Personal branding is something I never gave much though too. Actually, until recently, I had never given personal branding any thought. After all, I’ve always been a firm believer that the writing should speak for itself because the writing says more than the writer ever could. But if there is anything I can say I’ve gotten from my degree so far, it’s that personal branding does in fact matter just as much as the writing does. So I went from never thinking about personal branding to thinking about it more and more… and now it’s something I think about on an almost daily basis!
Why? Because I’ve realized that until I reach the Stephen King level of success, I have to be the person to promote myself and my writing! … and pardon my language, but that is a scary fucking thought! Why? Because I am the absolute worst person to promote myself! I know that probably sounds crazy, but hear me out! If someone asked me to talk about myself, I would probably end up telling them all the wrong things or try to say the bare amount of words possible. I’m not shy. I don’t care enough to be shy. I’m just super introverted and find talking about myself really uncomfortable (explanation for why that is can be found here). So to have to be my own agent/publicist/hype person is hard to imagine. Also, I could name at least five other people in my life who would do better at promoting me than me and two of them are my parents (although the thought of my dad trying to explain some of my story ideas to someone makes me laugh. No offense dad, I love you, but I know you don’t understand half of what I say). And even though I understand my ideas and could tell you a lot about them, it’s hard for me to talk about them because I will always write better than I talk!
When I had to do the writer’s website for my Creative Writing Portfolio 1 class, I struggled with it in so many ways. For starters, I am not tech savvy and building a website almost broke me. Also, having to describe my writing in just three words was hard. I had to brand myself. I had to label myself. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t feel the need to label myself (after all I’m a person, not a soup can), but this class forced me to do that and it made me realize something important that I was naive about before/didn’t really believe/was a bit a stubborn about- Branding myself is just as important as branding my work. Though an agent and publisher are going to be interested in whether my novel is marketable or not, I have to be marketable as well. What I mean by marketable is that I need to be able to talk about my writing and share my ideas with them so they know I’m not just a one hit wonder. I can’t just let the writing speak for itself, I have to speak for the writing. And the thought of doing that scares the crap out of me.
Talking about myself is out of my comfort zone, which is why making friends and dating were always difficult for me. It was much easier for me when I was introduced to new people through mutual friends and the friendships just seemed to form over time. And when I tried online dating twice, it was a bit easier the second time around because I put a lot of time and detail into it so any guy who messaged me had an idea as to what they were in for. Although the guys who messaged me TyPIng LiKE ThIs clearly didn’t read my profile (shoutout to the guy who blocked me after he asked me what’s up and I said his caps lock). I guess in a way online dating is like personal branding because you’re labelling yourself and talking about yourself in hopes that someone will want to date you. It’s also like pitching a novel- you pitch your novel in hopes an agent will want tossing you. With online dating, you pitch yourself in hopes someone will want to date you. Maybe that’s why I was so bad at dating!
I think this post has turned into me roasting myself more than anything. I guess my main point is that personal branding is important and it’s something we need to think about. I also need to realize that talking about myself doesn’t mean I’m narcissistic or self-absorbed, which is another thing I’ve always struggled with. I’ve always been worried that talking about myself would make me come across as vain and self-absorbed, so I try to avoid talking about myself as much as possible. Which is ironic because I have two blogs where I write about my experiences, my thoughts, and more! But I need to realize that talking about myself in terms of branding, pitching, etc isn’t narcissistic, it’s a necessary part of the career path I’ve chosen. So I’m going to work on forcing myself out of my comfort zone and learn to talk about myself more. But if I go too far and somehow get to the point of being narcissistic and self-absorbed, please call me out on it and keep me in check! Because I’m also a very black and white person, so I’m always at one extreme or the other. I know grey areas exist, I’m just not good with them (that is also something I’m working on).
What are some tips you have for those of us who struggle with personal branding/talking about ourselves? What are some of your personal experiences with branding and marketing yourself? Do you find this as difficult as I do? I would love to know all your thoughts on this topic! Also, I’m sorry of this post reads as extremely awkward. If it does, then I guess that just proves my point that I’m bad at marketing myself! Anyways, I hope everyone has a good week!