What Is Writing?

It may seem like a strange question to some people, but as a consultant at my college, I’ve recognized that there are many perspectives of what “writing” really is.

Writing serves many purposes. I learned in my Art and Architecture history class, writing was originally used to track individual trading and economic activities. Over the course of history, writing has gained new meanings from scribe or reporter, to novelist or poet, or from playwrite or blogger, But today, when someone says “I’m a writer” it doesn’t have the same message. Instead, this title or concept of “writer” or “being a writer” is almost always associated with being a published author or poet.

“Our job is to produce better writers, not better writing.”

Stephan North

This is a famous quote in the world of writing center theory and practice and this quote speaks to more people than just creative writers or English majors. Across the nation, hundreds of writing centers work with writers across disciplines: chemistry, biology, mathematics, technology, politics, theology, and many more. Simply in my work as a consultant, I’ve worked with student writers and professors from the humanities to STEM.

As I mentioned earlier, the history of writing has evolved tremendously from its original intent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however what writing has evolved to has created some distance from major fields of study and practice such as STEM fields. It’s common now for “writers” or “English Majors” to be divided, or even removed, from “scientists,” “mathematicians” or “technicians”. This SHOULD NOT be the case.

Writing is a tool of communication.

Mathematicians are able to communicate through numbers and programmers can talk through code. Writing has the same principle, except instead of using numbers and codes as languages for communication, we use written words. urther, fjst as writers use numbers to do basic math for monthly expenses or for tipping at a restaurants, mathematicians sometimes must use writing to explain to the public their fantastic new equalitions and findings.

Writing is also an art.

Like dance, painting, sculpting, acting, or performing, writing can have an artistic purpose. Like art, writing can be presented artistically and uniquely through different mediums and individuals; either if this is poetry, song lyrics, or prose.

Writing is an aspect of technology.

You don’t physically write out your posts on Instagram or your text messages. You follow through with using the written word as a tool to communicate whenever you read a post or send a text. Technology is filled with writing. Codes, messages, posts, advertisements, news, blogsā€¦ It’s all writing.

My point here, is that writing is a lot more than being inspired to write a powerful poem or having the capacity to pump out novels. Writing is a part of the human experience and it’s really nothing you should distance yourself from.

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