An ever-present part of developing an author platform is the content in it. List all the various media an author can use to connect with potential book readers, and one quickly realizes they are nothing but empty containers until filled with something.
Some media are better than others for certain types of messages to certain audiences, but without a clear idea of what you want to communicate, you will panic for lack of material and post pictures of your lunch.
Unless you are a foodie writing reviews of various dishes, you will need to apply yourself creatively as much to your platform as you do for a book. You need to explore what “disciplined creativity” means to you.
“Disciplined creativity” seems like words working at cross-purposes to the other. An oxymoron for sure.
In what is becoming a lost art, newspaper columnists are a perfect example of “disciplined creativity.” At one point in time, newspaper columnists wrote many of the best-selling books. Just do an online search for “authors who were once journalists” for a lot of options proving this point.
Newspaper columnists earned a good living but lived by deadlines. They wrote a certain number of words every day. It was their job. They learned to discipline their creativity, or they lost their jobs. Maybe they had moments of writer’s block or difficulty in coming up with ideas, but those moments passed quickly as they pushed through the fog because they had no choice.
Successful authors work regularly and with purpose. Maybe there are times when they focus more to complete a project, but it is built into their lives.
Similarly, platform growth is always fueled by disciplined creativity, mixing the following ingredients:
–Clear idea of whom the platform is intended.
–A stated content focus, which not only gives an idea what to do but also what not to do.
–Self-imposed schedule for posting or sending content.
–Relentless adherence to your content, deadline, and posting schedule.
–Clear idea of what works to draw the most interest to your platform and what does not.
–More postings of what draws the most interest and less of what doesn’t.
Now that I think about it, this doesn’t sound like much fun. In fact, it sounds like pure drudgery, unless you keep in mind the purpose and mission.
Most Christian authors I know have a sense of God’s calling on their lives. They feel led to write, create, communicate, encourage, explore, entertain, learn, teach, investigate, inspire, and inform. Always present is a sense that God is prodding them to communicate something worthwhile.
I can say the same about any Christ-follower I know in any vocation or profession. Sure, there are discouraging days and seemingly endless roads between destinations; but you always know why you are doing it and who is traveling the road with you.
And these facts make it all possible.
I write about how God endures
even through your worst of days,
and about how He ensures
that even as one dies, one plays.
Cancer’s stolen walk and breath,
but reading ’bout this gets most dull;
better that shadow of death
(implied) can make a life run full
with small and precious tender joys,
like birdsong in a sleepless night,
or watching two Chihuahua boys
pretend that they are gonna fight
Belle the Wolf, ten times their size,
for a worn-out toy, their shining prize.
Dan, thank you for those clear and needed marching orders, and for the examples of past journalists. I miss them deeply.
A quote I love: The greater the discipline, the greater the freedom.
Kristen Joy Wilks
It sure seems like a clash of gifting, but the results can be lovely!
Thank-you, this was an answer to prayer for me. It’s to lose focus when nothing is happening, yet that doesn’t give us permission to stop happening too.
Thank you for bringing what simple obedience looks like
God bless you.
Amy L. Perkins
This is such an insightful first step into creating an author platform that can be realistically maintained. Creativity needs structure. Thanks so much, Dan, for sharing this insight.
Thank you, Dan, for this term, disciplined creativity that gives a clear picture of how we should build our platforms.
Thank you for this! I am curious what content focus looks like for authors pursuing two genres. I write fantasy and Christian nonfiction. Building my website and platform for both audiences has been difficult, and I’m not always sure which content to focus on.
Does anyone else have this issue or have ideas about what to do about it?