In a journal topic, put yourself into the shoes of a text creator. Specifically, identify your three most important contextual influences, and then describe how these would find their way in to...

In a journal topic, put yourself into the shoes of a text creator. Specifically, identify your three most important contextual influences, and then describe how these would find their way in to your work.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Any text creator is influenced by a variety of conditions.  Writing does not happen in a vacuum.  Even if the writer seeks to divorce themselves from social conditions and external contexts, this act is in itself a contextual influence upon the creator of writing.  Writing is influenced by a variety of contextual conditions that help to explain both the process of creating art and enhance its appreciation.

One such contextual influence would be personal values and beliefs.  For example, if a writer sees consciousness in an optimistic or pessimistic light, this value will be evident in their writing.  It will filter itself through the writing process.  Writing is predicated upon values and beliefs.  These core ideas play a significant role in the development of writing.  Text creation becomes a reflection of these values.  The writer uses their beliefs and values to help guide the creation of art.  Writing becomes the vehicle in which these values and beliefs become evident.  For example, Existentialist writers like Jean Paul- Sartre used writing to display his beliefs about the human condition in the world.  Virginia Woolf used her writing to express the condition of Modernism that defined how she saw the world and the human being's place in it.  In these instances, values and beliefs play an essential role in understanding how writing is created.

Another significant contextual influence that helps to form text creation is their own experiences and prior knowledge.  Writers write about what they have experienced.  This helps to play a formative role in how text is constructed.  For example, Scott Fitzgerald experienced the dizzying highs and lows of 1920s society along with the power and pain of wealth acquisition and loss.  This experience helped to give him the background for works such as The Great Gatsby.  Erich Maria Remarque was a young soldier in the German army during World War I.  This experience was critical in the development of All Quiet on the Western Front.  The writer's experiences and prior knowledge play a strong role in aiding them in textual creation.  We write about what we know, and this becomes an important contextual influence.

Another significant contextual influence is audience and reception.  There are times when the public plays a critical role in the development of writing. Writers find that external demands might play a significant role in text creation.  Sometimes, writers will incorporate public demand and publisher influence in the creation of their work.  This might be why some authors seek to develop sequels of their work.  While J.K. Rowling had a story to tell, I think that the influence of money and significant publishing advances helped to increase so many Harry Potter books in the marketplace.  In other instances, some writers actively repel what the public demands from them.  This becomes a significant contextual factor that drives textual creation.  The act of accepting or rejecting public and external demands on work creation plays an important role in the writing process.  These three contextual factors influence the creation of textual art.

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