Whether you realize it or not, you are writing all the time. The nature of our contemporary lives is that we spend a lot of time on the internet, and on our various gadgets. Facebook status updates are writing. Tweets are writing. Text messages are writing. The main difference between these kinds of writing and the writing one normally does “for school” is audience. Who are you writing for and why?
In an article appropriately titled “Why I Blog,” Andrew Sullivan unpacks the idea of “blogging” as a genre of writing, and provides this useful definition:
it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal.
So, by asking you to blog regularly, I am not asking for polished papers with arguments and evidence. I am asking for you to engage in some “fun,” “creative,” and perhaps even exciting, alternative form. Ideally, all blog posts will represent a chance for you to use your imagination and explore an idea (related to the course’s theme) that you’ve been thinking about. Posts should be at least 2 developed paragraphs long, and I would encourage you to incorporate some kind of media, image, and/or link in each post. All blog posts are due by 12PM the day before they are listed as “writing due” on the syllabus.
And, remember, read what your friends and colleagues write–the more you comment, the livelier our site will be!
On the course syllabus, you will find two kinds of posts:
Free Choice/Reading Log
- Free Choice–This blog entry can be whatever you want it to be! Your main goal should be to explore and play with an idea that interests you (relevant to what we’ve been working with in class). Try to think of this kind of post as an opportunity to engage an audience (of your peers) in a conversation. You should not worry about the post having a main thesis statement or argument–instead try to ask questions, write to discover, and don’t be afraid to go off on tangents if they interest you!
- If this free choice feels a bit too free, you also have the option of writing either a “Reading Log” or a “Travel Log.” What this means is that for the Reading Log, you will begin by stating which of the week’s readings you want to focus on, and then record your experience reading the text and the questions/ideas it provoked for you. What was the author trying to say or accomplish? What questions did the text raise for you? Problems? For the Travel Log, you will document visually and verbally a walk or journey you took in any part of the city–what did you see? How do your observations compare to the visions of New York we’ve been reading?
Reflective Writing Log
- Reflective Writing Log—Use this blog entry as your opportunity to post your questions, concerns, status, etc. with regards to the paper you are working on. How is your revising going? What are you struggling with? What are you excited about? Ask questions of your audience–we are here to help you write the best paper possible!