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About the Author (Creative Writing Exercise)

The lovely Kelley, writing at a coffee shop

Creative Writing Exercise

Yesterday I talked about the importance of building your platform by building a blog. Actually following through on it is a pretty technical process, though, which doesn’t necessarily appeal to the creative types most drawn to writing. I definitely get that. It also takes a lot of time — time you’d rather be spending working on your stories, if you’re at all serious.

Trust me, I know. And yet I do this every day. Why? Because it’s good for me. Not just that, it’s good for my stories. Every post I publish expands my platform, strengthens my brand, and gets me closer to reaching a real audience with my fiction. That’s not the only benefit, though. I’m also practicing my writing every day, and that includes narrative as well as exposition, it includes deliberate structure and audience analysis and learning how to get (and use) feedback. All the sorts of things a novelist needs to practice.

It also helps me think of myself as a writer who is read. It’s hard to take your book seriously when the only person who’s ever read it is your mom. Starting a quiet little Blogspot site that you share with your best friend and maybe a couple aunts and uncles isn’t going to change that much. Serious blogging, though — the type I talked about yesterday — forces you to change your perspective.

Even early in the process, when your audience is about the same size as that little Blogspot site’s, you’re writing posts that will be available in your Archives a year from now, when you’re world famous and new people are hearing stories about you on the news in Finland, and they drop by your blog to see what they can learn about you.

And you know where they’re going to go first? Your About page. It’s a built-in page for nearly every WordPress blog, and for good reason. Visitors can get to your site from anywhere, and if they like what they see enough to stick around at all, one of the first questions they’re going to ask is, “Wait, who is this person?”

The About page answers that question, and that’s why it almost always ends up being the second most popular page on any WordPress site (right behind the homepage). For companies, it’s a chance to advertise services and provide contact information. For writers, it’s your first chance at the back of a novel.

Maybe building a serious blog sounds like a lot of work, but this part at least should be fun. Write your “About the Author” page. You’ve dreamed of having one for almost as long as you’ve been writing. Put it in words. Have some fun with it. Sell yourself! And when you’re done, you’ve written one of the most important pages you’ll ever have on your blog. That’s a fantastic start.

And share it with us. Of course you should share it with us! Tell us what’s so great about you, just in case we’ve forgotten. It’ll be fun.

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.

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