a semester of PUB101: my writing rediscovery

Upon finishing my first manuscript in grade nine, I actively searched for publication. Of course, I was inexperienced at the time, and had no idea what type of condition a piece should be in before it is submitted to an agency or publisher. After countless ‘no’s’ from companies, I realized that if I wanted to be a part of the book publishing business, I needed to learn everything I could. My high-school reputation of being ‘that girl who wrote a book’ could not carry me forever, and if I wanted to take my writing career to the professional world (which I did – and still do) I needed to immerse myself into everything book and publishing related. Moreover, I need to focus on perfecting my writing.

It was this high school experience of striving to be published that brought me to my first Publishing class at Simon Fraser University. This is where my journey of being an online publisher began.

In Craig Mod’s article titled, ‘How I Got my Attention Back,’ he speaks about how the media stole his attention away from simple aspects of life. I resonated with Mod’s article, as I too found that social media took my attention away from more important matters – specifically my writing. However, unlike Mod, I didn’t need to cut myself off from technology in order to gain my attention back, Instead, I needed to connect to the media to refocus my writing passion.

Through my PUB101 blog, I’ve been able to hone my passion for writing. My creativity is now able to flourish, as this class has given me the power to run a blog on a topic of my choosing. As I hope to be a published writer in the future, I designed my blog to be a writing portfolio of small prose pieces. Through my pieces, I aimed to appeal to a public that appreciated both reading and writing, but did not have the time to commit to reading a large piece. My blog posts were specifically designed to be short enough for one to read quickly, perhaps while commuting to work/school, or on break from work. I soon realized that the length of my posts also proved to matter, as it was revealed in lecture that many read in an ‘F’ pattern, and read 25% slower compared to print. Although my posts don’t completely follow this pattern, the majority are short enough for the public to intake most of the content, and then decide if they want to continue. After learning about how individuals read online, I made sure to keep my paragraphs and sentences relatively short to make reading easier for all – this also helped me gain an interesting tone for my prose pieces.

Throughout this course, I’ve discovered that the design of a site is critical. Of course, having a clean design helps the site stay user-friendly, but, as Travis Gertz states in his article, “everything [now] looks the same” (louderthanten.com). I did not want to be one of those sites included in Gertz’s list of look-a-likes, so I made effort to pick a blog theme that would be both simple and unique to my writing.

Half-way though the semester, I began to post book reviews alongside my original content with the intent of expanding my audience. With these news posts, I hope that I can create a following that values my opinion on fiction, but also are not afraid to disagree. I want to be able to have meaningful discussions about literature with my audience (similarly to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books).

Looking-forward, I plan to continue with my site, and produce more content throughout the summer. I hope to gain a larger following to help connect myself to the writing world, and to to meet like-minded people. Gaining my writing passion back seemed like a difficult task with the stress of school and work on my shoulders, however, nothing (in my opinion) is more motivating than sharing ideas and talking about writing with those who are equally excited. “Authors are not islands” (Green, fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com), and through this platform, I plan to escape my own writing ‘island’ and refine my skill by providing content for my community.

Spring semesters Publishing 101 has taught me a lot about myself – how small my knowledge on politics is, and how deep into the media I am. However, my biggest take away would be my re-discovery of my love for the writing and reading world. It had been months since I sat and spoke about how much I loved a book, or had been able to randomly write a blurb of prose. With my PUB101 blog, I have been able to devote time to these aspects, and share them with everyone on the web, and I hope with this site, I can help spark others love for the writing and publishing world.

 

References

 

Gertz, Travis. (2015, July 10). Design machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse.

Retrieved from louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines

 

Green, John. (2012, September 6). On self-publishing and Amazon. Retrieved from

fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/31026577075/on-self-publishing-and-amazon

 

Mod, Craig. (2017, January 13). How I got my attention back. Retrieved from

backchannel.com/how-i-got-my-attention-back-c7fc9297d347

 

 

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