Reading Log–Article 18

  1. Swarts, “Recycled Writing”

As the title suggests, the article mainly examines the common practice of reusable writing and its rhetorical purpose. Writing reuse is most commonly studied on literary models on the topic of single-sourcing. These models are very critical of the reuse practice, arguing that it lacks important context, but Swarts counteracts that in saying recycled writing could serve as strategic. He looks to reshape attitudes on reuse, believing that it strengthens the study of rhetoric and creates hybrid texts rich with information and more easily traceable. His method for arguing this involved the recruitment of several different sources; a technical editor, a university Webmaster, a research scientist, and four technical communicators. With recycled writing, there can be an even stronger network of sources, so Swarts argues. He notes that different mediums of rhetoric, such as signs and emails, often serve a similar categorical and communicative purpose. Since they are often fluid and previously stable within those conditions, recycling them is a feasible option. He notes that texts are instruments of coordination, and become more durable when they can represent intersecting ideas. He noted that non single-sourced writers had more to say about other texts, and were oftentimes reusing entire grammatical situations. He concludes by saying that other technologies for writing reuse need to be looked at in the larger context.

As a writer for The Breeze and within my sorority, I find that I reuse my own writing quite a bit. When emailing sources for the same story, I will often type up an email before sending it individually to each of them with a different introduction. I have also used excerpts from my previous works and work them into ones. To me, it is acceptable to an extent, especially one you have discovered a good approach for writing in a certain medium. Relying upon this too often is problematic, but to an extent it normal, especially when looking at my own writing within the same genre.

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