The best way to describe the act of writing is to identify it as an art form. Each word is a color on a palette, a piece to a puzzle, a stroke with a brush that unites to form a masterpiece: a sentence.
Writing is such a unique form of expression. People use it as a creative output, while others use it to transcribe their pictorial thoughts into words and some just find it the best way to communicate with others.
In school, no matter what grade level you’re in or what your major is in college, we are all subjected and required to expand our writing abilities. This is the time in our lives when we learn how to properly write a thesis sentence, know how to organize our body paragraphs, and write a valid conclusion at the end.
In college, we are further taught to compose an acceptable research paper with the same elements (intro, body, and conclusion) with the addition of a bibliography or works cited page to finish off the twelve-page product.
If you decide to pursue journalism, on the other hand, you might just learn how to structure an article that is not only intriguing to read, but is physically appealing to the eye. After all, you want your article to stand out next to all the other black letters on the gray newspaper page!
The purpose of attaining an education is to learn structure. To comprehend a set of rules to later test yourself to see if you can apply them properly. Although we are taught to follow a basic writing structure, is writing really a form of expression that should have set boundaries?
Writing is not solely based on the words being read. It is also dependent on the way you present those words to your audience. If everyone were to follow the step by step structural procedure that is instilled upon us, pieces of literature will not only be disinteresting, but possibly predictable. The arrangement of the paragraphs and the order in which you put them is just as important as the intricate language you develop within your writing.
For example, does the end of the story ideally have to be placed within the last few pages of your piece? Of course not! There are plenty of works that have introduced the conclusion in the beginning to develop a different kind of effect to their readers.
If this post is directed to disregard writing structure, then the conclusion can be drawn that our educational system is pointless. This is an incorrect assumption. Obtaining an education is extremely vital and it is the structure that we are exposed to in our academic world that prepares us for a successful outcome in the future. While our educational system is geared towards subjecting us to structural elements and assuring that we use them appropriately, there is, however, no guarantee that all of us will mimic that structure when we apply them to the real world.
A student’s subjection to the basic structure in writing can be considered a foundational element, a quantity of information that is just enough to prepare you for your independent career. It seems that the intended purpose of school is to instruct on the basics of the specific field of study in writing that we pursue.
Graduating from school is mere proof that you have understood the main structure of the writing field and are fully capable of contributing to society with your writing in an aesthetic and knowledgeable matter.
As previously mentioned, the writing structure that is taught opens a door that enables us to take those basics and transform them into our own unique style.
Plato (yes, another philosophical reference) has discussed his own issue with the concept of writing. He advocated the use of conversing as far superior to the method of writing. He believed that the use of letter writing to convey ones own thoughts and opinions would be misleading to the recipient of the letter. He noted that writing in itself was prone to misinterpretation. His preference of conversing and live interaction between two people, he believed, allowed for clarification and a more direct way of getting ones perspectives understood the way they are intended to be understood.
Yet, what is diversity if not to have differing viewpoints and interpretations? I was in my local coffee shop not too long ago and I overheard a conversation between two women who were discussing and correcting a book that one of them was writing. The writer of the book had described her characters bangs and the other woman thought that the description was worded awkwardly. They were both discussing how they would have described an individual’s bangs. The woman critiquing was pushing for a change that would eventually result in words written in her own perspective and not the author’s. Why should the woman’s physical details of HER character have to be changed just because one person believed that someone’s description of bangs did not satisfy their own standards?
Why does everything have to have one solidified answer? As well acclaimed as Plato is, I can’t seem to agree with his idea of writing. We need to have contrasting opinions in our society. We need to ignite discussion and share how we perceive what we see. If you think bangs hang above the eyebrows rather than dangle, then that’s the way you see it and so be it. Readers will be exposed to your way of thinking, while formulating their own ideas as well. If we all understood what everyone was saying, then what do we have left to talk about?
The same goes with writing structure. Be open minded about the basic structure being presented in school just as the book writer listened to her critic, but take advantage of your creative freedom when you are fully educated in the structure. Writing is boundless, it’s an art form, it’s a way to share with the world your perceptions, your unique way of thinking, your stylistic choices and most importantly your innovation.