How the Web Can Enhance your Writing
Everyone knows that starting university is tough. I was worried about whether I would fit in, make friends or enjoy my course. But the very worst thing: how an earth would I live independently without the manpower of my mum and dad?
The first term is definitely the hardest. I felt lost. There was a campus awash with strange faces that I didn’t know. It was a long way from the small village that I had grown up in. I tried joining societies in the first few weeks, but soon realised I wasn’t very interested in the social life of university living. I had an introverted nature. So what do you do when you’re an introvert in an extrovert’s world?
It occurred to me that the internet had much more to offer than I first suspected. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities that the university offers to help students enrich their C.V. But if, like me, you would rather stay inside your house tucked up in your bed, then the internet can be a great way to make that dream a reality whilst still engaging in opportunities.
Use your resources
There are endless LDC online resources. As a creative writer, I have used many websites that have helped to get feedback on my writing. By publishing your own work online you will become more aware about how people read your work, and online feedback will help you to improve your capability as a writer.
Ratemywords allowed me to publish poetry which would get scored and commented on. Scary, right? But this gave me a basis to adapt my skills as a poet depending on what the reaction to my work was.
There are plenty of other websites at your disposal. If there is something that you really love then maybe fanfiction would be an effective means for practicing writing and developing your skills. Archiveofourown has thousands of different fandoms to engage with. It is a brilliant website to refine your skills as a writer and as a critic because it gives you access to unpublished work that will not be available in mainstream publishing.
Nanowrimo is a writing challenge that commences throughout the entirety of November. It will give you practice at sticking to a deadline and writing large amounts of words in a small space of time; all the skills needed for essay writing.
Of course, the introverted world of university is a quieter one but that doesn’t mean interaction with others does not exist. Now, I am sure that we all know deeply about the perils of talking to strangers online. However, if you look past the scare mongering that everyone online must be a criminal, then you could meet someone amazing who could help you grow not only as a writer or literary critic but also as a human being.
The modern world is a place where an introvert never has to be alone. With email and Google Docs now only a touch away there is no reason why you can’t collaborate on a piece of work with someone in another part of the world. And of course there’s nothing stopping you collaborating with someone you know as well.
Another helpful tip would be to proof read other people’s work; simply learning about the pitfalls that other students fall into will enable you to learn from their mistakes and become more critically aware.
Starting a blog is another independent project that can enhance your repertoire. Blogging can take many different forms. Whether a blog on Wordpress or Tumblr would be better, only you will know. Maybe a vlogging channel on YouTube would be a more fitting form? It doesn’t actually matter what format your blog takes as long as you are using it to help advance your own skills and interests.
For instance, I have a writing blog on Tumblr and this has helped me become better known as a creative writer. There are many YouTubers, such as Dan and Phil, who have gone on to have critically acclaimed success simply from starting a blog on the internet. If you are using your time to yourself efficiently then not engaging in the busy world of university will not reflect badly on you.
I am a person who doesn’t feel at ease amongst a crowd of people. The internet is actually a much friendlier place than we are told if used correctly. You should not shy away from the endless possibilities that lay dormant at your fingertips. The future is now. Your future is only a few clicks away.
Abi Watson is a creative writing student. She has had poetry published by Forward Poetry and recently started working for The Tab. She writes fanfiction online that has over 4000 hits. She also runs a blog to help young people and is passionately committed to assisting others.