Braeden Krieger – An Unhandy Man’s Guide to Becoming Handy

Braeden Krieger – Journalism

Project Summary –

When I first married my wife, I quickly found how inept I was at repairing things around our apartment. I struggled to fix even the simplest of issues, and it hurt my pride. In my head, a husband is supposed to not only provide for and protect his family but also keep his household running smoothly. To me, this meant fixing things. I became determined to learn how to become a handyman. After asking lots of questions, watching hours of videos and a lot of practice, I slowly got better at repairing household appliances. I got so good, in fact, that my friends started asking me to fix things for them. While on this journey, I learned a very important lesson—most things are not as complicated as they seem. Even something as intricate as a car is nothing more than a bunch of nuts and bolts when it comes down to it.

While thinking about what I’d do for my senior project this semester, I decided I wanted to share some of my knowledge with other students and husbands that are in the same boat I was not too long ago. I wanted to give them a place to start on their journey, so I wrote a repair guide for apartments and homes. By writing this book, I hoped to gain a better understanding of how to write clear, concise content for a specific audience and how to design page layouts using the industry standard program InDesign.

I wrote step-by-step instructions on how to fix many simple issues around the house. My book explained how to replace a light fixture, fix a hole in the wall and how to install a garbage disposal along with many other repairs.

After I wrote the guide, I spent the next month working with many close friends to improve it. This included revising steps to make them more clear, editing my grammar and even completely changing parts of the book. This was the stage of my project where I met my first goal—to write clear and concise steps that would be easy for my audience to follow. To accomplish this, I had to change a lot of the words and colloquialisms I used so that people without experience repairing things wouldn’t be lost.

Once I was comfortable with the way the guide was written, I focused on getting it typefaced. This would accomplish my second goal. This step was the hardest part of the entire process for me. In the past, I used companies to typeface my books for me, but for this one, I wanted to design the layout all by myself. Prior to this project, I had no experience using InDesign, so everything I learned was completely new. I started by creating various master pages for things like chapter introductions, body pages, the table of contents etc. Each type of page needed to be unique while still fitting an overarching theme. I had to start this step over multiple times before I created a layout I was proud of.

The last step before I published my guide on Amazon was to design the artwork for the cover. For this, I came up with three distinct cover designs using Canva and uploaded them to my Instagram page for my audience to vote on. My pole on Instagram had 83 different responses. I was shocked to see that the majority of them like the design I spent the least amount of time on. Using these opinions and the opinions of my close family, I decided to use my second design as the cover of my book.

By conducting this pole, I learned something very interesting about my audience. While I assumed the simplest design would be the best for capturing potential reader’s eyes, my audience preferred the more complex designs. The audience also seemed to prefer orange to the colder color blue for the cover’s background. It seems to me that in my future photographs and artwork for my articles, I should try to edit them to have a warmer tone and to be slightly more complex than I would normally make them.

While working on this project, I struggled a lot during the early stages. It seemed almost overwhelming, the amount of goals I wanted to accomplish in such a short time. I felt as if there was no way I could finish it all. This feeling only compounded as the first weeks went by. The deadlines inched closer, but my project idled in its early stages. Luckily, I had my wife there to encourage me to press onward, and slowly, the project took shape. This experience taught me a lot about how I’ll have to improve going into my career in Journalism. There will be times that I won’t have any guidance or direction, just a deadline. While that may be daunting for me, I’ll have to have the strength and self-motivation to accomplish my job just like I finished this project.

Link to the Amazon page