Author Sage Cohen, author of The Productive Writer, defines platform as "the turf you claim and name as your area of expertise in your writing life, and it's everything you do to make that expertise visible. Just as a thesis is the foundation of a term paper around which its argument is built, a platform is an organizing principle around which a writer's many expressions of work revolve. A platform says to both the writer and the world, 'I am an expert in [fill in the blank with your specialty]!'" Yours should be a topic or craft or theme or audience that has energy and curiosity for you: one that you know about and want to invest a whole lot more time knowing a whole lot more about.
With such clarity of purpose, over time you will likely publish, teach, lead, and share wisdom in ways that express, explore, and give shape to your expertise. And as this happens, you will start to become recognized as an authority in your chosen realm.
Think about your values as a writer - if the word platform scares you. What do you want to accomplish from your writing? What do you want others to take away from your work? When building your own platform, you may want to consider doing the following:
- Study those authors who you love to read. What are they doing to create a public image?
- Create a blog and begin publicly writing about your area of expertise.
- Get involved in writing communities—both online and in person. Never underestimate the power of networking for both inspiration and opportunity.
- Utilize social media, whenever practical, in order to build networks and promote your work.
- Read other works within your field. If you want to be a romance novelist, read the best-selling romance novels. If you want to become a memoirist, stay current on trends in the world of creative nonfiction.
- Begin to think of your writing life your real life. You are a writer once you put your ideas into daily practice, regardless of how many publications you can claim.