It’s easy to become a selfish platform builder. Writers have to guard their time at the computer, and it takes less time to tweet, post, and blog if they don’t have to read what others are tweeting, posting, and blogging. The trouble is, that means asking for something from a community without taking part in it.

Though I didn’t want to be a selfish builder, as I started working on my platform, I realized I was walking a pretty fine line. I wasn’t often enough the kind of reader that I wanted to attract myself to my own writing.

What a loss. Writers gain inspiration and food for thought from reading each other’s blog posts. Whether a person has a small platform or a large one, sharing another author’s posts both exposes more people to a good author and encourages that author. Comments encourage the original writer of a post and other readers. That’s part of being in a community and participating in the conversation. It’s mutually encouraging.

I know from experience that failing to be an active part of this encouraging community renders platform building a draining and unrewarding task.

However, I’ve made some connections with people who are really good at building up other writers. They are the treasure I’ve found in this whole platform building journey. Not only do they encourage me in my writing, but their example has inspired me to be a better encourager myself.

These people, many of them writers themselves, seek out and actively follow other authors. They comment. They share and retweet and like. Building up the community is a priority.

Do they have time to do this for every writer they cross paths with? No, I’m sure they don’t. But when someone’s writing resonates with them, they’ll use their platform to make it known.

It’s my goal to emulate them. Though I’m still learning, I already know platforms are stages with more than enough room to share. I also know that writing, whether it’s novels or blogs, is hard work.

If I can bring joy to someone else who’s also doing this kind of work, I want to do it. If the people who follow me could be encouraged by someone else’s message, I want to share it.

I want to become a generous encourager. When I do so, my focus shifts off building a platform and onto using whatever platform I have in the best possible way. That takes a lot of pressure off of me and benefits others. A win-win.

If you’re feeling drained and unrewarded in your quest for a platform, consider shifting your focus, too.

In the spirit of sharing the work of writers I admire, I’m creating a Twitter list of some I really appreciate. Here’s the link. You can subscribe to the list and/or go through and follow the writers you see there. Enjoy!

By the way, this applies to other areas of life, too. Wherever we have a sphere of influence, let us use it to build each other up. Let’s look for people to encourage in our churches, our families, and our neighborhoods. There are so many out there who need a kind word or a friendly gesture. Let’s go out of our way to compliment, include, and appreciate.

What are your tips for balancing platform building with encouraging others?