree with this definition the work in this class has showed me that this does not even begin to cover writing.
I now have started to look at writing as a recipe. The part of my original definition that defines writing as communicating or expressing your thoughts and ideas is one ingredient to this recipe. All of these components of writing; genre, rhetorical situation, audience, context and medium are needed and need to be well thought out for the piece to have the intended outcome. My final draft of assignment 1 touched on this concept of combining these aspects like you would ingredients, “When cooking or baking we have a recipe to follow to create our final product. What about writing? What are our ingredients needed to create a successful piece?”
However there are other factors that go into writing besides just the content. Planning is needed to make sure that you have thought this out from each angle. This was very apparent during assignment 3. The building blocks forced us to really take the time to plan out each our strategy for the pieces and consider our purpose and how to best relate the information to our audience. Even with planning though, your writing should be an ongoing process. You must take the time to reflect back on your work and revise it and correct or evolve any of these aspects that are lacking or don’t meet the intended purpose.
The most helpful information I found when developing my theory of writing was the Grant-Davie piece “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.” For me this helped to tie together several concepts that we had discussed. Also I liked that the genre was posed as a guide rather than a rigid format. You still must take the time to plan for your audience and adjust the piece according to their needs and understanding and your ultimate purpose for the piece. This was also apparent to me when revising major assignment 2. I received feedback regarding the method section. I had not developed it fully for my audience. I had assumed they shared some knowledge that I did but this was not the case. I had to break down the steps further so it was clear what I had done and why.
Assignment 3 helped me really focus on how to convey knowledge most effectively. I feel that a main portion of the planning process is creating knowledge for the audience. You need to take the time to consider who you are writing the piece for and what information they have related to the subject. Then it is your job to organize your knowledge of the subject to create a document that had relevant information to assist the audience in gaining the intended knowledge. Hyland’s piece clearly shows this, different types of information can be used across the many genres because the purposes of each piece if different so requires only certain aspects of the writer’s knowledge.
For this piece, the final review of my work and exploration of writing during this course I chose the genre of a journal entry. I chose this because I wanted the opportunity to do a personal reflection of my writing and evolution during this class. This was a more casual way to convey my thoughts and discuss my work in the and how I felt it changed. I think that a more formal paper like an essay it would have felt more rigid and less open. I wanted to be able to have the opportunity to just discuss my thoughts like I did in my head when reviewing the semester. I will continue to use and think about the many aspects of writing learned in this class and apply them to projects going forward. Originally I am ashamed to say that I was very similar to the students mentioned in Bergman and Zerpernick’s article. I just considered English 1001 to be another class to check off a long list of requirements. I felt that they were talking about me when they said, “Students do think of writing skills as “portable” from one discipline or context to another; several participants reported having gained much of their current writing ability (the writing skills they use regularly in a variety of settings) in courses such as history, chemistry, or metallurgy.”
Looking forward and after intermediate composition I feel that these are tools I will be using in all aspects of life not just in the classroom. I come across situations all the time where I am required to compose a variety of pieces. I host several events a year which require invitations and know I have different aspects of genre and audience I will consider when composing them. Also work requires me to communicate with people through many different channels. Before this class I never considered how each was different and should be used in their own unique way but now I will. Writing is a way to share and communicate thoughts and knowledge by combining various components such as purpose, audience, genre and information into a variety of pieces.