I dedicate this post to all of my students who work in such a holistic, integrated, joyful manner towards profitable self-expression, continually learning and discovering things about themselves and their readers along the way.
Love platform-building because:
1. There is nobody else like you, who is passionate about what you are passionate about, and who expresses what you express in the world the way you express it.
2. You never stop joyfully growing your platform, even after you get published, even after you hit the New York Times Bestseller List, even after you are famous, and even after you are a household name. It’s just a part of any genuinely creative person’s life.
3. You are a creative person, who gets to do creative work and share creative work with the world. What’s wrong with that?
4. Even when you are over-tired, over-wrought, and creatively exhausted, you will have the satisfaction that you did your best creative work and shared it with the world. And this is an extremely empowering feeling, which often leads to future creative work.
5. There are no rules! No one person has the secret platform-building formula. I spend most of my energy encouraging my students to find their unique note and sing it more loudly, expressively, and confidently. I encourage creatives to tap into what makes them uniquely powerful not become a clone of me.
6. You are not done yet. You are never done. You are a work-in-progress living in a world-in-progress. You get to realize your full potential on a daily basis. Not too many day jobs expect this of you.
7. Just as anything can be elevated to an art form, platform-building can also be elevated to an art form. And why wouldn’t you do it in your own particular kind of signature style? I call this social artistry. You should try it.
8. If platform development/building is uncomfortable or you hate it, you might be following bum advice. Even in the early stages, platform development should be expressive, creative, and empowering. If it doesn’t feel this way for you, take a step back and consider starting over with fresh priorities.
9. Platform busywork is not a replacement for your core creative work. Your writing, art, singing, acting, or whatever is your primary form of expression must be your first priority. At the end of a typical creative work day, platform development and building should probably not take up more than 20% of your energy. Or devote one day out of five to platform maintenance.
10. You still have other important things to do besides creating and platform-building, like selling, specializing, learning, and growing. Platform should accentuate your professional strengths and the beauty your work brings to the world. But you should not become a slave to your platform. You should not let platform squelch your creativity or self-expression. You should keep platform in perspective.
Putting platform before creative self-expression is always going to create tension because platform is an extension of creative self-expression, not a substitute for it.
If platform isn’t an extension of your creative joy, then there has been a major mis-communication.
Your platform is an extension of your creativity. And your creativity, I hope, is connected directly to your joy.
So, back to work, people. First on your creative work…and then on your platform.