Sunday, October 9, 2011

What is this thing I'm standing on?

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

4 comments:

  1. Wendy, I really appreciate this question...and this post. I started my own blog quite awhile ago...and it is sorely neglected..and now I know why. I don't have a platform. well, perhaps I do...and I just lost sight of it. Thank you for opening my eyes!
    hugs~

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  2. Hmmm, I guess I could blog about being laid off, the emotional ups and downs of finding a new job in a very bad economy. On second thought it might depress me, lol.

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  3. This is exactly what I have been thinking about lately. I even went to go spruce up my neglected blog and I ended up causing my pretty background to vanish. Poof.

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  4. Thank you so much for the blog!! And i live this blog !!!

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