Network, network, network is all I hear about when trying to build my platform. But this can be rather exhausting, especially for someone who scores 90% on introvertedness. This means going to conferences and talking to people is out of the question. Web networking is much better, though I still have a slight aversion to it. I want people to read my blog and buy my books (future books, that is), but I’m told I must have a platform first. For someone as short as I am (pun intended), it's hard to build a platform big enough for people to see me. I'd be willing to slave for hours painting, drawing, and writing if I could construct a platform that way, but one mention of people and my vigor flails. You might as well be asking me to build the wall of China with popsicle sticks.
I don't like promoting myself, but I want to promote my stuff, and when I promote my stuff, I feel like I'm promoting myself and I begin to feel like a walking paradox. I don't want to be one of those people who visits blogs and comments, “That post is beautiful. Come see my blog.” I find it irritating when other people do that. When I comment, I want to mean it and not just compliment them to bribe them into reading my blog. I want them to know I'm there without waving a fifty-foot red flag, because, you know, I'm liable to get stampeded by bulls. Nor do I want to be one of those people who follows others just so they'll follow them back.
Networking is also slightly nerve-wracking. I remember the day that I opened my Instagram account. I posted some old paintings and likes were striking my posts faster than lightning. I was a mixture of happy and freaking out because how were these people finding me? I hadn't even followed anybody yet! Then people started following me and I hoped they weren't some stalker who planned to bomb my house. Yes, I'm an INFJ, which includes overthinking, overreacting, and over-everything else. I worry about what I post on my blog. Maybe I sounded weird. Maybe I used improper grammar. Maybe I'm not posting enough or perhaps I'm posting too much. Maybe I should post more about myself. Maybe I accidentally offended someone when I wrote that I disliked the taste of watermelon…
I still worry more than I should but God has shown me that networking isn't everything. He can make my readership grow aside from everything I try to do. I don't intend to abandon the construction of my platform, but trust His guidance to show me how to build it. The project may require moving out of my comfort zone, but that doesn't mean I'm going to jump in a lake because a certain platforming book told me so (besides, I can't swim so the step would be fatal). I'll do what works for me, remembering that there are more important things in life than having a large readership.
Inspiration is a funny thing, but unfortunately it's not funny enough to laugh at. Some days inspiration plays hide-n-seek and it can take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to find it. Inspiration is like a tornado that continually changes direction. I've spent a whole day digging for inspiration and come up with a goldmine; other times I've discovered a goldmine simply by throwing a pineapple in the garbage can.
Sometimes it's best to stop looking for inspiration and let it find you. After a while it will get cramped in its hidey hole and come crawling back when it realizes you aren't playing hide-n-seek anymore. Twenty-five percent of inspiration comes when I'm writing, seventy-five percent when I'm not. The harder you try to find inspiration the deeper it'll hide.
But how long do you wait for inspiration to come? It's not practical to bake cupcakes everyday, watch videos of mischievous cats every afternoon, or spend 365 days at Disney World while you are waiting for inspiration. When it's past time for inspiration to come, go to work without it. Yeah, I know it's a lot harder, but when you don't have paintbrushes you gotta use your fingers. Uninspired writing may look like a weed in a sunflower field, but it won't ruin the whole field. When inspiration finally arrives, you can always go back to that section and pull that weed and plant a flower.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist who captures the glories of God's creation on canvas. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a masters degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio