Welcome to my Final Portfolio showcasing my take-away from Advanced Writing and Editing, a course that centers on writing and editing in the mediated public sphere. Throughout my journey through the mediated public sphere, I gained a sophisticated understanding of the relationships between rhetoric, audience construction, language, remediation, and medium by exploring concepts that emerge from studying sci/tech writing, social policy writing, higher education writing, and the intersection between those three realms.
A big shift in my understanding of audience, based on the definition discussed by Corbett and Eberly in “Becoming a Citizen Critic: Where Rhetoric Meets the Road”, has changed the way I think about writing and the process by which I write. Quoting Lunsford and Ede (132), Corbett and Eberly define audience as a “complex series of obligations, needs, resources, constraints.” I believe this is an accurate and inclusive description that goes beyond the conventional understanding and implicitly introduces the idea of potential interaction with an audience, which is integral to writing in the public sphere.
One of the main concepts I have come to understand as a result of my writing journey is exigence. I had never encountered the term prior to taking this course, but its importance has been proven by every critical text and every form of writing I have seen since. In “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents,” Grant-Davie defines exigence using Lloyd Bitzer’s terminology: “an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing that is other than it should be.” In most of the texts we looked at and the writing that we have done, exigence is the driving force for an author. My understanding exigence is singlehandedly responsible for some of the discoveries I made about my writing. For instance, early in the course I repeatedly struggled to answer the question “why does this matter for readers” in my writing. I exceled at synthesizing and working with information, but I did not make that information new, turn it in to something of value for my audience, and have a driving force reshaping the material. In other words, I lacked clear and apparent exigence. Realizing this has had a crucial effect on every piece of writing I have done in this course, has shaped the way I think about how texts work together, and has raised important questions about how I need to approach analysis.
Throughout this portfolio, the concepts that I have learned this semester have been applied to my writing and can be seen through my analysis of various texts. While the relationships between rhetoric, audience construction, language, remediation, and medium in addition to my newfound understanding of audience and exigence are important realizations I have applied throughout the course, there are specific concepts I learned and discoveries I made within in sphere.