In these days of rampant technology, writers are being advised to build a platform. This platform, according to the experts, should include a blog – written daily, or at least weekly; and Facebook, Twitter, instagram and some other “presences” I don’t recall the names of, posted with even more regularity; as well as speaking on the subjects about which we writers write. (Do you know how long it takes to prepare to speak?) I believe this platform-building steals the hope of good writing, especially for those who wish to improve their writing over the course of their lives. There are, after all, only twenty-four hours in one writer’s day, and we all do have to get the dishes done or take out the trash.
Interesting that I’m wiritng this in my blog–kind of an oxymoron in progress. No, not really, though, because it serves to clean my brain of a rant. I’ll just add this. When I was writing nonfiction, research was my biggest “distraction.” Time-consuming, but far less than my current writing life, then I could spend a fraction of my time on platform.
Now that I’m trying my hand at fiction, there are so many skills to learn, skills that build on each other and require neverending practice. This polishing of a writer’s writing should take priority over platform building. If it doesn’t, my writing stands a good chance of being lackluster, ill-conceived drivel.
I know, because I have read others’ who I imagine spent the time they could have polished their fiction — you guessed it, building platforms.
So what to do? Publishers want the platforms so that readers will be drawn in. Makes sense. Perhaps they should consider helping authors create and maintain their platforms. Or maybe agents should assist with that job? Or perhaps the frequency doesn’t need to be daily or weekly. I’m just advocating for putting the most, best time into the writing.