I see regular schedules, planned events, a certain flair.
I am not keen on those things (though I admire folks who can pull off a genuine platform). I feel uncomfortable in the spotlight. Hey, I'm a writer! I want to direct all my attention to my characters!
Even when I'm teaching (I teach GIS software classes), I'm happiest when I'm directing questions back to my students and hearing their thoughts and ideas. And that is what I love about blogging. I get to share a little bit of what's going on in my head, I can get your thoughts and ideas and input, there's a wonderful interchange that isn't under any pressure, and I don't have to be in a spotlight.
I don't think of my blog as a platform. I'm not selling anything and I don't have an agenda.
However, I do wish my blog had a little more focus. Things are pretty random here. I haven't even been able to settle on posting on Mondays and Thursdays vs. Tuesdays and Fridays.
This weekend I discovered a wonderful blog called Shrinking Violets Promotions with a tag line "marketing for introverts." The word marketing almost scared me away. The word introverts pulled me back.
Holy Toledo, if you're an introvert, or doth protest too much that you are not but suspect that introversion lurks down deepeth, then you've got to read their Introverts' Bill of Rights. Extroverts must read this too. It will help you understand us, though you will still roll your eyes at us just as much, if not more.
oooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOooooooooo (that's me rolling some virtual eyes at myself)
So after reading the Bill of Rights and feeling like I should start wearing a "I am an introvert and proud of it" badge, I found their Online Persona Workshop. I liked the idea of developing an online persona much more than developing an online platform.
I have a weakness for Wikipedia like I do for chocolate, and ye ol Wiki says this of persona:
In ancient Latin, persona meant "mask." Today it does not usually refer to a literal mask but to the "social masks" all humans supposedly wear.But as I read more about the Shrinking Violet version of persona, it sounded more like the opposite of a social mask. They call an online persona "an internet presence that you are comfortable with, that makes you accessible, and doesn’t feel like shilling." It's about being genuine - not about wearing masks.
Discovering one’s online persona is very much like discovering one’s writing voice; a fascinating and enriching journey inward. It’s more a matter of uncovering and re-connecting with what already exists in the first place. To really be effective at this, you need to wipe away market considerations and popularity considerations and go authentic. Just like the strongest writing voice, the strongest online persona will come from that truly authentic place.OOOhhhh! An analogy relating to voice! I'm sooooooo hooked.
The workshop is a series of ten exercises - I tried the first one "Why do you want to be online?" and I loved the results. So I think what I'm going to do (remember now, this blog has an element of randomness, so no plans are set in stone) is post about each of the ten exercises as I work my way through them. With feedback from you guys. Because I love your feedback. I crave your thoughts and ideas.
And if anyone wants to join me on this developing your persona thing, that's be bonus, like chocolate ice-cream with thick ribbons of fudge kind of bonus.
At the end of it I hope I'll have a little more focus here to tie together all the oxygen-deprived thoughts that come from Writing at High Altitude.
So, why do I want to be online? Not to market myself, that's for darn sure. As I worked through the exercise (which includes making a list of your ten favorite places on the internet and finding if there is anything in common with them), this is what I came up with:
First of all: I want to be online to connect with other people. With writers and readers and magic-bean eaters. I love to ask questions and hear crazy wonderful answers from right field, left field and from the peanut gallery. It expands my little world and inspires my oxygen-deprived brain cells.
Second of all: I love encouraging people. A lot of us are on this bumpy road of creativity that we hope might lead to publication. A road with roller-coaster thrills, abrupt turns, dead-ends, and weird round-abouts. It's a lot easier to navigate this road with help. Other people can provide the expert help. I like to provide the "I'm here with you, keep writing!" help. And the occasional "I discovered this cool thing that helped me, maybe it will help you too." For those of you querying (I'm not there yet) I'm your cheerleader on the side-lines.
More about persona next week. Right now, I'd love to hear your reasons for being on-line. And what are your favorite blogs to follow?
p.s. you've got to check out Janet Johnson's and Vicki Rocho's Brawl & Haul contest! It's a girl-fight and funny and you can win a 10 page crit from agent Sarah LaPolla! Open until April 1st.