What did I do over summer vacation? I created a website! Not for the school or the library or a friend, but a totally self-indulgent website for me, about me, and by me. I created it using Weebly, and even exceeded the amount of free space allotted and forked out the bucks to pay for a starter plan! Why, you may ask, did I want to spend my free days of summer laboring over such a narcissistic task? Well, in addition to the many other hats I wear – mother, wife, sister, auntie, friend, teacher, librarian, I like to consider myself a writer. I want to consider myself a writer? I dare to consider myself a writer! By my own definition, used to encourage thousands of student writers over the course of my teaching career, I certainly am a writer. If you write, you’re a writer. Right? But those demons that lurk just beneath the surface of any self-deprecating writer will always question . . .
So, to prove my commitment to my writing and to my identity as a writer, to myself as much as anyone else, I decided to create a virtual space where my writing could live. This required accessing print copies of articles and poems published over the past decade and a half from my dusty portfolio and soliciting my tech savvy hubby to digitize them for me. I requested this labor of love as my Christmas gift. He also got me a groovy new tablet. Guess which gift I love more? Then I just needed the time – time so preciously given to us in the education profession each summer – to design a website and curate my virtual portfolio there. It was at times challenging. I learned new things. I was able to traipse down memory lane as I recalled the people and periods of my life when I wrote different pieces. It was fun!
Now it is scary. Even though I have absolute control over making changes - the website is of my own making - hitting the publish button freaks me out. What if people see it, hate it, mock me? What if, upon entering the digital world, I discover what it means to be “trolled”? I already learned from the helpful customer service advocate at Weebly why it is worth paying to keep your domain information private! While creating the website, I adhered to advice given by our wise Uncle Ramon: “Tend to your own legend, because nobody else will.” On the other hand, the only actual physical fight I ever had was with a neighbor who declared: “That Ronni Daley thinks she’s so cool.” She nearly broke my nose. What if I’m knocked down a peg or two for such flagrant self-promotion? Or, what if nobody sees it? What if nobody cares?
And it is not done. The most important reason for creating this online world for my writing was to motivate me to continue working. With my work in the cloud and more easily accessible, it can become my writing workshop. Just like “a room of one’s own,” I have created a space where I can experiment and play. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) inspired me to try my hand at writing novels for three Novembers running. Right now they are each the kind of rough-drafts one might imagine being produced by a tired teacher librarian cranking out a word count at the end of long, November days. I’d like to work on them, and with the goal of publishing chapters as I make them readable to an audience, I plan to do just that. Perhaps I will even dare solicit feedback from kind and gentle early readers. I have created a Contact page for just this purpose. By proclaiming myself a writer to the World Wide Web, I am applying upon myself the pressure to tend to the least requirement of such a title -- and write.