Pouring concrete on air

Who knew something as simple as finding out why and how you write could be such an intricate process?

When I had this project assigned to me, I thought it would be fairly straightforward; an internal reflection on why and how you write, and nothing more. I made the foolish mistake of thinking that it was something I could crank out in a few hours tops.

Here’s the thing though: that assignment has been clawing at the recesses of my brain for the past few days.

Why am I having such grievances over a seemingly easy assignment?

It’s not because I don’t have an answer, I most certainly do: the problem lies with me constructing my answer as a concrete and evidence based answer. My reason for why and how I write is not something simple, such as so I can complete my assignments, get a job, so on and so forth. While those are certainly positive results that emerge from my writing, those are not the reasons why I write.

I write because I find the craft to be enjoyable. I like being able to articulate the complex ideas, appreciate the meaning behind certain words, instilling beautiful imagery into the minds of my readers out of nothing. I find the art of writing to be beautiful, simple as that.

Therein lies the problem though: how can I base my evidence upon beauty? Such a subjective quality, and it varies from person to person. All I can rely upon is hoping that my reader shares similar emotions with me when it comes to writing, which is a poor way to construct an argument. It’s like trying to pour concrete on air; nothing’s going to emerge except a giant puddle of wet cement. Hopefully someone will appreciate the oozing pile that I will leave behind.

Other than that, I’ve enjoyed the introspective analysis of my own being. The meta-physical search proved to not only allow me to better understand myself as a writer, but as a student and as a human as well.

A Work in Progress

Drafting is rarely easy for me– taking the first steps into a sprawling topic while trying to make succinct points is always a challenge, but this re-purposing project has been difficult in a new sort of way that I am unaccustomed to with writing. Mainly, I am running into logistical issues: finding time to cook the food that I am supposed to be blogging about, gathering ingredients and recipes, or taking quality (enough) photography of my cooking steps as I go for instance.

However, if I look at these issues in terms of writing it feels a lot more manageable. Gathering ingredients and recipes is not entirely dissimilar from gathering topics and sources to write about, and the documentation feels a lot like working on my phrasing, trying to pretty up areas that need work with the resources and space that I have. This tactic has helped some.

Putting it all together has been a challenge, too, though. Figuring out what is readable and flows well in terms of format and content order and other media I’m incorporating is pretty tough. Getting some fresh eyes on it would be great. Also, using a consistent tone has been particularly tough. I set out to be funny when I began this project, but it can be pretty hard to make jokes on command about a fairly normal or routine cooking episode. I’ve found some areas to work in humor and my voice, but I’m always looking to push it just a little bit harder or weed out areas that just aren’t working.

At the same time, quite a bit has gone right (sometimes in unexpected ways) during the project. I was somewhat concerned going into the project that I would have nothing to write about in terms of each cooking experience past the fairly verbatim fact-telling of what I did, but I lucked out: it turns out I can be counted on to be consistently bad at cooking. I am not lacking in little bits of failure and misguided decisions throughout my cooking stories, which (for once) is a good thing.

 (Pictured: My cooking, basically.)

The length of the posts also started to come together pretty nicely: at the beginning I was concerned that each post was going to be pages and pages long. This seemed not overly reader-friendly (nor author-friendly. I have other things to do, too), but I ended up not having to worry too much about it. After the first one, the length leveled out as I learned how to narrow my focus in the posts.

That said, there is still a lot of work that I am looking to do in the coming revisions and I would love to hear what others are thinking when they get a chance to read it (even if it’s a reaction like Tim Gunn’s).

this concerns me

Project Re-Purposing Proposal Ideas

So, I’ve kind of procrastinated on this post. This project is still both daunting and overwhelming to me at this point, and, while I’m sure it will be under control as soon as I settle concretely on an idea, I get in over my head every time I sit down to write this.

Therefore! I have pared down my ideas as much as I possibly can at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still open minded to something new and amazing if I think of something or someone suggests something lovely. Here are my current thoughts on the two main directions I’m considering.

  1. Source material: Facebook story
    • Post told the story of trying to make a brownie in the microwave in my dorm, except it goes badly. Like, super badly. It turned into gum or something. IDK.
    • Re-purposing ideas:
      • Write personal narrative
        • Not super different from how it currently is, but I could certainly extrapolate and add in other stories of my incompetence (I have a lot)
      • Live tweet the purpose
        • Offers interesting comparison of how Facebook entries and tweets differ in format, style, and content.
      • A recipe and/or cooking show
        • This might be my favorite
        • Lots of directions I can go with this that still stays true to the original material while changing it in interesting ways.
          • Like, I think it’s great and the audience/producer/editor doesn’t.
      • Cooking blog
        • Can definitely tie into above idea, or the first one about a story
        • Could be about learning to cook (and failing) or be existential and philosophical (why bother learning to cook? Everything ends. Also, the microwave represents my soul and the brownie is my life).
  2. Source material: Essay about how useless Dr. Frankenstein was.
    • Thesis was that the boats in the story were twice as useful as he was.
    • Re-purposing ideas:
      • Live tweet how useless he is
        • from perspective of him or another character (fiance or monster probably)
      • Poster about “How not to Be the Worst”
        • The world needs this

My main concerns right now are whether or not my ideas are going to be pushing me hard enough as a writer. Maybe it’s just because these sound like fun to write rather than tiring that I feel this way? I’m not sure though. It’s not as though they lack merit; I could definitely see myself managing social media for a company or writing about food.

What do you guys think?

Genres Delivered in 30 Minutes or Less (Or Your Writing for Free!)

Hello there.

Today, I’m going to take a look around my room in my apartment and see what examples of writing I can find in the next 30 minutes or so.

ARBY’S CUP

That milkshake was so good. On the cup, there are three main sections of text: the size (12 oz.), the logo (hat like? With the brand name, useful), and a promo about the glory that is Arby’s, declaring their brand purpose and values. All of these seem in line for the genre that is, I suppose, fast food cups. The material the cup is made of (a thin, waterproof cardboard) and its shape (cylindrical) also seem in line with other cups from fast food restaurants.

PAMPHLET ABOUT THE UGLI

Or, rather, the Undergraduate Library, not some sort of spreading disease of unattractiveness. It follows a simple, readable format listing 10 Things to Know about the library. While this information might come in a brochure or a text heavy pamphlet, this sheet breaks some aspects of the genre of informational pamphlets. It is double sided and is broken down into a list that is further broken up in alternating blue and white colors. There are a variety of links that can be typed into browsers (perhaps it would benefit from QR codes though? It’s not as if I can click the links) as well as reference pictures of the site.

There is also a fairly minimal amount of text on the sheet. It makes me think of Buzzfeed and other click-bait type stories in this way that it lacks extrapolation, but makes up for it in being an extensive list.

MY NOTEBOOK

To save myself some grief, I’m just going to look at the outside rather than the ridiculous amount of writing within. I’m just going to assume that my notes are fairly in line with most note-taking genres (Lots of words. Lots of doodles. Sometimes I highlight things!)

Instead, the cover is pretty on point with what you might expect from a very cheap notebook. Plain colored, heavy cardboard cover. Perforated line along the metal spiral binding to indicate that the sheets are perforated (it even claims to have “High Tech Micro Perforation.” What… What does that mean? What part of that is supposed to be high tech?? Whatever.) There is also a bubble of white to indicate the type of notebook it is: 1 subject, 70 sheets with college rule lines. Nothing but the best for me.

Classic notebook.

KETCHUP PACKET

I need to stop eating in my room.

This definitely falls into what I am familiar with when it comes to ketchup packets: strange vacuum sealed foil packaging with pointy edges, instructions on the corner for opening, ingredient list, distributor information, and a little picture of a ketchup bottle (very recognizable). This also falls in line with what I would expect from other condiment packages, too; mustard and mayo and whatnot.

At the same time, I think this genre might be changing. I’ve seen more and more plastic packages of ketchup that have tops that can be peeled back for dipping, or an edge torn for squeezing. Maybe this is a paradigm shift for the whole world of portable condiment pouches. Is the world ready? I think I might be, but I’m not sure. In the meantime though, this ketchup package falls in line with what I would expect, and that gives me comfort.

TUMBLR

Last one. Half hour is almost up, and I felt it was only fair that I look at a website since I’m on my laptop with more than 20 tabs open. That’s a lot of writing.

Tumblr is an interesting example of a social media site. While the basis of this site was blogging, social media is probably the genre that it aligns with most closely now, but it is very markedly different from some other popular ones. The entire site is based upon sharing the things that people you follow have shared. There is also an element of sharing the things that you have created; it’s a great platform to share you music, art, videos, and writing, as well as participate in crowd sourced conversations. It’s slightly similar to Twitter in the public sharing aspect and the level of reach that posts can attain, but its form is longer than Twitter’s, which makes a big difference in post content.

The layout of Tumblr is also fairly in line with other social media sites. The background is blue for one thing (just like both Facebook and Twitter) and posts are in list form vertically with features, navigation, and posting options along the top and sides on the upper portion of the page. Where this format might differ more drastically is on the individual users’ blogs, which are highly individualized, allowing for custom html codes for layout and features.

Despite the differences, Tumblr is still very quickly recognizable for what it is based on the genre conventions is follows: social media, and a good source of procrastination and time wasting.

My First Storyboard

My First Storyboard

For my remediating project, I plan on taking the advice and information I have learned through my repurposing project ( a magazine spread on being a young professional) and turning it into an anonymous advice twitter. I have experience many of these as an avid twitter user and find them a successful medium for getting information across to girls of my age.

Creating a storyboard for this kind of project is a little bit difficult. Twitters don’t exactly tell a story, rather a string of 140 character blurbs that all apply to the same topic. Argues about our generations communication skills, please hold until the end. But I thought it would be a good idea to storyboard my story in creating this twitter. So I set out to create each step that I would take.

1) Create a “brand” – a clear idea of what the twitter should be, what it should tweet about, who would follow it, who would the twitter follow.

– this step also includes making the brand logo, the “Y.P.” thumbnail that I have drawn is the logo I use in the twitter as my twitpic

2) Create the Twitter: this includes creating the twitpic, creating a background that exemplifies the twitter persona, a description for potential followers to read, etc.

3) Follow other twitters: lots of research and keyword searching!

4) Create specific relevant tweets: from my repurposing article, including pictures as example as well as linking to other relevant articles

5) Gain followers: follow other twitters, retweet popular twitters, hashtag and link to popular, relevant ideas

6) Keep it up! : being consistent and following up on the idea is most important. Tweet well and tweet often.

While, creating a story board doesn’t have much to do with technology, as it only took a piece of paper and some colored pens, this project felt similar to a tech challenge to me. This was a new form or medium for a project than I had ever used before. I hope I did it right!