This post is part of a series examining the core habits and tools of the writing life. Join the conversation in the comments section or on Twitter.
Once you’ve made a commitment to write what is true and write often, your next challenge is deciding where you will do your writing. The term “platform” is often associated with digital venues, but it’s also an apt description for a whole range of places to preserve and showcase your work.
Journaling and private writing
Writing for yourself alone is a valuable practice. It gives you a chance to noodle around, try a new style, or just vent some frustration in a safe environment so you can move on to other things, like being awesome.
For those who prefer the old-school method, there are an abundance of nifty looking paper journals available at most retail stores. I’m currently writing in a journal that a friend gave me several years ago. The creator — a company called Ex Libris Anonymous — takes used books and repurposes them into journals. I’ve known people who turn planners and even run-of-the-mill wall calendars into a de facto journal. Anything goes, really.
Many digital platforms, like Penzu and Diaro, are designed specifically for private journaling. Even blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress have the option to make your blog private or visible only to certain readers.
Public blogs and social media
When you’re ready to take your work public, you have a wealth of online publishing tools to choose from. In addition to the blogging platforms listed above, here are some additional choices:
- LinkedIn has a built-in publishing platform that allows you to write and share articles with your professional network. I enjoy the visual editor, which is sleek and easy to use. If you choose to use this platform, be mindful of your audience. Save your more personal writings for your blog, and limit your posts to business or career-related topics.
- Facebook isn’t just for sharing cat memes or incendiary political opinions anymore. I know writers who use their Facebook pages to publish their poetry, personal reflections, and short bon mots from daily life. Although it does lend itself to long-form writing, Facebook is an ideal place to practice tightening your work. The readers’ desire to scroll is strong. If you don’t catch them in the first few sentences, they’re gone.
- If you want to make your writing leaner and more powerful, make Twitter your boot camp. The 140 character limit forces you to cinch up your writing and think carefully about word choice. Nowhere else does Strunk and White’s edict to “omit needless words” apply more.
This is a brief survey of available writing platforms, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list. If you have favorites that aren’t listed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Please note that these are personal recommendations only. I’m not getting paid to promote any of the links included in this post.
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