Writing Effectively

It is important for everyone to know how to write effectively. The best way to write effectively is to be clear and concise. You want your sentences to be short and sweet. It is also effective to use sentence variety and correct emphasization. When you learn how to write effectively, your readers will appreciate it.

Here are some examples of how to write effectively:

Writing with clarity

Poor: They searched for the child on the playground with an injury.

Better: They searched for the injured child on the playground.

Reducing Clutter

Poor: Not any of the many preschooler children knew how to read.

Better: None of the preschoolers knew how to read.

Sentence variety

Poor: Cameron Abbott won first place at the dance competition. The dancer is a student is a dancer at Broken Arrow Dance Academy.

Better: Camron Abbott, from Broken Arrow Dance Academy, won first place at the dance competition.

Sentence Emphasis

Poor: University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Monday that the University of Oklahoma is home to a diverse group of students and faculty.

Better: The University of Oklahoma is home to a diverse group of students and faculty, the university president said.

I hope this gives you a little taste of how to write effectively.

The Magic Of Design

Have you ever seen a poster that immediately grabbed your attention? You probably did not realize this at the time, but everything on that poster was intentionally created to grab your attention by using specific graphic design elements from using cool and warm colors to bold fonts.

There are simple things that creators can do to really connect with their audience. It is amazing how you can change the message of your story by simply changing the alignment, or adjusting the space between letters.

There are four basic principles of graphic design:

  1. Contrast
  2. Repetition
  3. Alignment
  4. Proximity

These four basic principles might seem simple, but the impact that they can have on content is unreal. It can make someone’s work go from boring and unnoticed to enchanting and popular. Every single aspect of design is used for a specific purpose.

You can see these basic graphic design principles all around you from billboards to posters. It is all strategically placed to target a specific audience. You will be surprised at how much you notice these little things after you learn more about the specifics of graphic design. I find myself analyzing every piece of content I look at now to see what the creator is trying to get across to his or her audience.

Here is an example of a sign that I decided to analyze after learning more about graphic design in my Public Relations Publications class. I saw this sign in Gaylord as I was leaving class. You might look at the sign and think it is pretty simple, but that is exactly why it stands out.

This sign perfectly displays all of the design values:

  • Simplicity
  • Minimalism
  • Clarity
  • Unclutteredness

It leads the audience’s eyes directly to the message: “Welcome to Gaylord College,” because of the design values used. It is very simple and minimal, yet it is very clear on its message. There is not a lot going on, which makes it easy and quick to read for the college students quickly entering and leaving the building.

It is so important for content creators to learn the simple, yet effective tricks of graphic design. It is a powerful tool that creators can use to really leave a lasting impact on their audience.

Hi There!

I am Sierra Abbott, but you can just call me Sierra. I am 19-years-old, and I am in the second semester of my sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma. My major is public relations and my minors are Spanish and nonprofit organizational studies.

There are various organizations on campus, and I am lucky enough to be a part of some incredible groups with wholesome people. I am a member of Alpha Phi, Public Relations Student Society of America, Soonerthon Exec, Lindsey + Asp, and I am the Editor-in-Chief for OU’s Odyssey community.

I am luckily enough to have my home where my family is and a home away from home here in Norman. I grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and I still live there. My home away from home in Norman is the beautiful Alpha Phi house where I currently live with over 80 of my sisters.

My biggest motivators are my supportive family members and my incredible friends. I would not be where I am at today without them. They constantly push me to dream big, never give up and to be the best version of myself. I am incredibly thankful for their endless love and support. I hope that I can make them proud in everything I do.

One of the things that I love more than anything is writing. I love writing because it helps me escape reality, pour my heart out, connect to others on a deeper level and hopefully even make a difference. I started writing for fun, but during my freshman year at OU I decided to become a Content Creator for Odyssey and create my own blog. I started out thinking that nobody would care about the things I was writing about, but I was thoroughly surprised when I started getting feedback from people other than my parents.

Another thing that I have a big passion for is public relations. I started my time at OU as a journalism major, but I changed to public relations the second semester of my freshman year. Public relations stood out to me because it encompasses a variety of things I enjoy: writing, meeting new people, social media, and other things. I love that public relations practitioners have the power to really change the paradigm the public has of various companies and organizations.

I am excited that I have the opportunity to grow my skills and learn new skills during my time at OU. I am eager to learn more about the public relations world and network with my incredible colleagues and professors.

If you have any other questions about me, feel free to ask!

More Than What Meets The Eyes

Credit: Savage Media

There is such much more to a story than what meets the eyes.

Take a second to think about your favorite movie. Why is it your favorite movie? Most of you will probably say you love the story line or the way the movie makes you feel.

We go to the movie theater and spend two hours watching the latest film, and then we go back home. Those two hours were spent with various emotions: sadness, anger, love, fear, etc. We all have a type of movie we enjoy because it makes us feel a certain emotion, yet we do not always think about the process it takes to create the storyline and the emotions it makes us feel.

The process is more complex than we think.  It is all about telling a story, but there is a lot of work that goes behind storytelling. Usually, it goes through the process of empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. One might think that following a process is relatively easy, but when it comes to the creative process it is never easy. The process does not necessarily go in a straight line but can jump around and start over and over and over again. There is so much time and energy put into it.

This process can be frustrating and difficult, yet it has the possibility of creating something magical. The design process can be incredibly discouraging, but it can be so worth it when a creator works hard and creates a masterpiece along the way.

As a storyteller who tends to get discouraged when I cannot find the right words for my story, I think that the best advice for other storytellers is from a video on storytelling by Ira Glass. As some encouragement, I will leave you with his words.


One Of OU’s Best Kept Secrets

When I first came to the University of Oklahoma as a senior in high school, I immediately fell in love. Everything about it from the people to the actual surroundings made me feel at home. I knew that OU was where I was meant to be, and I could not wait to come back again.

When I finally made the move to campus my freshman year, it took me a little while to find the perfect place to study and do homework. I have been a Gaylord student since I started college, so I thought Gaylord would be the perfect place to search for that perfect spot.

When I first went into Gaylord during my free time, I decided to explore a little bit to find that perfect place. I ended up finding the balcony, and I knew that it was the spot for me.

The Gaylord balcony is my favorite spot on campus for various reasons. First off, many OU students and even many Gaylord students do not know of this hidden treasure. You would be surprised at how many people look shocked when I tell them where I am at.

I love to sit up there and read a book, write a new blog post, do my homework, or study. There is something soothing about being outside and looking out to see God’s beautiful handiwork around me. You might think that it would be a distracting place, but I love it. I love to hear the sounds of cars driving by, people walking and talking and whatever else is going on.

There is something about being outside and being up above the ground on a balcony that helps me find inspiration. As a public relations major and the Editor-in-Chief for OU’s Odyssey community, I am constantly looking for ways to inspire my team and myself. The world is always changing, yet when I am up on the balcony thinking the world seems to pause. In that moment I can take the time to really think things through and get stuff done. That is a great feeling.

During Oklahoma’s nice weather days, I love to sit out there and enjoy the weather. During Oklahoma’s chilly weather days, I love to put on a lot of layers, grab a warm cup of Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate, maybe even bring a blanket and spend a little bit of time out there doing homework. During Oklahoma’s crazy severe weather days, I will be smart and do all of my work inside Gaylord because we know how bad those nights can get.

The best part is when I am on Gaylord’s balcony during a sunset. It is an incredible sight to watch the Oklahoma sky change colors as the sun sets and the moon comes up. Sometimes I have to take a break from whatever I am doing to just enjoy it.

If you are looking for that perfect spot, I highly recommend that you do some exploring of your own. I might be biased, but you should check out Gaylord’s balcony because it does not disappoint.