Writing and Publishing

Is Building a Platform Like Walking the Plank?

This week two friends expressed frustration with their attempts at building a platform for their writing. One lamented that with his work, family, schedule, and carving out time to write, he simply doesn’t have time to invest in growing his platform.

My other friend is taking an extended break from all blogging and social media. She became so overwhelmed with the pursuit of the platform that she even considered deleting her blog and shutting down all her social media accounts.

I know a third person who shares their struggles, understanding too well the crunch of time and the pundits’ insistence on the platform. That person is me.

If I weren’t distracted by growing my platform, I’d have twice as much time to write. I relish writing, whereas I hate the distraction of platform performance.

Adding to my discouragement is that I’m mired in creating a proposal for my book, God, I Don’t Want to Go to Church. I’m stuck on the section about my platform. I have too little to proclaim.

I wish we lived in a world where a book could stand on its merits, without the need for a platform to push it. But we don’t, so I must persist with my platform efforts, praying that it will be enough for my future publisher, without destroying my passion for writing in the process.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

15 replies on “Is Building a Platform Like Walking the Plank?”

Completely hard and time consuming. I do understand the value though. I enjoy connecting with others. I wish publication was not so dependent on it. It is very hard to balance writing and platform building in my opinion.

You had me at the title…My platform is so small me thinks people on it might fall onto the tracks. Prayers for balance and continual infusion of passion for the craft in the midst of walking the plank. Cheers.

Amen, Peter. I spend so much time a week on my blog that I have very little time to spend writing my book – the thing that I REALLY want to work on. All this other “stuff” feels like a distraction sometimes and I resent the time it takes away from pure storytelling. Sometimes I wonder where our faith is when we rely too heavily on pursuing all these other means of selling our work.

Peter, I needed to hear this today. I am in total agreement. There was a time when books could stand on their own merit. Last fall, I took a 40 day break from blogging. I remained on social media, and it was during that time I started the Tribe Writers class. I let one blog go, began a new one, and I’m working toward “building my platform.” It’s rather difficult, as I am concentrating on writing fiction, and struggle with finding the right balance.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Joan, I’m so glad that my post encourages you. I almost didn’t post it because I thought it was too negative and bordered on complaining.

Tribe Writers also helped me greatly. One key insight is refocusing my blogging strategy. That decision had a domino effect and I’m been at the transition for six months but am almost to the end.

I’ve barely begun to build my platform, and feel I have so little to put on it right now. My next step is to get my current website reviewed (this will happen the week of June 22), which I await with some trepidation, but I will also listen with open ears. I have been feeling lately like I get so little accomplished in spite of my best intentions. There just doesn’t seem to be time to do all I want to do/feel I should be doing, what with a full-time job, housework, cooking, shopping, errand running…everyone has all that…but my next step, I also feel, is to work on getting more freelance assignments so I can have more “street cred.” I’m having some trouble figuring out how to best manage my limited writing time.

Walking the Plank, I like the metaphor. Building a platform is hard, but I’ve come to see it as part of my writing, not something on the side. I practice my writing, find my voice, and roll out new ideas to a listening audience. One of the keys is balance. I have to CHOOSE how much time to spend online, not let the online world consume my sched. I leverage technology to do some of the work for me, and I pray constantly that I’m spending my time in a way that speaks the message God put’s in my heart, regardless of where the words show up.

Blessings Peter.

Thanks Tim.

Yes, balance is key — but I find that I lose my balance too often!

What do you think? Please leave a comment!