I had heard that when you begin to write, it is good to have a beginning, a middle and an end! This makes total sense of course, but if my recent attempt is anything to go by, I tackled my essay in rather a roundabout sort of way!
When I started to write I found that I had almost finished the conclusion first, that I had written some of the beginning and that I had left the middle section till last! This wasn’t intentional but I found that I just wanted to capture what I was thinking at the time and then work out how it fitted all together at a later stage!
This made it very important to read and re-read my content to make sure it made sense and flowed correctly.
I think one of tutors mentioned this week that it can be beneficial to read your written article out loud to yourself – which I totally agree with. If you are falling over your words when you read it aloud, then maybe your audience will have the same trouble when they come to read it.
This week’s lecture was a conversation with Angharad Lewis – a visual culture editor and author who worked on Graphik magazine from 2003, which went to online only in 2014. She discusses how, when it comes to writing, “you need to know your theme well and understand your view to begin with.” She continues, “drafting is certainly important. You won’t have the final shape of the article on the first draft and sometimes you might get started in a place in the story or idea, that you are evolving in the article, and then find that actually you need to make your point by turning it on its head or putting it back into the middle and writing an introductory lead up to it.”
Angharad talks about how publishing has changed and how the process for writing articles online is very different. “There are different things that you have to think about because in print you have people’s attention in a different way, but online you are reaching a much bigger audience but probably for much shorter periods.”
It was also interesting to hear about the process she went through when publishing her book, “So you want to publish a magazine?” working alongside the editor of the publishing house as well as the designers. She talks about how she felt anxious about its release – wondering if it was still current enough having taken two years to put it altogether.
Writing your own book about a subject you are passionate about, would be wonderfully exciting. The thought of working collaboratively with a team of people who also believed in what you are doing would be, I believe, a lot of fun.
However, having listened to and read many resources over the last few weeks about visual culture and writing, it would seem that traditional publishing is coming up against a new term called ‘self-publishing’. This is where you as the writer, editor and/or designer can create your own book and have full control over its content and look and feel.
I have created a couple books in my career (one as a gift and another capturing stories for an organisation’s anniversary), and I really enjoyed the research, talking to people and designing all the content. Bringing it together and working with the printer and an expert in binding, was such a great experience – although quite an expensive one.
Today, there are a few different crowding funding websites like ‘Kickstarter’ where you can pitch your idea and get people to invest in you and your project, which helps on the financial side of things. The pressure to deliver though and keep your investors happy is definitely down to you!
I have been working on my 3,000-word essay this week, which is titled ‘Does Childhood Nostalgia Pull You Back to Your Roots?” Whilst it isn’t finished yet, I have been thinking about the visual design and presentation of the piece.
When thinking and talking about your childhood, there are so many images, feelings, sounds and smells that come to mind. The trouble is, your childhood memories are unique to you and will be different depending on what age you are. Someone who grew up in the 70s might remember things very differently than someone who grew up in the 80s.
I don’t want the design of my essay to have lots of images of nostalgic items from the past (sweets, music, fashion, etc.) but rather, have a couple of things that I remember and can pay tribute to from my own memories of the 70s (as the author and designer) and then also to find a way to provoke the audiences own childhood memories through sounds and smells – possibly?
The most interesting part of my essay was collecting the stories and information from the people in my village who I asked for help in putting together the content.
I loved hearing people’s stories and, in this case, their childhood memories from the village I currently live and where my own children are growing up
Because of the current Covid restrictions, I sent out a questionnaire to the people who I wanted to interview about my topic. It would have been so much better to have visited in person, listen to their stories and record them.
At this stage, I am still unsure of the direction I want to head in with the design especially as my essay isn’t quite finished and I want to see if there will be things that come out of my writing which will help influence the design.
In terms of a mood board for this week’s challenge, I set about finding images that I could associate with childhood nostalgia and added some notes but refined my board later in the week as my essay was progressing.