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Polyamorous Platforms: Juggling Puppies

A guest post from author Sage Cohen

[Note: When Shanna generously agreed to host a guest post by me as part of my blog tour this month, I thought it would be fun to feature one (of several) excerpts from my book The Productive Writer that quotes Shanna directly and shares her wisdom. So, here you have a refracted version of Shanna—in her words and through my eyes. How’s that for textured? Ok, back to the guest post.]

“When I’m writing for creativity and business, I always feel like I’m juggling about a million plates. Actually, it’s more like two plates, two balls, a flaming stick, four chainsaws and a puppy. I don’t want to drop any of them and I want to wow my audience, all without killing myself in the process.

Over the years, I’ve developed a number of tricks for keeping things separate while keeping myself together. But mostly what I’ve discovered is this: writing is writing. Now I know there are a lot of ways to dispute that statement. However, once you sit down with any project and you start putting words on the page, it amounts to the same thing: Put down the best words you can, in the best order, and do it as well as you can before the deadline. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a one-stanza poem or ghostwriting a 50,000-word book. The result is different, but the act is the same.” —Shanna Germain, award-winning poet, fiction writer, and freelance writer


It is Valentine’s Day, and I just read an interview where a polyamorous couple explained how they negotiate their primary relationship alongside various satellite love affairs. As I was contemplating how a couple might pull off the nitty-gritty logistics of such a lifestyle, it occurred to me that having two or more relationships may be like having two or more platforms––requiring multiple Valentine’s Day celebrations, some very sophisticated calendaring, and an uncanny competence for, well, juggling flames and chainsaws and puppies.

What to do when one lover wants to sit under the covers and work through last night’s conflict when you already have a date to go horseback riding with another? How to give direction and priority to two important, and sometimes-at-odds, platform trajectories galloping through your writing life?

Some writers simply need to have multiple irons in various platform fires or they’re bored, stifled, stuck, enervated. Others who perceive multiple platforms to be a chaos of distraction choose a single topic then excavate every facet of it for every possible audience and market for the rest of their writing days.

There is a third, middle way that unifies a writer’s various, unrelated platforms within an umbrella context. For example, my first platform was “Writing the Life Poetic.” My second platform is now “The Productive Writer.” (Each platform name happens to pair with a book title, but this is not the rule, it’s just how it worked out for me.)

Keeping two different platforms chugging along independent of each other, on top of everything else I’m already doing, seems like more fish to fry than I have pans. So I’m in the process of establishing a bigger, more inclusive platform, which I’m calling “The Path of Possibility in Writing and Life.” Within this umbrella, all of the writing topics I currently know, teach, and publish about are covered: productivity, poetry, creative nonfiction, authoring, motherhood, marketing writing, and promotion. It also gives me room to expand in directions I may not have yet imagined.

If we are to return to the polyamory metaphor, this kind of platform, then, becomes something akin to a multiple-partner marriage; one in which there is an agreed-upon family system within which various lives and loves turn—interdependently, and with a shared context and commitment. “Writing Your Life” is my new North Star—one I refer to every day to help me steer this burgeoning craft of my writing life in an integrated way that makes sense to me—and hopefully, will help me make sense to my readers.

How do your temperament and work style align with these possibilities? Are you most likely to be a platform monogamist or puppy juggler? Writer, writer, Productive Writer, how does your platform grow?

About Sage Cohen

Sage Cohen is the author of The Productive Writer (just released from Writer’s Digest Books); Writing the Life Poetic and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. She blogs about all that is possible in the writing life at pathofpossibility.com, where you can: Download a FREE “Productivity Power Tools” workbook companion to The Productive Writer. Get the FREE, 10-week email series, “10 Ways to Boost Writing Productivity” when you sign up to receive email updates. Sign up for the FREE, Writing the Life Poetic e-zine. Plus, check out the events page for the latest free teleclasses, scholarships and more.