There are lots of ways to think and reflect on writing, and what it means in our lives. As everyday writers, the writing in our lives can have many purposes. We might write to organize our thinking, or write to convey our thinking about something (as the 5 Tips suggests). We might write for therapeutic reasons (as the second reading suggests) or for expression. We might write for work, for school, for entertainment, or to get something done or persuade an audience to do something (as the Rhetorical Situation PowerPoint tells us).
In the essay you write later in this project, you will discuss the uses for writing in different ways and in different contexts. Let’s look at what the readings are suggesting in terms of writing in general, and the rhetorical decisions a writer might make.
A rhetorical decision is any writing or communication decision you make that takes into account some aspect of your audience, your purpose, the genre, the context, and more. All these elements make up the rhetorical situation. There is a rhetorical situation every time you write, even in a simple text. There is a rhetorical situation for every meme, for every tweet, for a school essay, for an email to your professor, for an application to be an RA in your dorm, etc. Every utterance, every communication of print, digital, or visual mode, has a rhetorical situation. And every writer can tailor their writing more effectively by considering the rhetorical situation for the occasion in which they are writing.
Purpose is an important element to consider, and is usually tied to audience. When there is a purpose for writing, the audience is usually the next factor to consider: “I know why I’m writing, now who am I writing it for?” And vice versa.
- “5 Tips: What it means to think critically” Lisa LaBracio, TED-Ed (alternate link: Docx)
- Why reflective writing is a powerful wellbeing toolby Arielle Tchiprout (alternate link: PDF)
- Purpose in Writing, from the Purdue OWL
- Infographic on Purpose in Writing, SUNY-New Palt
In about 250 to 500 words, respond to the following:
- Briefly summarize what critical thinking is, and what makes it important in your writing?
- Summarize the main ideas of the Well-Being article. What other uses for reflection might there be?
- The author of the Well-Being article includes many different kinds of evidence to support their ideas about writing, including quotes from experts and statistical information from research studies. What are three pieces of evidence, besides their own experiences and opinions, that the author uses? How does each piece of evidence support the author’s purpose?
- How do you think an understanding of your purpose in a writing situation or rhetorical situation might help you connect to your audience? What about the opposite — if you understand your audience can you determine your purpose? Give a hypothetical example of audience and purpose from your everyday writing.