Wednesday, August 21, 2013

on being professional

It's high time I put together a professional website. Actually, it's been high time for a few years now, but I've finally decided to do it. Thankfully, I have tech-savvy people in my life (namely, my husband and brother) to help me out. They listen to the sorts of geeky podcasts that would probably confuse and/or bore me to tears, but focus on technology and web stuff that, as it turns out, is pretty useful information, like where it is best to register a domain name and host one's website.

Last night, Stuart and I spent a little time doing just that - registering a domain name and getting started with a trial run on squarespace. There are some nice templates there, and it wasn't entirely intuitive for me, but it wasn't impossible, either. Where I got really stuck was coming up with the actual information I need to put on there. I need headshots, bio, a list of past and upcoming performances, sound clips. If I were on twitter or facebook, I'd need to link those up, but I'm not, so I won't.

I'm undecided about a few things, like how much personal information I should include. It's sometimes good to know if an artist has outside interests, like, say, rock climbing and breeding chi-tzus. In my case, I guess that would be running and knitting. Is that even interesting? I don't know. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with me being a pianist.

The bigger question is what, if anything, I would include about my family life. I have children. That's a fact that I never try to hide. Caring for them and feeding my family occupies 80-90% of my working time, more in the times when they are not in school. It would be only natural to mention that somewhere in my bio.

Unless, of course, that's a bad idea. Having children is a liability for most jobs, even freelance. Maybe especially freelance, since you're constantly juggling your schedule with their needs and weighing the pros and cons of accepting a gig vs. paying for the hours of childcare so you can go and do said gig. People know that, and they know family needs are first priority, so I worry that mentioning that I have kids looks unprofessional, especially when someone gets sick and I have to cancel or move a rehearsal (which has happened). On the other hand, how else do I explain that I only manage one sort of big performance per year on average?

The other discouraging thing is lack of information to put up in the first place. I have some decent pictures that can work for headshots. I could use better ones, but I don't have $1000 to pay a professional photographer to do that. I have a few sound clips I could put up, but few of them are recent. And all the interesting stuff on my résumé stopped abruptly around...let's see...a little under 6 years ago. What happened then? Oh yeah. I had a second kid and finished school all on the same day. (It's a good story, actually.)

I know, I know. I just need to forge ahead and do it. Put stuff on there and make it go. Change it as needed. Have faith that my professionalism speaks for itself.

Maybe tomorrow night I can work on that.

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