My website, the graveyard

I’ve been in the midst of a website reboot for some time now. I hate this whole idea of “branding for the sake of branding” so I’m choosing to think that my situation is wholly different than the next person. There’s definitely a need to differentiate one’s self, but my time is often too limited to give my webpage much thought. I have a blog, I write in it often, and I keep myself updated on all the things I need to be doing. However, I found myself truly convicted by the drabness of my website earlier this week. Several times over, actually. And that was no fun whatsoever.

To paint a picture – one of the perks of my part-time job is the events. Alpha, my employer, had one this weekend that hosted 1,400 people here in Cleveland. It was excellent. A sold out crowd came to see Fernando Ortega perform at Grace Church. I even got to hang a bit with the performer, Fernando himself, so that was cool. But in addition to all that, I made contact with several people I’ve never met before. And we had conversations about life outside of my part-time / not-so-part-time work with Alpha. That means, having a conversation about my writing life. Which then leads to that pinnacle question nearly every blogger / writer is dying to be asked: “What’s your website address and how do I read some of your stuff?” I was shocked how many times this came up, but I was disappointed with how many times I backpedaled on myself, immediately thinking of ways to defend the visual mediocrity of my webpage.

Ugh.

So that’s what brings me here. I took a long look at my blog earlier today and I’ve come to the conclusion that it needs a bit of a makeover. When and how I’ll do this, I’m sorting through, but I understand the need for an artistic upgrade. Killing off the drab gray could be a start, perhaps? Or maybe some pictures or new categories? I’m learning much in this realm of social media but I’m grateful to have accumulated what I already have to this point. What is clear to me, though, is the requirement of a better presentation. As much as I believe the writer’s content as his greatest contribution, there is something to be said for a sexy-looking homepage. One that’s devoid of the “usual” aesthetics, but still pleasing on the eyes.

I’m not worried though. There are plenty of stokes in the fire on that front so it’s exciting more so than it is intimidating.

More to come on that later.

So…what’s next?

I’ve been fired up since I finished Spirit Run. Not because I’m really angry or because I’m disappointed with the story – no, not at all. I’m fired up for a plethora of other reasons. I’m experiencing some new activity in this writing gig and it’s a tad overwhelming. How so? And what does that look like? Well, thanks for asking….

There’s a realization I’m having and it’s about as good as it is bad. Over the past year, I’ve been amazingly fortunate to be a member of a local writer’s group – one that shares, critiques, and encourages one another’s work. That has been remarkably life-giving. For example, remember when you found yourself surrounded by people who spoke the same “language” as you? You could share, in a group, the same kinds of thoughts and aspirations that this other group of people had? That’s a great feeling.

So…that was good – wait, amazing.

But that was only the first step into a much larger universe. Once you get to a place where others share a similar vision, you will eventually find yourself limited by your own resources. In other words, the affirmation you needed has worn off and the need for more third-party support becomes increasingly relevant. You need a team of other highly skilled, highly proficient individuals who can further maximize the bigger vision. I wrote about having skill sets I wish I had a couple weeks ago. Well, that post is having extreme truth in my life. And it’s happening now.

As such, I’ve been trying to accumulate a team of the following individuals:
– Editors
– Illustrators
– Social Media Experts
– My fiance’ (which has already been established as part of the team but incredibly crucial all the same)

I’m still doing the agent search thing, but I’m not sitting on my butt, waiting around either. I’ve decided to take a little more initiative and put some feelers out to even more media realms. And the responses have been very good. The more knowledge I can assimilate, the better. And knowledge is what I need if I’m going to be anywhere near effective in this fast-paced, fast-moving environment. How do you create good techniques for editing and not create bad ones? What is proper pricing for digital imaging? What’s not proper? And so on and so forth. It will be an ongoing process, I’m sure; one that will not happen overnight. A reality that my generation has a hard time believing is true. And unfortunately, I have a hard time reminding myself of daily.

So…here’s to the next “I don’t know” turning into “I understand now.” Here’s hoping I can get there sooner than later.