October 17, 2023
5106 Feedback, Week 2
Congrats to all for a strong week two in ENGL 5106. We have a diverse class which means many interests and approaches to technical writing. I hope you are beginning to realize that while technical writing aims for clarity and precision, it does not have to be cold and uninteresting. In fact, most of us would make a fairly clear distinction between “creative writing” and “technical writing,” but “digital writing” seems to bring the two together in interesting ways. Your work so far is evidence of that. Isn’t it exciting?
Here are a couple of items to keep in mind while blogging:
- Use correct headers and subheads. Most of you are doing this already, but Ghost has two levels of headers built-in. Highlight the text you want to make a header and choose the large H for a primary header and the smaller H for a subhead. Click the image on the right for an example. Other formatting options, like block quotes, may be utilized with this contextual menu. Also, do not use end punctuation or links in headers.
- Use the correct tag. I give you a tag for each blog post that should be used correctly in Ghost. Tags and other information you can set are in the settings menu, top-right in the post editor.
- Test your links. When you add a link, but sure to include the whole URL, with the
http://, otherwise your link will not work. It's best to test all of your links before publishing your post. Nothing dings the armor of credibility like a broken link.
- Link English words. In general, you never want to use just a URL as a link. Sometimes this is necessary and appropriate, but get into the habit of linking your text. For some other link guidelines, see “Link Logic.”
- Link once. If you link to another page once, you should not do it again in the same post. Linking is necessary, but overlinking tends to annoy your users.
- Pay attention to small details. For example, do not link the white space before or after your linked words. This just looks weird, especially when links are underlined. If you want to use a dash, use an em dash — rather than two hyphens --. Also, check your spaces. I noticed that some of you are still trying to ident paragraphs; this never really works in digital documents and only ends up looking awkward. Finally, instead of using ALL CAPS for emphasis, try just using bold text.
- Name your sources. Be sure you’re being specific when you cite a source. Remember, your posts are accessible by more than your class. When you just allude to “the reading,” your post lacks the necessary context for those who are not in-the-know. Additionally, you might consider adopting a Digital Citation style for your blog posts.
- Capitalize your titles. All nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and long prepositions should be capitalized. I know that different style manuals have different ways of presenting titles, but let’s make them uniform on our collaborative blog. Similarly, you should use double quotation marks, not singular ones.
- Reflect the reading. As you continue through the class, you should continue to develop your digital writing. Be sure your posts reflect what you learn each week from the readings, feedback like this, and your own work. Your blog posts should get better every week.
Some of you used web site design sites to make your pages. This is fine, but remember to make sure that your domain name ultimately resolves by itself, and not a subdomain. For example, this site resolves as
grlucas.net and not
grlucas.wordpress.com. The latter is fine while you build your presence, but be sure you publish it to your own domain. Yes, this takes a bit of money, but it’s a wise investment.
I am very pleased an impressed at the work you’ve done to theorize and begin to deploy your professional writing personas. I know that many of these sites are brand new, but I’d like to encourage you to continue build them over the remainder of the course. There may be a final surprise opportunity at the end of class to earn some more points with a mature, established web site.
Some of you are missing your Establishing Your Professional Persona project. Please get this to me as soon as you can. You don’t want to get too far behind. Also, I’m happy to give you more time—I know we are all working professionals and busy as heck—but try to reach out to me before the due date. That way, I can give an extension without it affecting your grade.
Finally, good work, all. I know you’re not shy reaching out for help, but I still want to encourage you contact me when you have questions, encounter difficulties, or want to show off something you’ve done. That’s what I’m here for. Remember, too, you can schedule a Zoom meeting with me at any time, if necessary.
- I know, I should write a style manual for the blog. Would anyone like to do that?