What's New, or What's Good: On Writing Connectively
My friend Chris Lehmann likes to say, ‘What’s good’ is better than ‘what’s new.’ And he’s right. Plenty of folks have wandered into, and lost, arguments about what came first when they should’ve been arguing about what was worth doing.
“Connective writing” has been an elusive target and frame for me as I’ve tried to pin down just what’s new in writing in digital spaces. I am certain that the journey has changed me as a writer, as a teacher of writing, and as someone who thinks about what writing was and will be. Teachers and students who are writing connectively are changing, too, be it in regard to the classroom where their work happens or the nature of the work itself.
If you’re exploring your writerly self, or thinking about how to teach writing at a time when every website is a publication seeking submissions from every visitor, then you might want to think about what sort of digital writing is worth doing. And connective writing, whether it’s new or not—heck, whether it exists or not—is worth thinking about. And worth doing.
I’m certainly a connective writer. I crave the ability to link and leave space for readers to write back whenever I set out to compose. That’s different from the writing I did in school.
Connective writing’s worth doing. Even though it may well only be a new set of clothes for some very thoughtful writing practices from our past, I’m content to think of connective writing as a coat that we might use to bring terribly thoughtful and not-so-new writing practices into the classroom.