I’ve been thinking a lot about platform. We writers are told all the time that we need to build a platform, literally the soapbox we plan to stand on to grab the attention of readers.
Platform comes naturally to nonfiction writers. They’re writing in the first place to communicate a particular idea or philosopy, or to sell a product or service. Platform is a no-brainer in these situations.
But what about us creative types? What kind of platform should a poet or a storyteller build? Even an essayist or memoirist can have a tough time figuring out how to communicate their core message.
That’s what a platform is it seems, the core message we want to send. Or, as a friend recently put it, a vocation.
For months now I’ve been circling my own passion, zeroing in on exactly what it is I want to communicate to the world through my writing. There are concrete topics I keep returning to: adoption, mental illness, motherhood, to name a few. But there are themes too: control, loss, belonging. And these are just a sampling of the many ideas that pass through my consciousness.
When I try to analyze my own writing looking for patterns, I become too much a literary critic. I don’t want to label myself as this or that type of writer. I don’t want to worry about whether I’m aligned with any particular school of thought. I simply want to write. Let someone else worry about the labels.
My vocation is to express my truth at any given moment of writing. My platform will be the sum total of my work. It will continuously evolve, just like me.