When I first registered for this class, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I definitely did not expect the creation of a website and blog to be what this class was about. I maybe thought we would look into different examples of digital writing examples or something, but I wasn’t expecting to post my own writing on the web. Honestly, I have never loved having other people read my writing, so this definitely took some getting used to. It was something that made me very self-conscious, but it was also something that I needed to get over. I realized that I lacked confidence in my writing abilities. I knew that I could write some good papers for my English professors, but what did this look like writing for the web. How I had to start thinking about it was that I was writing for myself. I was writing about things I enjoyed reading and learning about, and it made it easier. I was wobbly at the beginning with establishing my voice as a writer for the web, but I think I figured it out by the end (somewhat lol).
Something I noticed right off the bat was my lack of academic backing in my first couple of posts, specifically my second post which was meant to be a rhetorical analysis of an article I chose. I remember not knowing how to apply what I used for school to a blog and the bulk of the matter got lost in translation. I wanted to come off as witty and engaging, but I lost sight of what the post was meant to be about. The analysis was definitely not present in the rhetorical analysis. However, over the semester, I learned how to be myself while also making sure that what I was writing about was factual and professional. I think by the how-to post I had a better idea of how to merge my voice with an applicable academic basis to create beneficial blog posts. Where I started out as being so relaxed I lost sight of the actual assignment, I think I found a happy medium that I tried to implement in other posts after the disaster of a rhetorical analysis.
I think a post that shows that I truly tried to apply a happy medium between sounding too relaxed or too stiffly academic was my post which was used for research for my feature project. I loved books and researching about what happened to bookstores during Covid, and I think in this post, I found a way to still keep my voice present while also making a point. I wrote about the facts of the matter, but I kept it light and fun with gifs and images which I have made a big part of my brand as a web writer. This is by far my favorite blog post. I think utilizing the headers makes it so much more enjoyable to read as you are not just scrolling without any indication of subject change.
The scrolling which I have mentioned was noted in my second post. I really don’t know why I thought this was a good design plan. A big part of what I learned to add to my posts were headers and bullet points. I did not do this in the beginning, and it was just a massive chunk of text which the reader had to scroll through. Really, what was I thinking? Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like:
If you’re curious, it keeps ongoing for a while. I really don’t know why I did it like this. Maybe I didn’t understand that bullet points and headers make a difference, but I certainly do now. Instead of this blog post pulling readers in about a cool topic, which it was, I turned them away. If I would have really thought about it, I could have used snappy headers to split the text up so I could have made different points about the article and the publishing forecast.
I did eventually figure out that the design is a big part of making sure a blog post is engaging. I wanted readers to enjoy my post, and If I would have kept them in this same format, they wouldn’t have. In my redo of the rhetorical analysis post, I think I did a much better job of creating a cohesive design that made sense. Here’s a screenshot of what this looked like the second time around:
Figuring this out was a big win for me. I wanted people to enjoy reading my posts, and how I first did them was not going to cut it. That also ties into another issue I had to learn this semester. I had to make sure I selected images that would benefit my blog. In the same not great post as well as my first blog post, the images I used were not very helpful in my overall understanding of the post. They were either too large, small, or irrelevant. I think I got a good handle on which images would help the post and which ones were hindering the overall flow. The goal was to use cute, relevant gifs and images to aid in the overall understanding of the post rather than just being decorative.
I feel like the challenges I faced during the semester with figuring out how to find my voice and creating a cohesive design have made me a better writer for the web. I used the feedback from my peers to learn what worked and what didn’t in my blog. I was nervous about this in the beginning, but they were all so nice and helpful with their holistic feedback which has helped me develop as a writer.
For future web projects that I will work on, the goal is to just be authentic while also making sure that I am making a point. It is important in writing for the thesis, nuances, and overall point to be clear and concise. However, with web and writing for a blog, there is room for more of your personality to shine in the writing style. In the future, I want to seamlessly blend these into good web projects where my voice as a writer shines through with useful images supporting the writing. Nevertheless, I am proud of the improvement I have noticed in myself over the semester, and I can’t wait to see what my writing will look like in a couple of years with more practice
Overall, I have learned so much this semester about myself and my writing, so it was definitely a super helpful learning experience!