After completing the ‘Prison Voices’ project in my second year at university, I was excited at the prospect of being part of a collaborative research project once again for ‘Writing Lives’. In contrast to my previous blogging experience, this project was on a much more personal level and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the good and bad of another person’s life.
Even though I knew what to expect from the project, I once again found myself feeling daunted at the task ahead of me. However, once I had read Hilda’s memoir, I realised that I would have no problem writing about her life. I found her story fascinating and hope that in creating this blog, other people will too.
Blogging has enabled me to adapt my writing style, and I found that it was a refreshing change to be able to write for a non-specialist audience. It was important to me that I was concise in my writing and always kept the purpose of my blog in mind since it would be read by a wider audience than I am used to.
Social media has helped me to promote my own work and to gain access to other peoples. I have found that other students have also helped to promote my work through the use of Twitter and have given me feedback on my posts which has been incredibly helpful. I feel that through social media, there has been a sense of community amongst everyone participating in ‘Writing Lives’. On occasion, I have also been in contact with Twitter users that are not part of the project but were interested in reading our work which was nice to see. I have also used the Facebook page ‘Great Yarmouth Remembers’ to promote my work, since my author grew up in Gorleston-on-Sea. I felt that this would be one of the best places to share my blog in order to reach an audience that could relate to the town where Hilda spent her childhood.
I chose Hilda Salusbury’s memoir mostly because I was interested to see what life was like for a young girl in the early twentieth century without a mother in her life. Something I, myself, could never begin to imagine. Her strength, courage and independence never failed to astound me throughout the course of her memoir, and I only hope that I have done her justice by writing about her life.
The memoirs that the Burnett Archive holds are an important piece of history. It is important that we see the past, not only from an historians point of view but also from the individuals that lived during this time too. By reproducing these memoirs from our own perspectives and publishing them online, we allow them to reach a readership that they may not have otherwise reached. For this reason I feel that the ‘Writing Lives’ project is an invaluable contribution to public history.
Blogging has allowed me to better my time management skills and provided me with the ability to undertake in depth research. I also feel that it has improved my relationship with researching in general as I have found it to be more rewarding than ever before. The use of Ancestry in particular brought my author to life for me. Allowing me to trace family members and find out when Hilda passed away. Blogging has also made me more aware of how I research and taught me the importance of ensuring that my findings are accurate and relevant to my writing.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of ‘Writing Lives’ project, and the skills that I have learned from it I will transfer into my postgraduate life. It is rewarding to know that the work that I have written and published is accessible online and I hope that others find Hilda’s life just as fascinating as I have.