Friday, December 5, 2008

The Writing Life-Cycle

As a new author still awaiting publication, I've been thinking about my own writing experience and what becoming a writer has meant for me over the last few years. I must admit seeing all the work my fellow authors and illustrators are doing has been an eye-opener.

In the beginning, my thinking was if only I could get a rhyme published in a children's magazine, I will have arrived. The first time that happened, I was excited, both about publication and about the small check that came in the mail. Looking back on that experience and each one after that, there was still excitement but I realized there must certainly be more to do and much more aspire to. The magazine credits were only stepping stones to getting a book published. Along the way, the submissions and rejections were growing pains.

After five years of trying, one of my rhymes struck a resonant chord with the publisher at Guardian Angel Publishing, a small publishing house in St. Louis, MO. OK, I thought, just shoot me now. I have arrived at last. But after the initial euphoria, I realized most of the work was still ahead of me. I mean, I didn't even have a web site up. So, I struggled, fortunately with lots of help from a good friend who knows his way around the cyber world, and finally checked that off my list of things to do. You can check out my web site at http://www.billkirkwrites.com.

Thinking I would be overrun with visitors to my site, I was amazed that the world wasn't beating down my door. Granted, my web site hasn't been up very long. But what’s up with almost no visitors? Well, I soon figured out that most of the relatively few hits on my site, particularly during the first couple weeks, were ME. The giant lump in the boa constrictor was my checking and tweaking and checking and tweaking to get the site fixed like I wanted it to look.

Then the whole blog thing popped up on the horizon. Intellectually, I understand the term "blog" evolved from "web log" which started as kind of an on-line journaling thing. Beyond that, I still don't quite get it. However, I can see the advantages of having a blog as a means to an end. So, by golly, I got me one of those, too.

For each step along the way, I thought, this is it. Magazine credits, book contracts, web sites, blogs. Then a friend pinched me awake by explaining if I am not doing anything with my blog, it might as well be parked in a storage shed.

So, I burned my feeds, pinged my blog and, be still my heart, I signed up for Facebook. I'm even beginning to get into adding blog entries from time to time. Whether anyone will read them is another thing but at least the blog is out there—if you are reading this, thank you and come back again.

Yet after all this, somehow, I had the feeling there was still more to be done. Having a book, a web site, a blog and all the rest is still not enough. Each piece on its own, although good, is insufficient unless it is leveraged. I'm still not quite sure how to do that very well. But I can see it is something that needs to and can be done.

Your turn.

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