Writing: The Discipline for Everyone

During this chapter, I was particularly drawn to a quote from Shirley Rose’s essay “All Writers Have More to Learn” which reads, “Often, one of the first lessons writers learn, one that may be either frustrating or inspiring, is that they will never have learned all that can be known about writing and will never be able to demonstrate all they do know about writing”(59). First of all, I think myself and many others would agree that this was a lesson we did not learn until we were older. To me, this is an extremely important lesson for students to realize this at a young age when they are learning about writing. Further, as the quote indicates, I am inspired by this concept as I believe it fosters a positive and beneficial community of learning. There are some writers who may have specialties in grammar, some may be proficient in punctuation, and others may have that are not as technical. No matter the expertise, all of these writers can learn from one another to become better writers in the end.

It is important to accept that we are neither of these, and we can all learn from one another.

Another inspirational aspect of writing is the fact that we embrace failure. Well, we may not all necessarily “embrace” failure, but writers understand that to write something you are proud of, you usually have to start with something you hate. Collin Brooke and Allison Carr make note of this in their essay “Writing Can Be an Important Part of Writing Development,” by pointing out, “One of the most important things students can learn is that failure is an opportunity for growth”(63). This idea, that it is okay to fail, is paramount for students to understand, because this, paired with the concept that we can never learn everything about writing, allows the student so much freedom with writing. They should be able to feel like they can try things to see if they work with their writing. They do not have to be perfect. They will never be perfect, and that is okay. Brooke and Carr note the consequences of students be afraid of failure in their essay. They write, “They focus instead on what the teacher wants and simply hope to be able to get it right on the first try” (63). This, unfortunately, leads to uninspired and not very unique writing in the classroom.

It has become increasingly obvious throughout the duration of this class that the study of writing is nearly impossible to define. Questions regarding what “good” writing is, or how to best teach writing have become progressively unclear. And, after reading this weeks threshold concept “All Writer Have More to Learn,” the very idea of someone being better at writing than another is beginning to seem like a foreign concept. However, these uncertainties and debatable topics about writing have not confused me about the subject; instead, these ideas have enlightened me to the fact that, due to the speculative nature of writing, it is a field of study that everyone can succeed and benefit from.

Works Cited

Rose, Shirley. “All Writers Have More to Learn.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, edited by Linda Adler-Kasner and Elizabeth A. Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 59.

Brooke, Collin, and Carr, Allison. “Writing Can Be an Important Part of Writing Development.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, edited by Linda Adler-Kasner and Elizabeth A. Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 63.

Hurt, Frank and Hurt, RaeLea. “The Two States of Every Writer.” Frank and RaeLea, 9 December, 2016, https://frhurt.com/the-two-states-of-every-writer/.

3 thoughts on “Writing: The Discipline for Everyone”

  1. Hi Danny. I agree with your thoughts on writing, “It has become increasingly obvious throughout the duration of this class that the study of writing is nearly impossible to define.” After this week’s lesson, I walked away realizing that the study and practice of writing is a life-long and ongoing process. The more we write, the more skilled we may become, but that all writers still have things to learn. I most definitely did not realize this growing up in school. I always thought I would reach a point where the grammar was finally memorized, and the prose would just flow from pen to paper; little did I know. The one good thing for me is that I do enjoy the process of writing and revision. I also agree with your thought, “due to the speculative nature of writing, it is a field of study that everyone can succeed and benefit from.” I am a firm believer there are readers for every type of writing, and with the right support, all writers can succeed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Danny,
    This reading left me with that same feeling that the teaching of writing is hard to define. I love what you said about fostering a positive learning community though, and I really do think that having the freedom to fail is a big part of that. It makes me think of workshop classes that I have taken (I know, I know, I’m always talking about workshops) and how I had the freedom to fail and get better by going through the process of constructive criticism.

  3. Danny,
    The fact we will never fully learn everything there is about writing is a very annoying/frustrating/hurtful thing when we’re younger. Now I think “thank goodness!” because holy crap that would be just too much information. I like it better everyone having a few really good things that we’re good at, so when you go to your “community” everyone can come together and add in their knowledge. There’s something really nice about that. Like personally I have a few friends who I write with and when I have specified concerns it’s nice that I have people I can go to about them.
    I think we can all agree (and we’ll see in class if that’s actually the case) that failure is a good thing, in writing. We live in such a no fail culture. That we shouldn’t, wouldn’t, can’t even fail, and I think it’s toxic and negative for us. We need to let our students, and honestly anyone that will listen, that’s it’s great to fail in writing! Everyone should try it!

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