One year ago I decided enough was enough. No longer was I going to hide under the table every time I posted something online. No longer was I going to hide my writing from the world. If I wanted to make a respectable living as a writer then I needed to push myself. I needed to do something differently to what I'd been doing for the last decade.
It is one thing writing. It is another getting people, an audience, to read this writing. And isn't that what we, as writers, want? People to read our work? (And maybe a five figure advance on a book deal...)
But have you noticed how much noise there is online? So many voices shouting and jostling to be heard. How the hell do you get seen above all of that?
That was my quandary.
So I decided to take control. I decided, unconsciously, to be my own super hero* and stop waiting for people to discover me. I decided to stop waiting for my writing career to just take off but proactively do something about it.
I decided to find my own audience and make things happen.
This is what I did:
- I invested in myself and my writing. I hired someone to help me. Two coaches in fact. I knew I wanted to concentrate on my instagram feed to build up an audience but I didn't quite know how. So I asked Sara from Me & Orla to help me.
- The second coach, Jen Carrington, helped me define what I wanted to achieve, what I wanted to write about, and how I wanted to grow my brand.
- I experimented and tried new things. Like iMovie in order to create YouTube videos and I watched tutorials on how to create mailing lists.
- I experimented with different ways of writing. I started telling stories about what was happening outside my back door. Or about my developing interest in nature and slow living. And yes, I took photographs of this for instagram.
- I developed a 'sod it' attitude. I started to show pictures of my chicken doodles. Something I never thought I would do. Or I was creative with my notebooks by adding little drawings with real leaves and flowers. It captured people's attention.
- I started to see myself more as a brand. It helped to see my writing and photography as a separate being. It stopped me from being so scared at showing my work. This is why I created A Bookish Baker rather than just having my name, Helen Redfern, on the blog.
- I looked around me. Not at what authors were doing but what bloggers were doing. They didn't just write. They did podcasts, mentoring, or had a Facebook page that had massive engagement. How were they doing it? What could I learn from them?
- I listened to podcasts about marketing, invested in learning new skills, attended a blogging conference.
And it's working. My blog readers have gone up massively. My instagram feed has just hit 11,000 followers. The engagement is phenomenal and I'm constantly being inspired by other creatives on there.
So all the above, being my own super hero, amounts to me marketing my writing. Creating my own online platform. And if I can do it then others can too.