When I started this whole writing thing about a year ago, I didn't have much of a plan in mind. Truth be told, I still don't. I began writing, and continue to write, with the vaguely stated goal of "writing good stuff" and "hopefully finding people who like to read my stuff." I wanted to start with this blog so that I could practice my Craft and try to generate an Audience, and I wanted to find other outlets that might be willing to let me come over for play-dates.
I'm supremely grateful to all the people who have read this blog - be it religiously or paganly - and am endlessly appreciative of those of you who have followed me to HelloGiggles and The Forecaster. You occupy a special place in my digital heart, and I will write a lengthier homage to you in March when we celebrate the first birthday of What's Left Over.
HelloGiggles and The Forecaster have been wonderful in taking a chance on me. My editors in both venues have been exceedingly generous with their time and advice, as well as patient with me as I try to hike the learning curve I'm so far behind on. (My editor at HelloGiggles had to teach me how to insert an image into my first posts, and my editor at The Forecaster just had to re-explain to me how my deadlines work. I've nominated both for sainthood.)
My naivete about this Brave New World - and the brazenness of my out-of-the-blue pitches to HG and TF - is summed up with the following confession: I thought all I needed to worry about in trying to "become a writer" was to work on being a "good writer." A daunting challenge in and of itself, but at least grounded in the understanding that the task was within my control. The only person I had to worry about in improving my writing was me, the writer. It was like my own little version of the American dream: if I worked hard enough and had the tenacity to stick with it, well then maybe, someday, this dream of mine would take off.
But like Fievel and Arnold Schwarzenegger before me, I've learned that success takes more than hard work and marriage to a Kennedy. As I have tried to expand to other platforms, I've been greeted with the same, gentle head-patting and semi-condescending clucking. The soft "no's" I get in response to pitches has not yet been grounded in my idea or my writing, it's been packaged in the following instruction:
YOU NEED TO WORK ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE.
Now, I'm not saying my ideas are terrific or that my writing is anywhere near perfect. But I'm at the point where I'm almost (almost) wishing I was getting turned down because of those things. Either because I suspect the "social media" line is not a completely honest answer, or because the critique would give me some direction about what I need to work on. Me. The person doing the writing. The person I can sometimes control.
So far, though, the only direction I'm getting is to turn back into the ethers of the Internet and figure out some way to get its attention. Apparently it's not just solid writing that I need to deliver; I need to have a readership dolled up on a silver platter to boot.
Some of the steps I've been told to take are relatively obvious: add some sophistication to the blog, get a Facebook page for the blog, get more followers on Twitter. Others are a bit more head-scratchy. Make your blog community more interactive! Find sponsors! Improve your numbers on Pinterest!
I'm not sure, exactly, how I can force you all to start leaving more comments on my posts. And I'll admit that I'm still thin-skinned enough that the negative comments sting more than stoke my pride that at least I'm generating a conversation. I also don't really think my blog screams out for sponsored posts on the magic that is Tide To Go.
Pinterest, however, is something I know and love. The question is how it relates to this blog. I mostly go to Pinterest to feel badly about my inability to craft, cook and clean. You mostly come to this blog for my snarky take on life. Or because you're related to me and you're obliged to click on my posts by Law.
I also know that I'm lucky enough to have a diverse audience - guys and gals, old and young, Northerners and Southerners. Some of you might hear "follow me on Pinterest" and think "What do I need with some Yankee who's only voted in 4 presidential elections telling me about cupcakes shaped like reindeer?"
So here's what we're going to do.
I'm going to create a Pinterest page as diverse as you. In addition to the typical tips and tricks and tootsie-pop tree houses, I will have "Boards" dedicated to books I recommend and articles on politics/sports/culture that I want to share. My "voice" will be there, in the "Board" titles and descriptions and my summary of the pins.
All you need to do is follow me. It's easy.
Go to my Pinterest page (http://pinterest.com/abbydiaz/) or search for me on the Pinterest home page (Abby Diaz). Then just click on the "Follow" button. And...you're done.
Thanks for this. With your help, I'll be able to pitch The New York Times and tell them they should, indeed, accept my piece on the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment in view of recent Supreme Court precedent because - look! - I have thousands of people reading my Pins about smoothies.
You're the best. Seriously.