Building a Platform While Writing

A river cutting through a rocky mountain. Photo by Steve Carter on Unsplash

I don’t know that it’s ever been easier to publish your work, unless you count the days when we were painting on cave walls. Instead, I think the challenge is getting your work seen. There’s a lot of amazing stuff out there, and your work is just one among many. Getting noticed is a matter of consistency and luck, like a trickle of water slowing carving its way through a mountain and becoming a river. It might never become a mighty impact on the environment, but it has to start somewhere.

I’ve played around with paid ads before, but it seems to be a better way to toss your money into the wind than have people notice you, and it leaves me feeling a little…hollow. I know some people will write it off as wanting a parasocial relationship with people, but I genuinely want to feel the thrill of connecting with folks who enjoy my projects. I want to be friends with these people and I want to support and uplift their work, too. I look to people like Neil Gaiman and my friend, Dex, and I see the way they spread their arms wide and embrace people who show interest in their stuff. This feels good, and it feels like something even a person struggling with depression and the tendency to withdraw can do.

I’m building my “platform”, my community, now, rather than waiting until I’ve released a full novel (I am proud of the short stories and articles I’ve already published). This is in part because many articles assure me I’m already behind in this, but also because as I create my projects and write my stories, I want to show people the process behind each of them. I’ve always loved to see the “making of” documentaries and read articles about how things came to be, and I’m hoping other people might be interested, too. So I’m building things now, in the open, and showing it all while it’s still half done or just getting started. Please excuse my mess (isn’t it glorious? so messy!).

I’ve also decided not to make a mailing list, but instead to start connecting with folks over Discord and socials. To be honest, I’ve never been very good at remembering to open my emails (Google is warning me right now that I’m almost at my limit of usage, in fact) and besides, I hate being talked at. I want conversations, discovered friends in far off places, and a sense of belonging. I don’t know how much of that you can get in a one-way letter, even if the spam filter didn’t eat it.

So I’m starting, and nothing may come of it. But oh, what if something does? If I connect with even one other person who loves my interests and works as much as I do, make even one more friend, then I’ve lost nothing and gained absolutely everything.


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