All About Writing

History of Writing:

We started with pictographs, then ideaographs and then alphabets.

See: http://www.historian.net/hxwrite.htm and http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab33

Is writing still necessary?

Writing is a vital part of communication; we all rely on writing in one way or another.

  • Writing takes time and requires revision, giving us chance to think about what we are “saying”. This should mean that written communications cause less misunderstanding or offence.
  • Writing – especially professional writing – is usually more detailed, precise and concise than speech. Speaking is naturally more rambling and repetitive.
  • Writing is a good source and form of learning, and an excellent way of passing on information, instructions, news etc. because of its accessibility and reviewability.
  • Writing can be used to create unique forms, such as poetry and the novel. These are the written equivalent of visual art.
  • Writing can be a good way to make a living.

Writing helps us discover what we have to say, regardless of whether we are writing creatively or professionally.

We needed to watch various videos, listen to various interviews and look at some strange pieces of writing, including Grant Proposals (what the?). One site that was actually useful was http://ldaley.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/precision-in-writing-is-that-word-necessary/ and I will probably return to this site many times.

I also loved this video by Elizabeth Gilbert (from the 2009 TED Talks) about nurturing creativity.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Writing Paths and Genres

  • Academic writers – they write for scientific and/or academic journals, university magazines etc. Often unpaid.
  • Article writers – write short pieces on specific themes, topics or news items.
  • Business writers – write about matters of significance to the business community. Often specialists in their field. Can be on-line or not.
  • Columnists – produce opinion or comment pieces. Usually established writers on the staff of newspapers or magazines.
  • Copywriters (also known as advertising or marketing writers) – an important area for freelancers, and can be among the best-paid of the writing jobs.
  • Game Writers – create the characters, plots and dialogue used in computer games.
  • Ghostwriters – write for other people as if they are those people. Tend therefore to be anonymous. See also Speechwriters.
  • Grant writers – prepare grant/funding applications. This is a highly-specialised area, requiring familiarity with both the law and business etiquette.
  • Journalists – among the most familiar and widely-read type of writers.
  • Novelists or authors
  • Play writers
  • Poetry writers or poets – arguably the type of writing that is most widely written but least read.
  • Resume writers – paid to prepare a curriculum vitae (CV) for job seekers.
  • Reviewers – work across a broad range of areas including films, books, games, cars etc.
  • Screenwriters – produce scripts for movies and television.
  • Songwriters – an area of writing that is sometimes overlooked.
  • Speechwriters – used by many politicians and high-profile media people.
  • Technical writers – an undervalued but often highly-paid area.
  • Translators – a small and highly-specialised niche market. Translations are expected to be the same quality as the original piece, which means a considerable degree of knowledge, experience and expertise is necessary, especially with literary or technical translations.

Activity:

Over any one 24 hour period, make a brief note of occasions on which you came into contact with something written (this might be spoken words or a song). On each of these occasions, note what type of writing was used – refer to the list above for some suggestions.

Think about your findings (for example, what type of writing did you come across the most often, which did you enjoy the most etc.) and post a brief comment onto the forum.

  • Coursework from Griffith – academic
  • Coursework from Curtin – academic
  • My blog – Columnist
  • Facebook – Micro-conversations
  • Twitter – Micro-conversations
  • Back of the Cereal Box in my pantry – Copywriter
  • the Milk container – Copywriter
  • Coffee Jar – Copywriter
  • Tea Canister – Copywriter
  • News.com.au – Article writer (I considered Journalist but realised all the stories I was reading were ‘fluff pieces’ and therefore could not be considered journalistic).
  • Outlook Email Program – Variety of styles and genres, but the majority is spam.

Interesting link to writing careers here: http://www.poewar.com/glossary-of-writing-careers/

The technical writing link didn’t work (despite Google desperately offering options for what link I meant) but I did manage to find a cached copy. Not sure how long it will stay available.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www2.austin.cc.tx.us/tcm/links.html

The core pieces of the page for me (relating to technical writing) are:

  • Alan S. Pringle, Sarah S. O’Keefe. Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation. Scriptorium.
  • Michael Bremer. Untechnical Writing – How to Write About Technical Subjects and Products So Anyone Can Understand. Untechnical Press.
  • Gerald J. Savage, Dale L. Sullivan. Writing a Professional Life: Stories of Technical Communicators on and off the Job, Allyn and Bacon, 2001. There is no better place to get a detailed sense of the profession than the 23 articles in this book. All of the articles are great, but if you are pressed for time, don’t miss these:
    “Glimpse into Reality”
    “How I Became a Goddess”
    “Three Months, Three Pages”
    “Conquering the Cubicle Syndome”
    “Try and Try Again: The Story of a Software Project”
    “Tech Writing and the Art of Laziness”
    “Daze at the Round Table”
    “Diary of a Tech Writer”
    “Thumbnails”
    “Madame Mao in the Midwest”

http://www.iwannabeafamouswriter.com/archives/52

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