5 Writing is Always Specific

Gabriella Mortola

To get straight to the point, writing is always specific. Although writing is a form of art that is expressed through creativeness, writing to a specific audience and being particular is indeed important. As a writer, it is possible to be original and have creative control over the piece being written, as it doesn’t take away from the fact that it cannot be particular. The overall ideas can remain, but the text at hand can take a step further by aiming toward an audience. Unless you are satisfied with your writing not leaving your notebook or laptop, your writing can go much further and reach levels of possibility by being specific.

With that being said, some may argue this claim by saying that anyone can write about anything. Moreso, that writing to a targeted group of people isn’t needed to understand the basis of the piece. The first statement is certainly true because as a society we can all agree that we have written in general or jotted down a few sentences about anything. Such as a grocery list or a post-it note of a few things that we had to remind ourselves or a journal entry in our diary. However, these types of writings are not specific enough as they don’t have a targeted audience. Writing needs to have a distinct group of readers to reach towards so that they have an understanding of what to expect. Writing goes much further than writing in general because there is no doubt that that can’t be done, but the more important aspect is to apply the focused topic to a larger audience other than how it makes sense to yourself.

Take a moment to grab a piece of paper and attempt to write about anything that pops into your mind. Begin the process of writing and simply write about anything that you can possibly think of. Do not overthink this exercise and do not write for any reason, purpose or audience. Once you’ve completed this task, ask yourself what the purpose of the writing is. What is the point of this piece? Ask yourself who the intended audience is and what the context of your writing entails. What types of readers would want to read it and why would they want to read it? At this point, you may find that you are unable to answer these questions and that there isn’t a purpose or an intended audience that would make sense from this writing. This is because writing is always specific and these fundamental pieces are needed.

Whether people realize or not, every piece of writing has a purpose. Even an Elementary School student’s writing has a purpose. While some people may find it hard to believe that  young children are not capable of understanding their audience, it is indeed possible because it is taught to them in school. Every paragraph or paper that is written typically has a prompt and with that a group of people that they are writing for. This can be exemplified in a fourth grader’s writing. According to greatschools.org this student named Emily states, “Did you know that there is only so much water on Earth? You can help by doing just a few things. Earth’s water is very important. Without it we could die and the animals would die too. There are many ways you can help to save water by taking short showers.” This fourth grader had a clear understanding of who she wanted to reach when she wrote this paper. She had a thesis statement introducing what her paper would be about, as well as several examples from the reading that supported the topic, which in this case is how to save water. Overall, this student had a targeted audience in mind when conducting this piece of writing, as she was aiming towards educating those who want to gain knowledge on how to save water.

A further example showing that writing is always specific is artist Kasimir Severinovich Malevich who painted a Black Circle on an oil canvas in 1973. Some may look at his painting and ask themselves what the purpose of this black circle is and state that this clearly shows that art can be done in general, as can a piece of writing. Malevich’s Black Circle painting sold for $85 million dollars and now belongs in collections of various museums and is currently well-known and influenced by modern day artists. At first glance, it is easy to think that this painting is generic, purposeless and free from context. However, the purpose of his painting was to create a natural shape that was free of social and political context. The story behind his black dot painting shows that he wanted to break free from the artistic expectations at the time in the early 1920’s. Kasimir Severinovich Malevich created this painting in the context of representation art and his Black Circle protested against it. Although some may have asked themselves how can a black dot on an oil canvas have context and how could a painting so simply possibly be political? The answer is if black dot paintings were so common, this particular piece wouldn’t be specific. The reason for why it is indeed specific is because he helped create an entire movement in art: Suprematism. What seems to be a generic piece of art created by Kasimir Severinovich Malevich had a clear purpose, as his Black Circle painting was intended to reach the level of audience that it did. The painting had a clear purpose, audience and context for existing.

All that to say, writing is always specific. Every piece of writing that exists no matter how young the writer is and no matter how simple, basic or generic looking it is, it has to be specific with a clear purpose and audience in mind. Effective authors know this when they start writing.


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Good Ideas About Writing by Gabriella Mortola is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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