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QuickStart Guide: Fill In The Main Text Widget On Your Home Page

Why You Do This Step

When we created your web site, we automatically created a home page. This has the following pieces that are already filled in:
  • A main header area
  • A menu bar with links to the pages on your site
  • An e-mail signup widget in the right column
  • A footer
You will improve each of these later on, but they're good enough for now. 

There is also an empty text widget in the center of your page, and it's empty. 

You need to fill it in right now with a couple of hundred words that tell people who you are and what they can expect from you. You want to show them what kind of a person you are and entice them to read more.

This main text widget will contain the first example of your writing that many people will ever read. If it isn't good writing, then it may be the last of your writing they'll ever read.

How You Do This Step

Give yourself about an hour to think about the following things. Open a word processor and write a few paragraphs that answer each of the following questions: 
  • What sort of fiction do I write?
  • What is most interesting about me as a person?
  • Why might people want to read my work?
  • What two or three things do I want people to know about me?
  • What got me started writing fiction?
When you've got a page or two of notes that answer the above questions, take a break. Go for a walk. Get a snack. Talk to a friend. In 15 minutes or half an hour, come back ready to work.

Open a new document in your word processor and tell a story. You have only 250 words to tell this story, so be quick but be concrete and simple. Explain how it is that you came to write the kind of fiction you write.

250 words maximum!

For a couple of examples, see the home page for John Olson and the home page for Randy Ingermanson. Do you see how these pages SHOW who John and Randy are, without TELLING? Each of these pages tells a STORY.

People connect emotively with story. So tell your story. Tap into the deep emotions that made you a writer.

Most novelists fill up their precious home page with a rambling message that goes something like this: "Welcome to my web site! Let me tell you all about me. Here are some adjectives that describe me. Here is the kind of food I like. Here is where I live. Here is all about my family."

That's boring! Don't be boring. Tell a story.

You have one hour for this assignment. When you've finished it, go to your home page and paste in your 250 words into the main text widget.

It will not be perfect, but that's OK. You can always improve it later. But you need to get something live on your site right now.

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Need More Help?

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If you need help, look here:

  1. The FAQ Page (Frequently Asked Questions).
  2. Email the other people in your cohort.
  3. The Newbie Forum
  4. Ask a question at the next DitDat online seminar.
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