Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wendy Who



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

23 comments:

  1. I hear you--and I'm right there with you! I'm not a noisemaker. Not in life. Not on the internet. And even when I try to be, no one hears. And I've come to be ok with that. I "do" all the stuff, but only in a way that I can deal with and that is me. I try not to compare myself to others in this area, and I keep trying to write better books. So hang in there, Wendy, and do what you've been called to do! Enjoy the process. Enjoy your family. And walk each road in obedience and faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an encouraging message, Anne, both in the relating & the prompting to enjoy the process & my fam. :)

      Delete
  2. I hear you, Wendy Who -- and not only do I hear you, I value what you have to say.
    And yes, sometimes I am afraid that what I have to say will go unheard. If that happens ... well, then so be it. I won't stop saying it. I believe in what I have to say. Sometimes the person who needs to hear it the most is me. (Funny thing, that.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the Horton love & yes, funny thing, that. ;-)

      Delete
  3. It is a sea of noise, but this helps comfort me: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." The important things I have to say, the ones God wants heard...they will be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent thought, Jessica. Thanks for the potent reminder.

      Delete
  4. I really like social media, but there are times when I fear I'm not doing enough. I think there just has to come a point where we realize we can't do it all. We can focus on what we like, what we're good at, and what's necessary--and let God do the rest. I don't want to talk just to hear myself talk, you know?

    And like others have said, I hear you--and I value you! You were one of the first bloggers to take me under your wing and make me feel part of the crowd, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Been like that since I was kid...always wanting everyone to feel included. You have a lot to offer, Lindsay! Glad my reaching out had impact.

      Delete
  5. Janna Who here, totally relating. Well said, Wendy. And yours is a helpful perspective to absorb, because I've been lost... but it doesn't mean my voice and writerly capabilities have diminished. I'm good enough, after all, and people like [my writing]. ;)

    Thanks for this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for swinging by, Janna. When I saw your update I couldn't resist. I seriously almost included that quote in this post.

      Write with passion!

      Delete
  6. Wendy, definitely hear you. There are those times when we, as authors, have been at this so long, we wonder if it's worth it. I do believe in the power of blogging, but I'm at the point where I'm ready to focus on the parts of my platform that come easiest--the FB and the twitter and Pinterest, and the joint blog I'm part of. That way, I have a bit more time to WRITE...hee. We can definitely spread ourselves too thin. All the best to you, Wendy Who! I'm a fan of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty sure I'm in the King Solomon stage of writing, asking the deep, tough questions. Rounding this corner once again.

      Delete
  7. As one who so enjoys "hearing" you, I'm glad you're sticking with it despite the "Is anybody out there listening?" days. I've certainly had the same, "Is this worth it?" feelings. But the thing that hits me over and over is how so often I'll write, let's say, a devotional blog post and at the end of it, I'll get that "This one was for you, Melissa" feeling. Like maybe God sparked the idea for a post because I'm the one who needed the thoughts--regardless of whether it garners views and comments. And the whole FB and Twitter thing...it can feel like it's so much about that dreaded platform. But as relationships develop and friendships deepen, I'm seeing the platform aspect slip from my worries and the blessings take top spot. It's been...fun.

    I don't know how I first came across your blog, but I'm glad I did!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that beautiful encouragement, Melissa. It's wild when I complete a novel and months later look back and say, "Oh, so that was that what that was all about." I hash through and wrestle with life stuff in my novels. Huh, go figure. :D

      Delete
  8. You've done it! Your platform is *built* my friend! You have created a beautiful community, and a wonderful springboard from which you will launch your books. You're there!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy!

      So cool to see you this morning at the coffee shop! I truly appreciate your kind words & am looking forward to watching your career take off!

      Again, loved seeing you this gorgeous morning!

      Delete
  9. I believe in you, Wendy! You're a gifted, talented person who has blessed me countless times. I love how you string words together in such creative ways, often s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me and opening my mind in bold new ways. I'm privileged to know you, my sister, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Keli, you've been such a faithful encouragement in my life. I swear, you need to get an award for uplifting others! Love to s-t-r-e-t-c-h folks! Privileged to know you!

      Delete
  10. "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?"

    Good questions. To the first one - sometimes, yes. There are so many other writers who commands so much more readership. If our little blogs that attract only a few readers were to end, would any body miss them? Same with our books. Sure, that thought occurs occasionally.

    How do we feel reaffirmed? By knowing that at least some people are encouraged, built up, etc. There's only a few really big lakes, but their are lots of little ponds. But all those little ponds combine to play a big role.

    Good post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew up near a little pond and I did a ton of thinking out by it. So thinking of myself that way is quite endearing. Thanks for stopping by, Warren. Great to hear your thoughts and to have that refreshing reminder.

      Delete
  11. I thought to myself tonight: I haven't been to Wendy's site in FAAAARRRRR too long. I miss your thoughts, because they do move me. As I clicked over to your blog home, I was contemplating the fact that I've lost my fervor for social media. I used to faithfully visit almost forty sites a week...but for the past six months, I'm lucky if I get to five or six. I felt the same thing you describe here. What is the point of all this noise? As I pursue my dream to be published, and my family life becomes chaotic, the first thing to go is social media. But, as we've been told, it's so important. Where is the balance? How much is "enough"? I could keep going and going and going, and never hit the end of the social media world. So we have to draw the line somewhere. Sigh.

    I'm so happy I stopped by. I'm so happy I'm not alone. :) The greatest gift of blogging is connecting with people who "get" me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you stopped by! And I agree, the greatest gift really is connecting with people--people like you.

      Delete
  12. Amen and amen. Thank you for this post, Wendy who! I believe in you. Yes, yes,I do. Okay, no more Dr. Seuss. :)

    Love you!

    ReplyDelete

Introducing . . . The After Glimpse

Corrine Boulder, Landon Young, and Aria Glynn share something inexplicable in common. They’ve all lost loved ones two years ago to the ...