Like, what the hell, right?
Gotta have a platform.
Have to make it a priority.
Only five minutes a day!
Do it or doom yourself to obscurity (i.e., no sales)….
Ooooh, the very word strikes fear in grown children.
“What is this ‘plat-form’ of which you speak?”, you might very well ask. Ah, go back and click the “plat-form” hyperlink. But, in a nutshell and according to the linked Christina Katz article, it’s what makes you more visible and appealing to your readership. A way to make a name for yourself, to…pun intended…stand above the crowd.
And we all know what else has one stand above a crowd, elevated platform, trap door, 8-13 turns of rope, and all?
I just finished reading a Writer’s Digest article about “50 Simple Ways To Build Your Platform In 5 Minutes A Day.” It was in the March/April 2011 issue, page 40. I have to admit, I loved the article. It gave all kinds of neat little ways to do just this, and I am going to be revisiting this article multiple times as I attempt to implement its ideas.
But, really, five minutes?
There are very few publically acceptable things one can do in five minutes, and as I reread this article, I believe this was more about pulling in readers than actually spending only five minutes a day doing some of this stuff (though the argument could be made), because, once you start doing it, you’ll end up spending way more than just five minutes. That’s the thing about promotion, once you get into these things, it’s easy to keep going, cause time flies. But, read the article…there’s a lot of great, specific, and easy to do ideas, five minutes or not.
Luckily, I don’t yet have a book deal (self-published novel notwithstanding), so I have all the time in the world to get around to these….
Which brings me to Bree Ervin, of Think Banned Thoughts. She posted about how can people like us squeeze even more out of our busy days, while still trying to work a minimum of two jobs, maintain relationships/raise families, and keep any semblance of sanity and a healthy body.
In a word: we can’t.
At least not without sucking from other already pared down areas of our lives. The sad truth of this is that the only way to do something like this, is for some other area(s) in our lives that have already been deemed important enough to keep doing is made to suffer.
You could not wind down from your insane day in whatever way you’ve been doing so and invest in more caffeine…
You could get back in front of that PC when you get home from your day job instead of talking and interacting and being with your loved ones…
You could get one of them laptop lap desks and bring both into the bathroom when you’re on the john (but, yeah, this one gets complicated when it’s time to, you know)…
You could not go to the gym–hey, that’d free up an hour or two! Why not give up physical fitness altogether? Who needs it, if all you’re really doing all day is sitting behind computers, right?
And kids? Easy one. Let em free range! If it works for pets and cattle, it should work for children even better because they can actually make decisions. Just set out bowls of water and Cheerios…
Am I wrong?
Make it a priority.
Problem is…if we give up so much of what makes us us, something wrong happens. I know, plenty have and are doing it. Are fanatical about it. Have no time for those who can’t seem to find the same time or priorities, and publishers are getting more and more demanding about every author devoting more and more of their lives than they actually have to doing this kind of stuff.
Giving up the body.
Sure, noble. But, thing is, many of us are already giving up the body for our day jobs and what writing time we can carve out of our days. And there’s only so much body to go around.
So this is where the difficult part comes in, Bree. You’ll actually end up writing less. Yes, less, because all you can do is try, and by that I mean you’ll have to round Robin what will suffer in your already packed, everything-already-deemed-important life. When we blog, or do any of those other 50 “five-minute thingees,” we won’t get manuscript work done. That’s it. We’ll occasionally only get five hours of sleep, or see thirty minutes of our loved ones before those five hours of sleep, but that’s how it’s done. But you have to keep doing the other things that make you, you.
And, of course, making it up to family in other ways. That’s just how life works, unless you can Zen Master it by warping time (working on that one, myself…).
And…if anyone lands a full-time writing gig, they can quit their other jobs, but writing full time won’t exactly be a picnic, neither. Then you’ll have to do all those 50 things and more. AND have to work with an editor to rework your manuscript that you already thought was “finished” and get that in yesterday, and have to start and keep going on your new manuscript. And Facebook. And Twitter. And Book signings and conferences. And <fill-in-the-blank-cause-the-busy-just-keep-getting-busier-never-less-busy>. There will be no reprieve, but at least then, you’ll be doing exactly what your whole life’s struggle has been about.
Just try not to lose yourself or your loved ones in the process.
Rick Hanson, a friend of mine who has since passed away, and was author of the Adam McCleet series (which I love!), once told me that he’d sometimes wished he’d never gotten a book deal because he was always rushing to beat deadlines and it seemed to take the fun out things. He also had a day job. Miss ya, Rick.
Hang loose, friends….