Zip Final Post

What is your inquiry question? What initially drew you to this question? Did your question stay the same, or did it change over time? Why?

My inquiry question is “what makes an effective blog post?” Initially, I was drawn to this question because I already had my own personal blog, but wanted to polish it. I didn’t have any sense of how to blog or organize a website and make posts that were enjoyable to read. I loved looking at well-established blogs that were visually appealing and well written.

My question stayed the same, but I received lots of answers I didn’t expect. The visual organization of your site has a large impact on your audience. Blog posts don’t have to abide by a particular set of rules. In fact, the more concise and casual your writing is, the easier it is for you to secure your audience throughout your entire post. It’s crucial to develop and strengthen your unique voice while showcasing your personality. Therefore, with thousands of blogs out there, yours has to be distinct.

Over time, I drifted further and further away from getting too engrossed in online research. Eventually, I spent most of my time crafting my own posts and customizing my blog.

What skills have you expanded on / learned during the inquiry process? How are these skills applicable to your success as a student?

I’ve strengthened my organization skills, both in writing and in practice. I can categorize my ideas by overarching topics and physically organize spaces to look presentable. Through learning how to write in an accessible, transparent manner, I can improve my writing and verbal communication skills. I’ve practiced how to tailor my work towards specific demographics, which can help me present towards different audiences. I have a basic understanding of effective marketing skills, time management (you have to post regularly!) and how visual aid can help garner more attention.

Most importantly, I’ve learned how to genuinely express my ideas in a comprehensible way. Sometimes I can get too ahead of myself and use convoluted language. After Zip, I’ll continue to work on being as clear and impactful as possible in all my school endeavours.

What did you learn about / what is your answer to this inquiry question? Remember to be specific and provide direct evidence from your research.

There is obviously not a single clear cut answer. However, most sites I encountered mentioned the same main tips:

  • Concision. Don’t lose the attention of your audience. Make your writing accessible to them.
  • Introductions are VERY important in blogging and journalism! You have a few seconds to capture and SECURE your reader’s attention. Don’t start off weak or boring. Think about how many times you’ve clicked off articles in your life.
  • Organize your writing into short sections
  • Make an effort to form a relationship with your reader
  • Use colours, fonts, and appearance to fit the theme or mood of your site
  • Don’t overload with statistics or long preambles
  • Use attractive or eye-catching images/photography
  • Write based on your demographic.
    • If it’s a casual blog, use casual language
    • Business/marketing blog: real-life tips, more formal language
  • Recognize and adapt a certain niche! Make your blog tailored to one thing (e.g. travel, fashion, marketing, etc.)
  • Use call to actions at the end

In what ways does your final learning artifact demonstrate your learning/answer to your inquiry question? How does it connect to your chosen curricular competencies? Consider listing your competencies and including images, links, or excerpts from your work to demonstrate this.

My final learning artifact will be my blog. It synthesizes my research, experiences, and skills into one cohesive piece. Through developing my virtual persona, I transform ideas and information into original texts. In turn, these original texts create connections between myself and my audience. I incorporate significant cultural information and relevance into my writing. Before writing every post, I use writing and design processes to create structured blog posts with adequate visual aid.

Some excerpts:

China has the largest population in the world, with over 1.3 billion people.

And you may know China for its urban cities. Beijing and Shanghai offer a view into the pace of Chinese life – fast, gruelling, and constantly developing.

Yet China presents a diverse range of land: some urban, some rural, some remote, and some widely known. Among China’s remote regions is the Inner Mongolia region, lush with grass plains, small huts, and cicadas that sing well into the night. Inner Mongolia offers a horizon of endless grass and authentic villages. In this post, I’ll be encapsulating the wonder of Inner Mongolia in my experiences and images for you to enjoy.

This street captures the architecture of London. The streets of London are vastly different from Vancouver’s dominantly modern architecture. London’s streets utilize old buildings and architecture for modern purposes – a perfect blend of progress and authenticity to its roots. The streets are narrow and lined with cobblestone.  Something else to point out is that people drive on the left side of the road, and the driver’s side of the car is on the right. I absolutely love the old feel of London and looking at the architecture. It’s like a walk through history and every building has its own story.

What resources did you find useful during your inquiry and why were they useful? (Cite at least four resources you consulted, with links, and write a brief 50-100 response as to was important to your learning).

Leist, Rachel. “How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates].” HubSpot Blog, HubSpot, blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-start-a-blog.

This website outlines the basic features of a blog post while illustrating a simple, step by step process. It includes all the basic concepts and tips of blogging, including both thematic and written aspects. I learned how to create working titles and organize content. This site was the first I consulted during this project and introduced me to the most important and crucial aspects of a blog. I followed its procedure when I wrote all my blog posts.

Rades, Alicia. “6 Steps To Writing Captivating Blog Post Intros Every Time.” Blogging Wizard, 31 July 2018, bloggingwizard.com/write-captivating-blog-post-intros/.

This resource specifically focuses on the first and foremost component of the blog post: the introduction. It mentions the use of emotions, pronouns, interesting facts/thoughts, anecdotes, description and appeal to problems/problem-solving. I was able to research more in-depth on specific blog sections and use special tips for capturing an audience. Since my blog was a travel blog, I mainly employed the use of emotions, facts, and descriptions rather than problem-solving.

“5 Ways To End A Blog Post.” Content Experience Hub | Uberflip, hub.uberflip.com/blog/how-to-end-a-blog-post.

This site talks about different methods authors use to write effective conclusions. I used its tips when writing all the endings of my blog posts. I explicitly labelled my conclusions as “conclusion”, kept them concise, and engaged with my audience at the end.

“Simple Tips to Make Your Blog Photography More Pinterest-Worthy.” Feast Design Co., 1 Apr. 2018, feastdesignco.com/make-food-blog-pinterest-worthy/.

This resource focuses on the visual aspects of a blog, including photography and composition tips. I learned that photos can help break up long sections of text, making your articles more reader-friendly and pleasing to look at.

What new questions do you have about your inquiry? What motivates you or excites you about these questions?

I’m eager to learn how writing styles differ among different genres of blogs – whether it’s fashion, makeup, beauty, politics, science, or marketing. I’m motivated to experiment with making different types of blogs. My next step is to hopefully create a fashion blog. There’s a whole different menu of tips and tricks for various types of blogs, as they all cater to different audiences.

Zip 3 DoL

Take a moment to reflect on your inquiry plan. Do you need to make any revisions to your original plan? If so, why?

After several blocks of in-class time, I’ve realized that blogging is less research-intensive than I thought. The most effective way to begin writing is to experiment and just write. Getting too caught up in tips from other bloggers can hinder creativity. From January 8th, I’ve used literally all my in-class time to write my blog posts. I don’t need to dedicate as many blocks to research. The material of all the websites I’ve encountered is the same, and writing tips are only applicable when I try them. I’ve found writing incredibly more rewarding than researching minuscule details/mechanics. Especially in blogging, it’s important that you find your “voice” and write in a casual, accessible way.

I’m currently working on my Inner Mongolia post, so I’m well ahead of schedule. I’ve completed and edited my London post. For the next few days leading up to the presentation day, I’m going into full writer mode. I’ve completely strayed away from online research, and am now drafting and writing on my own. While I am trying to write more naturally, I am still using general blogging tips from my first day of ZIP. I’m trying to uphold my original blog “aesthetic”, catering towards a specific demographic. I am continually employing the use of interesting hooks, short sections, and empathy towards my audience.

The schedule changes work in my favour. I’m excited to continue writing  – without spending too much time on online research. My ultimate end goal is to create an authentic, carefully crafted blog that synthesizes both my own style and the tips of others.

Zip 2 – January 9th and 10th

Record a journal entry of how you used one of our in-class focus blocks What did you accomplish during this time? What did you struggle with? What might be your next step in your nex focus block? Set a goal.

January 9th

Firstly, I evaluated my original notes and customized my website to the desired theme.

screen-shot-2019-01-09-at-11-22-50-amSecondly, I looked into specifically adding an about page and a contact me page. I personalized my colours and images while choosing a minimalistic format. For the about me page, I found that most websites recommended keeping it short, outlining my personal story in the subject area, and (if possible) demonstrating my credibility and expertise.

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I struggled with familiarizing myself with the capabilities of WordPress. Initially, adding an about page and contact page were difficult. Since I only have the free version, I don’t have access to a lot of features or other customization options.

My next step would be to finish editing my London post using the new tools and tips I have researched. I want to make it more concise and add several attention grabbers or images.

January 10th

Today I finished editing my London blog post. I added several images of my own and split the entire blog into short, concise sections. A writing issue I struggle with is writing long sentences or paragraphs, which can obfuscate the clarity and meaning of my writing. I found it easy to write about each of the attractions, but writing an introduction and conclusion was difficult, considering they leave the greatest impression on my audience in a blog post.

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My goal for the next work blog is to begin writing my Inner Mongolia and Korea posts using the same tips I’ve learned about. I also want to write about the cultural aspects of those places and delve deeper into the locals of those places.

Zip 1 – January 7th and 8th

Provide a copy/image of your research notes. What concepts in your learning do you now feel you have a solid grasp on? Which ones might be useful to other students in their learning?

A lot of websites I encountered were for marketing blogs or business blogs, and less for personal blogging. I used their general tips on writing structure, attention-grabbing, and colour. The main source I found useful was this website:

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-start-a-blog

I now feel I have a solid grasp on the basic step by step process of writing a post, which may be useful in other expository writing we do in English. I learned about the types of posts and titles. I learned about making a captivating intro, and how bloggers also include a call to action at the end, a strategy commonly used in marketing. The main big idea I focused on was how to secure an audience’s attention and to stick to a single, interesting topic. I learned the basic structure of a post and effective organization.

There were several approaches to a hook/intro. Some used humour, while others used empathy. For travel blogs, I specifically found a visual description to be effective. For my London post, I drafted:

You stand in the middle of a street lined with twisting narrow roads, cobblestone sidewalks, and a flurry of people seemingly always in a hurry. It’s a stark contrast to the breezy, slow-paced life of a Canadian. You may start to feel overwhelmed, by the quizzical, yet endearing mix of old buildings reminiscent of castles standing next to modern buildings of glass and grey. Do not fear. In this post, I’ll go over some attractions and activities in central London, to ease you into the endless experiences the city has to offer.

 

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ZIP Proposal

What elements create an effective blog?

https://voyageval.travel.blog/

I began blogging during the summer as a personal journal, but scrapped all my posts, seemingly frustrated with my writing, the images I put, and the messy aesthetic of my site. For Zip, I’m eager to revive my posts and learn how to write blog posts that effectively capture the reader’s attention. I hope to learn not only how to write, but also how to visually arrange my blog in an aesthetically pleasing way. I chose this question because I’m passionate about sharing my experiences through writing, and I’m also passionate about travelling to other countries. For this blog, I’m going to compile these two passions into a travel blog, documenting my experiences from the summer.

Currently, my knowledge of blogging is very limited. However, I do know the components that make up an effective writing piece, so I can apply these basic skills to my blog writing. I want to expand on website aesthetics, the placing of images, and how to grab an audience’s attention and keep them reading for the entire piece. I’ll tweak the current post I have up to fit the new skills and tips I will be researching. Specific skills I want to expand on are title-making, writing effective hooks, and learning how to fit my writing towards an audience. I will evaluate the choice of colours and format on my blog, and how to align those to the theme of my writing.

I can approach a mentor I met at a writing camp, Dara Homer, for advice on how to write this blog. She was an English major at Columbia, a current English teacher, and blogs in her free time, so I can ask her questions and look at her own writing as an example. I’ve worked with her already for poetry writing and essay writing. Since blog writing skills also include some aspects of journalism, I can reach out to a mentor I met in London who is currently studying English at UCL and is a journalist. Additionally, aside from online research, I can look at other travel blogs that are well-read and established.

At the end of my inquiry, I’ll demonstrate my learning through my blog. I’ll show people my blog while highlighting skills I used through a print-out screenshot of my blog on a display with various writing tools circled. I’ll have people read all my posts and also comment on the visual format of my blog and the colouring/theme.

Schedule:

January 7-9: Research notes and tips. Research what makes a good blog post and appealing ways to arrange a blog.

January 10-11: Edit my first blog post (that I already have up)

January 14-18: Continue writing new blog posts, all following the notes while experimenting with different types of posts.

January 21-25: Edit existing posts, get presentation material ready. Circle and identify elements of the blog post for presentation board.

January 28th: Present!

 

 

Style Analysis

In Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, she employs the use of foreshadowing and imagery to expertly convey the novel’s plot while establishing a mythical, fantasy-esque tone. Le Guin sets the tone of the book by beginning the story with a preamble on the nascent Sparrowhawk, a powerful wizard, who “in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage”(1). By directly delving into the main character’s destiny, Le Guin prompts readers to inquire about the storyline of the character’s rise to fulfill that destiny. Le Guin uses her gift of purposeful ambiguity to push readers to read further. Le Guin wastes no time in providing supplementary details that nullify the fantastical plot or slow down the pace of the novel by elaborating on meticulous detail. In accordance with ambiguity, Le Guin also utilizes imagery. Le Guin provides visual and sensory details to immerse her audiences in the scene without fixating on logistical or irrelevant statements. She describes the sensory aspects of Duny’s fog to emphasize the effects of Duny’s magic, focusing on the Kargs’ confusion while they “[followed] dim wavering shapes that fled just out of reach before them” and waited for the fog to abate (13). Sensory details allow us to fully comprehend and acknowledge the sheer power and scale of Duny’s magic, further piquing our interest in his prophecy. Ursula Le Guin’s unique writing style in A Wizard of Earthsea pinpoints and manipulates the degree of detail in each scene to set a delicately crafted pace that brings momentum and mystery to the story.

Wizard of Earthsea Questions

Ironically, the wisest people in our world downplay their knowledge. Acknowledging the limitations of your own knowledge is simultaneously understanding the complex, endless scope of the world and society we live in. Wise people are wise because they show experience, insight, but most importantly, good judgement. Good judgement incorporates having a realistic view of your own potential and ability while recognizing your limits. The wise understand that it is simply impossible to be all-knowing or omniscient in the intricate world we live in. Ignorant people have distorted views of their own intelligence, ignoring the reality of the world’s many multi-dimensional systems and believing they know everything there is to know. These perceptions often mar their outlook of the world, simplifying it to fit their own beliefs and past knowledge. A wise person understands that the pursuit of knowledge is never-ending because our society is perpetually evolving. The true enjoyment they derive from intellectual stimulation is the constant stream of new concepts to grasp and ideas to ponder.

wise nugs

These are three wise nuggets I gained from speaking with Adrian Myers, a corporate lawyer.

To fully enjoy an occupation, you must accept that it will have both enjoyable and unenjoyable moments.

When you want to achieve an ambitious goal, you will need to sacrifice your personal time and recreation in order to pursue it to the best of your ability.

If you invest your energy into a task, anything can have a creative aspect.

Film or Text?

“The extraordinary, it seems, was simply out of their reach,” Harrison bellows, as the camera pans over a petrified audience bearing grim looking handicap devices. Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and Chandler Tuttle’s film adaptation 2081 depict a frightening world in which equality is enforced through brutal means. The plot of both works revolves around Harrison Bergeron, an escaped convict who rebels in the public spotlight while his absent-minded parents watch from their television. Despite their many similarities, Chandler Tuttle’s 2081 is a more effective medium for portraying the story due to its soundtrack and visuals and the plot’s heightened tension.

In 2081, the ballet is a multi-sensory experience, which allows audiences to insert themselves into the fleeting liberation of the moment. The orchestral music and cinematography emphasize the tragic, suspended beauty of the scene. The music that Tuttle uses in the scene has a descending, sorrowful melody. When the poignant soundtrack is paired with slow-motion shots of Diana Moon entering the theatre, it creates a tangible suspense to a degree that words cannot. Cinematography and music enable audiences to experience the suspense through more than one sense. Conversely, in “Harrison Bergeron”, Vonnegut employs short sentences to control the pacing and tone of the story. However, Vonnegut sacrifices many descriptive details while attempting to use abrupt, bleak sentences. For example, Vonnegut’s describes the orchestral music as solely “much improved” (4). The text illustrates how Vonnegut’s lack of description can dilute the significance of an event. In the film adaptation, Tuttle portrays the music through actual instruments, providing a more immersive experience. With film, directors can create tone and suspense without sacrificing visual or descriptive elements.

Moreover, Directors can create apprehension through alterations in the plot. Chandler Tuttle adds a supposed bomb threat in 2081 and showcases Harrison’s charismatic speech. These changes create urgency and danger in the plot because the entire audience is at risk. Additionally, Harrison seems to recognize his father. Near the end of the film, he shoots a glance at the camera, which may be an indication that he knows his parents are watching. This offers more emotional conflict and reverberations in the plot because we feel increased pity for both Harrison and his father. In the short story version, Harrison does not acknowledge his parents in any way and does not threaten to detonate the bomb. The lack of emotional backstory creates a disconnect between many of the story’s characters, hence decreasing the tension in the plot of the short story.

With its added sensory aid and thrilling plot changes, the film is the most provoking and eloquent medium of expressing this story. In Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, the story is told through text, which invites readers to make inferences about the setting, appearance, and sounds of the plot. Contrarily, in Chandler Tuttle’s 2081, the film bombards viewers with a deluge of sensory experiences, which creates a more urgent and realistic telling of the disconcerting story.

Eminent Intro 2018

May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve.

Sappho

I am a zealous fan of poetry. I especially admire its unrestricted ability to portray dreams and ideas through words and language that are manipulated entirely by the writer. Sappho is perhaps one of the most influential female poets, and her life is an epic poem of its own; historians and fans are presented with a notable impact, but to truly uncover her personal life, we must read between the lines and use her poems to uncover her identity. Sappho’s raw emotion and descriptive language were unusual in ancient Greek times, especially being authored by a female. From reading a few excerpts of her work, I was drawn even closer to the mysterious figure of Sappho.

Sappho was a Greek poet that originated from the island of Lesbos. She is a literary influence that is relatively untouched by modern society. Sappho is revered for the beauty of her writing style, which presents itself in emotional poems about love written in a lyrical, song-like form. Sappho garnered admiration to the point of earning praise from prominent Greek scholars and cultural revolutionaries. Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, named her the “tenth muse”. Her poetry remains in the grips of scholars through the form of fragments, as most of her work has been lost, or even burned by the Catholic church in the 1000s due to its promiscuity and expression of love. In spite of Sappho’s archaic, ancient life, her poetry proves to be influential as scholars still speculate over her life today.

Fragments of her Poetry

Sappho and I share a love for language and literature. Sappho utilized her gift for poetry to tell stories, but most importantly, she told stories that were personal and individualistic, in contrast to the glorified stories of epic Greek gods that prevailed over most literature at the time. As gifted learners with a proclivity for language and emotion, we share a passion for human emotions that manifests itself in our behaviour and in our work. Sappho’s poems were songs of the human heart, often about heartbreak and the joys of love. I aspire to emulate Sappho’s authentic expression of herself in her writing. Sappho’s work was the product of her own creativity and bravery. Sappho exemplifies my goals to be fearless in my identity and to use my strengths to create works that contribute to the artistic valour of the society I live in.

There are some key differences that may hinder my ability to fully put myself in the role of Sappho and her life story. I’ll try to focus on the similarities in our personalities and creative struggles during my speech.

Val Sappho
Wealth/class Middle class Aristocratic family – valued luxury
Gender Female Female
Race Asian Caucasian (Greek)
Sexuality Bisexual Bisexual
Religious faith Agnostic Polytheistic

The eminence Sappho represents is attributed to both her personal rebellion and the nature of her writing. Sappho was exiled to Sicily for her political views and was heavily scrutizined by following Christian generations, with comedic plays being created about her. Sappho wrote clearly about personal stories and messages addressed to her loved ones, straying away from the epic, ceremonial poetry written by poets such as Homer. Sappho’s innovative style is now adapted as the Sapphic stanza, a stanza that follows a specific meter similar to Sappho’s in her own writing. She lived as a free spirit, reflective in the cries of her poetry.

Scholars and academics are still trying to uncover many details about Sappho’s life nearly 3,000 years later after her death. Our pursuit of knowledge concerning Sappho proves that she has left a clear mark in our universe and the world of creative expression.

Sappho lived in a time in which women in city-states had little to no rights. There were severe restrictions on women’s laws; they were unable to conduct business or sustain their own lives. Educational facilities were separated by gender to tailor schools to the specific gender’s needs. Sappho transcended all expectations by employing her own academic talent and was eventually praised by all members of Greek society, even being featured on paintings, coins, and art.

Sappho is worth studying because she remains a literary influence and an icon in the field of humanities – yet when I asked my peers and parents about her, nearly no one knew who she was. Sappho’s fragmented life and impeccable poetry can teach us how to express ourselves fully and passionately, through words and language that resonate the most with our individualistic desires.

For the next part of my eminent study, I hope to grow more comfortable with reading her poetry and writing. I’ll start to look into poetry foundations or journalists that have written pieces on her, and I’ll try to contact them for an interview.

Someone will remember us, I say; even in another time.