Understanding Writing and the Way We Think

As I was reading this first concept, I immediately had trouble connecting the smaller meta concepts to each other and the larger concept of the selection. For example, I didn’t start making clear connections until meta-concept 1.5 in Naming What We Know stated: “In this way writing is very useful for mediation of cognitive processes–thinking” (pg. 27). This connected to concept 1.1 when it explained how writing is a way that authors and readers understand, develop, and come-to knowledge about various subjects (pg. 19). This concept, 1.1, is one that I really enjoyed thinking and learning about. It is easy to think that when someone is writing, they are simply writing what they know. However, as I have found in my experience, I usually don’t know what I am meaning to say in my writing until I have already written it. Maybe this is just the way my brain works– not knowing what or how to feel until I have felt it. I see this in my verbal communication as well. It is possible that since verbal communication is a natural process, as stated in concept 1.6, that I attempt to make writing more of a natural process by mimicking my verbal process. Although, I don’t think I do this consciously, and do agree with the text that I am never fully converting the meaning that I intend in writing because it is missing the key indicators (like tone and gesture) that are inherent to verbal communication (pg. 29).

The words, “Together, we create!” on a brick wall.

The picture above captures the sentiment of one of the concepts in Naming What We Know, that seemed prevalent throughout the meta-concepts explained in concept 1– writing is not a solo act, but an act that includes involvement from the author, audience (and/or reader), and text. A quote under the concept 1.0 captures this idea very well: “…and writers are always connected to other people.” (pg. 17). I really connected to this quote because it aligns with my personal view of writing as a collaborative activity. Even if the writer (whoever it may be) in in a space alone while they are writing, they are not without the influences and feedback of others. I enjoy thinking of writing this way in a classroom setting because it gives a more tangible example of a way that writing connects students and teachers. It also leans into the idea that people can be (and are) shaped by their experiences and environment. I like introducing this idea to the concept of writing because it can be a way to show students that everyone has their own unique experiences and perspectives, but we can all be connected by overarching cultural experiences. Which, could be a way to say– everyone is a writer because everyone has something to say. It makes me wonder though: what if someone doesn’t have anything unique to say? Would they still be a writer? Or is the fact that each individual is hard-wired differently lend itself to subtle unique qualities, making points that individuals write inherently unique? Here is a quote from Savi Sharma that I feel aligns with my current beliefs about writers. (see my previous post to read a more fleshed-out musing about what it means to be a writer). I believe my major struggle with the reading stemmed from the fact that these concepts were so unclear and theoretical. Even though examples were provided, I feel as though some of them can only be examined on a case-to-case basis. These concepts have proven themselves to be incredibly thought-provoking for me, and they are probably ideas that I will grapple with throughout my entire career and life as a writer.

References Used:

  • “Quote about Writing on Brick Wall.” Max Pixel, https://www.maxpixel.net/Wall-Quotes-Writing-Airbrushed-Paint-Excerpts-2608205.
  • Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth A. Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Classroom ed., Utah State University Press, 2016.

3 Replies to “Understanding Writing and the Way We Think”

  1. Lauren,
    Interesting post! I was wondering if you would tell me a little more about a) how you selected your outside sources, and b) how you would foster the conversion of ideas into words in the classroom.
    See you on Wednesday!

  2. You asked “what if someone doesn’t have anything unique to say?” which is an interesting question because if everyone was saying the same thing, there wouldn’t be any growth or development of ideas. To be sure, there are cases where an individual doesn’t have something unique to say, but only in the specific exigence that prompted their response. It might be more useful to think that “everyone will have something to say.” If not at that moment or on that subject, then at a different time and in a different context.

  3. Lauren, I love how you tied your picture to the metaconcept we read about. Writing cannot, in any way, be a singular act. To reference the questions you ask towards the end of your post, I believe that everyone has, or at least has the potential to, provide something unique in their writing. What it comes down to is, to use psychological terms, a nurture vs. nature debate. I love how you went about stating this and look forward to how it will play out in both of our writing.

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