Platform vs. Platform

Thinking - Year 2 - 297/365
Thinking – Year 2 – 297/365 (Photo credit: Amarand Agasi)

I’ve stumbled into a quandary of sorts. It’s a question, one I’m sure many artists who find themselves on the internet with many different hats. As such, I’m hoping someone (or a lot of them) can give me some advice and thoughts to ponder.

I, like many, wear many hats in my life. I’m a mother of two which is a hat closet on its own, but in addition to this I’m a Web and Graphic Designer and a writer.  Which makes sense considering the title of this blog, but anyway. I’ve decided that in light of my current family situation as it is, that while I wish I had time to do the leg work to research potential literary agents, craft queries, update my synopsis to fit what is requested plus look up contests, conferences, workshops, and more…

I don’t. It’s a simple equation really.  Twenty-fours in a day, six of them required for sleep, eight of them required for work so I can, you know, pay bills, feed kids.  Pesky inconsequential stuff like that. Three to four hours dedicated to children, two to three for cleaning, cooking and/or relaxing. In that small block of hours I also have to slip in some writing.

To say I’m feeling a little pulled in many directions is a bit of an understatement.  I will also admit to the truth that I’ve been imprecise AND that I’m not alone. I have no intention of making it seem like my lot in life is harder than anyone else. I know for a fact that it’s not. What I do intend to say is that I am like everyone else, busy.

As such, I’ve decided to give a very serious look at this self-publishing gig. I want my book to get published before I die if possible. Part of this decision is thanks to a Christmas present from a family member, the 2014 guide to Self-Publishing.  By the way, has anyone else read it?  For someone who only now decided to get serious about the research, it’s a tad (lot) overwhelming if I do say so myself!

I’ve managed to reach the article about a Writer’s Platform, which brings me to my current issue.

In a vain attempt to be a freelance Web and Graphic professional, owner of a business, I inadvertently created a platform for myself as that, a Web and Graphic Designer. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not a good platform, but it’s a start. Do a search on my name and that is what you’ll find.

In relation to my paying job, this is not a bad thing.  On the contrary, it’s very good and I think it is one of the reasons that has led me to my current position (which I’m enjoying tremendously) and is helping me to broaden my understanding of the ‘communications’ world. By that I mean it’s one thing to design what others will use to communicate, it’s another kettle of fish to actually implement it.

The Platform - Graffiti meets Thalys
The Platform – Graffiti meets Thalys (Photo credit:

The Platform – Graffiti meets Thalys (Photo credit:

Here’s the rub however: I want to start building a writing platform to get my name out there as a writer. This leaves me with three questions:

1. Do I combine my writing platform to what already exists?

2. Do I create a separate one but leave what already exists alone?

3.  Do I abandon what is already in place and start over, fresh even?

I’m guessing of these three options/questions, the first is the easiest.  All I would need to do is be sure to do both writing and design on my platform using my name.  My worry is that people may start thinking I’m writing about design… which I’m not by the way.

The second option comes with the problem of my name. I was to use Jess McClary for my writing, but it’s being used as my web and graphics at the time. This leaves me with two possibilities. Push my writing platform under Jessica McClary OR choose a different name entirely (Miranda Watson perhaps or how about Kinsey Andrews?). I thought about using my maiden name Jessica Michel, but to be honest the problem comes down to pronouncing it. Most say “Mitchell” or “Michelle” when, in reality, the name is pronounced “Michael”. It’s a hassle that I was happy to leave behind when I married (no offense to my family).

With the third one, I see it as being problematic in that you never really delete yourself from the internet PLUS there is the problem with a conflict of my paying/professional job at the moment. Perhaps if I ever make enough as a writer that won’t be an issue, but at this time it is one so I have to be sure to keep that in mind.

This issue is one I need to figure out and resolve fast because the longer I wait, the harder it is. I don’t just mean that in relation to a time line for self-publishing my book, but also in relation to my life.

My lack of patience is proving to be a problem in this. I want to get the ball rolling, figuring if I establish a writer’s platform now, by the time I’m ready to put up the money to do the deed, I can have a good platform to market with.

… At least that is my theory.

So I put it to you, my friends, which option do you think would be the best? Why do you think that?

Let me know in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “Platform vs. Platform

  1. Well.. this is a conundrum Jess and I feel for you. If I were you, I would be saying that you should sort out a separate identity for your writing and then you can push that as a completely separate entity. I know that it will make it harder to start with but in the long run, it leads to a neat separation between the two major work areas of your life. It would also be best to go with a different name because you are right, the internet never forgets and whatever you do, your current name will always be assigned to your web design and work. But that gives you the issue of what name do you use? As you are yet to be published then I don’t think it would be a major problem to just choose a name that you are happy with and as you know, it is really easy to set up a whole online persona for your writing name. That would certainly be the way that I would do it but it does mean a bit of setting up to start with. 🙂

    • Thanks for the thoughts. I sort of like the idea of crafting a new identity. The kids are thinking it over and I think my daughter is especially interested in the idea. The problem is that this blog is under Jess McClary too. I suppose I could change it to the pen name when I decide on one. What do you think?

      • I think that you could change the name or just start a new one. You will be able to get many of your existing followers to follow a new one. I am not sure how easy it is to rename your blog but I am sure that it is possible. 🙂

  2. Yikes! I’m in the middle of this myself, can’t help you but I can be a supportive shoulder. I personally chose to separate the two because it’s easier to make small changes if need be and it also gives me an excuse to create another name for myself.

    • That’s a good point for creating another name, it’s exciting to a point. The only problem I see is remembering the details between each of them. Thanks for replying and being a supportive shoulder. 🙂 Good luck to you as well.

  3. I am sorry if my answer didn’t seem very thought out, I read it back and thought, wow I sound rude, time for bed, lol. I just thought hmm, initials would give you a bit of a cover, but not too much for you to still link it to your web design if you wanted to.

    • No worries, it made some sense. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of my middle name and J McClary is usual, apparently there are other J McClary’s out there. My daughter did bring up a great point in that using a pen name would protect my kids which is very important to me. Thanks for the thought!

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