There are conceptions and misconceptions that have accumulated over the past years. “A conception is a belief, an idea about something.” (Writing About Writing). The opposite meaning of a conception is a misconception. A misconception is an idea or story about writing that will not stand to trial and research. In the book Writing About Writing, the intentions of this book is to correct the previous misconceptions that took the place of conceptions. The book explains six misconceptions. The misconceptions are the rules of writing, writing can convey facts without “spin”, text inherently “mean” something all on their own, you can write without putting yourself in the text, distinguish the ideas of a writer’s “own” and “borrowed” from others, and writing with correct grammar. Each paragraph will have my own depictions of what each of these misconceptions are and how they may be understood by others.
The first misconception is the the rules of writing are universal. In writing there are certain rules that must be followed in order to capture the audience. The rules of writing are not universal because they depend on three different concepts. These concepts are the audience, exigence, and context. These concepts are the reason why the the rules of writing are not universal because of this conception. I learned that the rules of writing may be transferable but they must contain the three concepts to make the writing accurate.
The next misconception is writing can have facts without processing the information and altering it. Many writer believe it is okay to use a direct quote from an article and use it as evidence in their writing. This is a misconception because they never related their knowledge to the new information. The real conception is to construct the meaning of new information, ideas, experiences, and readings as a group. I learned that the construction of a new meaning from new information can lead to new knowledge.
The third misconception is texts have meaning to them and they can stand by themselves, regardless of who is reading them. This is a misconception because different people understand texts differently than each other. A more accurate conception is for writers and readers to make their own meaning for texts and to compare it to another perspective. This allows more knowledge to be made about texts and it expands the text. I learned in order for texts to have more meaning, writers and readers must compare and contrast their own meanings with each other in order to create knowledge.
Another misconception is you are not allowed to write an argument and include yourself in the text. This conception is false because most of the time, writers use their own experience to influence an argument positively or negativity. There are certain distinctions in their writing that were affected by what they have experienced and how they felt after the experience. I learned it is okay to have distinctions in my writings because they are my past experiences.
The next misconception is if a writer borrows an idea from another writer without mentioning them, it is plagiarism. This is a misconception is wrong because great writers borrow ideas and claims from other writers all the time. The writer can borrow others claims, but the writer has to acknowledge the claim by citing the author or source. The conception I learned is it is okay to borrow others claims, but it is my responsibility to acknowledge them by citing my sources.
The final misconception is grammar is one of the foundations that make writing simple and perfect. This is false. Every paper is unique in it’s own way. Grammar is still important when writing, but writing is about making new meanings and ideas. A common way to view grammar is a convention. A convention is an agreement that a group of readers and writers have made different rules about writing. They have also agreed that there is different consequences for each grammar error. I learned that the real conception is to never use grammar as your only foundation as the spine of you paper. I should use my own writing as a way to make new meanings and ideas.
These six misconceptions are very common in young writers because they are some of the misconceptions that they were influenced to learn and follow. In order for a writer to become empowered, they must use these conceptions and construct different meanings and ideas to become a better writer.
1. Downs, Doug and Wardle, Elizabeth. Writing about Writing. Boston: Bedford, 2014. Print.