For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about writing. I brainstorm story ideas, jot them down and continue about my day. I eavesdrop into conversations, not to be nosy, but to use small talk for character ideas. I’m inspired by everyone I meet, from their looks to their behaviors, speech, quirks and life experiences, which I use to enrich myself and my writing. It’s a passion that impacts my entire life.
During the four years of undergraduate college, I sadly lost some of this magical thinking. Because my effort was spent on scholarly papers, I lost touch with the purity of raw writing. The kind of writing that shows who I am, as a person, not just an institutional robot. But using grandiose diction doesn’t communicate the sarcastic dreamer and writer that I am. This class brought me back to that point.
I began this course with a focus on technology and relationships: two of my favorite topics. I also began with an expectation to please the professor through my work, a notion introduced by a class reading. I thought it was unacceptable to incorporate my personal experiences and that frankly, readers didn’t care to know about me as a person.
Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My first posts were characteristic of this post-grad, robotic writing that no one reads on their lunch break. I didn’t know that writing for the web was different from writing for a professor, and my learned behaviors carried into this course. With a degree in journalism, I knew how to structure posts in a journalistic manner, but not conversational. Luckily, Professor Kalm brought me back to the basics.
Writing for the web – and real writing in general – doesn’t require extravagant similes, metaphors and language to fill sentences and attract followers. In fact, I realized that all of my posts were condensed to half their original length before posting. There’s a way to remove words and sentences, but communicate the same message. And the less time it takes to read, the more appealing it’ll be for readers.
Looking over my posts, I’m proud of my accomplishments. I covered topics that impact everyone, especially my generation, and I did so in a relatable manner. The voice I wanted to achieve was a conversational realist with a touch of sarcasm, which I’m still working toward. I want to sound distinct among others and, more importantly, like a real person, not a robot. I want readers to understand my sarcasm about certain trends, such as neurotic cell phone use, but I don’t want sarcasm to outshine the real problems. Sure, some of the sociological trends are funny, but they’re real. I wanted my readers to rethink their experiences.
I also wanted to become more comfortable with sharing my experiences, and now, I have. I enjoyed confessing my crumbled texting relationships and humorous encounters with social media. Sharing my experiences helped readers to relate and to know that I’m not just researching, but I’m experiencing. I’m growing along with them, through technology and relationships.
Learning to condense my writing was challenging. As I said, I’ve been writing in essay style for years, so a conversational voice was unheard of. But after these 12 weeks, I prefer this style of writing. It’s easier to read and even easier to relate to.
Despite my progress, there’s still a long way to g, but for writers, improvement is constant. We’re always learning, changing, developing and forming our voice. Mine is just emerging. I hope to tweak my sarcasm and perfect my conversational style. I hope to identify unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs, and use adjectives sparingly. But the most important goal of mine, with writing, is just to keep trying, to keep pushing.
Throughout my four years at Quinnipiac and the array of English, creative writing and journalism classes I’ve taken, this course challenged my abilities in a different way, but in a way that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will continue to use this writing style, tweaking it to identify myself as an individual, working to develop credible, relatable work.
When considering suggestions for this course, only one comes to mind. I would have liked to incorporate search engine optimization, particularly with blog headings and tweets. Aside from this, ICM 506 was a great experience.
Thank you, Professor Kalm, for helping me develop my skills.
And thank you to all my classmates, for your wonderful feedback and your thought-provoking work that inspired me throughout the course.