Recently, I found out what a platform is for a writer. I hadn’t realized such a thing existed, in a formal sense. I’m learning new things every day, and trying to apply as much as possible to help me on my way. Since I am in the beginner stage of platform building, I have to consider what I need to do to create a strong, sturdy base for my writing.
I have a couple of friends, Kim and Cheri, who look at life and relationships like tending a garden. I guess they have blessed me with their point of view. That being the case, when I asked myself “What are the three most important things I should be doing to grow my platform?”, I couldn’t help noticing that the whole process of growing my writing platform sounded like what I need to do when planning a garden.
When you plant a garden, the three most important things are to weed, feed and water. You shouldn’t do too much feeding or watering, and you should make sure you pull out the weeds that steal the water and nutrients from the soil. Seems to me writers need to do the same thing when they ‘grow’ a book.
One thing I have been doing is clearing away the dead wood in my head, and in my habits, to make it possible for me to devote the time I need to write. Sure, I need to do other things in my life. The whole process of clearing the ground and making it ready for the seeds is a good thing all around. Keeping the weeds away, not wasting my time on things that will drain my energy and prevent me from growing is also important. I keep a lookout for pesky weeds on a regular basis.
Reading everything I can about what I am trying to do is my way of feeding my platform. It sounds like a big task, but I haven’t found it overwhelming (yet). I have gotten so many hints, tips and secrets from my fellow @AuthorBlogChallenge writers, as well as those wired wizards at @Vocus, that the hardest part has been organizing sub folders in my bookmarks to find all the wonderful words of wisdom. Kind of like stocking a pantry or my gardening shelves in the shed. I’m not sure what I will need, but I have it all available to use as necessary. All the bits of information have been as energizing and helpful as MiracleGro. I have already found ways to direct my writing to improve the results, and enjoy it a whole lot more.
With my houseplants, my tendency has always been to overwater. I know this is bad – drowning the roots can cause rot and kill the plant. I’ve started to water my platform by reaching out to new contacts in Cyberspace without going overboard. Making small spots for the seeds of interest to grow in places like #Pinterest, #Tumblr, #StumbleUpon, #Twitter and #Facebook, just to name a few. The challenge has been to keep my watering to the appropriate level, without saturating the ground and drowning the seeds. As the growing season progresses and the plants get bigger, I will need to water more frequently, and more carefully, to make sure my harvest is the best it can be.
I’m sure I will need to look out for bugs, draught, critters and other pitfalls. All I can do is my best. And, if my first garden isn’t as bountiful as I hope, I will clear the dead wood and start over again. That’s the beautiful thing about gardens/writing. You can always clear away and begin again another day!
Sandi Tuttle is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show “An Average Woman in a Superwoman World” (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sandi-tuttle).