Digital Writing Studio: Saving Lives, One Blog at a Time

By: Cecelia Westbrook

The Nightmare: Blogging

When it comes to doing things on the internet, I struggle. A lot. I didn’t understand Twitter at all until six months ago, and I still only understand basics. I have many friends with beautifully laid out blogs that I admire, but I’ve always told myself, “That is not your literary cup of tea.”

But now I’m a senior creative writing major. And it’s time.

One of my professors suggested I create a website/blog. So, I tried. And trying was about as far as I got with the process. I couldn’t figure out how to add a navigation bar, drop-down lists, my own pictures, my social media links, or anything. Basically, it was a black and white illegible, unnavigable mess.

I spent two hours looking at YouTube instructional videos, clicking every button possible, and ended up with at least six “About Me” tabs. I was ready to throw my laptop out of my apartment window.

I went to my professor for help, and she suggested I go the Writing Center.

Even though I didn’t say anything, my face said, “For an online blog? What are they going to know? They help people with research papers and cover letters, not blogs.”

“No,” she said. “I mean the Digital Writing Studio.”

Now this sounds helpful!

I thanked my professor for helping me organize the architecture of my site and content ideas, and went across the hallway to schedule an appointment with the Digital Writing Studio.

Maybe it isn’t so scary…

Photo of the Digital Writing Studio by Melissa Jones

The next Wednesday, I attended my hour- long meeting with an extremely sweet young woman named Morgan.

“I have no idea what I am doing with this,” I told her, half-ashamed of myself for being so technologically ignorant, half-proud of myself for taking initiative to get help with said problem. She just smiled, and sat down next to me, and did not judge my technological illiteracy at all.

For the next half an hour or so, we tried to get it to look the way I wanted. We watched videos and how-tos, some of the same ones I had watched myself along with different ones I had never seen before. Morgan helped me and learned some herself, but after a half an hour of getting almost nowhere, she suggested trying another platform.

It can’t get much worse, why not?

All I have to say is bless Morgan for her idea to try another blogging platform. Within five minutes of signing in, I had everything I wanted, along with more than I could imagine. I uploaded a picture, got my dropdowns, and was able to set up font patterns in a fraction of the time I spent on the other blog.

“How do you feel now?” she asked me.

“Much better than when I walked in this door an hour ago.”

I thanked her so much for her time and patience with me, and went to my class to brag about how wonderful and beneficial she and the Digital Writing Studio had been.

How else can the Digital Writing Studio help me?

Good question! Basically, they can help students with almost any project or problem that’s related to technology.

Like it says here: “Tutors who staff the Digital Writing Studio are available to help explain how to navigate and use effectively digital compositing tools as well as troubleshoot technological impasses. In addition, tutors can help brainstorm project ideas, provide feedback on the content and design of a digital project, and facilitate collaboration for group projects and presentations.”

Some of the specific programs they are proficient in include InDesign, WordPress, Photoshop, and Weebly (as well as many, many more!).

They also save spots for students that do not need to work with a mentor, but would rather work independently in a quiet work environment without traveling to the fourth floor of Bracken.

Why should I go?

Another good question!

The staff is friendly, open-minded, and easy to work with, and you can accomplish more in an hour with someone that knows what they’re doing than you can in three hours with all of your frustration. Even if you just want some feedback on a project, they are there and want to give you pointers and constructive criticism.

Not to mention, this service is offered for free to Ball State Students. There isn’t a lot better than something helpful and free!

They are open from 11am-1pm Monday through Friday, and you can schedule an appointment with them here 

Cecelia Westbrook is a senior creative writing and German major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor. She is the Lead Poetry Editor for The Broken Plate and an intern for Jacket Copy Creative. She also plays Quidditch, writes nonfiction and poetry, and listens to a lot of Ed Sheeran. Check out her website here!

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