It All Falls Apart: Anna’s Transmedia Log

A Collection of Leaves by Anna Smith

A Collection of Leaves by Anna Smith


Anna Smith (@anna_phd) is currently an IES postdoctoral fellow in writing and new learning ecologies at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign. She is fascinated with the learning pathways that people form across their lives. You can find the bulk of her digital writing online at

This is a fail log. This is also a process log. It is a reflection point that is full of possibilities. For almost two months, as I worked with video footage, mosaic pieces, dancers, editing software, books, game platforms, words, etc., I repeatedly failed in composing a transmedia piece (itself called ‘pieces’).

And at each juncture, I tinkered, worked around, asked for help, geeked out, threw up my hands and walked away, and/or decided to have the piece ‘say’ something else. I found that transmedia composition required a new degree of persistence, and that these were some of the textures of that persistence.

Transmedia by Anna Smith

Transmedia by Anna Smith


Anna’s Transmedia Process Log: Reflection in Progress

Reflective Practice / Join the Conversation

An Activity: Make Writing … Digital

Has your vision for a digital piece this month hit some expected and unexpected walls, either due to limitations of technology or some other logistical quagmire? Consider sharing out your reflection on that process and help us learn from each other.

We hope you will share your work across the various Digital Writing Month spaces that you inhabit. That could be right here at the Digital Writing Month blog; at your own blog or writing space; on Twitter with the #DigiWriMo hashtag; in the DigiWriMo Google Plus Community; at the DigiWriMo Facebook page; or wherever you find yourself writing digitally.


6 thoughts on “It All Falls Apart: Anna’s Transmedia Log

  1. My gratitude for this question about hitting walls in this round of #digiwrimo is huge. Based on the date, Digital Writing Month is nearly at its end. I know that I started the month full of energy and enthusiasm for experimentation. In the last 10 days it feels like I fell off the wagon, got sidetracked or just lost the thread. That feeling of not being able to keep up crept in and my participation became sparse.
    I hit my wall in considering steps in the direction of fiction and of doing some of the things that you have done – mixing & blending various media. Instead I got busy with other stuff (you know, work and home) and let my ambition slide. And that felt like a kind of creative wall – a point at which I sort of ran out of steam. And I was wondering where to put these thoughts. Where can I share my gratitude with my #digiwrimo friends for creating such a rich and compelling community? Where can I say how much admiration and inspiration I feel for so much of the work I have been able to take in this month, for the numerous invitations to join, create and respond which I have actively accepted? Where can I offer that big shout out to Maha, Kevin and Sarah for hosting and moderating an absolutely fantastic digital experience that will influence me far beyond the 30 days of this November?
    This is the place and your question provided the very prompt that I needed to say, yes I encountered some walls and what an excellent way to discover them! Thank you for sharing the hiccups in your process. It provides us all with a healthy reminder that there will be roadblocks and perfection is overrated. #digiwrimo is more than a number of days, more than a collection of interested and interesting people, more than the numerous artifacts which were created under its auspices. For me, #digiwrimo has become a frame of mind that I want to hold onto: a reminder to dare to experiment and contribute to communities of play and experimentation, digital and otherwise.

    • I think we all hit walls, all the time. One of the challenges of this month is the realization … A month is not enough to do what we want to be doing. So, think of it like this: we collected and curated resources during November (and still have curation from past year’s folks) and we should all remember and be invited to return here, and take on ideas at your own pace. We know this last week had the potential to be overwhelming as we threaded pieces together … that is sort of the point (in a kind way) as that’s how we can learn by doing and with inquiry … dip in, experiment, dip out, reflect, dip in, create, reflect …
      I’m glad Anna had the courage to reflect in this way, too. The view of final products is all but an illusion to the real process work … as anyone who has ever written anything, in any medium, knows very well.
      Peace and thanks.

    • I also truly appreciate this as our last guest contribution – highlighting the process behind the product. And I really appreciate your comment, Sherri, because reflecting back on my experience co-facilitating this, we have been doing so much behind-the-scenes stuff it has been so difficult to keep up with what’s on the front end!

      A (writing) prof at my univ today invited me to talk to her students about DigiWriMo and I just now realized a lot of their questions were “how” questions. They would see something like the Google map for Storyjumpers and ask “how can I create a Google map with pins?” and more importantly, “how did this collaboration come about and work out?” and “how can it be done differently?”. I am grateful for all the working aloud and narration of our work that has happened this month.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us Anna – this is possibly one of the most important messages from this month. All too often we only see the end products of labours – we don’t acknowledge all of the false starts, tech fails and other gotchas that impede our progress.

  3. I loved the original piece (or ‘Pieces’…!) but this exposure on the process and your narration of different parts via the vialogue conversation and your diary log is absolutely fascinating – pored over it and couldn’t look away. One of the best digiwrimo posts this month – and that is really saying something!
    I don’t consider your ‘fail log’ a diary of fails at all – just a perfect demonstration of the ups, downs, experimentations and workarounds that are inherent in the creative process. And in fact, a lot of the time it’s when things don’t go as planned that the most interesting creations and learning emerge. I sometimes feel discouraged when I get distracted or don’t end up doing things as originally intended. But…it’s all part of the process. Everything we do, we do within a unique context, which impacts on what, how, why and if we do. Just go with the flow, and don’t ever be too hard on yourself. It’s all part of the process – a work in progress.

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