By Wendy A. Jones
I've been thinking about this post for a couple of months now, and as I came to write it I noticed both Bonnie and Laura are on a similar wavelength this week. Namely: blogs.
The reason I got thinking about blogs is because I've been wondering about my own blog lately. Do I keep going as I've been going, or do I "take it to the next level?" As Bonnie pointed out, sometimes agents and/or publishers will check your online presence to see if you have an established fan base. In another blog (The Meanest Mom) I read recently, she compared most blogs to crock pots--a mish-mash of things all thrown in together. To make a "successful" blog, she said, you need it to be about one thing.
You need a platform.
Laura has a platform. She writes daily and posts about trash. (The second kind). Her readers have certain expectations when they go to read her blog: 1. It will be every day and 2. It will be about trash. Also, if you've read Laura's blog before you know that 3. It will be entertaining. (Um, this might be a good time to admit I have lurked on Laura's blog in the past. [Blushes]. Hi, Laura!)
I've read blogs about gluten-free cooking, blogs about design, blogs about writing, blogs about cancer, blogs about hobby farming, blogs about down syndrome, and blogs about books. Each one is written by a person (or persons) with lots of experience on their topic.
I tried to think of a platform, something I could be known for. Three of my fours kids have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder that makes them break bones easily. I've written about it on my blog before; in fact, when I look at my blog stats it's one of the posts that is hit by search engines most often. I could write about that.
I'm writing a book--a Regency romance, actually. I could write about that.
I'm ward choir director. I could write about that.
I play the bassoon. I could write about that.
There are half a dozen things that I feel 'expert' enough to write about. (The book writing one? Yeah, that's the only one I really don't feel expert on. Along with the Regency period. I'm learning as I go.)
But the problem is, I don't really want to write about bassoons or choirs or OI or the landed gentry.
The reason I started my blog three years ago had nothing to do with 'gaining a following' or 'getting my name out there.' The reason was quite simple. I wanted to make my family laugh.
I lived hours away from everyone, and only saw family two or three times a year. A blog made it easy to share things with them despite the distance.
I've tried starting other blogs. I have a writing/book blog (sorely neglected). I have a being-LDS-and-getting-divorced blog (not even really begun). I've realized, though, that I don't have the energy to do them all and still write my book.
For me, the answer wasn't expanding and posting more in my platform-specific blogs. (Honestly, right now I just need to focus on finishing my dang book.)
I also discovered something else as I tossed platform ideas around in my head: I blog better when I stick to my original platform. I blog more and I enjoy it more when I'm simply trying to make my family laugh.
Someday, I'm sure, I'll need to revisit the platform discussion with myself. (Maybe after I get my first draft finished.) I saw Liz Adair at her book launch last weekend and she reminded me about seasons, and how there are times and seasons for different things in our lives. I think I'm starting to figure out what I can handle in this season.
And it begins with inside jokes about Idaho and absurd things people say and pictures of my kids.
So what's your platform?
*Photo Credit: Boots by Alexander McQueen, photo from the Museum at FIT