Monday, May 12, 2008

The Importance of Creating An Identity

As people we always assume that we have an identity. Our name is who we are but its so much more than that. Anyone who writes can relate to this. Many author’s use a pen name or their initials. That identity is part of us, its another shade of our colors. However, for many people they don’t see that.

With any good thing there are bad points. For example, I’ve written fan fiction for years to go with my own original works. I’ve gotten good, bad, and indifferent reviews. I’ve also gotten a couple that were beyond bad, they were scary. But I didn’t take them personally. Why? Because the person that wrote the story, the identity that created that plot line wasn’t me. Wasn’t who I am in my core. My pen name got the review, the flame, the stripped down to nothing blast of fury from an irate reader. Did it hurt, darn right it did.

That pen name is still a part of me, but I didn’t let it affect me to the point where I gave up everything. I stopped writing in that genre for a month, posted things that I’d finished earlier, but nothing new. My muse had abandoned me. When I started writing again I was extra careful, but then I thought about it. I was able to seperate the event within my head because I was able to seperate my identity from my pen name to my real name.

You’re probably wondering what the point to my rambling is - but I’m getting to it. Regardless of whether you write fan fiction, short stories, poetry or technical columns for instruction manuals - you have to be comfortable within yourself. My original works are under my real name simply because I like the ring to it. However, I’ve had to build an identity around that name for those who don’t know me. To do that I’ve utilized the tools at my disposal with care and consideration.

Tools? What tools? Simple, this weblog is a tool. Blogspot is a tool, bebo, Myspace, chat rooms, forums, groups in yahoo and google. They are all tools. The trick is to spread yourself throughout them without spreading yourself so thin that you neglect some, or just plain forget about them. I try to touch base with each of my chats, forums, and websites at least once a week. Sometimes I can do more than that but that’s the minimum.

If you’re serious about writing, if you’re serious about developing your craft then you have to realize that at some point you’re going to be published. When you are, you have to look at marketing your book. Before all that though, you have to market yourself. To do that successfully and thus make yourself known to both publishers and readers you have to create that all important identity.

It’s not easy in the sense that you can stick something on line and say there you go. You have to be willing to work at it. There is no post today and leave it for six weeks or a year. People forget, time passes, and if you aren’t pro-active then you’re going to lose out. So think about that. It’s better to create one truly great site and promote it than to create a dozen cheap imitations and leave them hanging out there.

I’ve googled my name before and come up with several hits. Some attached to sites that are unrelated to writing, others to publishing houses, it all takes time and patience and a willingness to work your a** off. With that thought I shall leave you. Have a great week and I’ll see you soon.