Being a part of Writing Lives, creating my author blog and researching Joseph Armitage’s life and writing has allowed me to develop, not only academically but also personally. I feel like rather than previously writing almost exclusively in an essay style, I am now more confident writing in a more relaxed way whilst still putting across a meaningful message. I have also found myself becoming interested in the past and in history, this is something that never struck me as engrossing before throughout school or college, but after researching in this way I have felt more connected to the history I have researched.
I feel a strange sense of pride in the fact that I have contributed to the Writing Lives site and potentially to public history. Knowing that my work can be read by academics, local historians or in fact anyone who has some interest in the topics I have covered is something I am really pleased with.
I have always known that research can be a lot of hard work and time consuming. Whilst I’ve found this to still be the case, I have also found researching my author’s life very fulfilling and enjoyable. Looking at sites such as ancestry.co.uk and Hunslet Remembered, is a different type of research to other university work and this is what I’ve found most enjoyable. The collaborative aspect of the project has also been useful. Talking to people and helping with each other’s work gives a boost when you feel you’re not sure if your work is good enough (and also given me incentive to do more work when I can see others are further ahead) 🙂
Before this I was completely new to blogging. I had a rough idea of how it worked but would not have been confident in writing my own blog. Now I know what makes a good blog, how the research you do plays a crucial part and it’s important to be consistent and publicise the work you’re doing.
Social media was definitely not new to me when starting this project. I had already established Facebook and twitter pages, but mainly for personal use. What this project has taught me is that social media can be a really effective tool when you want to share work that you are doing. It can gain you contacts and you can actually do further research through you new- found followers.
I think the main thing I will take away from the Writing Lives project is a new way of working; I feel more comfortable writing in different styles and am happier sharing my work with others without feeling slightly apprehensive about what they will think about it. This project has given me a chance to research things I never would have before and sometimes to my surprise, I have found it really interesting and rewarding. Working on autobiographies from the Burnett Archive of Working-class Autobiographies is a rare opportunity to read the personal accounts of working class people, whose memoirs would have otherwise, been forgotten about. I feel that this puts me, and everyone else involved in the project in a fantastic position to really bring our authors back to life and share as much as possible about the lives we have worked with.