I’ve long struggled with the concept of having a “platform.” It’s a ubiquitous marketing term. It seems like everybody has one, or needs to have on to be taken seriously. The world is noisy. Make louder noise.
Most days, when I sit down to write, I feel like I have nothing to stand on.
See, we are in a world where everyone has something to say, so if you just stand up and shout something in a way that’s more interesting or important or creative than the other 500 people who have said it before, then the world can’t help but notice. I’m an optimist. I can stand by that.
So I try to do what the experts say. And I try to list little goals, try to narrow myself down to a paragraph so when someone hears the name “Jen Rose” they instantly know what “my thing” is. But that’s not even my name anymore.
I suppose I’m an optimist for everyone but myself.
But yesterday, I finally read some relateable words about the “platform” concept, and I wanted to cheer. In a Facebook group for Christian radio workers, my friend Melony shared “Every Platform an Altar,” an article by Ann Voskamp that made me feel like I could breathe a little…
A platform is whatever one finds under one’s self—and the only thing that is meant to be under a Christian is an altar.
The only call on a Christian is not to pick up a microphone, not to pick some stairs to some higher platform, but to pick up a cross and come die…
The soul was never made to carry the weight of fame.
Of course, she no doubt has a platform. Ask any evangelical woman about Ann Voskamp, and she’ll probably be enthralled by her poetry and depth or appalled by… well… her poetry and weirdness. But was it her extraordinary way of seeing the very ordinary that dragged a farmer’s wife onto a platform?
Is that all any of us has to stand on? An extraordinary way of seeing the ordinary? Were our spacious souls ever meant to be boxed into a paragraph?
Too bad I didn’t take it to heart.
Hours later, while stir frying chicken and broccoli, I asked my husband what I write about well, I guess hoping for affirmation that there was my “one thing” that glows with passion when I talk about it. I often feel fragmented after all. I have radio and Christian music industry circles, and I have writerly circles. I adapt, chameleon-like, to whatever place I find myself in, but mostly, I am in transition, from a single Floridian woman commuting to an office, to a New England wife learning how to work from home. I secretly hoped the clarity of his outside vision would say “You are good at this. Write about this.” And then I would have my platform.
Surprise: having a live-in cheerleader doesn’t excuse you from doing your own exercise. He said, “I don’t know. I like it when you write about where you are in life. Like that post you did about yoga, or about finding your grandfather’s journal. Little things from your life.” Then he asked me what I like writing about most, and I didn’t really know the answer.
I’m thinking of the story from Ann’s article about Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the stairs to accept her Oscar. And I relate.