You can’t just be a writer anymore. All the websites say so. The days of being an Emily Dickinson or J.D. Salinger – just locking yourself away in a room somewhere, and writing writing writing for the pure unadulterated joy of writing! – are like totally over now.
Writing is not enough anymore. This is what all the websites say. On top of writing, the twenty-first century writer needs to additionally create and sustain a “platform,” which may include (but is not necessarily limited to) a website and a blog, numerous social media accounts, regular public speaking appearances, and so on. And it is upon this writer’s platform that the contemporary writer must metaphorically perch if we wish to develop an online “presence” and to establish our “brand.”
And the websites go on to tell us that it is this very online presence and branding that will help us get “noticed” by the publishers who, upon noticing us, may or may not publish the book that we’ve been meaning to write, but haven’t quite gotten around to just yet, because we’ve been too busy learning HTML in our efforts to create and sustain our burgeoning writer’s platform.
This is what all the websites are saying.
Well, not all the websites. Just the ones whose stated purpose is to help writers with their writing careers. And while these writer-focused websites are generally sincere and often quite helpful, I cannot help but notice that these websites are also invariably written by writers. Specifically, by writers who write about helping writers with their writing careers. In other words, helping writers with their careers is their career. Nay, it is their brand! The brand that will help get them noticed by publishers!
And by reading their extremely helpful blog posts about creating my own writer’s platform so that I can develop my own online presence, I am simultaneously helping them establish their online presence. It is a win-win situation. For both of us.
And now, by reading this – my very first blog post – you, dear reader, are presently participating in my newly acquired online presence. So thank you for the lovely present of your presence!
And if you just so happen to appreciate this blog post – wherein I blog about people who are blogging about blogging – then by all means, feel free to blog about it.
And one day, in the not so distant future, we will all have publishers…