June 12, 2012 by Ray Yanek
In Part I of this highly analytical and scientific reflection of my blog, we identified the major areas wherein this blog went astray.
Those two main reasons identified:
1.) When I had a focus, I let myself diverge to far from said focus.
2.) When the situation changed that lead me to start this blog in the first place, I didn’t rethink the focus, which left me floundering with no real direction and no core around which to write posts.
With the problems identified, it was time to rework that focus and set off again and effectively reboot the entire blog.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? And it was easy—until the questions started swirling around my head like a ballerina dancer on meth.
What if my focus wasn’t right for me? What if I changed my mind about that focus? What if pigeon-holed myself? Why does McDonald’s insist on giving me regular Coke when I specifically ask for a f-ing diet?
Seriously, that last question has haunted me for years.
Anyway, after staring at the wall for hours while these questions assaulted me, my head was finally invaded by The Voice of Reason:
Our conversation went something like this:
Voice: For god’s sake, you’re still talking about this blog and platform shit?
Me: Yeah, man. It’s driving me nuts! It’s messing with my stomach, making me a little irregular…
Voice: I didn’t really need to know that.
Me: I’m telling you—wait a minute, seeing as you are me, wouldn’t you already know about the stomach issues?
Voice: *shakes his imaginary head* You got a serious problem focusing.
Me: That’s what I’ve been saying!
Voice: Son of a–. Let me ask you a question. You got an agent?
Voice: You been publishing anything?
Me: Do these blog posts count?
Voice: Absolutely not.
Me: Then no.
Voice: Then you’re wasting all this time working on step 6 before you even got step 1 licked.
Me: Interesting. So what you’re saying is that if I had an agent and a book about to go out to publishers or was going to self-publish then it would be wise to start worrying about building a platform, writing about content and all that?
Voice: Halleluiah! So what should you be doing?
Me: Uh, drinking beer and feeling sorry for myself?
Voice: Son, God gave a goose more sense than you. What should you be doing? Don’t make me ask it again.
Me: *kicks at dirt* I should be focusing on writing and publishing.
Voice: Maybe there’s hope for you yet.
Me: But everyone says that in this digital world, I should be working to link my name to my genre. That I should be getting my name out in those circles and that I should start now.
Voice: Look, let me be honest and break it down for you.
Me: You’re gonna start rappin’?
Voice: Shut up.
Me: Hey, something shiny…
Voice: Boy, I will come out this brain and smack the taste right out your—
Me: I was kidding! Relax. So you were going to break it down.
Voice: *After a huff* What are you working on writing right now?
Me: The Great American Novel.
Voice: What genre, smart-ass?
Me: A mystery/psychological thriller. I suppose you could classify it as crime, too.
Voice: You like it? Having fun writing it?
Me: Oh hell, yeah.
Voice: What about those fantasy short stories in your desk? Did you like writing those, too?
Voice: And those horror—
Me: Psychological horror.
Voice: Don’t interrupt me.
Voice: Did you enjoy writing those psychological horror stories?
Me: Absolutely. Freaked myself out a little, my wife no longer sleeps in the same room as me, but you know.
Voice: So then tell me specifically, what genre do you write in?
Voice: Exactly. You don’t know yet, but yet you’re telling me you want to sit down and try to connect your name with a specific genre?
Me: Now that you put it like that…
Voice: *self-satisfied smile*
Me: So you think I should scuttle the blog altogether?
Voice: Many people would be thankful.
Me: Come on.
Voice: *snickers* Okay, that was low. But no, I don’t think you should scuttle it. After all what is a blog?
Me: A tool?
Voice: Yeah, just like you.
Voice: You’re soft, son. Soft. But if you know this blog is supposed to be a tool, than use it as one.
Me: You mean, maybe as a way to help clarify my career focus? Find my identity as a writer?
Voice: While making more of an effort to publish those short stories? Damn right. Use this blog to learn as much as you can about the different genres and all the sub-genres. Talk about books in those genres. Movies. Authors. Magazines—where you could also try to publish those short stories, dipshit–whatever. Focus it that way and dabble. You may not be targeting any specific audience–
Me: But if I start to network a little more, too–
Voice: Kristen Lamb says that networking is usually the best way for aspiring writers to approach a blog anyway. If you wouldn’t have been staring at that shiny shit in the corner, you probably would have caught that.
Me: *still staring in the corner* Maybe, just maybe, I can assemble my own mismatched band of eclectic readers and writers. We can have virtual coffee and then together we can overthrow some unsuspecting internet forum–
Voice: Slow down. One step at a time…
Me: Or I could even start my own genre—one where criminals solve thrilling murders in a fantasy world rife with psychological horrors.
Voice: Oh good Lord…
Me: I’m kidding. But I think I see your point.
Me: You know, I’m thinking…
Voice: Please don’t.
Me: Seriously. I’m thinking about the blog title we have. Writing the Rails.
Voice: And seriously, I’m telling you to stop.
Me: Maybe we could subtly twist it into meaning something like “Writing the Rails to Identity-ville”.
Voice: *shakes imaginary head again before slamming it into an imaginary wall—twice*