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Writing is a Social Endeavor 

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Sometimes when we think about writing, we picture a solitary person, sitting in front of the computer, painstakingly piecing words together on the page. Instead, we should think of writing as a social endeavor. If we accept that writing includes a social component, we can identify the types of support that writers receive as a result of working with other people throughout the writing process.

There are three basic ways that other people can participate in someone’s writing process. They can provide document support, knowledge or skill support, or social and emotional support. Document support includes offering feedback. Knowledge and skill support happens when writers talk with others about writing as writing. It might include information about disciplinary writing conventions or options for approaching a new writing task, for instance. Social and emotional support include offering accountability, commiserating, and celebrating.

This vidcast looks in greater detail at each of these three aspects of writing as a social endeavor. It provides information to help writers know who to ask for various forms of support and how to go about doing so. It ends with a to-do list of steps that new graduate students can take now to ensure that they participate fully throughout their graduate years in the social endeavor that we call writing.

Note: Closed-captioning and a full transcript are available for this vidcast.