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  1. James G says

    The platform isn’t the issue.  There are hundreds of platforms out there.  I can start a blog in a minute.  I have a great podcast studio and a workflow that could put out audio over the web at a moments notice.  I can edit together professional sounding podcasts, or write what I want, or fire up the webcam and do a video, and I have the time to do it all. 

    The platform isn’t the issue (for me).  The problem is what to do with that platform.  It’s finding that inner thing that I want to tell the world, or that thing I need to help the world do better.  Finding that thing and having the conviction and courage to carry it out, to tough it out through the hard times, and ignore the people who think it won’t work.

    I have the platform, which is the web, and all the wonderful ways we can put our work out thee.  The issue is finding my thing.

    • says

      What things have you tried? And what thing will you try next? (It doesn’t have the be the one that you choose forever, but eventually you’ll find it by trying things out, right?)

      • James G says

        I’ve tried lots of things, mostly writing and podcasting, about various topics of interest.  My main competency is audio, and I’ve put several things out there, but mostly they don’t stick, either with me, or with an audience. 

        I’m going to keep trying, and doing new things, but at some point, I want to stop flailing about and find something that will stick, so I can get on with doing whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing.  Patience is one thing, but waiting (working at different things to find the one thing) is getting exhausting. And demoralizing.

        • says

          What is it that happens that tells you the topic isn’t right?

          Is it that you get bored? Is it that you don’t get enough response from your audience? Is it that the audience doesn’t seem to gather? Something else?

        • James G says

          I’ll reply to myself here, I can’t reply directly to your comment (limitations of disqus, I guess).

          I think the answer is yes?  It’s all of the above, but less so the boredom.  I get excited about a project, but then get almost no feedback, and the feedback I solicit is ‘that’s good.’ aka, not helpful.  Sometimes I get response, but I don’t feel like that should be the main motivation, and when things fall apart, I wonder if what I am working on is the right thing or not. 

          Right now, I’m stuck firmly in ‘escape from cubicle nation’ mode, and the first part of Pam’s book reads like a diary.  The beat down of the daily job is, I think, a contributing factor.  I don’t feel the confidence or the drive half the time because of how poorly things go at the job.  I want to venture out on my own, but don’t know what direction to go, while alternating between being determined and believing that there is no way I can do it. 

          And writing that makes me wonder, what the hell is wrong with me? There are things I am good at, and may be able to turn into a side business (or real business) that could be fulfilling and lucrative enough (money isn’t the biggest factor, just enough to get by and be comfortable is fine).  And yet, why don’t I do it?  Why don’t I believe in my heart that I can do it?  Even though I know I am better than the way I am treated or than I settle for at the ‘real’ job?

        • says

          Okay — this to me sounds like a platform issue, but strictly in the sense that some platforms come with an audience, or come with the intention of a certain audience that doesn’t depend solely on you driving that traffic yourself… and many times, when a creator creates their own platform, they need to build their community from scratch. So there’s the technology or medium of the platform (WordPress, Tumblr, in-person speaking events) and then there’s the community element.

          Have you tried writing your content in places where an audience already exists, or where someone else is driving the traffic to your content?

        • says

          A lot of life is trying a bunch of different stuff to find what you’re supposed to be doing.  When it sucks, stop doing the sucky stuff, and figure out what you learned from it.  part of the value of the stuff that sucks is that it gives you great data about what you dont want to be doing, and small bits of data about the activities you enjoy within a project that you don’t.

          My (unsolicited) recommendation here otherwise is twofold.
          1) Stop doing what you think audiences will find interesting, or what you feel like you’re competent at.  Start doing what you’re psyched about, what you’re curious about, what you love talking about, and dont’ worry about the audience at all.  This is not about building an audience, at this point. This is about communicating your passion into the world.  The response is irrelevant.

          2) for the other stuff, the “i do this to keep my skills sharp” stuff, keep it light and fun and don’t invest too much of your Heroes Journey into these little parts.  There are probably little tweaks you can do (have a podcast but having trouble finding enough stuff to talk about every week? make it a monthly podcast instead.)  to make those things better and give yourself more room for creativity.

          Good luck!

        • James G says

          Megan – Going where the audience is kind of reminds me of the Steve Martin SNL joke about how to become a millionaire, and not pay taxes: “First, start with a million dollars.” 

          I kind of understand what you are saying, but that implies that I know which direction to go in the first place.  That first step is still the question.  This isn’t to say that what you are saying is wrong.  I built a voice in a community that is more hobby based for me, and some of that was done the way you are suggesting (I would be invited to do panels and live chats on a large platform).  Maybe I’m not sure how you are defining platform. 

          Jeremy – I understand where you are coming from, and your comment below about patience kind of folds into it.  I’ve been looking and trying to find that thing for a few years, and it feels like it’s been long enough.  I’m not getting any younger, and I want to get on my path.  That doesn’t sound very patient, but since I didn’t start this quest yesterday, I feel like I have been patient.

          It’s aggravating to watch friends venture out on their own doing web design and enjoying it, and I feel stuck in the 9 to 5.  I’m not a web designer, I don’t have an eye for it.  I have an ear, and my ‘thing’ is audio.  Hey, great, I have a thing, right?  Then I start to look for what the next step is, and I’m lost again. 

          I’m sorry, I feel like I’m being a whiner, and sound like I’m not willing to commit.  That isn’t the case (well, maybe I am being a whiner, but that’s not for me to say), and I’m trying to ‘do the work.’  Talking to people who open the door like this is part of it, I think.  Being honest about what my issues are in this is the only way I feel like I can get genuine feedback about what I should try.  So thanks.  I hope I’m not frustrating you.

        • says

          James — I know we hear the “whiner” thing all the time, but it can be frustrating being in this situation and I think everyone reading this has experienced a version of it, one way or another! So don’t feel too bad about that part. It’s all part of searching out the right door.

          Would you email me at I would be really interested in your top 3-5 topics that you really enjoy writing about and feel authoritative on. I think I have a few ideas!

  2. says

    My curiosity is my platform.

    Explaining how I use my curiosity for work in a way that inspires people to want to help me feed it (and pay me to do it) is my challenge.

    • says

      I agree. But also, the more that you use your curiosity in a public space to do meaningful things, the more your audience will know what it is you do, regardless of how you explain it. Explaining it clearly, of course, is still the most important bit. But I think you’re going to start seeing it reflected back at you from the responses you get. Your stuff is excellent.

  3. says

    hmmm… I think this is a hard question.  I’m not sure I know what kind of platform I need….  could you give some examples of what you mean by platform?

    • says

      What’s your podium? Your stage? What is the thing that lets you talk to the people who need to hear from you? Venue? Medium? Method? There are lots of ways to say this.