Reading (and Writing) About Writing

Back in the winter of 2011, when I was still in my PhD, I took a course on rhetoric and composition theory. If this course changed anything for me (and it changed a lot) it was wishing that I’d discovered rhet/comp (as it is called in academia) before.

If you follow me on Goodreads, you might have noticed that I’ve started reading Everyone Can Write by Peter Elbow again. Back in winter of 2011, I had to read a few essay for the course, but I promised myself I would read it from cover to cover. I’ve mentioned him before, but it was without much immersion in his argument. But now that I get to read more of him, I want to know more. My intellectual curiosity has never left me, and I can still pursue it outside of the academic environment.

Writing about writing is more interesting than the posts on Problogger or Copyblogger would make you believe. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about these top industry blogs. They’re a great way to learn the ropes, but any serious writer will find them repetitive and superficial after a few weeks.

There is a wealth of thought and theory that go back to the ancient Greeks that is mostly untapped in what I see in writing “advice” and instructions these days. With the commodification of writing (another topic I should go return to eventually), we have forgotten about the human side of writing.

Althoug the book I’m working on means to be widely accessible to any beginning writer, my academic background requires that it be theoretically sound and supported by some kind of research. And writing itself has been a favourite topic of writers and philosopher since… well, since they began writing. Writing is a rich topic with thousands of years of history–there’s more to it than “5 ways to write a blog post”.

It’s against this dearth of theoretically sound advice and the general superficiality of blogs about writing that I decided to take on this book project.

As I was writing a little of my book this morning, I discovered the heart of my goal: to make anyone’s writing experience richer and more fulfilling. Follow the “my book” tag for more updates; I’ll probably be mentioning it quite often in the next little while!

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