Authors are expected to have an online presence—when an editor or an agent types your name into a search engine, stuff has to come up. Not only do authors need a website, but they need a twitter account and a Facebook page. They need to be Linked-In and have a Pinterest. They must Blog and post photos on Instagram. And then there’s Google+, Tumblr and whatever else has sprouted up since I started writing this post. To sum it up in one word, an author is expected to have a platform.
Thankfully, I am not an author yet. I am a writer, and can keep things simple. I don’t have to have a website, but I want one. When I’m feeling discouraged, struggling with getting words down or dealing with the latest rejection, I want to be able to go to my website and tell myself, “You are a real writer. The internet says so.”
Once I decided to have a website, the simple part ended. Design, content, colors, name—what is my name? At fifty-years-old that shouldn’t be a dilemma, and it wasn’t. My identity is firmly established as Laura Rink. And that’s what I wanted my domain name to be: laurarink.com, with no middle initial, no numbers, no creative configurations. When I realized what I wanted, I started to panic—what if my own name wasn’t available? Flush with adrenaline, I went to a domain site and searched for my name, and there it was! I rushed to the top of the stairs, raising my arms triumphantly above my head and shouted to my husband, “It’s available, it’s available.” And he’s thinking I scored a cheap flight to Hawaii. Once I explained myself, he’s happy for me but not as happy as I am for me. I cling to my writing victories no matter how minor or how thin the connection to the writing itself.
After securing my cherished domain name, I did not work feverishly on my content. I was feverishly WhaMemWriMo-ing, (Google it, without the –ing) which I’ll cover in another blog (I Write Memoir!). I did peruse my writer friends’ websites and my favorite authors’ websites (some overlap there) trying to get a sense of what my site should look like. Lots of choices—too many.
Fortunately, my husband is a skilled graphic designer and consummate to-do list completer. His prodding for my content, so he could finish the design, sped up my own snail-paced process, and here we are—a finished website. Ta-da! (My arms are raised triumphantly above my head.)