When I first got into this blogging thing, I received a lot of information on the concept of platform building. From creating the best Twitter name to content to include to being consistent, these rules were supposed to foster success in building a platform by making one an “expert” in whatever it is one does. Since we’re talking writing here, if your specialty is non-fiction, whatever topic you’re trying to sell non-fiction in is how you establish your platform. For my fiction peeps, if you’re a sci-fi writer, this would help you be the “go-to” sci-fi person. Historical romance your thing? Know all things historical. Your tweets, your FB posts, your blog is supposed to be centered around all things in your speciality.
Here was my issue, though. The things I’m writing about are not that specialized. As an author of things I made up in my head and put on paper, this was a challenge. Since my stories are about relationships, did I have to become some sort of “relationship” expert dishing out advice about how to find love (or lose it if he’s a sucka), keep it spicy in the bedroom, or how to heal from lost love? I wasn’t quite sure how to navigate that aspect of the platform-building. I write about women, so I’m supposed to be an expert of women, now? Hell, I’m still learning myself!
What I do remember is what I should not do is blog about all the technical aspects that come into play when it comes to writing, such as how to find the best editor, or how cloud technology can help a writer. Why? Readers don’t want to know that. Also, I shouldn’t get into personal stuff. Why? How can you be an “expert” if all you’re talking about is what you had for breakfast, how your kid lost his tooth or how much your allergies suck? Lastly, don’t let all your tweets and blogs be used as marketing tools. Why? Makes you a spammy spambot. And no one is going to buy your book (or like you) if that’s all you do.
Content wise, I did my best to keep things in their lane. As such, there were things I wanted to blog on that didn’t quite work, so I thought about making a separate blog or reviving an old blog and rehabbing it for my non-writing stuff. But then, I realized:
I work, I have a family, I’m writing, and I’m in nursing school. Running two blogs?
I tried to make the rules fit me. Square peg, round hole? I tried it. And stopped blogging consistently several times in the process as my attempts to make the rules work left me frustrated and out of stuff to talk about.
And now, I’m over it. Did I really have to follow these rules, even if they’re not working? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I had an epiphany of sorts. Why am I trying to fit into this box of how to be successful as a writer in the social media world? I had put a filter on myself when one wasn’t necessary. This is not to say that platform building isn’t useful. I know of a fiction writer that has established an awesome platform from her knowledge base of what she writes about. She’s built an incredible following. So, don’t sic the platform building gurus on me! And, there are some nuggets that have been useful for me such as, don’t be a spam-bot. No one likes that. Overall, I just couldn’t make a go of it. And it’s okay.
So here’s what I’ma do (yes, I wrote I’ma):
**A post about the joys and pains of being an independent author(ess)? Yup!
**A tweet about how this brand new conditioner gave me poppin’ curls? Tweet, tweet. #naturalhair
** A rant about the stress of school? Let’s have a hissy fit, shall we? Be warned, there may be cursing involved
**A short fiction piece? Of course! It is what I do.
**How some latest & greatest concept/technology/book has helped me grow as a writer and why all my fellow indies should consider it? Absolutely. We’re in this thing together.
**Something I’ve seen, read, or that’s been on my heart that could help motivate or inspire? Or even something that makes me “go hmmm…”? Yaass! It’s all Love, Peace, & Blessings.
I don’t have to be in a box…or in a corner. Sometimes the rules are just basic guidelines.