Throughout my time at university, I have always gravitated towards blog based modules. I can pin this down to one simple reason: writing style. On the blog based modules I have previously embarked upon (Digital Victorians and Prison Voices), I have found that the freedom regarding writing style is something I have thoroughly enjoyed. So, when I began the collaborative research project on the Writing Lives module I anticipated the same enjoyment when writing my work. I’m glad to say my assumptions with writing style on this module were correct. Whilst on other modules, maintaining an academic voice is of vital importance, creating a blog through using a voice that is easy to connect with felt important. Yet, I still ensured that I had a balance of an academic voice and a blog that is easy to connect with.
Through my previous modules, I felt that I had gained some valuable blogging skills that would come in useful during creating my latest blog posts. However, that does not mean the process of creating my blog was without struggle. Initially, I settled upon a different author but after beginning to read the memoir, I felt that my connection with the author’s memoir was not strong enough. But when I began reading Amy Gomm’s memoir ‘Water Under the Bridge,’ it was like a book that you cannot put down. Through creating an author blog, I learned the importance of not only the author but the appreciation of blogging in today’s society.
With that in mind, I felt that it was very important to me to that I did Amy Gomm justice in telling her life experiences to the highest standard possible. The majority of Amy’s memoir was based on her childhood and adolescence so sometimes it was difficult to create posts beyond the theme of Home and Family. However, I studied all 164 pages to ensure I included the most interesting aspects of Amy’s life. One of the things I enjoyed most about this process was writing about an author that no one else on the module knew about. The work is solely mine. I felt a sense of pride knowing I was the only one aware of Amy Gomm’s story. Therefore, I felt like I must write it as best as I could so others could also have an enjoyable reading experience. Through creating an author blog, this highlighted the value of the working-class memoirs that we are lucky enough to read. Again, the value of the memoirs was highlighted through researching my authors writing and life. This blog allowed me to contribute to public history to indicate that Amy Gomm’s story of a working-class life during the 20th century is worthy of telling.
Another aspect of this module I have thoroughly enjoyed is the help I received from my peers. At the beginning of this module, I paired up with Joshua Emery. We agreed to proofread each others posts before we published them. This may seem like a small factor, however, for me, it really aided in the production of my posts. Josh’s feedback was always timely and detailed to such an extent that it has shaped how I’ve written the majority of my posts. Not only did Josh’s feedback help me but through proofreading Josh’s posts, I feel like I have also become more acquainted with his author, William Wright. This was a really enjoyable process as William Wright’s memoir and Josh’s posts came to be as important to me as my own.
I thoroughly enjoyed being a researcher and taking part in such a huge collaborative project. This project has taught me that there unlimited sources of information related to each memoir provided on the module. Not only that, but it was fascinated to be able to track my authors life on Ancestry. Although I found Amy’s birth and death information, I struggled to track any other members of her family. Nonetheless, it was still an extremely interesting process that allowed me to contribute to public history.
As previously mentioned, I’ve had some blogging experience on other modules. However, focusing on one author made this experience slightly different. Through focusing on Amy Gomm, it has made me learn how to be more succinct in my writing and research. There is so much in her memoir that I wanted to tell but through blogging I learned to include the most interesting aspects of her memoir. This collaborative research project has made me appreciate blogging more than I did on previous modules.
I have been an avid Twitter user for years, however, this module allowed me to reach readers that I did not think possible. There is a clear sense of appreciation across Twitter for those who follow the work throughout the Writing Lives module. The more I shared my blogs on social media, I became aware of how many people are interested in this module. Due to this, I felt an even stronger urge to write the best blogs possible. I felt a sense of pride whenever my work was shared and appreciated beyond the module. Through using social media, it has taught me about the connections you can make and aid in blogging.
The Writing Lives module has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. Not only will I take away an appreciation for the working-class memoirs, but also I’ll take away the valuable blogging skills that I have learned.