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Okay but what’s writing?

Now we’ve established that there’s bias in science and research because nothing exists in a vacuum; our positionality will always impact the outcomes of our work.

Hi everyone! Thank you for your patience with me getting this week’s module up on our site. I’m going to start a conversation about writing that we will continue with into next week. 

So how does our positionality impact our writing? Our composition style? Our rhetoric? Our faith in our own writing abilities?

I’ve heard from many of you that a goal for this semester is to become a better writer, and my first thought is, who told you you’re not a good writer? Here’s a little secret: engineers are shitty writers! Most academics are shitty writers! Hell, I’m a shitty writer and it’s okay because I write as a way to think through and process what I’m learning. 95% of my writing is never seen, and that’s fine!

I will apologize on behalf of all the people who have told you you can’t write, or made you uncomfortable about your writing. And I’m here to tell you that you’re doing a great job even if your sentence structure is different from the normative expectations (normative is boring af anyway).

And to give full transparency into the academic writing process: all published writing has been through so many editors and drafts that oftentimes the final product bears little resemblance to what was first submitted. And an author who submits a piece *knows* they are submitting a “draft” — final product is not the same as final draft.

As I’ve read through responses to the first module I see people who are thinking through complex concepts and distilling them into something that can be digested in a comment section. This act is composition and rhetoric.

Writing is so much more than the blank document and blinking cursor of doom. What if instead of fixating on final drafts (I know that’s difficult when it’s what’s demanded of you from other classes), we think about writing as a whole kit of tools that support your ability to understand something about the world. Looking something up on wikipedia, reading, researching, jotting down a note. This is all part of the umbrella term writing

Let’s toss out the goal of perfection and play with the messiness that is thinking through something. I’ve written about 15 drafts of this lecture, it’s still late to be published, and it’s still not “perfect”. I’ve been writing it on the train, writing bits down in the kitchen at work, just trying to put a message together that is clear and specific for you all to understand.

For this week, let’s write through/think through some of our writing discomfort and see where we end up. I want you to comment on:

1) where your writing beliefs about your capabilities came from

2) all the ways you write during a day that are not “proper essays” (think text messages, coding, instagram, tiktok)

3) the work/time you put into a submittable assignment (this has taken me probably 10 hours)

Please post this by Monday night 11:59pm. See you again on Tuesday! Thanks everyone!

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