Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Most Important Publishing Platform

What’s the most important publishing platform? The one you actually use, of course.

So many people are fixated on getting the right tools, buying the right pieces of technology, and taking the right classes. These people are constantly chasing trends — never satisfied, always searching.

And they’re missing the point.

Publishing Platform

Photo credit: Chris Campbell (Creative Commons)

I was thinking about this the other night, when I pulled out my wife’s Macbook and thought:

On my lap rests a printing press, a film studio, a record company, an ad agency, a broadcast station, an instant telegram, the world’s largest and most comprehensive encyclopedia, and so much more. How incredible.

Literally, the world is at my (our) fingertips. And what do we do? We play Farmville. Or get addicted to porn. Or endlessly check email. We squander our time and resources.

The age of amazing, squandered

We live in the most amazing age ever, and we’re blowing it. History’s best technology is, by and large, wasted on the most entitled generation that ever lived.

All the while, you have something important to say, and no one is listening. You are waiting for your audience, for your ideas to start spreading. And you’ll keep waiting until you start using the gifts and opportunities you’ve been given.

The most important publishing platform isn’t Amazon or Smashwords; it’s not iTunes or Lightning Source. It’s not one of the Big Six or even a blog. It’s you — your drive, your desire, your heart.

The tools are irrelevant. They’re media for the message. What is essential is that you use them to get the message out. If you care enough about it, you’ll find a way.

When you decide

When you decide to to do this — to step up and let your voice be heard — that’s when your words will start to matter. That’s when we’ll begin to listen, and not a minute before.

So start publishing today, however you can. The point is to do it, not think or plan too much for it. Just start sharing.

This is what we’re waiting for. You, publishing your words for all to read. Because there is not another you who has had your thoughts and thought them in your way. And if you hold back, we all lose.

How to start publishing today

You have the opportunity. You have the technology. You’re all out of excuses. All that’s holding you back now is you. It’s time to start publishing. Here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Open up the most basic word processing tool you can find. A notebook, maybe. If you have to get technical, stick to Notepad or Text Edit. Nothing too fancy; keep it lo-tech.
  2. Then, write. Don’t self-edit or screen your words. Just write.
  3. Get a first draft. Jot your thoughts down on paper or screen. Capture them.
  4. Edit quickly. Don’t take more than 30 minutes for every thousand words. Keep moving. Avoid the temptation to do needless research. If you get stuck, ask a friend to proofread it, or hire an editor.
  5. Publish it. Post it to a blog, create a PDF eBook, upload to Amazon. Get your words out there now. This sense of forced urgency will sharpen you.
  6. Consider bypassing steps 1–4 and jump straight to 5. Repeat this process as often as possible for the rest of your life.

You’re not impressing anyone with your silent stories and silly plans. No one is being changed by your ideas while they remain in your head. The world is changed by action. So act. Write. Move. Now.

I hope you feel a sense of urgency, because this is important: We need your message. Don’t let us down.

What do you think is the most important publishing platform? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Chris Campbell (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I feel like I’m walking through the mall before it opens … hello?

    Love this. It’s never been the tools, most of that should happen in the background. It’s the drive to share ideas that really matters.

  • Just do it, as a certain brand would say

    I think fear is the biggest obstacle for most. I’m slowly getting over mine of releasing stuff to the world, bust you’re right, you and your mind is the most important thing

    pen and paper, scrivener, word, back of a cigarette packet… it doesn’t really matter. 

    I remember back in the 60s there was a football coach who used to write his team on the back of a cig packet. Guess what, it had no effect on the teams performance whatsoever

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  • Good stuff, Jeff  “No one is being changed by your ideas.  They are changed by your actions.”  You are so right.   What I’ve said has been said before but it’s the passion and the personal and the authenticity that we can bring to our ideas that really make a difference.  Thank you.  

  • I’ve started a blog this year where every day I skip from 1 to 5. I write for five minutes, hit publish, and–bam–it’s out there. It’s difficult and liberating all at once. As much as it’s beating the perfectionist out of me, and hopefully helping me to become more succinct, it’s also turned into this amazing creative springboard for me. I love it, truly. And even though there are typos and things I’d do differently if “allowed” to revise – some of my “best” (raw) writing has come over these last three months. Did I say I’m loving it? 😉

    • Adriel –

      You’ve inspired me! 

      I have lists of great ideas for blog posts. Some are so old, I don’t even understand what I jotted down any more…brilliant ideas gone dark because I didn’t take 5 minutes and hit Publish. Even if I would have been the only reader, I still wish I’d written them.

      5 minutes…I do have a very nice timer…

      • I, too, have a list of blog posts. Some have been on that list for a year! Maybe if I’d have started the exercise sooner… 😉

    • Kathleen Krueger

       Wow. Thanks, Adriel. That is such a freeing thought, not to strategize, just to write.

    • Love it. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing, Adriel.  I have ideas for posts then think, “I don’t have time…I can’t write enough on that…it’s not developed enough…yada, yada, yada!”  You’ve encouraged me to just write and publish.  I am hoping that will “beat the perfectionist out of me.” 

      • Well to be honest I still struggle with perfectionism. But it *is* working. More and more I’m letting go of the dreaded P word. Free-writing really does keep the creative process going. Of course, editing is also good, and can be very creative as well. 😉

    • DeanneBullock

      Thank you, Adriel, for “permission” to relax and allow my writing to flow out of me imperfectly. Funny how you might know something, but it takes another person expressing it for you to embrace the truth.

      That’s why we love your blog, too, Jeff!

    • LOVE this idea Adriel.

  • Mike Zserdin

    There is no try…only do 🙂 Time to work, write, ship. Thanks Jeff. Enjoy the day! And, keep working. You’re helping the rest of us move forward too.

  • Writing is a bear. I love it and I get beat up by it.

    Thanks Jeff  for your constant encouragement.

    Because I’m working full time and doing life, I’ve turned to step 5.  Mostly because I’ve got stacks of unpublished posts.  I get tired of polishing and let it stew.  That’s a mixed bag too. I look at what I’ve fired off and my inner editor says, “I told you so.” But then again, It’s the only way to be prolific.

    What I’m saying is Thanks for permission to fail!

  • You hit the nail right on the head, the most important part is taking action. You can have the best stuff and the greatest idea’s but they are worthless if you don’t start writing. You must take action, life is too short to keep making excuses! Great and motivating post Jeff.

    • Thanks, Kimanzi. Love your hustle attitude.

  • Melindatodd

    Thank you, great advice! It’s so easy to get down and let the drive start to slip. It’s the battle with myself that seems to be the hardest. People aren’t saying I’m not good enough, I do it to myself…

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • I never thought about it like that, but you’re dead on. People are always looking for that one perfect tool or system which will help them lose weight, be productive, earn money – or have a successful blog. But the key ingredient is really just elbow grease.

  • Fantastic. Keep it simple, and do it!

    Gotta go write…

  • Wow. I so needed this. Bookmarking and printing to keep focus (I tend to lose it easily.) 
    Thank you. 
    I have one book published and another, maybe two running around in my head. Guess I’d better get on it. 

  • Thanks Jeff, another great post. Guess what?! I started acting and now my ideas starting to make a difference. I’m blogging in Mongolian and English on topics like disability, human rights and so on. This morning, I’ve been Skyping from Scotland to Mongolia advising someone to do a talk for TEDx talks in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

    Sure, my writings are raw, but as you say ‘… the world is changed by action.’ So thanks again for some recharge of motivation. I found this saying today and I’d love to share with you all:

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.

    George Bernard Shaw

    • Wow. That would be awesome.

    • Jory Piccinino

       I see George’s point as it is and ask why does he not dream of people like me who ask why things are the way they are as well as dream things that never were and ask why not!

  • Thank you Jeff! I need to be reminded often. We do have infinite power right at the end of our fingers. We are so easily distracted from our purpose!

  • This is just what I needed to hear today. “The world is changed by action.” I have a manuscript finished that I’ve been sitting on. It’s time to act. 

  • Jeff- timely as always! I have my book written and ready to go, but have not created a PDF to upload into eBook format. Do not know what I have been waiting for. Gonna go do that now…Oh, the nerves! Why am I having trouble breathing right now? 

    • The more you do it, the more you learn to push thru that. Never gets easy, though. At least not yet. Not for me.

      • Okay this is not as easy as it sounds. I am so tech NO savvy! UGGG! Taking a break for today will try again tomorrow!  

  • Jeff- timely as always! I have my book written and ready to go, but have not created a PDF to upload into eBook format. Do not know what I have been waiting for. Gonna go do that now…Oh, the nerves! Why am I having trouble breathing right now? 

  • Your comment about living in the most amazing age reminded me of Louis C.K.’s bit – and then I saw you linked to it! Never fails to make me laugh 🙂

    • 🙂

    • I thought the same thing when I read that!  Jeff’s analysis is far more eloquent, however.  No mentions of bowel movements and Adam Sandler movies on airplanes at the end!

      Thanks for that, by the way, Jeff!

  • This –>
    “The age of amazing, squandered”

  • Love #4: Edit quickly. I waste a lot of time editing and re-editing…until the final product is far from the original…and far from my true voice. I am determined to stop this. 

    • Hmm… I almost didn’t include that one. Guess I know why I was supposed to now.

  • Jlkelly777

    This is a great, penetrating post, Jeff. I’v been freelancing and fortunately making a living for sometime now. But even with all this technology at my disposal, I seem to be more encumbered than ever. The stimuli and sheer volume of communication and enticement coming at me is daunting. I can only dream of the days when I could write 10-15 pages of prose, then pump out an magazine profile just because I could.

    Methinks our energy is being depleted by distraction. It’s always been there. It’s just seemingly right in front of us now. We don’t have to go looking for it.

    So appreciate your posts and the tenor of encouragement that underscores all your entries.

    John Kelly

  • It’s almost one year now since I started my most recent blog.  I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been busy with work, marathon training, work, and also work.  I’ve been considering shutting it down, maybe starting over, or just breaking all the rules and going with it without nailing myself down to a single topic.  After reading this post, I’m again encouraged not to give up on sharing whatever it is I have to share.  Summer is coming, which means I can devote more time to it soon.  Your blog is continually an encouragement, Jeff!  Thanks for this.

    • I can relate to the training. It’s SO time consuming. Keep up the good work.

  • Just the kick in the pants I’ve needed, Jeff. Thank you! Time to quit squandering my time and that of others. No more excuses. Get it down, and get it out there. 

  • “The age of amazing, squandered” is true, and poignantly stated. Also, I think it’s awesome that you linked to that Louis C.K. video.

  • I hadn’t looked at platforms this way before – the one I use is the most important! 


    With the pressure to start/utilize a gazillion platforms out there, find newer, better, faster, smarter ways to get our craft noticed, it really must come down to me..the source of it all. 

    A really refreshing read Jeff. 

  • It is incredible that we can do what we do nowdays.  If you start, keep at it and persevere, you will build a tribe. 

  • Love it Jeff! I’m in agreement with you, the best publishing platform is the one that you use. For me, it’s currently my WordPress blog. It allows me to quickly get my thoughts and ideas out to readers. It’s easy to share. It’s cheap to produce.

    But soon I’ll be expanding my publishing platform. I’m in the process of composing two books. One to give away on my blog for subscriptions and possibly sell on Amazon. The other will be strictly a pay-for product.

    The excitement these platforms provide me is exhilarating.  Can’t wait to see where they lead.

  • We all have the same amount of hours in the day. You can do something productive and change the world, or you can do NOTHING. It’s your decision. No one else can make this decision for you. What are you going to do? 

    I choose to write. 

  • Your subhead “The age of amazing, squandered” really struck me and was reminiscent of Neil Postman’s seminal piece “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” 

    His opening thesis compares current society (his book was written in the 1980s) with the dystopias in George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

    Postman’s assertion is that we’re closer to the latter than the former. Our oppression by addictive amusements far surpasses the oppression from a governmental regime. 

    We really are squandering it away…..

    • Brave New World is frightening prophecy these days.

  • That was like a sock to the gut, but a really really good one that leaves you feeling stronger afterwards. (At least I’m assuming, I rarely get socked in the gut).  Nonetheless, what a powerful message about squandering our dreams on silent hopes and wishes.  We have the tools.  We don’t need a gigantic following to be heard.  One person can change your whole life, but they can’t do that if you stay locked up in your sad writer’s closet.  We have to get out there.  This post makes me want to yell “CHARGE!”.

  • corinamackay

    I’d like to get a kick in the backside like this every morning. It’s good to have a wake up call now and then – thanks Jeff!

  • Must you always challenge me, Jeff? I’ve been blogging since August, and when I read this post I realize that do far too much agonizing over each post. I have an engineering background that leads to a reflex for perfection that is seldom achieved. I believe that I have great content that resides within me, but only a small percentage makes it to publication because of the filters I have created.

    You have never steered me wrong yet, and I will apply the lessons from this post as well. 

    As always, you inspire me to stretch outside of my comfort zone. Thank You!

  • Kathryn Vaughn

    You can’t publish if you don’t write.  I have started putting boundaries on the amount I read about writing and spend more time writing and reading works of people who have gone before me trying to learn from them.  They’re all dead, but their words have lasted for decades.  Thanks for the affirmation.

  • I’m a little conflicted about this. One the one hand, yes. Absolutely. It’s about getting your voice out there, and to do that, you have to just go for it. Publish. Take the risk.

    On the other hand, I feel a certain amount of pressure (responsibility? desire?) to make sure that I’m being purposeful about what I write. I want to write the things that people will resonate with and that will bring understanding and life. I’m mindful of my varied audiences and of the weight of words. You put something out in the internet, and it’s THERE, and you can’t take it back.

    What do you guys think? How do you live and work and blog within that tension?

  • Yet another great post Mr Pants-kicker!! (saw that reply to someone’s comment 🙂 )
    I always appreciate your insights to keep us moving forward.

    I’ve taken lots of your advice and I’m proud to say that I’m finally starting to get  my process worked out, at least something that works for me. Like the others, I have so many things swimming around in my head that now I have a small notebook (think it was suppose to be a journal). I carry the notebook around me with me everywhere and write out my thoughts and post ideas. Some posts can get completely written out and then it only takes 30 minutes in my day to get it up and published.

    What a relief it was to figure out a way to make this work for my crazy busy schedule 🙂

  • Jeff, this post is “spot on”!  I automatically sharpened up my writing dramatically when I started posting/publishing/ every day!   CANNOT emphasize too much the important of getting the thoughts, images, words OUT THERE!

  • I agree that so many people are squandering “the age of amazing,” — but too many people are also abusing it, simply producing for the sake of producing, without considering the quality.

    Seth Godin wrote a piece this week, “When execution gets cheaper, so should planning” (https://bit.ly/HqH5rq), that made me think back to what you wrote here. I agree with the encouragement to “just do it,” to stop thinking and worrying so much about getting started. But I still think the decision to publish should be pondered a little more.

    Do you worry that by encouraging this rush to publication, you might be promoting the low-quality work that makes people scoff at blogs and ebooks and other forms of self-publishing?

  • Judith_Flickinger

    Yes. That was the first word that came to mind after I read your article.


     ” No one is being changed by your ideas while they remain in your head.”


    Why didn’t I see it before now. Bad or good, frivolous or provocative…they are my thoughts and will remain ONLY my thoughts, devoid of life,  until they get from my head and heart to the paper.

    Yes. They deserve to live.

  • Jory Piccinino

    I think I’ve put off re-realizing that the world does need my story–I once had the urgency, but then I guess I started believing that my story’s not really that important. Recently, though, it’s coming back, that drive. This is exactly the “wake up! call” I needed to hear–I definitely have been “squandering my time and resources.” I sincerely appreciate your encouragement, Jeff! Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow, I really  needed to read this today, the last day of the year 2012.

  • Jeteyes

    wow. jeff, 
    i was googling the definition of publisher’s platform when your blog popped up. every single question in my head & heart you hit on in just this one article. that is…that is pretty powerful. i’ve written books- still have them, started a blog- haven’t went viral, have websites…widgits you name it- all the technology & information just waiting to get it right while in the back of my head i’m thinking the timing could very well be off because i’ve sat on it all.for some reason i’m just waiting & comparing, seeking & searching…and here you are. what a well timed, appropritately addressed, & concise blog. i’m floored. you are where you’re suppose to be doing what you are called to do… how awesome is that 😉
    thank you