Public writing is an important aspect of public and community-engaged scholarship. Public writing serves to connect research, critique, and inquiry with communities and people outside of classrooms or university environments.
Public writing brings complex ideas to broad audiences in a way that can inform and enrich public discourse. Scholars translate research and analysis into language that can reach and engage new audiences through public writing.
Public writing involves engagement with audiences and communities, writing with purpose and goals, writing with inclusive language, and looking ahead to the ongoing impact of your writing. The following prompts can help you get started with public writing:
Engagement with audiences and communities
The core of public writing is sharing your scholarship and ideas with other people. Consider carefully who you are writing for and how you can best communicate with your audiences through your writing.
Purpose, goals, and impact
Public writing typically has a specific purpose. It might be to inform, persuade, build community, or engage with others. Clarify the reasons for your writing and refer to these often as you compose.
Inclusion and Anti-Oppression
Public writing can be a powerful platform, and you have the opportunity to be inclusive with your language choices. Inclusive and anti-oppression writing will connect you with broader publics and will enhance the relevance of your arguments, while working against racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression.
Public writing often has an “afterlife” after you have made it available in the public sphere. It may be discussed, reused, or repurposed in ways that you will not control. This is a characteristic of all public and social discourse, of course, but it is important to keep in mind as you are writing, reviewing, and publishing.
You can share your public writing through your own websites or blog, social media platforms, mainstream information sources such as newspapers or magazines, or a combination of these. Some specific ideas: