“When you’ve written a piece, or you’re conceiving writing a piece, how do you decide where it goes? How do you decide that this piece goes in a book of essays, or is an article on another’s website, or is a blog post of your own? Do you have a strategy other than what just feels right?”
— Laura, from Bali
How Do You Choose Where to Share Your Writing?
These days, you can share your writing anywhere, anytime. A poem in a Facebook update. A collection of essays in Kindle book form. Passing observations on Twitter. And let’s not forget about blogging.
The level of flexibility and freedom that we have today is amazing. It’s empowering to be a creative in this time because all you really need to focus on is doing your work (putting in the time and energy).
You have no shortage of places and mediums through which you can share your words, so long as you keep working on making them better and better.
But at some point in your creative journey, your relationship to that level of freedom and flexibility will change.
Laura’s alluding to it here.
As you develop a deeper relationship to your writing and witness your skills improve, you’ll start to ask yourself if the medium by which you are sharing your words matches, magnifies, and honors the message of your work.
That’s why we want to be intentional about choosing where the writing is shared.
After a while, you’d start to crave for the medium (how you share your words) to match, honor and amplify your message. When your words carry a mission or intention, the manner by which you share your words will play a role in how your words are honored, witnessed and experienced.
If the medium doesn’t feel right, the message will never find full embodiment. Something will feel lacking. Misplaced. Just “not right.”
This shift happens in your creative journey when you feel your skills start to improve significantly.
Suddenly, a mini manifesto that you might share on Facebook feels, instead, really misplaced. Is this really a passing-glace of social media update? Or a deeper statement that deserves more emphasis, elsewhere?
And repurposing dozens of old blog posts into an easy Kindle book (because you’ve already written that content, so why not?) might actually feel like a half-commitment to the message you really want to share — one that could be more cohesive and powerful if you sat down, put in the time and wrote stuff intended from the start to become a book.
I choose where to share my writing by assigning values to what mediums matter most to me.
I prioritize what goes where based on what mediums matter most to me. And, those values originate from which mediums best honor my mission, goals and values.
Ask yourself: How do you really desire for your work to show up in others’ lives?
That’s how I sort what words go where.
As for the words themselves? Which are “good enough”? Which should or shouldn’t be shared at all? That’s another (long) discussion for another day. For now, let’s assume you choose what words to share based on gut instinct.
If all else is equal, here’s how I assign my value to what words go where, and why.
1. Social media updates
What I Share: Passing thoughts, ideas, insights, conversational moments.
As a writer who considers his writing to be his art, social media updates are the least valuable kind of writing that I do. I don’t want to expend a lot of my time or energy in social media updates.
But social media can be a great testing ground for writing ideas like essays, blog posts and even project ideas.
If a thought, idea or update seems particularly engaging or well-received by people, I don’t let it disappear. I’ll copy the update and paste it (along with some of the responses) into a new Note in Evernote and consider treating it in blog post format later.
2. Blog posts
What I Share: Lessons, advice, essays, and larger stories that contribute to my bigger “body of work” as a writer and offer continual, free, quality insights and value to readers’ lives
When I was starting out with my blog 6 years ago, I used it as a platform to “get my writing out there.” I was still developing my writing style, voice and platform. So just publishing anything and everything helped me jump into a comfort level and hands-on experience with sharing writing in the world and being seen.
Today, I strive to share quality pieces on my blog that are meaningful and practical to my core readership.
I want every reading experience on my site to be as masterful, polished and meaningful as possible. Everything on my blog has been written by me (no guest posts).
This is my living resume and my ongoing, ever-changing body of work as a writer.
It’s my portfolio, but it’s also my living testament to the life I’m committed to living.
The range of things I share on my blog spans lessons that have taken me months to unpack and unfurl, to suddenly-inspired, spur-of-the-moment pieces that almost wrote themselves in the days before being published.
I like to focus my blog posts towards rethinking or redefining what’s assumed, commonplace or plain ol’ boring. I sprinkle in blog posts that share stories from my travels, lessons that I’ve learned (or that I’m still learning) from my personal life, sort of as a living journal to what I’m living offline. I enjoy doing that.
3. Product/Service Content
Since Laura was asking about what writing goes where, it’s worth noting that quite a bit of my time and words go towards services I offer (like my writers’ group, The Literati Writers), clients I work with one on one (like my Story Shine clients) and other business-generating ends (consulting, product development, etc).
Because that’s how I get to keep this lifestyle going.
This work takes a far higher priority than blog posts, naturally.
(Worth noting: Blogging can be considered a business generator, but for me, it’s passively so. I don’t sell or use ads on my site, or generate affiliate marketing income via blogging.)
4. Book content
The final tier of importance to me is book content, or stuff that’s written for the sake of being in a book.
This is the highest tier of priority for me because I feel like it’s by far the toughest. Book content is the hardest for me to write– and usually, first drafts of the words first present themselves like utter messes. Because I focus writing time into other places that are more immediate and pressing, book content takes longer, feels heavier, and requires the most commitment.
But for the writer in me, putting the best words I can into books feels like the most meaningful form that my words can take.
From chapters of a book to poems to be published in collections, there’s a certain air of direction and depth required in books that far extends beyond those of a blog post or essay.
And yet, I’m still figuring out just how to do that to the best of my abilities.
(Because, well, books are hard.)
But they’re words that matter.
I’ll keep taking my time with ’em, prioritizing priorities as I must, and all the while keeping writing all the way. :)
So keep writing, Laura!
That’s the most important part. Don’t get bogged down in the medium — until you’re ready to amplify your message and let the method honor your words.
I recommend doing what I’ve done above– find a handful of mediums of writing that you are currently using or plan to use (social media, blogging, books, etc.) and assign some loose, light values upon which mediums of sharing your words seem to most honor and amplify your mission.
This question is all about allowing your words to work on your behalf.
It’s just a matter of figuring out what you really require and desire from your writing, and why you’re sharing them at all.
When in doubt, experiment, and find your way through a little trial-and-error.
Happy writing, Laura!
And thanks to you for reading.