Today I’m looking at writing and platform building through a Horton Hears a Who lens.
If you’ve read the Dr. Seuss classic or have seen the movie you might imagine where I’m headed.
I’m a Who. A Who writer. Without a bestseller, not selling millions, no lines waiting for me at book signings.
Years ago I asked myself what’s a Who to do in the megaphone world of broadcast yourself until your fingers ache from tweeting and posting?
And naturally I concluded…
Make noise of course.
A constant tension exists in the publishing industry. Pour yourself into your craft. Don’t get distracted. But as you improve your craft and ward off distractions, build a rock solid platform.
In recent years, my inner introvert has endured Olympic-equivalent training while exercising extroverted skills.
And at some point I became immersed in the tension, wading, then dogpaddling, until I dove deep enough all sound began to mimic the murmuring Charlie Brown waa waa—that under water half-registered reception of everything communicated above the water’s surface.
I grappled with the fear that if I didn’t make noise I’d be blown by the wind, disappearing altogether. Would anyone care about a Who? Would I exist as a writer? Tree falls in the forest kind of thoughts.
Gradually, I’ve grown to embrace that being a Who isn’t about the clatter. Surviving + thriving in this industry require me to trust there are folks out there who believe in me. I believe in me.
I told myself to write this post as I would my last. Not because that’s what it is—a finale but because sometimes I think about it…hitting publish on my last post. I envision the exit from social media much like Jim Carrey stepping off stage in The Truman Show. No more tweeting, status updates, dipping my toe in or swan diving in the social media pool. I’m not anti social media. Absolutely not. In fact, while I was visiting my mom in Florida last week I missed connecting online.
However, it’s proven invaluable for me to evaluate how my experience online has influenced me, and what the concept of platform building has done to my passion for writing. For me, platform building has a tendency to feel like blowing down a deck of cards only to rebuild it again.
During my time of reflection I slid inside Horton’s skin, took a step back to watch Wendy Who blowing trumpets, smashing drums, while stomping all over the Internet. I connected alright. I connected with such fervor there were times I lost my voice in the process.
When I quieted I was surprised to learn a thing or two about myself. My writing didn’t crumble. The seeds where I’d rooted myself weren’t sent sailing haphazardly on the wind. Instead, I regained an appreciation of what I value about social media. I also took an honest look at all the noise I was making, measuring it, sampling it, and spitting out what was unnecessary.
I realized what I’m made of—the fight in me still strong.
One more thing settled into my Wendy Who bones. I don’t have to scream for survival in publishing. People believe in both me and my writing. My words speak loud enough on their own.
I need not worry whether or not people are promoting or talking about Wendy Who. Because I know what it feels like to holler with such throat-scratching intensity my blowfish cheeks redden and my purpose stretches to the point it can get diluted and muddled. And thankfully, I’ve learned what it feels like to float along content on the winds of change.
This Who has resolved to enjoy the process while letting my writing reverberate noise. I’m reenergized to focus on my craft as I trust in what’s to come.
Have you ever thought about the influence social media (and/or platform building) has had on your life? Ever feel like a Who, either afraid of being unheard or as though you could be blown away to nothingness? What helps you to feel reaffirmed in your most valued roles?
Thank you for being a Horton in my life—for hearing me!
*photos by stock.XCHNG