Branding for Writers: Why You Don’t Need to Embrace a Single Identity

Guest Blog Post by Lisa Marie Basile

Lisa Marie Basile Photo

Here’s a pic of me being many things — a panda, a lush, a poet, a bridesmaid, and an epic dresser.

Every single one of us as creators is asked to select a genre, select a marketing angle, select a box, select an identity. But what if — and I think this is true for us all — we are many things.

I write heavy lyrical essays & poems about grief, family, & desire.

BUT I ALSO write commercial nonfiction.

I have contracts with indie pubs and a mass-market publisher.

I like being flirty and sexy in pictures, and I like drinking and dancing all night. But I’m also fairly shy and private. I have loads of acquaintances and very few close friends, on purpose.

You can do, be, and work on it all.

You’re dimensional.

Fuck the little boxes.

I think the problem is that we’re supposed to be a ‘brand,’ many of us writers. I ask myself: Are you a poet? Are you a chronic illness advocate? Are you a witch? Are you an essayist? Are you a foster care youth advocate? How do they intersect?

I’m everything, all at once. I don’t need to plaster my platforms in one filter, one voice, one story, one angle — and neither do you. I can write about grief this week and candle magic the next. I can lead a workshop on ritual and then I can publish a long-form essay on health. I can post a stupid selfie and then a picture of me at a workshop.

None of this takes away from the all.

I believe in being intersectional in every way possible; I believe my interest in magic comes from my trauma, grief, health issues and family past. They’re not divorced, they never will be.

My poetry is found in all of my work. Poetry is my voice. My focus on trauma recovery is in all of my work, no matter the topic.

The next time you sit down and think, “who am I?” or “what’s my branding strategy,” I urge you to think about the beautiful magic of dimensionality, of how your layers make your work extra delicious, of how in presenting and working in and being the many layers of ourselves we are presenting something authentic.

I can be spiritual without posting photos of my altar. I can be a poet without constantly publishing poetry. I can be an artist and a strategist. I can be an advocate and a weirdo.

I know it’s hard because in this era, to be a writer is also to be a marketer to some extent — and maybe we never bargained for that. And it’s hard because when we’re dedicated to anything, we have to have an avatar to make it valid. It’s fucking hard managing a second self online that is supposed to accurately and perfectly represent you. The human brain wasn’t designed for this.

But you can be and do everything, too. Just keep doing you.

About the Author:

Lisa Marie Basile is the founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine — a digital diary of literature and magical living. She is the author of “Light Magic for Dark Times,” a modern collection of inspired rituals and daily practices, as well as the forthcoming book, “The Magical Writing Grimoire: Use the Word as Your Wand for Magic, Manifestation & Ritual.” She’s written for Refinery 29, The New York Times, Self, Chakrubs, Marie Claire, Narratively, Catapult, Sabat Magazine, Healthline, Bust, Hello Giggles, Grimoire Magazine, and more. Lisa Marie has taught writing and ritual workshops at HausWitch in Salem, MA, Manhattanville College, and Pace University. She earned a Masters’s degree in Writing from The New School and studied literature and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University.

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Filed under Guest Blog Post, NonFiction, Poetry, Writing, Writing Tips

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