Dust of Your Platform, Writer!

Today’s date on my desk calendar sports a big, crimson exclamation point. Dusting is on the schedule. Why would anyone even think of dusting anything on a hot August afternoon? Well to tell you the truth, I like to give less daunting names to activities which seem to postpone themselves or tumble from my TO DO list…unbeknownst to me.  Subterfuge. Yes, I admit, although it gives me a cramp between the eyes, I procrastinate. I am afraid of nailing vital issues down. Afraid to REALLY get started on the big stuff. The scheduled dusting means firing up my Kindle and beginning two books which are aimed to wake up, my existence as a writer. (There. I have come out of hiding. A writer I am)  Recently, I  have visited many, many writer’s web pages, blogs. There is lots of wonderful content out on the world wide web, the very big world wide web. Where does one begin? (Intimidation level ever rising …yikes..) How does one build her own author’s platform? My first thought was to ask my brother, a really talented IT guy. He could surely give me the low-down about setting up a blog  and the  tags. I changed my mind as the visions of code and more code clogged my thought process  accompanied by greater visions of his growing impatience.

I also have a Twitter account, but have only used it to tweet a very limited number of people. Through a writer friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, I caught wind of a certain Kristen Lamb and began to follow her. Gradually, I received invitations to follow other writers, etc. Still, Twitter was usually an afterthought Back to Kristen Lamb. I became curious, so I peaked into her blog and was immediately struck by the energy and wittiness within.  Of course, curiosity got the best of me,so without further ado, I grabbed my Kindle and immediately downloaded her books “We Are Not Alone” and “Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer”. It is a true kismet moment when you find something you needed, but were ignorant of its existence  Tickled pink to have had the good fortune of such a discovery. Hooray! 

So, now what?  Easy! I am in the middle of reading “We Are Not Alone” taking lots of notes so that I can whip my existing  social media whisper into  proper author-serving -reader serving form. The message in Kristen Lamb’s book is PURE motivation, especially to those of us (and we are many, I dare believe) wearing many hats on a daily basis.  She expertly takes the writer through all of the steps towards creating a viable author platform underpinned with crystal clear examples and lots of friendly banter. From branding precisely to setting up a dedicated blog , getting the ball rolling on Twitter and  opening a presence on Facebook and MySpace, nothing is left to hazard. With a bit of concentration and effort the writer has the information to build her writer platform, thanks to the logical and simple explanation. The dead-on advice about the absolute necessity of securing your brand as an author using your name was an eye-opener of mammoth proportions for me. I get it now and don’t keep my writer-ness a secret anymore.  “Tags” used to be a four letter word for me.  You, too? No longer now after the exquisite explanation in “WANA”.  If you have not yet purchased these two exceptional books, what are you waiting for?  Be sure and visit Kristen Lamb’s blog www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com for a test drive. Without further ado, I close so that I can tell my writing group buddies here in Luxembourg all about my auspicious discovery. 

Better the second time around

Ever wonder what your personal outcome would be if you decided to resume an activity which had been mothballed at some time in the past for a series of reasons or due to uncontrollable circumstances?  Of course, to have not forgotten  it all together is an accomplishment. I am thinking of the uncountable collection of activities one attempts, even if “just to see” or because “everybody else” is “doing it”. Two months ago, after an acquaintance asked me ” what makes you happy?”, I was sincerely at a loss for words. I had no answer because the depth of the question threw me for a loop. Wrestling with this conundrum robbed me of sleep and the daydreaming during this grail-like quest nearly catapulted me into a fender bender . Distraction pure. What makes me happy? Many are the events and people who make me happy. But  I understood the question to mean what had made me happy in the past, before adult life grew tentacles mighty enough to hog all my time for the daily mundane task never lacking in quantity. My acquaintance had no clue to the gift she presented me with that fateful day. 

One day it hit me. The memory of this special fabric of happiness materialised from the darkest recess of my memory. I rose early one Sunday morning. The steady splatter of fat raindrops on the skylight window of my bedroom made late sleeping impossible. Once downstairs I tossed a coffee pad into the machine and while the wake-up brew dripped steadily into the cup, I slipped into the  empty living room and  scanned the offerings on the TV.  I was glad that it was not too late for a Sunday morning concert. Usually a re-broadcast from the classics of yesteryear. I no longer remember who conducted. The horns. Mahler. And then light-headedness, tears filling my eyes and the inner voice finally  letting me in on the secret : “That’s it!  When playing the horn you were nothing but happy!” With Mahler in the background, I took a trip down memory lane. After much trepidation  (could I work back up to the level where I had left off?) and a cautionary look at available funds, I did just that.   I scoured my region for a used French Horn. The initial degree of tattiness mattered not. And a dent here or there would not have raised an eyebrow of misgiving. I simply had to locate an affordable horn. I found my match.   I call her Lorelei.

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Why such a definite experience? In hindsight, the happiness caused by the horn, by the activity, had always been a sure thing. It was something I had excelled at and could lose myself in, jump over my shadow of insecurity. No concert hornist by far, but a genuine one. The moment I picked that instrument up and breathed in the sharp brassy odor of the metal melded with the spicy perfume of slide grease and rotor valve oil, I became mesmerised and willingly sucked into the creative funk.  It is just like riding a bicycle. Need I say more?

I will return to this subject as my horn journey unfolds. After a thirty-year hiatus I have a bit of “wood-shedding” to do. But does it ever feel good.!

I am sure that we have all had a similar call from the past. I would love to hear about yours.