When I came up with my plan for The Stories You Don’t Hear, I figured that I’d use my brain’s obsession with latching onto particular things to good use. The idea was that I’d write about stories and ideas that I really cared about, particularly things that don’t usually come to light. The plan I had in mind was for my project to become more of a research/investigative journalism type of blog, in which I could relate these stories to people while still projecting my own voice. The plan was for three 1,000+ word posts a week, which could be about anything I wanted them to be. There was no overarching theme, besides that they were topics I was interested in. There was an emphasis in research-based writing, since it was something that I didn’t really have much experience in, but had always wanted to try out for myself.
It didn’t take long (just a matter of days, really) to realize that I may have bitten off more than I could chew. While initially I had some story ideas that I was excited to write about, such as my initial post about the US Men’s Curling Team, and The Meteoric Rise and (Possible) Fall of Logan Paul, those quickly dried up and I struggled to find inspiration (one can only write so many posts about Logan Paul). This often would result in my weekly quota getting pushed towards the back of the week, specifically in what I would come to lovingly refer to as “Marathon Sunday.” Because of this, the quality of my posting may have suffered, and it definitely seems like I would have benefited by providing myself with some kind of theme to not only tie things together, but also to give me ideas for something to write about. It often seems that when everything is a possibility, that somehow nothing becomes the reality.
Yet still, this reality in turn brought about a lot of variety to the project as a whole. While there were some recurring themes, for the most part every single post was completely different from those around it. What this ended up doing was making my project rather non-cohesive, aside from the fact that it brought to light many different aspects and interests of myself and allowed me to put them out there for other people to see.
When I wrote more news-based posts, such as The Conor McGregor Conundrum, written shortly after the infamous dolly incident, or Taking the Tennis of out Tennys, research was widely available to me and I could pick and choose whatever small nuances I found in heaps of articles. What I tried to do with posts like these was not just to regurgitate the stories that other people had already written (the project was called “The Stories You Don’t Hear” for a reason). I wanted to really transform the story to a different context, whether it was my personal feeling about the story, or what the larger picture was. This was challenging, but rewarding once all was said and done. Not only did these make me a better writer, but they also challenged me to think critically and see the whole story.
Other posts, such as Bathroom Graffiti at BSU: A Study and Assholes: A Self-Help Guide fit a different mold. While they were still based in research, it was a different kind of research that fit more in with the mold of personal experience. Therefore, in these posts, links weren’t really things that I could provide as much, and the reader was kind of just forced to go with it. It’s worth being said that both these posts were largely satirical, which goes along with that, but the purpose of both posts was larger than just to make people chuckle. In these posts, the goal was to take something rather vulgar and childish, yet sill make it hold a larger point, using humor to get that point across. These posts were quite enjoyable to write, but challenging in their own way, since I couldn’t rely on articles and outside sources to base my writing in.
In general, as the project went on, the writing did get easier, even if coming up with ideas did not. While I still wouldn’t consider myself perfect by any means, I feel like I did grow as a writer as a result of this project, particularly since I was trying out a form that I was completely unfamiliar with. Having a multitude of topics enabled me to use a multitude of styles to cover them, from a more scholarly tone, to a conversational one, to a humorous one, though I tried to always make sure I was staying true to my own voice throughout the entire blog.
How It Ended
As I finished up last week with yet another marathon writing session on Sunday, I can’t say I wasn’t relieved to be done with the project. Yet still, I do miss it in a way (in a similar way into which you go back into a toxic relationship). To put it in perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of the posts. That was never the issue. What I didn’t enjoy was the stress of constantly having to find a new topic and then stretch it out to over a thousand words even if I couldn’t think of anything more to say on the topic. In general, I think the word count was the largest source of stress for me, since it limited topics that wouldn’t allow for longer, extended posts. I ended with my final Logan Paul post not because I necessarily wanted to write about him again, but because I felt obligated to, to end where I began.
When I look at the project as a whole, I can say with confidence that it didn’t really go exactly how I thought it would. Yet at the same time, I’m pleased with the overall chaos that it became. Looking at posts that vary from ragging on Wyoming to condemning the word utilize to literary analysis of poetry actually seem to sum up the title that I gave my project in the first place: the stories you don’t hear.
I sincerely hope that ye hallowed few who ventured onto this blog during the project at least found some of what I had to say interesting. I’d like to thank those who took the time to like and comment on anything I wrote, since it made me feel like someone out there found at least some enjoyment out of my work. More than anything, I hope that people learned things from the topics discussed, since that was the major purpose of what I did: to bring light to subjects that often find themselves hidden in the shadows. I’d like to keep this blog going on at least a weekly to bi-weekly basis in which I won’t have to put so much pressure on myself. I think we’ll start with a post under 1,000 words about the furthest possible thing to Logan Paul that I can find.
As for myself, I learned a lot just from researching the stories that I wrote about. Writing about my own interests seemed to provide reasoning as to why I became interested in these things to begin with, which was an interesting experience to have. I learned a lot about how much research goes into making long, well-educated posts. While mine mostly just skimmed the surface of that territory, I now understand why novels can take years just to research. I also now understand the large difference between research and good research. These are valuable lessons to take forward with me in many facets of life.
But most importantly, I learned that an overuse of parenthesis is something you can translate into any medium of writing (the end).