A Fiction Writer should be their own Platform

Stress can kill you, take away what you believe in and recently for me, make you sick as hell.

The stress came about because of my worries for my NaNoWriMo project, a project which, like last year, fell on its face and hasn’t begun to start moving, even though I’ve prodded it.

The biggest reason for its flop is Platform.

That word is such a buzz word in blogging and writing right now. It’s very hard to get away from it.

The biggest problem I see with that word is another word, fiction.

Fiction writer’s create worlds. Sometimes we don’t know where the story is going, even with an outline, and because of that we can’t truly set up a Platform.

A Platform is supposed to be a guide for a project. 

If you’re a fiction writer, that’s more difficult because you may not know where the story is going from one chapter to the next.

Those who write self-help books can use Platforms really well, while the rest of us are left wondering why it doesn’t work when we try it.

Here are reasons why I believe Platforms don’t work for Fiction Writers:

  1. Most fiction writers don’t write for an audience, and those who do already have there established group of readers.
  2. Platforms don’t allow for movement. If things change in your life, you have this Tribe that knows you as one person, but if you go through a spiritual awakening that is different than the one your Tribe knows you as, you have to start over.
  3. Change. Life is filled with change, some of it under your control, most of it not. If your writing changes or you choose to write in another genre it may alienate your tribe.

You may want to create a Platform, but in creating a Platform you may not be taking into account your life changes, your writing changes and the biggest of all, You Change.

The change you go through personally may alienate your tribe or may create divisions in your life.

Creating a Platform shouldn’t be something difficult, for fiction writers maybe it shouldn’t be something at all.

Writers create stories, some of them have similarities that when put together as a collection ofr work show those similarities, but as we write we may not understand the similarities and may become annoyed by those telling us to write another book like our past book.

For me who’s never published, though I’ve written two novels, I just want to get a book on the shelf.

Looking for a Platform for my writing caused me so much stress in the last few weeks I became ill and with that I swore I’d never do what people expect me to write.

My Platform is I’m a writer of different genres, mostly Science Fiction or Fantasy based, but I’ll never limit myself to those two.

I choose that Platform because trying to pigeon hole myself made me sick.

Your Platform should be what makes you the person you’ve lived with for your life, never limit yourself to who you are, or your Platform.

Be your Platform!

I’d rather be my Platform than do something I wouldn’t be proud of.

What Baking a Cake Taught me About Writing

My daughter loves carrot cake, the frosting, the mix of certain spices…alright, mostly the frosting.

Last week I decided to bake a carrot cake with my daughter. On the recipe it said to use spring form pans, this is possibly because it’s easier to take the cake out of the spring form than a regular cake pan.

We don’t keep those types of pans in the house; they don’t get used enough.

Instead of the spring form I used basic cake pans, and they worked beautifully.

Recently with my writing I’ve been trying to write something more literary than the sci-fi stuff I usually write, well I haven’t written a word I actually like, then I made the cake last week, and like the cake I was trying to fit my writing into a mold, a pre-form of what I thought I should write.

I started writing something that is more like my other writing and discovered I shouldn’t try to be a writer I’m not.

As long as the writing tastes good on the reader’s palette you shouldn’t try to fit into a mold of what you think you should write.

Don’t use a mold, and write what you prefer.

It’s good to experience new things, but sometimes you’re either not ready for that new experience or your mind hasn’t settled from another story.

Remember, You’re the writer, write what you want and break the mold.

A Star Chart is Essential to Reach the Stars

Night_Sky_Stars_Trees_02
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

Oftentimes, we’re stuck in a reality of chaos, wrapped in an enigma of what we believe our lives should be. And through the chaos time stands still.

We see where we’ve wanted to be with our lives, where we are and how far we have to get there or maybe we think that our lives are under our control and not fate. If fate is in control why don’t we just walk through the middle of the freeway during rush hour and “take our chances on fate?”

Our reality is we must keep doing what we’re doing, ignore the mystery of who we are. Wake up tomorrow and plan better than we did the previous day, or days.

If we’re going to reach for the stars we need to create a better star chart. Without a star chart we’re wandering, staring at a sky full of blinking lights.

Your life is in your hands, as is your ability to create. Your ability is given to you to do as you please, but if you don’t use it wisely you’ll be like every other creative who gave up and threw away their star chart, or worse…burned it!

The gift every writer has is a story. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, at least not at first, as long as you enjoy it. You’ll learn to hone your ability the way a comic book character learns when to use that super strength and when is the worst time.

Your life goes by faster than you believe, and when you don’t stop to write it down, sooner or later it will be gone and you’ll discover you don’t have any notes or stories.

When you discover your gift for writing you’ll learn that you can write better than you thought and it will teach you that all those people who support you were really right, and those who said you’d never succeed didn’t know your drive or willingness to achieve great things.

Go out with the gift you have and amaze yourself and eventually you’ll learn your reality isn’t chaos.

You’ll discover that enigma of who you are, it was staring you in the face the entire time.

That time you believe was standing still was only a dream and you’re control the time circuits.

Deal a blow to time and do something amazing with your gift.

Have you created your star chart? Answer in the comments.

The Delusion of Genre Classification

Delusions of...

I like the idea of trying to write a book in every genre.

China MIÉVille

Our idea of what our writing should be is covered up by labels.

These labels aren’t what we want, but a way for publishers to place our work in the market.

Each of us write different genres, but these genres shouldn’t limit who we are as writers.

Are we a Fantasy writer with their epic worlds and magical places?

Or possibly, a YA writer, creating worlds for teenagers to escape from reality and possibly discover someone in fiction who’s going through the same struggles they’re going through?

Then again, maybe your a Science Fiction writer, creating marvelous technology and doing amazing things in the future or some place among the stars.

Being any of these is great, but being the writer you want to be is more important than being classified as one genre or another.

Many writers write in different genres. Neil Gaiman has written children’s books, adult books, YA and comics. Stephen King may be the king of horror, but his Dark Tower series is fantasy.

Never let anyone tell you what you should write.

Even if you’re published, you can always write genres other than what you’re known for, even if you have to keep them to yourself for a while.

Writing is about discovery. Find the right story for you, whatever it is.

The genre isn’t as important as good writing.

Don’t define your writing by a genre classification, let others do that. Just write!

What’s your favorite genre to write? Answer in the comments.

Delusions of Fear

Alley in the Dark
Alley in the Dark

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell

We fear things because we’ve been conditioned to do so.

All our lives we’ve been told, “They’re different, you shouldn’t talk to them.” or “That food is weird, you shouldn’t try it.”

The problem with this is we find ourselves stuck fearing everything. Whatever happens in our lives we discover that there’s a fear attached to it.

Writing is a major fear for a lot of writers, not because we’re afraid to write, it’s because we’re afraid of our writing not being as good as it could be, or it not being as strong as we’d like it to be.

We sit at our desk writing and the fear of poor prose can stop us from writing. Doubt of our own abilities can kill a writer’s confidence which in turn will kill a writer’s imagination.

Getting through our fear of not living up to our own abilities will make us stagnant or worse yet lead us down the path of forgetting why we started writing in the first place.

You should keep a list of reasons why you started writing:

  1. Make sure this list is visible when you’re writing.
  2. Create a desktop wallpaper with the list on your computer.
  3. This list can be something you share with those close to you, or not. If you tell them why you write, they may be more inclined to support your efforts.

Fear management is the best thing you can do for your creativity. Keeping your fears in check will keep you writing and will make your supporters more willing to help you.

Like the quote at the start of this post, fear of doing things in your writing will lead you away from your goals, even if you write for yourself and don’t plan on publishing, fear will create the negativity that keeps you from finishing a story, book or poem.

Don’t fear entering the cave, run through it screaming, searching for the treasure you earned from writing.

Are you afraid of entering the cave? Answer in the comments.