Thursday, August 4, 2022

The End of My Website

Yesterday I canceled my domain name and my website.  It was a clunky website, hard to update, impossible to make it look like I wanted.  But that's not the main reason I canceled the whole package.

I was paying a monthly fee of $21.00 to get the more accessible web design package, and that was on top of the twice a year fee of whatever it had gotten up to ($70.00?).  That starts to look like a lot of money.  That's part of the reason I canceled the whole thing yesterday.

I created the website back in 2008 or so.  I was late to creating an online presence.  I started a website and a blog.  I decided that I was serious about getting my creative work published and part of being serious meant that I needed to have an audience in place for that future time when I had a book with a spine published.  Maybe having the audience in place would make book publishers take a second or third look at my work.

That idea seems like such a long time ago--that a simple website might be enough to build a brand.  I was happy to do the blogging and to post on Facebook.  I was late to Twitter, but it doesn't seem too onerous.  But as the years have gone by, I just can't keep up with the various platforms.  But that's not the reason I canceled my website package.

The main reason:  my approach to writing has changed.  I no longer think that a book publication will change my life substantially.  Once I thought a book publication would lead to a better teaching job.  Maybe it would have once, when I was younger, when enrollment numbers at schools were rising.  The world is a different place now.

And I am in a different place now.  I'm no longer pursuing publication like I once did.  When I think about how much I've paid in entrance fees . . . well, I try not to do that.  It could have been worse.  I usually only sent my book length poetry manuscript to a few places a year, and I saw the fee as a contribution to the press.  I only submitted to presses I wanted to support that way.  I didn't spend money on nonfiction or fiction, although I did query agents here and there.

I will always be a writer, and poetry comes most easily to me.  Even when I'm not publishing, I'll keep writing poems.  It's a way of seeing the world, a way of gratitude, a way of forcing myself to take notice.

I will also send poems out here and there in the hopes of publication.  But I'm also a seminary student so my focus has shifted.  And because I'm on a platter like Twitter, I have an even more visceral sense of how many poems are out there and how few slots there are for publication.  I don't think a website improves my chances.

If I do get a contract for book publication, I'll revisit these decisions.  Is a website an important way to reach readers?  I do know that the website that I had was just as likely to lose a reader as to gain an audience--it was just that clunky.  And part of the fault was mine--I just didn't want to mess with it.  

It feels good to have made that decision just to be done with it.  Like so many parts of my life, I felt bad about my inability to do what needed to be done with that website, to update it, to make it look better.  It's good to just call it quits.

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