The Electronic Portfolio of

Writing New Media

April 2012

Transitioning from Formality to Freedom: My Experience with New Media Writing

As evidenced by my first entry in Writing 200, writing has always served a professional and academic purpose. I wrote to get the job or the grade, and, in my younger years, to get entertainment. However, opportunities for the latter became far and few between as I progressed through my academic career. I became so fixed in the traditional mode of writing that I ignored and even at times shunned New Media writing forms such as blogging, never really understanding what they were or why they were popular. Having now almost a semester of immersion into New Media writing under my belt, I can say with confidence that the most compelling point of comparison I make from New Media to traditional writing is the freedom with which I am able to write using the former.

Structured freedom in blogging, storyboarding, creating presentations, and constructing Wikis reflects a significant departure from the more traditional forms of writing I encounter at the university. The ability to put more of myself into the piece, to test the boundaries of my writing and truly attempt to connect with the audience embodies New Media writing in my eyes. The objective is no longer solely to fulfill a checklist of requirements to get the grade. The many venues of media writing afford me a greater opportunity explore not only my topic and its intended and implied audiences more deeply, but also myself.

Approaching my writing in these new ways, namely with greater freedom, provided me with the ability to paint a more detailed picture of the question that confronted me at the start of the course: why I write. I learned that there are other reasons that prompt me to write, other than the more straightforward and ostensible reasons I articulated in my original essay. As I came to understand, writing to explore my own thoughts and rationales, instead of just those of others, is one valuable reason to write. Listening and learning from influential teachers and authors instilled in me the notion that writing need not only encompass my thoughts on a particular topic: it can encompass my thoughts in general. The key is to just write. The editing process will iron out most of the imperfections of this “shitty first draft,” and the exercise of putting my thoughts and ideas before me, where they can then be crafted, will expedite and improve the writing from there. Seeing the whole project before me allows me to freely explore which way I want to take it. Undergirding my writing with a New Media mindset expands the sewing kit I use to tailor my work to my audience. I can approach them conventionally, or through a blog, Wiki, video, or creatively by re-purposing the argument.

I am coming to value the self-reflection that New Media writing requires, which prompts me to write in order to plan out and structure future projects to ensure their cohesiveness and clarity. New Media has also taught me to write in a certain mindset, one that is aware of real people who write for a living. As demonstrated by the testimonials by John U. Bacon and the poets, the joy and challenges that writing has brought these authors as their career choice prompts me to see my writing in a new light. I have always liked writing, and think with some more work through the Minor I can become pretty good at it. So why not think of using my writing to provide for myself? Heck, why not even consider writing that is specifically in new media, perhaps as an online content manager for a political strategy firm or as a marketer for a company’s blog?

After years of meticulous attention to the professor’s framework for how my writing should be done and on which medium, I experience a great relief writing in New Media for the freedom it affords. I am allowed to think on paper, find out what I am really thinking or feeling on a topic, and convey it to audiences using interesting techniques. I am learning that writing can take other forms than just print, which can then be used to influence an audience just as much as myself, the writer. Finally, I am finding out that a career in writing may not be something so farfetched. Writing in new ways with new freedom is helping me rediscover the entertainment and enjoyment that writing used to give me. I plan to take with me going forward the skills and freedom New Media writing has taught me.

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