If you have built your own slide, swingset, and jungle gym that you’re especially proud of, wouldn’t it make sense to then build a playground for others to come and enjoy them as well, perhaps making some new freinds in the process?
I’d like to see authors do this with their writing as well. I’d like to see them have a convenient list of what they ita consider to be their best work. Reading those pieces that they felt an especially strong conection to when they wrote it is my favorite way to get to know a new author and see if I want to follow them. (In other words, I like to caper about their blog checking out all their fun wordplay.) It helps me get to know them better, more personally, so that I can decide if they’re someone I’d like to spend more time with, maybe even become blogging buddies with.
The “Top Posts” widget is beneficial and convenient as well, but that is based on stats — views, likes, reblogs, linked-to’s, comments, etc. — generated by visitors to your posts. Many bloggers use it. (Or its variants “Recent Posts” and “Archives”.) I do like seeing what has touched others’ hearts in a profound way, so I still use them when they’re available; however, I prefer the greater depth of emotion I can sense when I’m reading something the author is deeply passionate about or felt truly inspired to write. It’s also easy for these auto-generated lists to miss some gems from an author’s earlier work, from before they had developed a sizable following that skews the later entries as better only by virtue of greater exposure. (Which, by the way, also reveals the benefits of reblogging some of your older, quality pieces.)
One caveat, though. When viewing with WordPress’s reader, neither the menu nor the homepage can be seen. They are only available when visiting the actual website. This makes it tough for your readers to see that “Best Of” list you’ve worked so hard to create. The best idea I’ve come up with to work around this shortcoming is to put a link to my favorites page at the bottom of every one of my posts. “Simple Ula” does something similar on her blog when she links to about 5 of her other pieces at the bottom of every post. It’s her “reminder” of her other articles. For me, seeing that on her blog legitimized my idea.
Jeff Cann of “The Other Stuff” is an excellent example. Not only does he have a “Best Stuff” item in his menu, but he went so far as to organize it by topic. The epitome of convenience! Now that’s a playground full of potentially endless fun, fascination, and wonder I can’t wait to explore!
As an example from my own work, I have a simple, minimalistically designed website with a homepage where I list about 10 or so of “My Favorite Literary Children“. (That’s in addition to the “Top Posts” and “Recent Posts” widgets in the sidebar.) That way my readers can quickly check out my “highlights reel” to decide if they like my work enough to merit further exploration. Or maybe even inspire them to click either the “Follow” or “Subscribe” button! If not, my sincere wish to them is “Thanks for visiting, no hard feelings, and feel free to drop in again sometime if you ever feel so inclined.”
In addition, I have a page of my favorites as an item in my Menu that is a little more exhaustive. And now, after writing this post, I’m going to start linking to this favorites page on every piece I publish. (Thanks Ula!)
So, my dear fellow blogger, if you’ve read this far I hope you take this to heart and spend an hour or two setting up either a post or a page that lists your favorite pieces that you’ve written, then link to it through your homepage, your menu, at the bottom of each of your posts, or, like I do now, all three. If you do, leave a link in the comments so I can come check it out. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some more literary playgrounds to frolic in and some new friends to visit!
Thanks for reading. Please be sure to like, comment, share, and, if you haven’t already, subscribe or follow. Any of those quick, simple, and small acts of kindness are phenomenally powerful and help me more than you can imagine.
I also invite you to check out what I think of as my best work on “My BYOB List (My Personal Favorites)”.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.