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THE NATURE OF WRITING When we write, we used graphic symbols: that is letters or combination of letters which relate to the

sounds we make when we speak. On one level, then writing can be said to be the act of forming these symbols: making marks on a flat surface of some kind. But writing is clearly much more than the production of sounds. The symbols have to be arranged, according to certain conventions, to forms words, and words have to be arranged to form sentences, although again we can be said to be writing if we are merely making list of words, as in inventoris of item such as shopping lists. As a rule, however, we do not write just one sentence or even a number of unrelated sentences. We produce a sequence of sentences arranged in a particular order and linked together in certain ways. The sequence may be very short perhaps only two or three sentences but, because of the way the sentences have been put in order and they form a coherent whole. They form what we may call a text. Not a great deal is known about individual methods of composing a text, but most people agree that it is neither an easy nor a spontaneous activity. It usually requires some conscious mental effort: we think out our sentences and consider various ways of combining and arranging them. We re-read what we have written as a stimulus to further writing. Other common practices are making notes, drafting and revising. We may even write several versions of a text before we are satisfied with the result. The reason for this is that we are writing for a reader. Writing involves the encoding of a message of some kind: that is, we translate our thoughts into language. Reading involves the decoding or interpretation of this message. But, except on those occasions when we are writing ourselves-our shopping list may have been for this purpose the reader is someone who is not physically present. This, after all, is why we normally choose this particular channel or communication rather than the more common one of speech. And because our reader is not present, and in some cases may not even be known to us, we have to ensure that what we write can be understood without any further help from us. This is the reason for the care we have to take with writing. It is by the organization of our sentences into a text, into a coherent whole which is as explicit as possible and complete in itself, that we are able to communicate successfully with our reader through the medium of writing.

Don Byrne. Teaching Writing Skills. Longman handbook for language teachers. 1984. Longman group. England. p. 1