Becky Bean Writes
No, seriously, click it, let the music start, and then read the rest of this.
Is it playing?
Okay, good. Read fast, it's only 29 seconds long.
Hey there, loyal blog follower! Boy, are you in for a wonderful surprise!
Well, in case you didn't notice, I'm here to confirm the rumors. Yes, my website was down for a week. And yes, any time you typed in "www.blogofbecky.com" you got 404'd.
It was all soooo worth it, because of this. Look around you - do you see this sexy new website I designed? Are you SHOCKED AND AWED YET?
It's okay. Shhh, shhh. I know you're overwhelmed by how amazing it is. Do you need a moment to be amazed? I'm going to give you a moment to be amazed. Just sit there and breathe it all in. Soak in the majesty.
Don't you like it? Isn't it, like, the best? Aren't you just amazed and in awe of my totally impressive computer skills? See that header up above? It says Blog of Becky - yeah, that's right. It lets you know where you are, so you don't confused. Look at that lettering. It's all... blue. Blue, on a white background. And it's not even centered. Only stupid people center stuff.
And why is my website suddenly so awesome?
Well, that's easy.
It's because OMG I HATE COMPUTERS AND ALL CODING AND ALL BLOGS AND ALL URLS AND ALL WEB FORWARDING AND EVERYTHING THAT EVER HAD TO DO WITH TRYING TO UPDATE A WEBSITE BECAUSE UIO2375893P12U4IJDkp:ujI*P&#*($&#*OPJFEIL:EWKUH#*((P&%R*#(@OJHELK:HJ#*(%P&@#*(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look, I admit it. I suck at this aspect of computers. It's actually pretty embarrassing, because I have feeling I might be good at it if I had even the most rudimentary knowledge of the terminology.
The problem is I'm completely illiterate when it comes to web design, and I never actually get around to learning anything about it until OMG I PROCRASTINATED AND EVERYTHING JUST BLEW UP AND I NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW.
I'm embarrassed to say this is not the first time this has happened.
Usually I desperately try to fix it... and in doing so I break it worse. Then I have to Google a how-to YouTube video on how to fix what I just demolished. And then I have to search the Internet for some kind of free shareware program that gives me the tools to fix it. And then I have to Google a how-to video on how to use that program. And then... and then....
And then eventually I just get really, really angry and decide SCREW IT spend the rest of the evening finding find funny pictures on the Internet to help me calm down.
Anyways, here's a little back story before I get to my main point:
Part of the reason I went to that writing conference back in August was because in my head I've always considered September 2014 as the official kick-off date for me being a "real writer".
I don't remember if I ever said this, but the whole reason this blog exists is because I needed to get over my anxiety over letting people read my writing. My words have always felt very personal to me - I enjoy writing. Sometimes, when the words come just right, it feels like I open up a vein inside me and the words flow like music.
Back before I started this blog, I couldn't imagine anything worse than spilling out your very essence onto paper, showing it to someone, and then having them think it was crap. It was better just to keep your writing to yourself than to risk being hurt, right?
In fact, even when I was living by the motto I knew it was a crappy motto. Besides, I always liked the idea of being published. On the other hand, I'd done enough research to know that getting something out in print is never easy, but your odds of "making it" go reaaaaaaally down when you never actually submit anything.
So, I created this blog. My first few posts were crawling with so much anxiety it almost pains me to read them nowadays, but I leave them up because it reminds me of how far I've come. Eventually I really began opening up, and then Mugwump found me and directed actual readers here, and now I've made a whole bunch of wonderful friends from this blog.
(Poor Bean. Most women have normal friends - friends with names like Michelle, or Kelly. Me? I'm always talking about people called Fyaahchild or Mugwump or RedHorse, or whatever. Bean, I swear they're real, and not just imaginary. You believe me, right?)
Where was I?
Ah, yes. So, I started writing, and as people responded I realize - dude. This is fun. I would actually like to do this for a living one day. I even got my first angry troll who went out of her way to make me feel like crap for a bad decision I once made.... and it occurred to me - huh. Well, that's it. I was honest about a horrible decision, someone followed me around and rubbed my face in how crappy I was... and I survived.
Surely future literary criticism couldn't be any worse than that?
Even though I knew I wanted to pursue writing, I didn't really want to begin until I had the time to do it right. Despite the fact I had been blessed with such low-energy, polite children,
I knew I couldn't devote the kind of time and effort necessary to succeed at writing until the DragonMonkey at least hit kindergarten. Man, how long was that going to be? September 2014? Wow, what a long time away.
And then all of a sudden it was actually almost September, and I realized - whoa. It was time to start making plans to take this writing thing seriously. I mean, I've been writing this whole time, but there's a difference between jotting down stories and actually approaching it as a business and stuff.
So, I went to a writing conference last month. Remember? I took a picture with Diana Gabaldon's butt? Well, I'm not going to lie. That was the most exciting moment of the entire conference, and maybe my entire year.
However, the second most exciting thing was that I had the chance to sit down with a real-live publisher and talk to her about some ideas I had. I mean, sure I had to pay $30 to do it. And sure, I had to do it under the guise of "Uh, I write on this super small-potatoes, practically non-existent blog? And, uh, I write funny stories? Mostly about my kids? And, uh, I've got a sort-of book idea?"
I mean, I didn't go in there unprepared. Oh, no! I totally sat down for about 30 minutes before the session and jotted down a pitch which sounded a tad bit more professional. Even better, the two sessions I went to before then were "What is Author Platform" and "The Perfect Pitch" - so when I went in there I actually managed to sound semi-educated about marketing and whatnot.
Still, the idea wasn't really to sell her on a book - it was more to pick her brain. I wanted to hear her talk about what it might take to transition some of my blog posts into a book - how much harder is it to market than traditional fiction writing? Where there any caveats? Did she have any suggestions, etc, etc? Since I was paying her for her time, I figured she would probably give me an honest opinion about the idea
Plus, I wanted to get my first pitch session over with. Eventually, some day soon I hope, I'm going to have a fiction book in ready-to-submit form. When that day comes I am going to be crawling out of my skin with nerves about submitting it to agents and publishers and all of that fun stuff. Why not practice a bit, and get the nerves out of the way?
The money was well-spent because the publisher knew her stuff, and had a ton of useful insight which she shared. And then she did something completely unexpected:
She handed me her card and said, "It sounds interesting. Why don't you send me some samples?"
And then I nodded and took the card and walked out of the pitch session going, "Dude.... did she.... did that...do I have a card.... Wait. What?"
I came home and immediately began scrambling to seem more professional. I mean, okay. I didn't want to seem TOO professional. The potential title I gave her for my potential book, which I came up with about forty minutes before I met with her, was "Quit Peeing on the Dog". I don't think you can pitch a book like that and then try to sell yourself as hoity-toity and uber-professional.
On the other hand, there's all of this annoying business stuff that comes hand in hand with the business of writing - author platforms, and business plans, and web pages, and social media presence...and....
It sounded... boring, and a little overwhelming. So, being the dutiful woman that I am, I decided to ignore all of that and procrastinate instead. I created a Becky Bean Writes Facebook page, and made my real life Facebook page open to the public, and piddled around with my blog - and you can see how well that turned out.
One day, when you grow up, you can succeed at life just like me.
On the other hand, did you see my new URL? I picked it out myself and do kind of love it. It even comes with its own fancy-schmancy email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dude, I feel a little bit like an obnoxious kid - I'm handing this email address out left and right. Is it weird that I'm this excited about not having a gmail address anymore? I'm practically accosting strangers on the street, like a little kid that just had a birthday and can't stop telling EVERYONE. Hi, I'm Becky, and I'm "this many" years old. Shut up. I know that's a lot of fingers. Whatever, you're distracting me. Did you know I have a new email address? It's email@example.com. That's right - it's not gmail.com, or yahoo.com. Wanna hear it again? You don't? Well, too bad. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. It, like, has my name in it. That's because I'm important.
Last week I even got all excited when they passed around a Kindergarten parent sign-in sheet thingie at the DragonMonkey's school and it had a little space for my email address. What's that? You said you want my email address? Well, stand back and prepare to be AMAZED.
So I started writing in really big letters because I really am kind of obnoxiously proud of it....and that's when I realized... dude. It's a really long email address. I had to scratch it out twice because I kept not leaving enough room for it, and in the end it just looked like the pen vomited a bunch of ink on the paper and then sneezed some really cramped letters that trailed up the side of the page in an unreadable scrawl completely at odds with all the other parent's neat printing and legible email addresses.
Whatever. They all had yahoo.com and gmail.com and hotmail.com email addresses, so what would they know?
After I bought my new URL last week I tried to forward it. And when I did that, I broke the old URL forwarding. And then while trying to fix the forwarding on the old URL I managed to break everything.
And then I got annoyed at trying to fix URLs so I decided that instead of fixing all the redirecting URLs I should change to a new template instead.
And so, right after I broke about a bazillion URLS I broke my blog's template. And then I tried to upload the backup copy of my old template and I broke the backup template as well.
Does anyone want to hire me as a website designer for their enemies? Anyone? Anyone at all? No?
I spent a week straight trying to fix the mess. Every day after work (I am doing full-time geriatric care right now) I would come upstairs to my office and spend a couple of hours
And then The Bean walked upstairs and un-clicked a few boxes and fixed the forwarding in about 2 minutes.
I should have been grateful. I really should have. A nice wife would have clapped her hands in delight and then bounced over and hugged her husband with one cute little foot in the air and said something like "You're so smart and your biceps are so sexy!" or whatever it is nice wives do.
I didn't do any of that.
Instead, I just got really pissy and grumpy that he was able to fix it so easily. In fact, I didn't just dislike him, I downright hated him. I'd been fighting with it for a week, and he just clicked a few buttons and fixed it in two minutes? He was a stupid stupidhead, that's what he was. Stupid, stupidhead Bean.
And then stupid stupidhead Bean actually looked at my gorgeous "new" website and said, "What the hell happened to your blog?"
And I looked at him at him for a moment
before calmly replying, "I was trying to upload a template and it didn't work. See? This template right here - I thought it looked clean and professional."
And then The Bean, who sometimes has no sense of self-preservation, looked at the template and said, "That one? Why? Your old blog looked better."
And to my credit I didn't go all stabby-stabby on him. Instead, I just turned off the computer and huffed off to bed, and when he crawled in to go to sleep, do you know what I did? I totally didn't let his ankle touch mine, even though that's how we normally sleep. HA! I sure taught him, didn't I?
It occurs to me that I really need to find a better way of dealing with anger other than creating a passive-aggressive space between us in bed.
Also, I probably shouldn't have been so angry at someone who fixed my blog and then complimented the old design of my website - the design I created myself. Hey, Bean?
So, in case you were wondering about that whole publisher deal, no. No, I haven't gotten anything off to the publisher yet, because life hands me magical things like publisher cards and then I squander opportunities. I'm cool like that.
I'm hoping to get something off to them in the next week or two. I have to admit, my hopes aren't really high, especially considering how much time has lapsed- but I am actually okay with being turned down. I'll be a bit disappointed, sure, but for me? For me this is only the beginning. I've given myself 18 months to try to make some traction in the writing world - and getting an invite to submit on my first try feels like a huge win already.
So, there you have it. Welcome to my new website.
Becky Bean Writes?
Why, yes. Yes she does.
PS: Have you ever told yourself you're not allowed to go to bed until you finish a blog post? And then it's almost 10 at night, and you're EXHAUSTED, because you have to get up at 5:30 to squeeze in one more day of training before your half-marathon - the half marathon you are woefully unprepared for and are probably going to have to walk more than half of?
And then you realize that about 80% of this post has started or ended with some kind of a conjunction, and shouldn't you actually wait until the morning and proof read this instead of just typing it and sending out a rough draft? I mean, it's a blog post about wanting to be a professional writer, for heaven's sake. And besides, you forgot to mention how you are working with an actual for-real web designer who is going to migrate your blog over to Wordpress and then create a fancy, personalized new webpage just for you. How are you going to work that in seamlessly? You should go back, proofread, fix everything, and then work that line in somewhere so people realize you at least learned from your week of anguish.
And then you realize: No. Your alarm goes off at 5:30, so just click publish and go to bed.
And so you do.