On September 25th this year, Twitter sent me an email I wasn’t expecting. “Happy Twitterversary!” it said. “You just turned 3!”
The cake icon with candles was a nice touch. (Had it been a REAL cake that I could have munched on – that would have been better.) All the same, the “Twitterversary” reminder got me thinking…
I’ve been at this for three years. Not just Twitter, mind you – my blog also turned 3 on September 25th. It’s a double anniversary that is at the heart of why I have this blog, and why that blog has such a bizarre name.
Whose life goal is to be anonymous, anyway? Especially someone on social media, with a blog, who is trying to get published?
The Identity Shift
Back 2011, I did something that had taken me FAR too long to do. I stopped calling myself an “aspiring writer,” and started calling myself a Writer. I stopped referring to my creative works as “my story” and began calling it my Manuscript.
In other words, I stopped dreaming about moving forward with my novel ideas, and started taking my novel seriously.
Once I started treating my manuscripts as a life passion, I spent more time researching what I needed to get published. I quickly realized that the Dickensian idea of scribbling away in a garrett and sending off a stack of paper to a publisher somewhere was long, long gone. The Digital Age had shifted the publishing landscape profoundly, and I needed to know that new geography.
After a couple weeks of reading blogs and visiting the websites of authors, agents, and editors, several things became clear:
I needed a resume as a writer.
It needed to be crisp and ready, when I queried my first novel.
It wasn’t going to make itself.
It wasn’t going to happen overnight.
Building a Writer’s Resume
After a lot (and I mean a LOT) of research, two realities emerged from all the disparate advice I saw: In the current Digital Age of publishing, it is highly advisable(*):
A writer ought to….
(a) have a social media presence,
and (b) as part of their online presence, they should have a blog.
I read from several agents who said that one of the first things they do when a “manuscript of interest” lands in their inbox, is look to see if the writer has an online presence. Are they blogging? Are they connecting with readers, or at least with other writers? Are they taking the time to forge an online community that could potentially translate into a readership base?
As someone with multiple jobs, I wasn’t sure about spending more time online. But I wanted that resume. I wanted a body of online work already built up before I made that first query.
So I sifted my choices, and made my decision:
I deleted my Facebook account (though I added it back a year later).
I joined Twitter.
I started a blog.
Of course, that brings us back around to the original question of why I named my blog Anonymous Legacy. How could I value anonymity if my goal was to get published?
When Facebook still displayed such curiosities on users’ home pages, my “about” statement read as follows: My dream is to die anonymous and leave behind a legacy of students who change the world.
As an educator, that is still my dream, because I know my most lasting legacy will ultimately unfold in my students. I also know that any dream or legacy a person cherishes is rooted in anonymous work and dedication.
In terms of my writing, I am still anonymous, and will be until that long-hoped-for debut novel is made available to a wider readership. Hopefully that will be sooner than later; but until then, this is where I am.
And so here I am, 3 months and 2 weeks later, in my 7th draft of Memento Mori, and a deadline to return it to my editor in a matter of days. It’s long, anonymous work for an outcome that as yet is not guaranteed. But I hope to make it a reality soon – very soon; and as I continue to chart my progress here on the AL blog, I hope you’ll stop in and join me from time to time.
After all, a journey may have seasons of anonymity from time to time, but that doesn’t mean the journey necessarily happens alone.
What about you? What is your creative journey right now?
Are you anonymous? Or have your boundaries increased?
Stop by the comments and let me know!
(*) “highly advisable” – We all know exceptions to this advice, and perhaps you are one of them. My personal search led me to the conclusion that I was one of those who needed to have that visible niche online.