Happy Blogiversary to me! A little over ten years ago, on my oldest son’s second birthday, I started a blog. We had recently moved back to Buffalo after living all over the country, and I had that “new mom who wants to talk about her kid all the time” thing going on. Also, CAKE. My first blog lasted nine years, until I decided to let my child navigate preteendom without broadcasting it on the Internet. After brainstorming with my Pennwriters peeps, I went in a new direction.
And Caravan of Composition was born.
It’s been a wild twelve months. In October, my idea for a YA verse novel was accepted, and I spent the fall and early parts of winter writing it. I learned so much about the process and am now learning about branding and publicity. There is a lot more to writing that the writing part. But I love to learn and experience new things and look forward to the road ahead as my book actually enters the world. (SQUEE!)
Part of my focus now is figuring out how to market myself as a writer. How we see ourselves is not always how the world sees us (stay tuned for more on this next month following my high school reunion), and how we WANT the world to see us, well, that’s a whole other thing. During the Pennwriters Conference in May, I attended a special two hour session on branding called, “Who you are and why your readers care”. The instructor found my original blog and labeled me “PROCRASTINATOR” because my tagline was, “A journey of motherhood, procrastination, and cakes”. In case you are wondering about the cake part, I make themed cakes for my sons’ birthdays each year based on their current obsession. The procrastination is still there, for sure, but I am working on overcoming that little devil on my shoulder. (Thank goodness this is not a vlog because there is a huge pile of unsorted papers, post-it notes, loose change, and other crap on my desk right now. I’ll get to it when I get to it. Really.) And of course motherhood will always be a huge part of who I am. But what do I want my readers to know about me? What is my brand?
We filled out questionnaires during the session, all about our personalities, interests, things that make us unique. Nothing really jumped out. Nothing except my name and the fun things I can do to play on it. For example, friends call us the “van clan” and I sometimes refer to my boys as “mini-vans”. Plus, I love traveling, being on the road, and experiencing new places. Figuring things out. I’d like to think my characters have that too — figuring out who they are and what is most important to them. And because the idea of a journey — of the adventure being more important than the destination — is how I like to look at writing. Yes, it’s about seeing my book on the shelf. But it’s also about meeting incredible people along the way, learning new things, and growing as a person and a writer. Ursula LeGuin said it best in her book, The Left Hand of Darkness: “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.”
Enjoy the ride.