Upon Closer Examination

 

It’s been a month since I became nobody.

 

About Me 1 sig

 

The time has come, my online friends, to talk of other things. Like words and life and what I like, of Lemon Sharks and fins! (Sorry, Lewis.)

I must get on with it. A month, you know? I thought a perfect profile would just gradually, you know, appear to me. Like in a dream or something.

It didn’t.

My bio is still blank. My “About Me” page isn’t about me.

Though it’s been a while since I had my writer’s identity crisis, I’m going through a second crisis.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

So I asked my friends and family. It was kind of pathetic. Both that I had to ask them and, also, what they answered.

“A mum.”

“A writer.”

Argh!

I need to get something online already. My own blog is mocking me. WordPress dashboard says:

“Tip: Update your about page so your readers can learn a bit about you.”

*sigh*

I know.

I should have an ‘about’ page on the Reef, change the one I have on Lemon Shark, and completely rewrite my website. Also, I need a bio for Gravatar, Twitter, and Google+.

It should be easy. But it’s not. Not when you know you have a few words to say everything about yourself. Not when you know you will be judged by those words. Not when you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Upon closer examination, I’m still nobody.

 

There’s pressure to have everything just right. People write blog posts and articles with tips on how to make your ‘about’ page, your profile, and your bios just right. It all must be just right.

If you start snooping around ‘about’ pages, you’ll see some with “I like cheese” (instant follow), and others who fill the page with their accomplishments and links to their writing. So we’re getting murky again—with the separating who you are from what you do.

I have an ‘about’ page and a ‘work’ page. Some agree with this, some don’t. Contradictions in the world wide web of writing. I feel like I’ve said that before… Anyhoo.

I guess, when it comes down to it, these are important. They’re the first things a lot of editors and agents look at. They want a quick glimpse at who you are. So there is a certain amount of pressure involved in presenting yourself to the world. You wouldn’t walk into an office for a job without showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant. (At least I hope you wouldn’t.)

Whether you want to snag an agent, get published, gain followers, or just blog and eat some cheese, your ‘about’ page must be about you. It must be you. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to write, it must be in your voice. Because that’s what we’re expecting when we click off that page and read your blog.

Bottom line, as I see it, is this: Be Yourself.

 

Do you struggle with bios, profiles, and ‘about’ pages? Do you talk about who you are and what you like? Or do you use this space to promote what you’ve written?

 

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38 thoughts on “Upon Closer Examination

  1. While you are pondering your About Me page, I dare you to do what I so want to do with mine. Fill it up with personality summaries from BuzzFeed quizzes. What kind of Disney Princess are you? What LOTR character best describes you? What part of the world should you live in? BOOM. About me = done.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hahaha! 😄 Please send links!

      Are you going to do this? You should. Whatever you put, it’s you. Anything. This would be you because you want to do it. It would make me laugh out loud (and I’d probably take the quizzes) and it would tell me about you. That you’re creative and you like to have fun.

      Like

      • BuzzFeed Quizzes

        For example, thanks to BuzzFeed I now know that I would be the Muscle in a bank heist: “You like to smash things, mostly inanimate things. But you can’t hurt a fly. That’s your secret no one knows. You look so tough that everyone just wets their pants. They don’t know you have the heart of a kitten. At least you have your packing bubbles to jump on and take out your frustration.”

        So true

        Liked by 2 people

      • You’re the ‘muscle’ at the bank heist?! 😀 I HAVE to take that now! (I have a bad feeling I might get stuck on that site if I click the link though…time-suck waiting to happen.)

        Okay…I took it. I got: “Lookout”

        “You’ve been speaking in code since you were seven. Almost no one’s been able to understand you. It makes you perfect as a lookout. They know as soon as you speak it’s time to get out of there. Even though they can’t understand a word out of your mouth.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I have heard every writer I know struggle with a bio. I think there are two things though.

    1. Agents and publishers care more about the story you are putting in front of them than anything else. A bio will come after you have impressed them with your story and then they will help you craft it.

    2. Who you are is a growing ever changing feat. I am not who I was 6 months ago…a week ago even. So making it a black and white finalised thing isn’t going to help you. Have some words. If they don’t fit after a week, change them. Maybe they will last longer next time. But I change all the time.

    I lied, there’s 3 points:

    3. Who you are and what you do are a venn diagram, some of what you do IS who you are, and vice a versa, you just have to figure out the bits that best represent you today and then stick them in a bio. But remember you can change it whenever you want.

    Who is Sarah Brentyn?

    Sarah Brentyn is a girl with more layers than an angry onion. She has more responsibilities than most, and spends her days giving her time to others. But by night, she’s the girl with the purple streak in her hair. A writer of words so deep they touch the hearts and minds of others. She is profound and thought provoking with her many wonderings. But is also partial to the odd witticism.

    Brentyn has spent much of her writing career creating non fiction, but now, she’s focusing on fiction for young people.

    When she’s not writing or dealing with daily life, she can be found drinking coffee, eating sushi and indulging in Harry Potter re-runs.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’m not sure an agent, editor, or publisher will hold your hand to create something. I think you already have to have something of an online presence (including a small/med/long bio for various purposes). I know I have some bios out there, online and in print, that I wish were not. They have outdated information. Now I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But, you’re right, we do change. And grow. So how is our bio supposed to remain the same? I should have thought about a lot of this before I jumped into it.
      A Venn diagram. Interesting. It’s true. How can you define yourself without including at least a little bit of what you do? The thing is, you get to choose how you present yourself so you don’t have to include the boring parts. 😉 I don’t want to change it all the time, either. I would like to have one bio across all social media platforms. I want consistency. But that might be what’s tripping me up here. I’ll think on it some more. Or, perhaps, I should stop thinking about it. Maybe that’s the key.
      Thank you for that incredible profile of me. ❤ It's brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sacha has said everything better than I could have possibly said it, in her comment. Especially this:

    3. Who you are and what you do are a venn diagram, some of what you do IS who you are, and vice a versa, you just have to figure out the bits that best represent you today and then stick them in a bio. But remember you can change it whenever you want.

    THAT!!!! ^^^^^^

    I also love Her summary of you. It has lots of stuff that I really agree with!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Loud sigh!

    Have you seen my About Page? I have broke every blogging rule going with it and I don’t care. It’s my page and if I want to list the reasons why I was born in the wrong country on there I will.

    Your blog is a reflection of you. Be yourself on it.

    I don’t think agents and publishers get as far as reading About Pages. Am hoping someone will prove me wrong on this.

    Wish you would hurry up and write something 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • No. Way. You actually have cheese on your ‘about’ page. 😀 That’s awesome. That would have been an automatic follow. Except I already follow your blog. I cannot even tell you how much you have not missed out on here. Especially yearbooks and taxis. I have to agree on ‘math’, though.

      I know… I need to stop thinking so much about it. (Also, I read too many articles and blogs. I said I was going to stop doing that but, alas, I haven’t. They all have important tips and advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. Bah!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm, why do you get me thinking. I have cheese on my about page but only in the sense it is cheesy. I agree that Sacha has done an amazing job and all I would add is I think of you as adjectives not nouns. Maybe the odd present participle. But definitely not a bunch of dull self limiting nouns.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree writing bios and the like is difficult particularly if you want one that takes you across all social media and into the world. Sacha has done a great bio for you, one in which all your readers I’m sure would read and say that is the Sarah we know. “The layers of an angry onion” is a great analogy. The “who” you are I believe is seen in relationship to others whereas the “what you are” are those factual, verifiable parts of you such as your career, parentage, wife, mother. To see the “who” you have to look at the stories you tell and for those lucky enough to know you in the flesh they can observe your relationships with others. Your identity, though, is ever changing and is a construction. Memoir (including bios), is totally concerned with identity issues and is mainly written, I believe, to take the person into the future they wish to create for themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That really is a great bio and a fantastic analogy. Layers of an angry onion. Brilliant! You’re right. There is a ‘who’ and ‘what’ in these profiles. (I have separated these two.) And thank you. 💕

      Bios mostly being what or who the person wants to be in the future…I had never thought about that before. ‘Tis true.

      Well! One small step and one giant leap. I have not updated my ‘about’ page but I did write a bio for my blog and Twitter. Ta-da!

      It says I’m a mum and socially awkward anxious introvert with anger issues who loves to read, eat, drink, and write. So there. 😜

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How timely as the Chief Buckaroo over at the Carrot Ranch is chasing me for a bio. She lost the previous one, but hey, who cares – that would be out of date by now. Seems every one I write makes me cringe as soon as I press send, print, go or whatever.
    Loving all the above comments and also wondering if you’re remembering to nurture not suffocate that apple pip. Bio schmio.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been putting off updating my about me page and a few other online profiles for a little while now and know I have to do it. The comments here were helpful – and I wish you success in finding the right balance for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Food for thought…or is that cheese for thought? Anyhow! I think it’s easier for writers who see themselves writing as a profession. For writers who see themselves writing for personal reasons struggle. As a profession, I have no problem with bios. I keep in mind end-goals like — get published, find a client or an agent, build credibility. Artist’s statements can give me pause. But you know what the best thing is? I’m a writer and I can write myself anew tomorrow if I don’t like what I’m about today! You are the most special nobody I know! So that makes you somebody! 😉 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • That IS cheese for thought. When you give up writing as a profession and focus on your dream…dreams don’t pay. Also, there’s that uncomfortable question of “What do you do?” where, in response, you just stare or say “I don’t work.” or something equally stupid. And, yes, it’s extremely difficult to define yourself. There was no problem, now I think of it, writing bios and things when I got paid for writing. When I switched… *boom*
      Thank you. ❤

      Like

  10. I love the last two sentences of Charli’s statement and agree with them 100% and as for Sacha’s comment, well, need I say more? Brilliant. I had no clue when I started blogging about the format for the ‘About’ page (still don’t) same with my bio, which I’ve changed several times and still not sure about. I suppose I tried to show who I used to be and who I am now, sharing something of my background to reflect that. I thought well I may as well put it all out there from the start so people know what they’re going to get on my blog. But there is also a lot I don’t blog about. But you, lovely lady, you are like a prism, reflecting beautiful colours with every post you write as you beam out your thoughts into the grey areas so many of us are unsure of. And by doing so, you are helping yourself and us to see the clearer picture and figure out the way we want to move forward. We are changing, all of us, and that is a good thing 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sherri. ❤
      I think showing a bit of past and where you are today is a good way to go…especially for a memoirist. I agree that whatever is on that page should give readers a good idea what they're going to find on your blog (which, in voice, mine does, but, in content, does not).
      Aw… I was reading as I went along replying. A prism? That's lovely. Thank you! ❤ Yes, we are always changing. And, yes, that is a very good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I wrote my bio a while back, after I read Kristen Lamb’s book. It’s worked well for me. What I find intriguing, though, is that my bio doesn’t represent the first thing out of my mouth when I introduce myself in person. I shake a hand and say I’m a programmer for the police. Writing doesn’t even enter the conversation. Yet if I’m given free time, my mind mulls over my characters and how to work out the kinks in my story. Programming is the furthest from my mind.

    At least the peculiar and twisted sense of fashion is fairly apparent to anyone who encounters me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have her book (I should go back and read it). This is it, isn’t it? In real life, we see ourselves differently. We present ourselves to the world differently. Well, at least you have your twisted sense of fashion to connect your two worlds. That’s something. ❤

      Like

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