Monday, June 4, 2012

Finding Your Platform

Before I started a writing blog, my biggest hesitation was that I felt I had nothing to add. What would my platform be?

Because the word platform? It's a really scary word. Right up there with Lord Voldemort and Blood-sucking. And if you've ever faced a mosquito, you KNOW that blood-sucking is one frightening word.

Obviously, I took the plunge, but easing into a platform that will really keep people coming back is another story.
  • First I tried doling out writing advice using real life examples. I like that okay and I still do it sometimes. But it can get boring fast.
  • Next I tried being the Grammar Nazi. Because I actually am one. But I just couldn't make grammar interesting enough. Not like Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares (who has a grammar book coming out soon!). And I didn't really want to delve as deep as I needed to to make it useful like Grammar Girl. Besides, they were already doing it. So I stopped.
  • Then I moved to talking about license plates, which I still love doing. That one stuck. I've even had some commenters tell me that they think of me whenever they see a personalized plate. Yay! Of course, if I ONLY did license plates, well, that might get old, too.
Finally, I had an epiphane about my platform. As much as I wish these were me, I will never be the Janice Hardy who doles out AMAZING writing advice on pretty much a daily basis. (Wow, I love that girl.) I will never be the Miss Snark's First Victim, or even the recently-launched Cupid's Literary Connection where I connect writers and agents in contests. I will never be the Literary Rambles which is a must-visit for all agent-seeking authors.

The problem? I don't think it's that there isn't room for more blogs like those (just look at Cupid who is doing very well and has already had some success stories). The problem is that none of these types of blogs fit my personality.

If I tried to keep up a blog like that, I would lose interest fast. Not because I don't love those blogs (in fact, you should all be following all of them!), but because I am simply not serious enough. At least, not when it comes to writing.

I love to laugh, joke around, get a little silly. Because I am serious enough in every other aspect of my life, I need the outlet. I remember agreeing to write an article in college about which grocery store to go to. My research started out serious enough, but it quickly turned into a series of limericks about the pros and cons of the various stores. Yeah, I have no idea if they printed it.

So while this isn't exactly the platform I originally imagined for myself. Humor and inspiration have become my thing.


Because it's what I need. It's what will keep me coming back and writing posts. It's what will keep me sane.

(But isn't it ironic that this post doesn't exactly fall into either of those? Please ignore my inconsistency and just go with it.)
So how about you? Have you figured out your platform? How did you find it?

P.S. This will be my last post for a while as the move is sneaking up quickly. I hope to be back by August or even sooner. Have a great summer!


Beth said...

Limericks about grocery stores - I would have paid to read that!

I resisted blogging for a long time because I didn't feel I had anything new to say. I finally gave in when I realized I didn't have to write about writing. (My books aren't about writing, so why should my blog have to be?) I gave myself permission to write about things I love - traveling and cooking - and for that reason it's worked for me.

Old Kitty said...

I love bloggers who just blog about what catches their fancy! I love honest blogs - no ulterior motive - just a willingness to share a little personal haven in the big bad internet world.

Good luck with your move lovely Janet - hope all goes as smoothly as possible!! See you soon! Take care

Stina said...

I have no idea what my platform is beyond writing and photography (and a few things toss in when I feel like it). I keep wanting to try something else, but I'm afraid people will stop visiting. And I do love my visitors. :) Plus, I can't think what that something else might be.

Good luck with the move!

Victoria Dixon said...

I think it's "those things we toss in when we feel like it," as Stina put it, that make up our platform. They show readers who we are. Funny your post is on this topic, because so is mine today and I featured you as my example, Janet!

Melissa Sarno said...

I have no idea what my platform is. I love silly. I love humor and inspiration. I love you being you. Good luck with the move :)

Colene Murphy said...

Such a weird coincidence you write about this today! I just came back after having lost motivation because I tried to shove myself in the little advice slot and feel I have nothing new to say! (and wrote about it, being the coincidence part. lol)

Glad you've found your little niche! I think you do wonderful at plates and humor and motivation! All of it!

Good luck on your move!

Laurel Garver said...

Good luck with your move!

I think it's all about what feels like "me" and that you can maintain long-term interest in.

I do lots and lots of posts about my writing passions: deep characterization and helpful hints for revising.

I love character-driven books and stories that show character transformation. I don't think I'll ever get bored talking about the many ways others do it well and tips I've picked up studying the topic. As for revision, I have been editing professionally for 21 years, so obviously making prose shine is something I also love.

But when those things do feel stale, I trot out other things I love: independent film, travel, poetry, faith, geeky things (SciFi, history, band, etc.).

One thing I've learned for sure over the three years I've had my blog is that when blogging becomes a chore, readers notice. Keep up your own level of passion--and never fear a kaleidoscope approach.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

janet, I love your blog because it's you, and I will miss you until August! As for finding a platform, it's hard! There are so many terrific blogs out there already, and why would anyone try to compete with the likes of Janice Hardy - just go there and enjoy what she does :) I'm just starting my 19th month of blogging and I still feel like I'm looking for my groove. I think I've found some things that work, but I like to shake things up from time to time, try new things, not be totally predictable or that gets boring of everyone, and I know other bloggers who have been at it for 1/4 of the time and already have more lifetime hits than I do, so clearly there's room for improvement :) Good luck with your move, and thanks again for the books!

LTM said...

Move on, movey! And yep. Humor + inspiration. And I try to share any cool knowledge I come across. I kind of look at it as my online weblog.


<3U, NTM
*nom nom nom*

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Janet - it's being you .. that's what I do .. but then I love the mix of other bloggers and the learning I do along the way ..

My blog is definitely not a history blog - yet I impart things I find interesting .. and being British that brings in history sometimes .. I just like finding out how things move along ..

Good luck with the move - time to think in between packing and sorting etc ..

Humour always brings us a laugh .. cheers Hilary

Myrna Foster said...

I love your blog just the way it is. :o)

Emily said...

Wow, I've never even thought about having a platform before! The blogs I like best though are really just honest accounts of real lives and real people; they don't conform to any one thing on a regular basis. I think you're doing great!

Good luck with the move!

Romance Book Haven said...

A great thought provoking post. Thanks.

Good luck with your move!

Lily Whalen said...

Hope your move goes smoothly, Janet! The books you sent arrived the other day and I am looking forward to reading them over the summer!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is super. I believe our platforms are who we are and whatever it is we have to share. My blog is about books, writing, blogfest pieces, and sometimes random things involving travel, music, and other topics. I believe I present myself as I really am to my readers.

Marcia said...

I love books and I love writing. So I talk about those two things, with personal glimpses mixed in. I really like blogs that raise good discussions and that give readers a bit of an idea of the everyday life of the person.

Connie Arnold said...

I just post poems on my blog and mostly reviews on my children's book blog. What you post on yours is entertaining, Janet, and effective as you can see from the number of people who follow your blog. Hope all goes well with your move!

Peggy Eddleman said...

I think it takes a while to find your niche! It definitely takes some trial and error. And hopefully, not too much error. ;)

And best of luck with the move!

Taffy said...

I also love to read blogs that have the daily or personal or honest posts. BUT I like it mixed in with other witty and fun and educational stuff as well. Ok. That could be anyone's blog. Sheesh.
I found I like the inspirational. I love quotes! So I usually add one on a weekly basis.
I enjoy your blog! And good luck with the move.

Missed Periods said...

Thank you for the shout out! What a pleasant surprise. I think you're hilarious. That toilet roll bit was classic. And you're so sexy when you speak French! (Not that you're not when you speak English, but I have a thing for French.) Good luck with the move.

Carolyn V said...

I try to do both, but I think I fail at both. lol.

Have a great summer Janet!!!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Hope your move goes well, dear Janet!

I just try to be myself. It's the only way I can blog regularly. I'm with you that if I tried to do anything else, I'd get bored quickly. So my blog is as random as I am, I'm afraid. *sigh*

In August we'll have to do our Ethnic Hacky Sack challenge! :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I think what you said is have to want to come back to your blog. :)

You enjoying yourself here is what makes people come back to see what you are saying. :)

Romance Reader said...

Yes, I like going back and reading some blogs. Yours is one of it!

Margo Berendsen said...

I went through the Shrinking Violets "Online Persona" workshop last year about this time, trying to find my "platform" and I learned A LOT!!!! - but I'm still not sure what my platform is! My "About Me" on my blog has gone through several iterations, and I've tried a couple new things - one not so successful (Mythical Madness), the other more so (Tempting Top Tens). So anyway enough about me, I love to hear other bloggers sharing how they've tried to figure out this platform thingie too and I love how you put it: "because it's what I need. It's what will keep me coming back and writing posts. It's what will keep me sane." - I couldn't have said it better.

Alice said...

The thing I love about your blog most is the silliness. We all need a daily dose of it. and because I enjoy your blog so much I've tagged you for the Open Horizons Award. Just follow the link to my blog for more info. Good luck with your move. I wondered why it had been so long since you last posted.

Victoria Dixon said...

It was great seeing you last week, Janet! So glad you're back in town. :D