Before I launch into the website discussion, can someone tell me why when I search for "meditation music" on youtube "Underground LSD Palace" comes up as one of my options? Which features a blonde chick in some kind of leather bra? This is not the kind of serenity I had in mind so I clicked on "Chinese Bamboo Flute" instead. Serene though it is with it's flutiness and birds a'chirping, I still see a picture of a woman in a leather bra in my mind and I imagine her telling me to relax using words I don't say like "chillax."
I was looking for soothing music because my website shopping has made me a bit frantic. There are just too many options. I become like one of those lost-looking customers who go into Starbucks and are overwhelmed by the menu.
"I - I just want coffee," they say, knowing that somewhere in that confusing jumble of words like "grande" and "caramel macchiato" is the thing that they want.
I look at other writer's websites and I ask myself questions. How do I want mine to look? I don't know. What kinds of things do I want for readers to click on? I don't know, how about everything? Just let them click on everything. Let them do searches for Underground LSD Palaces if that's what they need. Do I want a picture of myself on it? All of these other writer websites have pictures of themselves. Goddamn it, I don't like pictures of myself. My Facebook profile picture is one of Dorothy Parker sitting in front of a type writer, I can't use that in a site where I'm promoting myself. I am not a famous dead woman. Not yet, anyway.
"Well, Gen, what DO you want?" I think to myself.
"Um...a grande caramel macchiato?"
My inner voice sighs deeply. She does that a lot. "What do you want on your website?"
"Do I HAVE to have a website?"
"To be a professional writer? Yes. Everything you read about the business side of things says you need one, every writer that you like has one, and you know this because you, as a reader, have looked them up because you wanted to see what they're working on. It's what readers with computers do."
"Ok, ok. I know. Oh! Here's what I want. I want it to have a cool picture. And I want music on it and updates about concerts because I want it to be very rock n' roll, and I want it to maybe have bread recipes because I think my readers might like that. And I want there to be surfers and links to pictures of puppies."
"Don't you think it might be a good idea to feature your writing?"
"Well...that might be a little showy, wouldn't it? Like I'm bragging, like here's all my writing and I want you to read it?"
"But you DO want them to read it! That's why you're building the site!"
"Yes, but I don't want to make someone do anything they don't want to do. If they don't want to read my stuff they don't have to bother, really, it's ok. In fact, I'll read their stuff. Yes! Yes, I'll have a place on my site where people can submit their writing and-"
"Your website is going to be about YOU! People aren't going to go there because they feel like they have to. There are a hundred million writers in the world, and you are struggling to be noticed. You have to take this seriously if you want to be popular before you're dead."
I consider this. "I always did want to be popular."
"There ya go. Now - you should have a bio, contact information, a list of your books, which is only one at the moment but that's ok, and a link to your blog, and your writer Facebook page."
"Can I do a link that says 'gay stuff' and 'not so gay stuff?'"
"Yeah, you do have some gay stories out there, don't you? Yeah, that's fine."
"Can I have a Panic! At The Disco video on it?"
"HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO ME?!"
"Yes! It's just that those things are so boring. It's just like a list of information. There's no car chases or songs that I dance to or firecrackers."
My inner voice sighs again and starts rubbing her forehead. She would take a break from me, but she lives inside of my head and there's no place for her to go.
"Gen, focus and do what I say," she says.
"Alright, fine, chillax."
"What did you say?"
"I said that Liz Braswell's website is pretty cool. Though the print is kind of small, and I don't want my readers to strain their eyes. Of course, that could just be my old eyes."
"Oh thank goodness! You're looking. You might actually have a following in your lifetime."
Which is the goal. So I will keep looking and decide what I want some time this weekend because my deadline for this is coming up soon. The barista is tapping her foot waiting for me to make a decision and I can't keep agonizing over the menu.
And so I have come to the end of this post and as promised in my last post, I believe I have incriminated myself five times. I said that I have gay writings, I admitted that I'm a Panic! At the Disco fan, that I sometimes use the word "chillax," that I talk to myself, and...let me scroll through and see if there's another...there isn't one so I have to add one now. What can I tell you about me that's incriminating?
Oh! I know one. This morning I danced around my kitchen like the girls in this video. I'm thinking that might be my author's photo for the website.