A mere ten months have passed since The Writer's Drawer has been up and running, and although maybe I should wait for its first anniversary, the close of the year seems a good time to sum up its progress so far.
The original concept was that the site should serve as a showcase for writers of all kinds, and particularly drawer and beginner writers. When I tried to explain this idea to friends, a few were skeptical: "Why should people want to display their work at your site? What do they get out of it? What's so special about it? Why is your site different to any of the hundreds of other sites around?"
These are relevant questions, indeed. The truth is that well-established, published writers would have no interest in The Writer's Drawer. But for every well-established, published writer there are probably hundreds or thousands – and more likely millions – of would-be writers, including drawer writers and others, and although many have their own sites and blogs, they are also looking for other places to show their work. The Writer's Drawer testifies to that.
As the site expanded, another thing I discovered is that some writing needs editing, and this is where I thought my editing skills would come in handy. I decided to try to draw people, including non-native English speakers, by offering free editing support. And, I was pleased to note, most appreciate it; however, I'm wary of editing poetry, which I consider a deeply personal medium, and just correct obvious errors such as typos.
A couple of retirees sent material to the site, and I added them to my target audience. Then I realized to my delight that submissions were coming from various parts of the world, and that the site was becoming truly global. I therefore decided to present it as an intercultural showcase. I'm proud to say that we have creative writing samples from India, Australia, the USA, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Dubai, and Israel – and hopefully, that's just the beginning.
A new group that I was happy to meet were Indie writers – those who've given up on mainstream publishers and decided to go it alone and self-publish. That's not to say they are lesser writers; they might make the big time one day. Until they do, they tend to be looking for sites to promote their ebooks and I have offered to do that for them here, in exchange for a piece of their creative work for posting at The Writer's Drawer.
Another group that shouldn't be forgotten are the readers. They might not have any desire to write, but based on the comments that appear after the various pieces on the site, or to me personally, there is a wide audience of people who enjoy reading the poems, short stories, memoirs, essays, book reviews, book promotions, and blogs. They are also a necessary component of a site.
One of the problems for me has been social networking. I don't like it but I realize that it's a necessity. So I dutifully post on Facebook, Twitter (I'm going to Tweet myself in future rather than via my site support platform Weebly), Linkedin, RSS, and InterNations, although sometimes not all of them. I probably should get acquainted with more – maybe in time.
Another way of staying in touch is through the monthly newsletter to subscribers. This is becoming quite a task due to the volume of new material submitted. However, I prefer this means to social networking as it's more personal – like writing a letter to friends.
Finally, of course, I should mention the platform I use to make sure the site is running as it should – Weebly. I built the site via this simple, user-friendly web tool and get any support I need from them. Periodically, they offer new technological devices. For instance, I woke up one morning to find a search bar in the top right-hand corner of the site. A great addition!
So, to answer the questions above that were posed to me in the early stages of development – I think the material submitted so far does demonstrate that people want to display their work here. Moreover, although conservative in design and format, The Writer's Drawer offers a friendly, more intimate service than many of the other sites around. In addition, it has managed to hone in on a few specific groups of people that are looking for a place like this to show their creativity.
I'm always open, in fact, eager for suggestions (and criticism) to develop it further. Keep writing and sending your submissions, and all the best in the New Year to come.