Laurel Thomas

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A Stage At the River

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One night in 2009 on Britain’s Got Talent, a little woman walked on stage, hairy eyebrows and a saucy attitude. Nervous, she struggled to remember where she lived. In the background were snickers and whispers of ridicule as she shared her dream to become a professional singer.

Everyone laughed. The judges and the audience.

Until she opened her mouth and sang.

Platform. It brings us to the public eye. So different than where our writing begins, sitting with laptop, alone, doing what we do. Creating, putting words on a page that express thought and emotion – all that makes us human. All that connects us. And yet, crafted alone.

Susan Boyle had been singing for years, but never had a platform like Britain’s Got Talent. Her bravery to bring her song before multitudes was rewarded. Her voice was soon heard all over the world.

The very essence of writing is to communicate. To share. Platform positions our voice where it can be seen and experienced.

As an introvert, the fear of platform is like the terror of public speaking. Spinach in my teeth? The carefully prepared speech forgotten? Who wants to hear what I have to say, anyway?

Writers need to be read. Sure, a creation needs preparation to make it as clear and beautiful as it began in the writer’s heart. But it also needs platform.

When shared with others, all that we’ve learned to express our work well causes it to sing. Like when a courageous Scottish lady, mocked and ridiculed, opened her mouth and surprised everyone.

We can’t pretend that the solitary life of a writer is only that – solitary. Our words are meant to connect us to a world that extends across borders, into languages we can’t speak and people we’ve never met.
So, we do what it takes to say it well. To learn the craft, to make our message resonate with others.

Because that’s what writing does. It releases a song in us, through us, in a way that others can join in.
Will we capture the world’s attention? Not unless we’re willing to bring our art to a place where it can be seen.

Platform can be formed in many ways. Perhaps by the power of a blog touching readers from countries far from our own. Or instruction that brings your article to the attention of a magazine editor. Maybe it’s help with a website that needs brushing up or with navigating social media. If your story is finished, access to an acquisition editor can make all the difference.

Keep working on that manuscript, then bring it before others. It’s your song and it needs to be heard – by many.