10 pages that aren’t about me

I wrote an about page that wasn’t about me.

And realised there are plenty more where that came from.

Pages that are, and aren’t, about me.

1. I could tell you about where I live, the work that I do, the experience and the training that have taken me to here

2. About pieces I’ve written that would tell you about who I am and what matters to me: the belief that our words can make a difference, that we need to find the courage to write, to realise the power of our words

3. Talk maybe about the other places where I write and how that reflects who I am: exploring the calm of the writing space and the power of blogging for business; expressing the joy of being a lifelong learner and playing a part, however small, in the work of the Giving Hands

4. About what I’ve learned from travelling in Mexico, from two weeks in Skye, from drowning in words that were not my own, from my love of the language of football

5. Or maybe about my answers to blogging questions that people ask, like the three words that describe my quest this year (thanks Liz!): “focus, energy, adventure”… or my answer to the bucket list question (thanks Glenda!) which is… “I don’t know, I just want to go where that adventure takes me”

6. I could make you smile if I wrote about my favourite search terms: slow down, you move too fast (yes, it’s true, please listen to what you type), find out who you are and do it on purpose (yes, because you know it’s time)

7. And start to hum about the songs that make my heart sing, when it’s time to search for the hero or when you know you’re ready to shine

8. I would love to tell you more about the places I feel connected to now – through this thing called blogging – to people in Hawaii, Wales, Italy, Chicago, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangkok, Brisbane, East Koy Four Corners, Geneva (Illinois) the Middle Zone, as well as friends in Edinburgh, and how that makes me feel, to exchange words and ideas with you all, watching the time where you are, the connections that flow round the world

9. Maybe I could keep it cryptic and see what you’d learn about my bookcase

10. Or perhaps I’d write about my life as a building and the words I picked to describe it: unconventional, creative, exuberant

And still I could tell you that all of these words, all of these pages, are not, can never be about me.

That words will only ever be painted fire.

Or I could tell you that every phrase, every sentence, every word that I write is about me.

And that if you listen, you might hear me, and if you watch, you might just see.

This post was prompted by the conversation about how to write an about page, a (pretty feeble) response to a blog tag from Glenda Watson Hyatt, to share my bucket list and (mainly) a response to the request from Derrick Kwa @ Sui Generis to share our story (and the chance to win a copy of Meatball Sundae).

UPDATE: ‘Meatball Sundae’ is the new book on marketing by Seth Godin.

It’s described as “the definitive guide to the fourteen trends no marketer can afford to ignore. It explains what to do about the increasing power of stories, not facts; about shorter and shorter attention spans; and about the new math that says five thousand people who want to hear your message are more valuable than five million who don?t.”

(Something else about me: I’m much more likely to enter a competition if the prize is a book!)

I’m not sure I shared much of my story, but did reveal something else about myself in the process - the desire to be efficient with my words… and it seemed like a good co-incidence. As Derrick writes:

Your story doesn’t have to be your auto-biography or your about page. In fact, your true story probably isn’t.

If you want to take part there’s still time - entries close on the 31st January. You can find out more here.

The painted fire reference was to Mark Twain; the picture of fire writing is from dominic’s pics at flickr

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

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7 Responses to “10 pages that aren’t about me”

  1. On January 23, 2008 at 3:26 am Derrick Kwa responded with... #

    Thanks for taking part, Joanna. =). Your post poses quite a lot of things to think about. But I think it’s a great reminder of how who we are, and what we stand for, is embedded in everything we do. And that if we look deep enough, we can learn a lot from a person by what they do and say.

  2. On January 23, 2008 at 4:53 am CatherineL responded with... #

    Hi Joanna - that was v creative. But what on earth is meatball sundae?

  3. On January 23, 2008 at 11:13 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Derrick, I agree with that - it’s the actions that count, what we do, say (and write).

    Thanks again for running the competition :-)

    @ Catherine, sorry, I should have made that clearer. It’s the new book by Seth Godin, I’ve added an update on the post as well


  4. On January 23, 2008 at 4:22 pm Robyn responded with... #

    Hi Joanna, I so feel like I’d be at home in Edinburgh since you are a friend and I saw that wonderful blog you posted about your home town. :-)

    And thanks for this link. Not sure why it’s not showing up in Technorati Links to my blog. That has been a means for me to know when someone so generous as you has provided me a link.

    I do not want to miss something like that.

  5. On January 24, 2008 at 8:26 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Robyn, it’s interesting isn’t how we come to feel connected to places as well as people through this medium.

    I have to say I don’t find Technorati all that reliable - it picks up some links, but not all, and sometimes it sends them in batches way after the event.

    I don’t know if anyone else ha a foolproof system for picking up links - if so it would be good to hear it…


  6. On January 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm Derrick Kwa responded with... #

    Just to jump in on the links thing. Google Alerts seems to work quite well.

  7. On January 24, 2008 at 9:18 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Derrick, thanks, I’ll give that a try.

    I used it a while back for news alerts (I think), but I don’t think I’ve used it for links before. As Robyn says, it’d be good to have a foolproof system for noticing the gift of the links



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