Hi readers and welcome back to another end up unit wrap up post. You are probably pretty confused by the title, which is understandable. When I say I learned to “manipulate” what I actually mean is learning the art of persuasive writing. Our driving question was, “how can I use my voice to effect change?” and to complete the project each student had to create a text capable of actually persuading a chosen target. Luckily for us the topic, audience, and text style was completely up to us. We got to make the decisions for our own pieces, with the exception of no essays and no verbal debates.

We all created our own Writing Records where we would do a bunch of different writing activities either to brainstorm or to narrow down thoughts. From my initial brainstorm of topics I cared about there were two very obvious choices that I was most passionate about. These topics were my views on sexism in our current society and of sports, specifically Formula 1, as it is a big love of mine. I instantly made connections between the two as being a female sports fan can often lead to a lot of stereotypes, generalizations, and other frustrating comments that a male counterpart doesn’t face. One of the biggest negative comments will be how we do not even care about the sport and instead just care about how attractive the players (and drivers) are. To be fair why wouldn’t be like their looks as an added bonus, just look at how pretty Charles Leclerc is. I became so engrossed in this idea that I focused in all my brainstorming around it, including making an empathy map of a target that holds opposing views to me on female sports fans.

While being passionate about my idea from the very start seems like a good thing, it turned out to be one of the main reasons why my final product was a slight miss or F.A.I.L. I took this idea and then when I gave my pitch to Ms Willemse she explained I had to pick a specific target and make an actual change of opinion. I searched for people I knew who would fit into this box and ended up choosing my brother, especially as I felt more comfortable using a slightly uncomfortable subject on someone as close as him. Since it was my brother I chose to be very secretive when interviewing him and didn’t really gather enough information as I just spoke vaguely about the subject over a FaceTime call.

Initial Topic Pitch

In the end I wrote a few paragraphs over text message to him ranting about a tweet I found of someone generalizing and criticizing all female F1 fans. This was a unique style and definitely a creative way to take this project however, turns out my investigation of my audience was not done well enough and I basically tried to convince him of an idea he already agreed with. I sent all the text messages for him to then respond that he agreed with all my points and that the only times he ever makes any sort of sexist statement it is just a joke to me as his sister to wind me up. Below are the screenshots of my initial text being sent to my brother and the conversation that followed. Please keep in mind I purposely used incorrect grammar as had I sent texts in full proper grammar my brother would have been super suspicious.

Many people would look at my situation and see it as a total bust but I see it as a big learning experience. From doing this I know that it is so important to have a clear and concise argument that you are persuading. So often when I was writing I was trying to bring up too many points and it ended up being a wider argument than a deep one. In the future I will definitely make sure to create a point by point outline and know exactly what I will be writing so I can do it in a way that has more quality than quantity. Also in another project like this, or anytime I had to change someone’s mind I would guarantee that my goal is measurable and possible for my target. If I had started by just interviewing my brother on things that he likes or doesn’t like I could have found something to make an argument around and then give him a specific ask and goal for him to do and make that change.

Feedback from my brother about my writing

In this project we were told to write about things we are passionate about and for me so often the things I care about most deeply are issues or massive scale problems. There is no way I can possibly make a change on a worldwide systemic issue, but since I got so stuck to that idea I had a hard time adapting it to making an actual change. I think it is important for me to practice this skill of setting attainable goals of persuasive pieces and making sure to not go too large scale with an idea.

Overall I did enjoy this project and feel as though I learned more through “FAILing” than if I would’ve just sent the texts to my brother and received a “yep I’m convinced” response. There is a lot I can learn from this experience to take forward into my future. There is also a lot I can celebrate within my work. My writing record has lots of creative ideas and critical connections; I had very strong brainstorms and my ideas were very strong. My final piece of writing, while maybe not being for the right target, was a good piece of work too. There is a few changes I would make after receiving critique from my brother but for the most part it used persuasive techniques and had a good tone and flow. I think I should very strong creative and even critical thinking but could definitely focus more on communication in the future and knowing exactly what I was supposed to be writing, and exactly what my audience believed and thought.