Finding Security in an Insecure Discourse Community

Finding Security in an Insecure Discourse Community
Photo by Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

My thoughts on a group of like-minded people who I could represent and with whom I could identify were almost as cluttered as a featured home on A&E's documentary reality television series, Hoarders. Where on this third rock from God's hot sun would I find a collective of people who shared my thoughts? I had to first clarify my line of thinking. I love watching all sports and sharing silly memes on Facebook. I remain a lifelong learner, and I loathe sophomoric or excessively bawdy jokes. I am a prankster at heart with an inquisitively intellectual line of thinking - sort of a comedic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I promise. I am not hiding a malevolent personality who terrorizes the West End of London, Southeastern Virginia, or elsewhere.

Discourse Community

Thinking too broadly, I had to narrow my focus to what is applicable to our content. As a technical writing graduate student, hobby writer, and aspiring published author, I assumed there has to be a community for people like me. When I searched the internet for writing communities, I eventually came across a website that immediately enticed me to investigate it. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is where I felt most welcome. This community does not limit itself to one genre or style of writing. They welcome writers of all backgrounds and in all stages of writing - amateurs, professionals, and those in between.

Appeal

I am not a flashy guy. I prefer structure with some creativity. I am a traditionalist who appreciates new styles. I like basic and too-the-point, but I also want some color in my life. Upon clicking the link, I loved the rather basic design!

Web Design

Basic almost sounds negative, but it is for those of us who do not want the glitz and glamour of some high end production. The background is simply waves and agitated waters of what is most likely a sea or ocean. This alludes to writers being like fish in the ocean. They are numerous and come in different sizes and abilities.

The header is a lighthouse. Since the days of Ancient Egypt, lighthouses have signaled to sailors that dry land is near. The lighthouse for The Insecure Writer's Support Group serves as a beacon that foretells of a site where safe, dry land is dead ahead. The black paint on the structure adds to the mystery as to what the site could be about.

Just below the header lies about a dozen buttons that provide navigation to the most pertinent areas of the website. Since we read left to right and top to bottom, I appreciate that About Us is among the first buttons. Note: In the context of this medium, I assume that we all read left to right and top to bottom. Please accept my apology if I offended anybody who reads otherwise. About Us is important, as this provides the visitor with further explanation into the website's background and purpose.

The writing on the landing page and various pages is informative. Specific examples, personal stories, and suggestions run throughout the pages. For insecure writers, the site appears to be truly supportive, as its name suggests. Indeed, I feel welcomed.

Credibility

In his book, Writing for Digital Media, author Brian Carroll talks about three primary roles of the digital writer. He identifies them as Communicator, Organizer, and Interpreter. Carroll further explains that a writer's credibility is reliant upon each of those roles. Without credibility, a writer will find it far more difficult to persuade his or her readers.

The website owner and his administrators each have a background in the writing profession. Alex J. Cavanaugh is the website owner. His credibility is established by holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts coupled with his work in web design, graphic and technical editing. He is also a published author who writes in the science fiction genre.

Concluding Thoughts

Though my thoughts are akin to Hoarders at times, I believe I found my discourse community. Insecure about whether or not I am presently or will be good enough, I found a group that shares in my dilemma. I am far from overconfident. Well, I am overconfident that I have plenty to learn and opportunities to grow. Though I may never reach the summit, I continuously climb the mountain of great writing. My own insecurities serve as the greatest obstacles.

Mike Romano

Mike Romano

Mike is currently a technical writing graduate student and a civilian US Navy blue collar worker.
Chesapeake, VA