After taking the blood oath to make writing a priority, I ran to my laptop and purchased my website. It was a huge step, an official declaration to my new endeavor. I officially owned (technically, rented) a piece of the Internet. Cat videos beware, my website was coming and it was going to be great!
And then: nothing.
For weeks I looked at my pathetic “coming soon” page (a stark white background and Times Roman font) with contempt and frustration. If this was to be my official declaration to writing, it was off to a horrible start. I was creatively baffled.
As a former web designer, I’ve created a crap ton (official term) of websites for people and businesses. However; when it came to developing my own website, especially for a first time novelist, I was stuck. What can an unpublished, new writer possibly do with a website?
I narrowed it down to two options:
- Create an author website (author of zero books?!)
- Start a blog (yeah, I could do this)
Without any published work to my name, developing an author site didn’t seem right. On the other hand, a blog site would help establish my name and provide material for others to read and share. So, in early February (2017), I launched my website with the intention of blogging about my novel writing experience.
Then came the hard part(s) of having a website:
- Content (holy shit I need new ideas for posts)
- Voice (and they all kinda have to sound the same)
- Social media (crap, I gotta be all social and stuff)
- Frequency (am I bothering people too much)
And, to add to it all
- Isolation (is anyone even reading this?)
Of course there were going to be obstacles. After all, this wasn’t just writing a bunch of crap on the Internet. This was establishing a presence, breaking into an industry… building a fucking brand. And writers, new or established, are a brand. The things we work so hard to create determines our success, so why shouldn’t we present it in the best way possible?Writers, new or established, are a brand. Click To Tweet
After just four months, I realized my website (and introduction to the writing world) sucked. To be fair, I knew it was going to suck. Its similar to writing a novel; first you just get everything out, then you go back and spit polish until its shiny. So in May, I took my site down and spent time over the summer figuring it all out. I applied everything I had in my website arsenal, and came up with a site that I’m (finally) happy to call mine.
Initially, it seemed ideal just to have a writing website. As if having one automatically provided “writing cred” or (at least) would look good on business cards under the title “Writer”. However, both of those reasons were wrong, especially for a newbie writer. When it came time to update my site, I was fortunate enough to have a background in the field. That may not be the case for others, but it shouldn’t stop you from having a great (author) website or blog.
In my next post, I’ll provide some simple ideas you can use to make the most of your site (without needing a degree in web design).