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Writing is often defined by what it is: a text, a product; less visible is what it can do: generate new thinking (see 1.5, "Writing Mediates Activity"). As an activity undertaken to bring new understandings, writing in this sense is not about crafting a sentence or perfecting a text but about mulling over a problem, thinking with others, and exploring new ideas or bringing disparate ideas together (see "Metaconcept: Writing Is an Activity and a Subject of Study"). Writers of all kinds—from self-identified writers to bloggers to workplace teams to academic researchers—have had the experience of coming upon new ideas as a result of writing. Individually or in a richly interactive environment, in the classroom or workplace or at home, writers use writing to generate knowledge that they didn't have before.

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This document was originally published in Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies by Utah State University Press. Copyright restrictions may apply.