Thursday, August 24, 2006

Deciding a path

There was a discussion about websites on a forum I frequent. It was mostly about what links to include where, etc. I'll admit I'm trying to figure out the future of my website. I don't like sites with too many links. And if you put links on, how can you be judicial enough to include the best ones? I have a lot of published (or soon to be published) friends, and as much as I would like to just include links to their sites (writers helping writers, and all that), I'm also faced with the reality that I want my own website to, eventually, appeal to youths. Which means I can't include links to authors of books definitely geared toward adults.

But a very inciteful...err...insightful person mentioned how you can't be all things to all people with your website, and how as a young-adult writer, I should start working on defining my on-line persona.

I've been trying to do that, actually. But the way he put it got me to thinking. He gave the example of Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler. His website plays off of this false identity he created to promote his books. Brilliant, if you ask me. How can you not want to read his books when they start out with a warning telling you not to read it?

Anyhow, I don't plan to create a false identity. I like who I am, frankly. And I'm not really good at being something I'm not.

So, then, who am I? Or rather, who do I want to be? Where will this blog take me? My writing? My website? How do I shape how people will view me as that author?

There are many paths to take, I suppose, and I'm only just beginning to form where it will ultimately lead. One frontrunner is to play up a particular weakness I have. Or weaknesses, perhaps. Because people like to relate to other's weaknesses more than their strengths, I think.

Take, for example, the dichotomy I face with reading. I love reading. I love books. But I'm also a very slow reader. I'm a very hard-to-please reader. Which means, for me to actually finish a book (when it is not in audiobook format) takes either a lot of work on my part, or must be an absolutely tremendous book on the part of the author.

What can I do with that? Well, I think kids need to understand that they are not alone in this. Being a slow reader hasn't hindered my dreams of becoming a writer. Being slow at anything shouldn't hinder their dreams, either.

Well, anyhow, that's the idea. Creating that persona...a persona that appeals to my audience, and yet is still me. So, I have a goal ahead of me. In the next year, other than having a book on its way to publication (I hope!), I also would like to decide on and define the path I will take here. I need to start now.

So, I ask you this. What are the weaknesses from your own life, or the weaknesses your kids see in themselves? What are the areas that they must work at, struggle with, whatever? These should be the place I focus my attentions, and see how I can relate myself to that in any way.


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