Tuesday, January 20, 2015

24 Questions to Answer Before You Build Your Writer Platform by Christina Katz

Christina Katz's 24 Questions to Answer Before You Build Your Writer Platform for writers on Udemy.com is a class designed to help writer's identify their platform and determine if they're ready to create their platform. The class does what it promises to do by helping writers hone in on their accomplishments and see how they want to use their work in the world. The class offers The Platform Bingo Worksheet for  listing the answers to the lectures/questions each day. Katz has students write the answers on the worksheet. If one is at the beginning of one's career, the worksheet will probably work fine. For me, however, my sheet is so full it is difficult to decipher and therefore isn't useful to me in this form. I will likely review each of the questions and write out the answers on notebook paper soon. I may later also type the answers into a document that I can revise as I go. Something about handwriting helped though.  In the process, I felt more connected to what I have accomplished over the course of my career thus far and got a greater sense of how that demonstrates who I am and what I have to offer. The course reminded me how easy it is to get caught up in what we don't accomplish and ignore what we have accomplished. The reality is writers all have a message they're expressing and a goal or ten or a hundred they'd like to accomplish with their words. While we might not like to think of that as our platform, it becomes one. Katz seems to be asking "Do you want to control your platform or let your platform control you?" There's something organic about a writer's platform that comes out of the things a writer writes and the message a writer wishes to send into the world on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, life-long basis. Katz asks students to ask themselves what that message is and whether or not they think the work they're putting into the world is in line with that message. I think beginning writers would find this process useful but I would caution beginning writers to not get so hung up on platform they forget about writing. I think experienced writers might find the exercise helpful if only to revisit the platform from which they operate and to get a sense of what they have actually accomplished. Writers taking this class will also get a glimpse into their strengths and weaknesses as well as their comfort zones and not-so-comfortable zones as they answer the questions. Regardless of how one feels about the concept of a writer's platform, the questions Katz asked helps writers to pause for a moment to get grounded again and then move forward.