Thoughts on Professional Writing and Rhetoric

Rhetoric is a vital discipline to communication because persuading and conveying information is essential to the success of any sort of discourse. The significance of the practice of rhetorical skills within communication should not be underscored because communication without any persuasive measures leaves audiences with a neutral feeling about the presented information. I found the most enjoyable and useful chapters within Part One and Part Two of Peeples’ Professional Writing and Rhetoric. These chapters dealt with the analytic aspects of rhetoric: its origins, history, definition, and relationship to professional writing; and discussed professional writing as a social practice (pg. vi).

I enjoyed Part One of Peeples’ book because I gained significant understanding of rhetoric from these readings about its foundation. The combination of the readings from Part One, applied writing on projects from the MA program, and two additional years of studying professional writing provide a much more solid background of rhetoric than simply the readings alone that I initially completed a few years ago during my undergraduate college career. I am an analytical person—I work in black-and-white, beginning-to-end, and only move back-to-forward. In order for me to understand the big picture I need the individual pictures so I can understand holistically how everything comes together. The readings from Part One demonstrate for me how I can apply rhetoric—an ancient communication process–to modern and contemporary professional writing practices. I also found Part Two of Peeples’ book enlightening because before this class I hadn’t thought about the roles professional writers play as more than simply the writers of documents. These readings really opened my eyes to social aspect of written communication; it is so interesting to consider that professional writers can be agents of change when they know how to craft their skills to their advantage. In particular, along with considering the social aspects of writing, I loved the readings on ethics and professional writing. The power that professional writers hold in their hands through the conveyance of information is astounding.

Overall, I find the technological aspect of professional writing the least interesting within the practice. I do not enjoy technology (beyond its absolute necessities), and I have struggled in each class that deals with technological based aspects of our studies. That being said, I did not care for the chapters that discuss the a) technologically situated action, b) user-centered documents, or c) social space (pgs. Vi-vii). The technological and new media aspects of professional writing are vital to the improvement of the practice, and if I am to succeed within the field I must take more care study and practice with technology skills. I have become better and more appreciative of the technological aspect of professional writing over my time at NEC. I just need to ensure I continue down that path now that I am finished with my academic studies.


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