One of the most common questions writers ask is, “Where should I be writing and publishing online?”
The answer is: anywhere.
Most people don’t know that 50 Shades of Grey, one of the best-selling novels of all time (it pains me to write that sentence) started on a little-known internet forum called http://www.fanfiction.net. Or that The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, the orange book that dominated every bookstore from 2016 to 2020, started as a viral blog post. Or that The Martian, the sci-fi novel by Andy Weir that went on to sell 3 million copies, get adapted into a film, and gross $630 million in sales, started as a $0.99 cent eBook on Amazon.
The platform is not what dictates success.
One of the things I preach adamantly on the subject of online writing is that publishing on your blog is like showing up to a street race in a horse and buggy. Social platforms today provide faster feedback loops, wider and more targeted distribution, and the ability to practice your skills in public.
HOWEVER, the platform is a reflection of the writer — not the other way around.
Does writing on a fast-moving platform help? Sure. Would it behoove you to write in a social environment that’s growing like crazy in your particular category/niche? You bet. But look at any “writer success story,” and what you will find is a committed writer who just happened to stumble upon an interesting platform. They were in the right place at the right time, but they were also writing every day, constantly publishing something new, learning from their mistakes and continuing on.
Writers who obsess over the question, “Where should I be writing online?” think they are strategizing about the future.
What they’re actually doing is tricking themselves into avoiding the hard work that needs to be done.
There are success stories on every platform.
This is an Atomic Essay from the Ship 30 for 30 daily writing challenge.