From the beginning of time and the development of language, we as people have been cataloging and writing memories and experiences that shape us. Ancient peoples wrote on cave walls, carved stone, created paper out of papyrus, built a printing press, copied the bible by hand, etc. We are accustomed to writing. Writing is in our blood and helped build our literate society. Now, we are to consider what makes "good writing" good. The best authors were and are just normal people, so what has made them the best? How has the past writing we have encountered shaped our writing? A quick survey of fifty University of Arkansas students shows that 60% do not consider themselves good writers. Of that 60%, almost all of them would prefer personal writing to academic writing. .
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients." All of our writing is a compilation of things we already knew, experienced, read, and wrote. Our writing level depends on the level of literacy we were subjected to. All of our writing is informed by prior literacy practices. Most writing is reminiscent of past authors' work. We have been telling the same stories in different ways forever. A lot of modern writing can be attributed to William Shakespeare. All of our past writing has shaped how and what we write. The writing contest I won in second grade helped me developed as a writer. The essay I wrote my freshman year of high school about William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet shaped how I write my essays. Writing for a Greek student life newspaper my freshman year of college changed my style of writing, and how I approached deadlines. My best writing was done when I was not writing essays for English class, but when I was writing about topics I enjoyed. When I wrote for the Greek student life newspaper, I accomplished some of the best writing ever. Fervently writing about what you undergo can conclude to be your best writing.