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Two Types of Writers – Which Are You?

Two Types of Writers – Which Are You?

Why do you think Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie, Sam Omatseye and Linda Ikeji are household names (at least to a very large extent)?

They all write, you may say.

It’s true they all write. But that’s a wrong answer. It’s not why they have affected so many lives, spread tons of great ideas and left many inspired.

writer’s platform

Image Credit: deviantart.com

There are thousands of writers who write equally well – some even better than they. And no one feels their message.

There’s just one reason that makes the above writers stand out vertical from the horizontal crowd. It’s that same factor that categorizes all writers into two groups: one insanely accomplished, and the other woefully unfulfilled.

The reason is…

A writer’s platform

If you’re wondering what that means, it’s the equivalent of a musician’s microphone. It’s the effective channel through which you let your message out to your desired audience. It’s what you use to get into the heart of listeners or readers, and what you need to lack to restrict your readership to yourself and your mum.

What practical difference does a platform make in a writer’s life? The answer’s in the writing life of the two types of writers.

#1: Writers with a platform

Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie, Sam Omatseye and Linda Ikeji do not write the same genre. Soyinka is a dramatist and poet; he rarely writes essays. Adichie is a novelist. Omatseye is a newspaper columnist. Ikeji is a blogger.

They’re all accomplished. They have huge followings. They reach out to their readers and fans through a medium. Different mediums of course. But each of these is a platform.

Soyinka’s platforms are his book publishers. Adichie’s platforms are her website and book publishers. Omatseye’s platform is his column in The Nation Newspaper. Ikeji’s platform is her blog.

Without those platforms, it wouldn’t matter if they write beautiful prose or engaging drama. They would have written great works, and filed them. And at a point in time, they would have lost the motivation to write and withered away.

And joined the ranks of…

#2: Writers without a platform

These just write for themselves and their cats. No one else reads them. So they make no impact, record no communication and die unsung.

Also under this umbrella are wannabe writers, who waste away wishing and dreaming. Tons of lofty ideas decompose in their skulls, and become filths there.

If you’re serious about being a writer, it’s not enough to simply write and file or just enter essay competitions and go to bed.

You need to…

Get the word out

When you write, publish it on your Facebook note, Facebook groups, national dailies, campus notice boards and forums so others can read and critique it. That way, you get better.

But these aren’t platforms, because you don’t own them.

So what is better?

Get a writer’s platform

If you’re just starting out, a Blogger or WordPress blog might just serve you right. I’ve been on both and I can tell each is a great platform. But like every rented land, it comes with some restrictions. It’s not a place to build your mansion.

I started out Naija Writers’ Coach on WordPress. A time came I needed to move to something better and more professional. So I moved to a self-hosted website here. I lost many things in the move: Page Rank, Alexa Ranking, organic traffic, in-bound links, etc.

So if you really wanna kickstart your platform on a high and professional pedestal, a self-hosted website like mine is what you need (want me to set up a great website for you for just $125/N20,000? Click here). If I’ve had this advice a year ago, I should be better off today.

A word of warning

Do not be like some crazy, dumb guys who post unsolicited links on other people’s Facebook timeline or page. You can share your write-ups or links on your own Facebook timeline or groups you belong to, never on the timeline or pages of people who didn’t request them.

It’s a criminal, annoying thing to do.

Let’s get talking

Do you have a platform? If you do, how has it helped you? If you don’t what’s stopping you? Let’s chat in the comments.

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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.

Comments

  1. Kawu Sadeeq! says:

    A platform is my problem, although I’m on facebook where I posts my write-ups but the problem is that sometimes my writings used to get pirated, some will copy and post it on their pages, that’s why I most atimes get discouraged of wirting on facebook.
    …..way out please…..!!

    • Hi Sadeeq,

      First, the best is to get a website, or at least a blog. However, Facebook is also a great place as almost everyone is there these days.

      Plagiarism is a nasty thing. It can be discouraging. Earlier too, I locked this site from ‘copy/pasting’ because some dumb folks were stealing contents from me and posting it on their blogs without acknowledgement. However, this also decreased user experience for legitimate users who often want to copy the guidelines of an essay contest into their MS Word document. So at a point, I had to unlock it.

      I simply then asked them to be nice. If they steal your work, it’s because you write well. Just put your name on your writings and ask readers that if they find your work so good they want to share, they should also be fair to not plagiarise.

  2. I do have a blog http://www.teamowtea.blog.com just havent gotten much visitors

  3. Abdulkabeer says:

    Hi Coach,

    I have a platform which has really helped me a lot in publicizing my write ups. After winning YGF I published my entry on my blog and surprisingly, a friend did a broadcast for me on facebook. The next morning I got a commendation message and friend request from someone in UK. A lady in South Africa also offered me a content job and I also developed for a few others. All these came via the post I made on my blog and shared on facebook.
    Your platform is your window to tell the world what you do. Keep the flag flying boss.

    • Hi Abdulkabeer,

      It’s nice reading your story. If you never set up that platform, those people wouldn’t have known you. If I didn’t start #NWC, we won’t be here today discussing. That’s the power of a platform.

      Whether a writer wants to earn money, improve his craft or just build an audience, he always needs a platform.

  4. Yeah… “Internet connection” is what’s stopping me. Our ISPs don’t have pocket-friendly monthly data plans :-/
    So, I’m waiting till I have access to WiFi.

    • Victor,

      If you’ve read my book, Your Right To Write, you’d see that I found it tough starting too. Most successes often are preceded by numerous failures.

      First, I think you can get Airtel Blackberry subscription which gives you 1G for N1200 for a month. Or better still the N2400 alternative which gives you 3G for 3 months. It works well on modems without any extra configuration.

      But if that’s out of reach, what if you plan to post on your platform just twice a week? So you’ll just ensure you write the two posts for a week, go to the cafe and pay N100, then publish one of the posts and schedule the other. After that, you can moderate and respond to comments on your phone like you did commented here. That way, you’ll need just N200 for a whole month.

      The bottomline is: do not give in. Be creative, think deeply; I’m sure there’s a way out.

  5. I checked out your blog and it's a nice platform. You write beautiful poems. You don't expect your traffic to overflow overnight. It comes with time. A writer's duty is not to make traffic a measure of his success. You just keep writing, for the love of the craft, and someday, the audience will come. I recommend you download and read "The Writer's Manifesto" by Jeff Goins.

  6. I have a platform… Its a wordpress http://www.nathanielseun.wordpress.com
    Trust me, it has been helping me so far… I’m getting better and expanding in my sphere of literature

  7. Mars Ezechukwu says:

    Please what is the configuration code for the Airtel bundles. I have an airtel modem, I have a registered sim, but I don’t know the codes for the N1200 for 1gb and N2400 for 3gb data plans. I would appreciate your help. Thanks.

  8. Mr Abdullahi,

    having a blog like you said is one,sure way to file one’s write up but the challenge ofr me now is ‘how to get traffic to my blog’. i just started though recently.you can see my post on: http://www.chieduke.wordpress.com

    • Hi Chinedu,

      You write well, for all I can see. First, your blog is still very new; I can see just two posts. Second, you posted last on July 5; you don’t get traffic without an abundance of great contents.

      Now after you’ve addressed those two problems, you can start thinking traffic. The bitter truth is, there is no such thing as free traffic. If you want traffic, you either work tooth and nail for it and be very patient OR you pay for traffic (through Google Ad Words, Facebook Ad, etc.)

      Your question has a very wide scope. The above is just the jist of it all.

  9. My Question is:
    How do i start a blog?
    What are its benefits?
    Already know that it expands your writing abilities.
    Have always heard about traffic. Does’t mean the more traffic u have the more money u get.
    Or succintly put Do u get paid 4 d traffic on ur blog?

    • Hi Shehu,

      You can open a free blog at Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Traffic may bring you money and it may not. It’s just like customers patronizing a shop. They don’t give you cash unless you have something to sell to them. So if you have goods or services to sell, traffic can bring you cash.

  10. Edebe Victor says:

    Just, go to either blogger.com, wordpress.com, or joomla.com and get started.
    Benefits: you get to meet new people; if you can get enough traffic on your blog, ad agencies will pay you to put their stuff on your blog; you can also pay for traffic if you cannot do it on your own; it relieves you of boredom.

    • Hi Victor,

      Joomla is a CMS, not a blogging platform. Blogging platforms are WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Blog.com, Tumblr.com, Typepad.com/micro, Weebly.com, LiveJournal.com, etc. But of all these, WordPress and Blogger are the most feature-rich platforms.

  11. Oh… Okay.

  12. Yes! I’ve got one. It’s like my own ‘Tv’ where I do my broadcasts. Actually I’ve been going from one step to the other upgrading the site. Just that it hasn’t gotten much traffic…

    Nevertheless, your visit and wholesome critique would be well appreciated. And please, I’d love you to honour me with one or two of your comments on any article that tickles your fancy. I’ll be pleased to introduce you to my craft…

    Here we go… http://www.chizidaniels.wordpress.com

  13. Hi, you have a great blog & advice but I was wondering if you could help give me some tips to improve my blog please? It’s a personal blog & due to my medical condition I don’t get to blog as much as I’d like to but wondered if you could help me with some new ideas to improve my blog while unwell. Any advice would be greatly received!
    Many thanks & best wishes!
    Becki
    http://www.copingwiththebigc.co.uk

    • Hello Becki, trust your health is better now and you are doing better also with your blog? But if you still have challenges with your health and you want to write, you might consider voice to text softwares so that you will not have to type… Hope this helps… Cheers.

  14. Aslkm.am a writer without platfm,I files ma write ups though nt a gud writer but wish to improve ma writtn

  15. Ugo Okeke says:

    I write on triond.com as ugochuks on varied topics and have yet to make any tangible financial rewards. Right now, I want to set up a blog, but my question is this, where do i get to click on to find out how much my blog has made me?

  16. Coach: please i need some guideline to enhance my blogs, you can also visit my blog lightray vray

  17. Good piece. Log ago I determined to find my own platforms and push my ideas through writing. I am very active with wrting on Facebook and Twitter. I have a blog at http://www.abiodunmabadeje2.blogspot.com and I’ve written seven published books. I also have a newsletter called Motivation.Com that I publish from time-to-time and distribute free… So for anyone who wants to make a statement through writing, there aint any excuse…

  18. Thanks Abdullahi

  19. I have a platform too, but just started Jawondoibrahim.blogspot.com

  20. I already post some of my poems on Facebook and I have a blog, my only problem is my poetry seems vague to most Facebook users and then I write random articles on the blog and people seem to only keep viewing only some particular posts. I blog at http://www.yenique9ja.blogspot.com and I would like if you could view my poems on my facebook Olufunke Ayeni and please critique

  21. thanks a million for all your support,counsel and advice,may God continue to bless u.
    my question is although i’m new on wordpress,i noticed that every word i published will be shown on different platform like facebook,twitter etc but how can i create a forum where people can download my ebook,advert space and be able to generate money,
    thanks

  22. Great post,please can you block people from copying and pasting on wordpress?

  23. Hi Coach,
    I have been able to get a platform (a blog) but I have a problem of getting people on it. What do u advice I do?
    By the way, your book Right to Write is awesome. You got my attention from start to finish. Merci beaucoup

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