Notebooks, Annotations, and Tweets: Defining Everyday Writing through a Common Lens

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

Summer 2020


woman routinely annotates her favorite cookbook; frustrated citizens bring hand-made signs and placards to a meeting with their Congressional representative; a child writes with chalk on the sidewalk; a man crafts captions for the photos he posts on Facebook; a couple compose their own wedding invitations; and a student draws graffiti on the door of a bathroom stall: all of these writers are composing texts we call everyday writing. Such writing is both ubiquitous and, as Jamie White-Farnham explains in a recent College English essay, outside of “the common purview” (209): commonplace in daily life, and yet not fully recognized as a legitimate area of study. As we argue here, however, there are benefits in seeing very different texts—separated by time, material, and context—as instantiations of the phenomenon of everyday writing, a subject worthy of study.