Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Write

Today is the National Day of Writing sponsored by the National Writing Project. My TweetDeck is full of #WhyIWrite tweets. As a student, a tutor, and a professor, I thought this was a good time to reflect on my own purposes for writing. This is what I came up with:

 Nicole Papaioannou 
 Sometimes, I write to connect with others, but often, I write to connect with myself.

I write all of the time. Every day.

I'm a social networking junkie. I log in to Facebook just about every day. I love keeping in touch with my college friends across the country. I am nearly as active on Twitter (@comPOSITIONblog), using it to reach out to other educators in a way that helps me fine-tune my craft and gives me the power to influence educational policy as a whole. I use, Google Plus, and LinkedIn to create a professional presence, so that people who choose to Google me learn more about who I as a professional rather than being linked to high school and college artifacts. 

I text like crazy. Some days, I send over one hundred texts.

I blog. Well, that one's obvious if you're reading this. I also have a course blog, though, and ask my students to create their own, which I read and comment on from time to time.

I write about my research. Annotated bibliographies are becoming a staple in my daily routine, but I also blog about what I read sometimes. My research makes its way into essays, presentations, lesson plans, and even fiction from time to time.

I do teacherly writing. I comment on papers. I write lesson plans and create assignments. I email students. I even get to write recommendation letters every once in a blue moon.

I write "creatively." Every day, I attempt to write fiction (it used to be poetry).

I take notes.

I make to-do lists.

I write to connect with others...
I tell my students all of the time that writing is a social transaction. It is a powerful tool that can help them communicate with others, record history and memories, and create positive changes in their worlds. Though I clearly feel that writing can be personal, as well, I think students have spent far too much time being told that writing is for evaluation. They forget all of the ways that they use writing to enhance their lives.

I speak from what I know. Looking at my list above, I see that most of my writing is not done without social influence. What people around me talk about and think about shape what I talk and think about. My own writing expresses a deep desire to connect with others through intertextuality, interactive digital mediums, and writing that inquires rather than dictates. 21st Century Writing happens in a network, not a garret.

I write to connect with myself...
Life can be stressful, and writing is a great release. When I get in the zone, I forget about everything but my writing (at this point, my bunny starts thinking, "Mom, why are you ignoring me? Look how cute I am!!!!" and sits on the end of the rug grilling me). Sometimes, I just need to write. Over the years, this need for release has translated into song lyrics, poems, fiction, nonfiction, and even academic work.

Every piece of writing I've ever done is somehow a piece of me exposed. Whether I'm writing an entry in a diary or a public blog post, a scholarly article or a conference proposal, or even a piece of poetry or fiction, who I am is all over the pages. When I look over my writing, I begin to see who I was and who I am becoming. I can almost psychoanalyze myself. Perhaps, my interest in children's and YA literature reflects my own feelings of being caught between childhood and adulthood. I enjoy Victorian Literature because it speaks back to the clashes between the ways my conservative upbringing and my education dictate a woman should behave. I write about death often. I write about sexuality often. I don't even do these things consciously. They just leak out. Writing reminds me that these are the struggles I deal with, the issues that are important to me, the ones I need to challenge and deal with.

No comments: