Creating a Digital Persona Parte Dos

Creating a Digital Persona Parte Dos
Photo by Adrian Schledorn on Unsplash

Continuous Learning

Yoda, the small, green Jedi master, trained numerous Jedi, and he imparted much wisdom and methodology to an impressionable Luke Skywalker, the hero of George Lucas' original space opera. Among his many teachable moments, he told Luke, "You must unlearn what you have learned. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." I have loved the quote since I first heard it ages ago, and it fits well with just about any situation one may encounter in life. There is another one that I absolutely love that deals with trying. It is from Sean Connery in The Rock. Nicolas Cage talks about doing his best. Connery responds to Cage by telling him winners do something that would be inappropriate for this medium.

As technical writers, it is paramount to stay abreast of changing technologies and changes to the content about which we write. It is equally important to know where and when to apply different styles of writing. Scholarly writing has its place in academics and peer reviewed journals. So too does posting a family update to social media with various emoticons and applicable hashtags.

Whatever the style of writing, one must put forth great effort to continuously learn. One must unlearn bad habits. Writing is a form of art. It should be done with thoughtful care so that readers can appreciate the beauty that leaps from the pages and the screens. This primarily applies to creative writing. Technical writing most often needs to be straight to point, but there lies a certain beauty in that, too.

Where Do I Lie?

I find myself eager to improve my writing. As an undergrad, I wrote in English, history, geography, sociology, political science, and business courses. Though my writing as improved since then, I still find myself making some of the same mistakes. I either use too many commas or not enough. I love commas!

Another mistake I often make is in properly citing. Writing for various disciplines requires one to be well versed in APA, MLA, and Turabian at the very least. Each citation style has a distinct way of attributing quotes, figures, and other data to the proper source. Admittedly, I cross them up a lot.

To become a better writer, especially in any form that uses citations, I must further educate myself on each style. Unless specified by the publication or employer, I must stick to one style to maintain consistency. There are always learning opportunities, and I must take and apply them.

Discourse Community

As I thought of the type of website I wanted to create, I also thought of what group I wanted to represent. A quick search led me to a site that all but jumped out of my screen, grabbed my hand, and told me to come on. More figuratively than literally, of course. I settled upon the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

It is a group that offers to support to writers throughout all the stages of their writing. It is also for any writer. One could be a creative writer, a blogger, or even an academic. I am among the writers who could use support in some form or another, or at least a venue in which I could piggyback ideas, ask questions, check emerging trends, and even get writing prompts.

Building Credibility

In his book, Writing for Digital Media, Brian Carroll discussed Aristotle's impact on writing. He spoke of educating ones-self, becoming a better writer, and knowing one's audience. We are still using Aristotle's teachings here in the 21st century. To build my credibility, I must continually educate myself, so that I can become a better writer.

Furthermore, I have to know my audience. As I stated in part I of this topic, I hope to feature various styles of writing. Knowing the type of reader that will engage with my writing can help me craft better and more creative content.

My credibility will also be built by having degrees and certifications affiliated with my name. Typically, when one earns a doctorate, one becomes an expert or a very reliable source of a particular subfield within a discipline. I still have a number of years before I earn that doctorate. Along the path to that doctorate and even after, I can earn credibility by properly researching and citing source material for scholarly, academic, and technical writing. As for creative writing, my credibility will be earned as I develop original work.

Concluding Thoughts

For me, building a digital persona is about education, knowing where I lie, and establishing credibility. Not limiting myself to one style allows me to expand beyond one area. I already know where I lie. I will work to establish my credibility from the opening bell. Though my site is still in the early stages of development, you can check it out at drromano2b.com.

Mike Romano

Mike Romano

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