When I began blogging, it was a huge step for me in learning self-discipline and personal accountability—two character traits vital for anyone who desires to be a career author. Now, I was far from perfect, and I tell you I struggle every day. But I firmly believe that it is the perfectionist thinking that can get us in the deepest trouble.
We go from not working out at all to doing three hours in the gym…then we walk like a duck and cannot even sit down to pee, and we give up. We go from eating everything that isn’t fast enough to outrun our fork…to living off vegetables and diet food. And then we feel sick and fall back into the deep-dish pizza cushion of comfort. We resolve to have a Martha Stuart organized house, and all we end up with is everything we own piled on a counter or a bed and no idea what to do with any of it.
Writing can be the same, and so can building a social media platform. So from now on, baby steps will be the name of the game. You want to know my motto? “Little by little.” I remind myself every day that small consistent actions add up to huge accomplishments.
In the spirit of small consistent change, I am going to do something different. My goal is to do three posts a week. Yikes! I know. I am kind of panicking, too.
Monday will be a post about the craft. A social media platform does none of us any good if we don’t write the darn good book. So I am going to take my years of experience as an editor and writer and hopefully shorten your learning curve by YEARS. I have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
Wednesday will be WANA Wednesday. WANA stands for “We Are Not Alone,” the title of my book…which is really long and I am really lazy and don’t feel like typing it out every time. Bob Mayer actually kept e-mailing me about WANA, and I swear to God it took me three weeks before I realized it was an acronym for my book and not some conference. For those who wondered…yes, I am blonde. It comes in handy when I do stupid stuff. So WANA Wednesday will be tactics and tools to make social media fun and effective. I tend to focus on the content side of things, but will also offer tips and tools as I find them. Again, I have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
And Friday is Free-for-All Friday. I like making fun of stuff…namely me…cuz I do and see a lot of dumb yet funny stuff that is just dying to be blogged about. It is also a time that I will share my observations on life, writing and topics that are just interesting, fun, and encouraging. I will also mention any noteworthy blogs I’ve found over the course of the week or any book recommendations I might have for you to help you grow in your craft.
See, it’s all about little steps. Each of these blogs will be designed to help you grow in small ways every day. This is the same guiding principle I used in my book, We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. WANA is very different from other marketing books. Most of us are not Guy Kawasaki or Anthony Robbins. We have day jobs and Weight Watchers meetings and children and responsibilities that always seem to take over our dream of being a successful author. In fact, most of us would rather kill ourselves with a stapler than read a marketing book. Why? Simple. Too often we read marketing books or go to social media seminars and one of three things happens (yes, I have experienced all three):
1. We get overwhelmed. One look at all the gadgets and gizmos and all we want to do is run screaming in terror. We are the ones who still cannot figure out how to download music to our iPod let alone build a digital social media empire.
2. We get discouraged. We look at our sad attempt at a MySpace page or a web page and just want to cry. We have no idea how Facebook even works so we find ourselves…buying farm animals? Huh? How the heck did that happen?
3. We panic and avoid. All hyped up from the conference class, Power Social Media for the Super Awesome Successful Author Guaranteed to Make YOU World-Famous in a Week, we get home and are ready to conquer the world. We power up the computer and rub our palms vigorously…and then something doesn’t work the way the speaker promised, and we panic.
Okay….blog. Um *scratches head* about what? Hmmm, didn’t think to ask about that. I don’t even know what kind of book I want to write. I’m not even published. Who would find me interesting? I’m not interesting. *cat jumps on to desk and sprawls on keyboard* That’s it. I will blog about my cat…or write a short story from the perspective of my cat. Cool. No, that sucks. Okay, I write romance. Maybe write a love poem? No that sounds like break-up poetry. *hits backspace button.* Okay, I will blog about my book. What is my book? I need to pee. Stop it and focus. Okay, well I know my romance novel will have dragons. Maybe write a poem with a dragon. No that sucks, too. *looks at watch* Time to pick up the kids already?????
We Are Not Alone is a book for the person who feels intimidated by the Dummies Guides. Yes, I will be the first to admit this. I bought a guide to building web pages. By the end of the weekend I just wanted to drink heavily and cry because I finally had to admit a Dummy Guide was over my head—making me a Less-than-Dummy and proving my third grade teacher right. Once I washed the mascara from my cheeks, I took a deep breath and decided to write a book that spoke to people like me. I have built many highly successful social media platforms and never learned to write code or work every gizmo the social media world keeps benevolently shoving in my face. How did I do this? You guessed it.
Little by little (with a dose of good old-fashioned common sense).
So the WANA lesson for today is: Feel free to not know everything.
Isn’t that liberating? This lesson is foundational for social media success. When you buy my book, you will quickly see that I focus far more heavily in what and how you post than I do on the technology. Why? Because social media changes so quickly it will give your brain whiplash. You will never keep up unless you want a career in social media. Even then…trust me. You will never keep up. So don’t try to.
Focus on a few things and do them well. If you want a step-by-step guide on how to do this, WANA is there to hold your hand and guide you…little by little.
What is a baby step you can commit to today? Have a baby step story to share? Are you a Less-than-Dummy too? Surely I am not the only one. Share with us. We’d like to hear.
Until next time…
blogging consistently is hard for me. I’m realizing the only way I’m going to be able to do that is to take the time to set aside one day a month and do all my blogs for that month at once. I’ve found trying to do it piecemeal isn’t working. The hard part is to stop writing while I have a WIP that needs finishing. So my new plan is to pick a day, and then get up earlier that day, knock out at least a 1,000 words on WIP, which is half my normal production. But that will free me mentally to focus on writing the blogs. Now to pick a day.
I hear you with this one. I percieve that I am still in the honeymoon phase of writing my blog. It’s everyday and it’s go big with concepts. I feel like I know that there’ll be a come down in the future, but I’m prepared and am capitalizing on the initial surge of power.
This summer is the first time in a year that I really fell off in my writing. I became discouraged at a time when things were actually going really well. Who knows how that happened. Anyway, I do find that having a schedule helps me to stop the perfection thing. If I know it needs to be out there then I know I have to sit down and do it whether the post is perfect or not. The funny thing is that the ones I feel the worse about are the ones that seem to touch my readers the most. Maybe it is the rawness of the post because it is less polished, I don’t know.
Glad to hear that you are going to three a weeks though since you are by far my favorite blogger for writing.
Your article expressed my sentiments exactly! I’ve been trying to get my website redone — I’ll admit as economically as possible — for years. Can’t convert it cause it was done with frames, old technology. Now here come blogs. Yikes! I finally got some help and am in the process of making it work.
Your “baby steps” philosophy makes so much sense. You just gave me a schedule that I can work with.
Thanks for an insightful post!
I’ve been sitting in the coffee shop reading your blog, giggling, and nodding. I’m sure the barista thinks I’m delusional and is probably a little scared… But I can totally relate to being “Less-than-Dummy.” Who writes those books anyway?
I love that you have set such a solid example of implementing baby steps even in explaining your process and plans for this blog- with craft Mondays, WANA Wed, and Free-for-All Friday. My inclination is to do it ALL, all of the time- not exactly a baby step. But seeing how you strategized gives me hope that I, too, can learn to use baby steps in reaching my goals- writing and otherwise.