One thing that I have been really working on for the last several months, probably subconsciously in conjunction with my difficulty in writing, is choosing not to be offended. I think it started when I was asked by an ecclesiastical authority to change my username on a church website (Prince of Darkness kind of clashes with Church of Jesus Christ…). Choosing not to be offended is kind of like Karma – what goes around comes around (maybe)?
At first, I really struggled with such a small thing – choosing not to be offended – afterall, I had been using the moniker as part of my writing persona almost as long as Ozzy Osbourne. I found myself really having to look at things in a “big picture” be-kind-and-thoughtful way. As the sting of that change wore off, I found that I was being constantly bombarded with opportunities to choose not to be offended. As Luck, or I prefer, Fate would have it, one of the workshops I attended at the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference tied rather nicely into this fun, along with my own workshop in which, yes, I had to choose not to be offended… imagine that:)
I am thankful for the several brave individuals – victims – who attended my class, How to Be a Boring, Bad Writer... I must be more infamous than I believed myself to be – I had over 10 people show up, shall we say, and my class even included a poetry component. In addition, the lasagna at the gala, finale, closing ceremonies, whatever it was called, was wonderful, not to mention sitting at the Guests of Honor table with Kevin J. Anderson, J.H. Moncrieff, Paul Genesse, Callie Stoker, Jared Gray, and Jodi Milner. Talk about not being offended and Karma – I must be living right.
So, back to Karma and one of my most beloved friends, J. H. Moncrieff, one of two Guests of Honor (the other being Kevin J. Anderson). J.H.M., as her not-so-close friends call her, really helped me embrace the Karma of the conference, which increased my willingness to stay and attend several of her classes and panels, including How to Improve Your Online Karma…
Now, let me be upfront and honest – this is going to be my take-away, my point of view, what I got out of the class… is that enough “full disclosure,” or maybe full-frontal– never mind. The biggest take-away is the following:
DO NOT EVER POST SOMETHING YOU WILL REGRET
(FYI – Social Media is FOREVER)
There are three basic rules to online Karma: 1) build personal relationships, 2) don’t constantly self-promote, and 3) word-of-mouth and goodwill trumps advertising. There was also a Fourth Rule, kind of like Let the Fourth Be With You kind of rule, as mentioned: DO NOT EVER POST SOMETHING YOU WILL REGRET.
Now, there are several other tidbits that I found most endearing, and also that I intended to use as I resurrect my blog, which as most of you know usually only appears after I’ve attended some kind of writing event. One of the tidbits is something many are familiar with – Branding – and something that I absolutely detest – why do I need to have a brand, or be a brand, or invent a brand? Well, the answer is pretty simple: none of the Big-5 are going to brand me, so I guess I’ll be forced to do it myself.
Branding can be broken down into several key components, but these are probably the most critical:
- What kind of books do I write?
- What is my voice?
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I want potential readers to know about me?
- What makes me different from everyone else?
Answer these, and you will know what your brand is. You may also have a good idea of a logo or symbol to represent what you are, who you are, and what you represent. Personally, I don’t know all the answers, but I plan to find out soon…
A couple of other pieces of advice, which are going to pretty much make this whole post null and void:
- Post for Readers, Not Writers
- Give More than You Receive
Okay, maybe only null, not void. I will leave this blog post with the following closing remarks:
Be the better person – rise above trolls and negative critiques
Be Grateful Everyday
Do Some Good Everyday