04 November 2014

Writer or Me Monster: Why the About Page is Important to Readers

Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn't have the courage to say "yes" to life?
~ Paulo Coelho

November 1 marked the beginning of that madcap dash into the world of words and word counts: National Novel Writing Month – affectionately known as NaNo.  I didn’t sign up this year, but throughout the month of November, I’ll be highlighting authors, their books, and the writing process.

ay be a day (or more) and a dollar short, but I’ve joined Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blogging Challenge.

Being the daydreaming writer that I am *cough* procrastinating *cough*, I find that I need to sign up for at least two to four writing challenges a year.  Deadlines combined with being part of a group of writers forces me to write a substantial word count every day.

At least every day of the challenge.

A couple of weeks ago I got together with a fellow writer and blogger to talk a bit about the challenge and do some free-writing on the dreaded Day One topic (cue Darth Vader theme):

Writing the About Me Page.

Relationship not Narcissism
Contrary to most people’s first impressions (usually garnered at a social event where I’m being, well, social!), I am a very private person.  I guard my boundaries like Cerebus guards Hades’ lair.

Minus the hellacious breath and acid drool.

Cerebus and Hades, 6th century
Yes, I have a blog.  Yes, I write about some personal things sometimes.  I also write under a nom de plume.  This is mainly to protect my Styx-like privacy.  

It is also so some well-meaning (or smug and purposefully hateful) friend of the family (aka pot-stirrer) happens upon my blog and informs my mother, “I didn’t know you were certifiably nuts!  This explains so much!”

Ahh, the perils of memoirists. 

In addition, some people might associate my ability to talk the leg off a brass chamber pot (I’m so getting one of those after Kodiak), to a narcissistic addiction to talking about myself.  

When they spend one on one time with me, they find that I actually don’t like to talk about myself.  This goes hand in hand with my Cerebus-guarded Styx-like privacy.  And it becomes painfully obvious when you see my About page ~ it's sad.

Like, puppy-hit-by-a car sad.

A great About Me Page should invite you in, give you a better idea of who I am both as a writer and as a person ~ because who wants to read the scribblings of a faceless person with the personality of a blank canvas stuck in your grandparents attic? 

Okay, maybe that's going too far, but you get the picture.  

What and Why I Write
Another thing the About Me page should do, is tell you about the blog itself, what I write about, and why.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pounding the keys, ripping out my heart, and sharing it with y’all for almost ten years (La Belle’s ninth birthday was on Halloween in fact) and throughout this wild , crazy, colourful, and literary ride, I’ve been asked: “So what is your blog about?”  My usual response?

Cue zombie impression.  Uh – art?  Um - food?  I really like people and…I dunno.  I just write. 

So I looked though old posts, made a list, and realized that if I flesh out those answers, I get that I like to talk and write about is art and hospitality and writing and mental health.

Wait just a minute….that sounds like it might be what this blog is actually about!

Aha!  So those four things I mentioned above?  Those are what bloggers call categories and they serve as the bones of the blog.  The blog posts make up the skin and blood and organs and brain.   The heart is made up of you, my readers.  What about the soul?

Most writers ~ especially fiction writers ~ will tell you that once they begin writing, the book takes on a life of its own.  Sometimes the characters won’t grow or act like you want them to ~ they become almost sentient.

A blog is no different.  Mine most definitely has a soul, a personality.  And it just so happens to mirror mine. As E(I)NFPs place a high priority and value on relationships, so does my blog.  Whether the topic has to do with art, writing, hospitality, or mental health, the theme of relationships is interwoven throughout.  Sometimes it’s more subtle than others, but it’s always there.

And in that case, I’m not quite sure where this particular relationship is going.  But I know where I’d like it to head.  But more about that in my About Page.

Which you can read as soon as I write it.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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