Suck It Up & Writer Up—Preparing for Greatness

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Social media doesn’t work. Blogging doesn’t sell books. We’ll have to put out massive amounts of time and effort for no pay-off. We’ll have to learn HTML and how to manipulate algorithms to succeed and this is all for nothing. If we blog, we must write Pulitzer-quality content, but don’t bother. No one will read it, anyway.

Social media and blogging are the most soul-sucking, life-draining tasks we’ll ever have to do as authors. Quit while you can. If you aren’t already a mega-best-selling author, no one will care about you, your work or your blog.

Feel inspired?

Unless off the grid traveling, I’m always engaged with social media. I keep my “finger” on the pulse of what’s happening in my platform. Over the weekend, a Twitter follower shared an article and asked me for my thoughts.

I won’t even bother linking to the article because my goal here isn’t to put anyone down. The author of the article clearly felt overwhelmed, exhausted and disillusioned and that’s par for the course in what we do.

I can appreciate how dreadful the writer who wrote this post must feel. In fact, I never wanted to be a social media expert. I wanted to write novels. But, early on, when attending conferences and reading blogs from experts, I could see where their advice was headed.

While these experts meant well and truly wanted to help, I believed their approach was more likely to turn writers into cutters than to sell truckloads of books. I knew social media would be the ultimate game-changer, so I put aside my fiction and set a new course.

Are They Wrong?

We can debate right and wrong all we want. I feel there are likely people who use algorithms, automation, promotion, contests, newsletters and technology and are very successful at it. But this isn’t a One Size Fits All World. There are millions of people who believe in living a vegan lifestyle and actively try to convert me.

Granted, I’ve never met a veggie I didn’t love, but the simple fact is I have so many food allergies this diet would kill me. I’m not particularly a meat-eater (Psst, Don’t tell the other Texans.) But, with horrible allergies to gluten, soy, legumes and most nuts? Going vegan is an option that would make me ill, weak, and leave me malnourished.

Does this mean all the vegans of the world are wrong? Well, that’s really not what we are here to discuss. It’s an anecdote to make my point.

Here’s another while we’re here.

In college, I had friend who had the same go-to-diet every time she gained weight. Stop eating, start smoking and drink lots of Dr. Pepper. Granted, it was tempting in those years to do The Marlboro-Dr. Pepper Diet, myself. I struggled with my weight despite many, many hours at the gym and eating healthy (I didn’t realize I was allergic to gluten and dairy and that’s why I remained “fluffy.”)

It was gut-wrenching to see her svelte and thin while I wore stretchy pants. But, deep down, I knew The Marlboro-Dr. Pepper Diet was flawed. It worked short-term, but I knew it would have long-term, devastating consequences.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Zoetnet

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Zoetnet

This is how I feel about social media. WANA is a balanced approach to social media that works with the strengths of a writer. I imagine most of you aren’t doing this “writing thing” until your dream job in high-pressure sales comes along. But WANA is not The Marlboro-Dr. Pepper Diet. You might not see big results for a long time, but your platform will be fun, healthy, and stable.

Thinking Long-Term

Recently, I’ve started the P90X program (I started it once before then gave myself EPIC tendonitis pushing a crappy mower and working in the yard). I had to stop and do yoga for about a year to allow my joints to heal enough to try again. Due to my food allergies, I already have a fabulous diet. In fact, when I went to the doctor a year ago at a Size 16 and 180 pounds, I brought my food journal and exercise journal for the previous six months.

The doctor was floored. Unless I was lying or had something hormonal going on (Thyroid?) someone with this lifestyle should NOT have been 5’3″ and 180 pounds.

I was working out, no alcohol, no sugar, GF, dairy-free, non-GMO, organic, no soy, good carbs and yet I was FIFTY pounds overweight. They did an extensive blood panel and I was textbook perfect health—aside from having three @$$es when I should have only had one. The doctors were puzzled  and so was I.

Knowing my history with food allergies, I cut out eggs and my weight began to drop. Then stopped. And there was another thing that disturbed me. I’ve always been someone who easily put on muscle, but I had no tone. NO muscle. Sure I was in a Size 6-8, but I was soft despite being active.

So, I revisited the P90X and, before starting, I calculated how many calories their plan wanted me to ingest.


But, I figured I’d done it my way long enough, why not try? For me, the biggest challenge has been the eating. What I’m eating is the same, just A LOT MORE and MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY. I’ve had my mind screaming, You’re eating too much! You’re going to be back at a Size 16! 

But, I tried it…and have lost roughly a pound a day. Also, I felt these lumps after a few days. OMG. Tumors? No, MUSCLES. I’m finally getting definition in my arms, shoulders and back.

And sure, 2400 calories is easy if we are eating garbage. But try getting 2400 calories of green veggies, lean protein, and limited complex carbs. Last night, I made my final chicken breast and kale and it was so hard to eat, because I’ve been in a bad habit of not eating enough.

But what do I want? Do I want to keep wearing a Medieval Torture Device (Spanx) to keep my tummy tucked in and back-fat smoothed down? Do I want to keep hiding my beefy arms under cardigans? Do I want to keep relying on caffeine for energy? No. So, in my mind, Suck it up, Buttercup.

Our bodies and our platforms reflect what we feed them and how often. Starvation and junk yield weak and ill. Thus, we always should ask, “What am I feeding my writing/platform?”





At first, it might not be easy. Just like clean-eating, it might take time for the digital “taste-buds” to catch up (and even crave) the wholesome stuff over the empty junk. This is a process.

Our Author Platform is a Living Thing

WANA platforms are designed to be organic and grow as you grow. They don’t rely on algorithms, automation or technology. They are immune to fads and work on any social site we choose. How?

Platforms cannot grow and thrive long-term on empty-calories automation and algorithms. We must be present and vested. There needs to be a human behind the tweets and posts. People sense automation and they either ignore it or resent it.

And sure, filling out a bunch of automation ahead of time seems easier, but it’s the digital equivalent of The Marlboro-Dr. Pepper Diet. Short-term we might feel spiffy, but later? BLURGH.

Once the short-term wears off, we’re left exhausted, worn out, angry, grumpy and eventually will fail to see results at all.

Want Your Blog to Grow? FEED IT FREQUENTLY

When P90X tells me to eat every 2-3 hours, it’s a hassle. I won’t lie. I’ve never been a breakfast-eater, probably because most breakfast foods were poison for so long (eggs, dairy, wheat). When I started this, I literally had to force myself to eat when I wasn’t hungry.

Good thing, though, is that P90X isn’t asking me to sit down to a seven-course meal 6 times a day. It can be three ounces of chicken and a cup of veggies, an apple, a protein bar, a handful of almonds. Small, meaningful meals regularly and consistently for long-term results.

The same can be said of blogging. In my book, I teach how to blog in a way that is very easy and will connect to readers. In fact, it can take as little as 15 minutes a day. Why? I’m not asking you to serve up an article worthy of The New York Times. I’m asking for the digital handful of almonds.

The same goes for any platform. We can tweet a handful of times a day, five days a week and that’s plenty. We can post two or three times a day during the week on Facebook. That’s plenty. Will we see earth-shattering results Week One? Likely not. But good choices over time accumulate into major results.

I love you guys and I sincerely want for you to succeed. Whether we like it or not, social media is our lifeline. It’s been one of the single largest factors for more authors earning money off their work. Thus, if we need this platform for long-term success, we need to feed it good stuff regularly for long-term health and fitness.

Writer Up—No One Can Do This FOR Us

Just like I can’t outsource my health and my body, we can’t outsource our platform. Promotional companies and PR firms simply no longer have the power they used to in a world ruled by Media Gate Keepers who stemmed information flow. Are they valuable? Sure, but we have to do the building first. They can’t do it for us.

I’d love to pay some gym bunny to do my workout for me. Can I pay her do the squats, crunches, stairs and burpees and magically my whittle my butt down to something bikini-worthy? Would that not be COOL? No work on my part, just fork out money and wait for RESULTS.

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way at the gym or on-line.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Crossfit.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Crossfit.

We need to Writer Up and show up. And to continue the analogy, I wish I looked as awesome as those folks on my P90X DVDs. Sadly, I probably resemble a chain-smoking Water Buffalo with a hangover. I can’t do all the reps. I have to take it easy in places to avoid flaring up my tendonitis. Some moves? I can’t even use weights. It is a sad…sad……..sad sight.

It may be pitiful, but it isn’t permanent ;).

I don’t have to do all the reps and all the moves. I merely have to show up. So much of social media is simply showing up. That simple. But simple isn’t always easy. My early blogs were just as ugly as these early workouts. But, I kept showing up and it made me faster, leaner and stronger. Success in anything? We can’t pay for it or wait for it we must work for it.

Original image courtesy of Flickr Creatinve Commons, courtesy of Ali Samieivafa.

Original image courtesy of Flickr Creatinve Commons, courtesy of Ali Samieivafa.

There are NO Short-Cuts to ANY PLACE Worth Going

I’d love to come up with a “Social Media Shake-Weight.” You know, some goofy “fast-results” system I could sell for BIG cash. Unfortunately, I have a conscience and vested interest in your success as writers and as people. I can’t hand you a fancy algorithm or Guaranteed 20 Step Plan to be a NYTBSA. 


Because I know many of you possess the talent to take you over the moon, but it will be character that will keep you there. I’m not in the bottle-rocket business. I want to ignite stars that burn for generations.

Social media is more than selling books, it’s learning to forge relationships, be positive even when the world is caving in, showing up when you want to stay in bed, doing the work when no one notices any results and thinks we are fools. Social media, blogging and writing teach us patience, tenacity, flexibility, self-discipline and to keep pressing for what we say we want.

It would be easy to be a writer if all we had to do was finish a book and then hand cash to a promo team to make us zillionaires. But that isn’t reality. This business is tough. It weeds out the weak, the self-centered, the impatient, the undisciplined and those who are writing for the wrong reasons or who complain, whine and are unwilling to sacrifice. Yet, on the positive side, social media, blogging and writing rewards the faithful, the diligent, the committed, the humble, the giving and the kind.

In the end? We are not alone. Yes, we need a platform, but no one said you had to do it by yourself. That’s what WANA is all about.

What are your thoughts? Do you get overwhelmed? Do you think you need to do a lot of EVERYTHING and it’s leaving you burned out? Have you learned to be faithful with baby steps? I know I am still working on that. Do you feel pressured? Like nothing you do matters? Or, have you come to that place where you’re willing to Writer Up?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

For a LONG-TERM plan for a fit, healthy platform, please check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World

March’s WINNER—Christina Delusions of Humor

Please e-mail me your 20 pages (5000 words) in a WORD document to kristen at wan a intl dot com. Or a synopsis (750 words MAX) or a query letter (250 words). Congratulations!


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  1. “Writer up”…what a wonderful phrase! It’s going to be very hard not use that one. You’ve said what so many of us (myself included, sometimes) need to hear, and said it well. Thanks!

  2. It’s funny you mention this because I only blog once a week for my show but I try to remain active with both my radio shows and FB profiles. I think social media has highly invigorated my career and I use the techniques you mention. However, I’m not a rockstar writer. Just one of millions trying to forage a path to success as I see it. Thank you for reiterating the need to writer-up.

  3. What a perfect metaphor – eating a healthy diet equals judicious use of social media! And this from a former binger-purger who also wrote blogs, tweeted, pinterested, tumblred, and facebooked. (Yes, those are verbs.)

    When did I actually write books, you might ask? Ah, that was the rub.

    So, now I’ve moved to a more streamlined approach with diet, exercise, and social media. Excellent, excellent blogpost.

    • Stephanie Scott on March 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm
    • Reply

    I’m in awe of all you’ve done to maintain your health. It’s so amazing to me how different our bodies can react; the smaller more frequent meals is something I gravitate toward, but it’s hard to eat smaller amounts each of those times when our culture is so ingrained toward 3 meals a day. My husband has a lot of food allergies that unfortunately are good foods (a lot of raw fruits and certain vegetables) which can make it challenging to find a balance between us.

  4. A great comparison. Very instructive and insightful. Admittedly, there are no short cuts!

  5. Almost always you knock it out of the ballpark, Kristen, but this post is a universal salvo, timeless in its wisdom: developing one’s diet is akin to developing one’s writing life. It is a matter of finding balance in both. The WANA way has opened up new worlds for me in writing and as a human being. I found my size, and I am comfortable. Thanks so much.

  6. When I became ill five years ago I reached a point where the local doctors told me that my life was going to be drugs, 24-hour oxygen, and social security. I asked what I had to do to improve enough to shed the drugs that were turning me into a zombie and be able to function more fully. Their response was, “Huh?” Still, they sent me to the finest respiratory hospital in the country and there I was paired with a doctor who liked fighters. I’m a fighter. I started walking while pulling an oxygen tank and forced myself to eat to gain weight. I shed the drugs and finally the oxygen assistance. When my head cleared I revisited writing. Last month I moved 620 miles. Yesterday I took a walk—in the middle of a blizzard.

    I’m a fighter, and there came a day when I realized for the first time in my life that if I could survive all that I’d survived since childhood that I could use that determination to realize my dreams. I want to write, share my work, and make enough to keep sharing. Social media are tools to help me. Not only do they assist my connecting with readers, but the feedback and exchanges help me grow as a writer and human being. I give and social media gives back. It’s not a chore, it’s an opportunity, not to make money, but to help me realize the better person I can be and that person has tales to tell.

    1. Wow! Kudos to you!!

      1. Thank you! If I can get this far then others can too.

  7. Reblogged this on Ontyre Passages and commented:
    This is what fighting for what you want looks like, whether your dream is writing or crossing the room without assistance. Making a dream come true isn’t about a fairy and magic dust, it’s about hard work and nowhere in that equation is there room for excuses.

    • Laurie A Will on March 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm
    • Reply

    I have accepted that baby steps are what is going to work for me, but I still don’t like it! I want it all done now! Perhaps because we live in a hurry up and wait type of society. Everyone is in a hurry. At the same time I would much rather put together and effective platform slowly then to slop everything up and then burn out because I am trying to do everything. Still, I can’t help but to WANT to do everything and perfectly for that matter. But I choose to live in reality even though I’ve always felt it’s highly overrated. Give me unicorns and zombies anyday, they are much more fun! Great post as usual, Kristen! And thank you for sharing your struggles with us. To me that aspect makes your book and your blog tiers above most books. Not only do you have the right of it, but you give us examples from your own life. In your books you site your sources and show us not only have tired many things, but you’ve thoroughly researched social media and related areas. To me, that makes your insight invaluable!

  8. I tended to write for myself, me and I. That was three people and I did not like the other two. But at least some people started reading me. I tend to meander like an old river, (singing in the background), echo words that use to have meaning and write from the hip. As my grandmother who I never talked to once esp ied me, do the fun thing and you shall be ignored.

  9. Your blog post is just what I needed to hear today. Sometimes I wonder if all the time I spend with my computer is “quality time” or if I’d be better off taking a walk. Your post reminded me that blogging, etc., is something writers just have to do — and we have to GET OVER IT. So now I’m going to reread your post about balancing writing and life and then get to work drafting my next blog post. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. I wrote one book that was in me for a long time. It took years and finally came out. Lost fifty pounds. I am working on the second book now. I am told no one will read it so I am propelled to do it anyway. I am stubborn that way. Loved your article and empathized with it. I noted in my travels that people wanted to edit my book and only charge me money for the privilege. Amazing. I wrote stuff for the pure pleasure of putting things on paper. Never thought people would deem it worthy enough to charge me for reading it. So, to be really annoying I have sent it gratis to people who show an interest. If they want to fix it let them. If not I am accepted with my flaws. You basically hit the nail on the head. Less than .000001 percent of the people who write make a real living. They are starving artist on a lean diet of rejection and not my cup of tea replies. I on the other hand due it because I love rejection and do not care for tea. I prefer coffee with acrimony. It takes tough love and your post had it. Kudos for the truth.

    1. Happy you enjoyed the post, but I will say that if you want to hit a certain level, likely you will have to pay an editor and a good one is priceless. Editing is ARDUOUS. We have to find every last error, fixed details and maybe even help repair plot holes. It’s a lot of work. I rely on beta readers (trade help) my initial rounds, but then I hire pros even though I’ve been editing for almost 14 years. We can’t see our own mistakes and editors have fresh eyes. Just look for a good one. The new paradigm has birthed a lot of predators. Best of luck!

      1. Thank you for replying. I was thinking I was alone in the blog sphere world. I will try Beta readers as you stated but being of limited funds precludes me from a huge financial investment. Any avenues or sites that will help?

        1. Make writer friends who have editing skills. Trade services. Save money and prepare for the expense (which is a deduction). One of the major reason many books fail, is the lack of proper editing, so think of it as an investment ;).

          1. Marilyn feels I need to read Rise of the Machines, How do I order it?

    2. Awax, I accidentally replied to you on the next post below yours. oops. Sorry.

    3. Awax, Awax, look at the website. You can find writers’ groups near you, and joining is free. I even paid the $15 a month so I could start my own critique group. Fellow writers are invaluable in helping you on your way. In San Antonio, TX, we have several groups that have monthly meetings, such as San Antonio Writers’ Guild and San Antonio Romance Authors. You can also join Facebook pages for writers in your genre. Just do a search for fiction, memoir, writer, writing, etc. The NaNoWriMo site is especially good. But before you do anything else, buy Kristen’s book ‘Rise of the Machines.’ I wish I had read it before I started any web stuff.

      1. Thanks for the advice. I belong to a group in Winter Haven but it has been going nowhere. Went there for over a year. But I will get Kristen’s book soon. Thanks. P.S. have you read any of my stuff? What do you think? Wasting my time or some ability?

    • Carina Bissett on March 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm
    • Reply

    I am in the finishing stages of my novel and I have been thinking about social media quite a bit. Thank you for this. I am the one who would write the New York Times-worthy article instead of the 15-minute handful of almonds. Good advice.

    1. Awax, look at the website. You can find writers’ groups near you, and joining is free. I even paid the $15 a month so I could start my own critique group. Fellow writers are invaluable in helping you on your way. In San Antonio, TX, we have several groups that have monthly meetings, such as San Antonio Writers’ Guild and San Antonio Romance Authors. You can also join Facebook pages for writers in your genre. Just do a search for fiction, memoir, writer, writing, etc. The NaNoWriMo site is especially good. But before you do anything else, buy Kristen’s book ‘Rise of the Machines.’ I wish I had read it before I started any web stuff.

    2. Sorry, Carina. I meant to post that to Awax.

    • Melissa Lewicki on March 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm
    • Reply

    I love the idea that WANA is a balanced approach to social media. Wonderful post. Thank you.

    • prudencemacleod on March 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    • Reply

    It took me a while to find the right formula for me. Now I blog once a week, but I show up every day on SM. All in all, when I need a boost out of the depression dumps, I read all the stuff on the WANA groups and I get back into the writer head space where I belong.
    The blog? At first I was lucky to get 50 or 60 views per post, now I average over 400. Patience and persistence seem to be the keys.
    Once again, Thanks WANA Mama and all the WANA sibs. You’re the best.

  11. Love your post as always and yes, I can relate on so many levels. I have severe food allergies…Leiden Factor V…which means about 90% of the world’s food supply could probably kill me. Issues with my weight because of it and now with my debut picture book about to be released in January of 2015 I have to learn book marketing QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY in order to help myself when the time comes. Overweight, overwhelmed sometimes and wouldn’t trade places with most people for all the tea in China…even if I COULD drink it…;~)

    Donna L Martin

  12. First of all, Rise of the Machines was a game changer for me. It gave definition to what I could not define and illuminated a path to take, or at least try to take. I am more motivated than ever, but also overwhelmed. I’m hoping I find the place where I’m comfortable and it starts to make sense and “work” for me. I need to unlearn everything I’ve heard about social media. I’ve been doing it all wrong. I also need to take chances and put myself out there. Not so easy for this introvert! So, I must thank you for your book’s contribution to the writing community. I know in time it will all pan out. I am not giving up. I am forging ahead. And, no matter the outcome, I can say that I put my best foot forward and tried.

  13. Perfect for me to hear for so many reasons this morning. I actually like marketing. It’s like a crossword puzzle for me. I find it both rewarding and entertaining…aside from whether what I do is a failure or a success. It’s a grand experiment.

    But I don’t like broadcasting. And automation is something I feel I need to earn. And it needs to be with my audience in mind, so that I don’t data dump a bunch of cool links I know they’d like. It helps me spread it out.

    Because my end goal is engagement not hallow metrics, I spend most of my social media energy on Google Plus. It rewards me with the type of nerdy engagement I love. I know that Klout and much of the world are more in love with FaceBook and Twitter. I show up there as well.

    My goal is to write 2000 words a day. But I give myself the latitude of counting all of my writing, not just any given WIP. That gives me a sense of real accomplishment, but it also makes me take the time I spend on my platform seriously.

    If I can’t engage with readers before I write my books, how can I expect to after I hit the publish button?

    I feel your “fluffy” and raise you. Still working on mine secret sauce as well. Too much meat and starch makes me puffy. And there is precious little processed anything in my cupboards. Hasn’t been for years.

    Wish I had all of the answers. But I just do what feels healthy and right. Push it forward.

  14. Congratulations on the beautiful topics in your blog If you like, you can enter our blog and if you like and give us a like. Thank you and greetings from Romania

  15. Absolutely love this post! I will admit, blogging is one thing I do need to Writer Up and do!

  16. I think I read that article last week (or one that was eerily similar). I understood the author’s feelings, but had to disagree. Maybe my blog won’t sell books for me directly, but it, Twitter and Facebook have helped me connect with more people in a positive way than I ever could have without them. I much prefer the WANA approach to anything else I’ve seen!

    Love the health analogy. I have the same problems in both areas… I’m one of the undisciplined that this business punishes (and have the muffin-tops to show for it, too). Need to work on that.

  17. Thanks, I needed that! I’ve been blogging religiously at least once per month, tweeting or retweeting useful advice and insights gleaned from other bloggers and tweeters and Facebook is no problem because I’m addicted. Would also need a Pinterest intervention if I wasn’t currently traveling aboard my sailboat adhering by necessity to a 5G monthly Mifi diet. Rationing YouTube, but dolphins are much cooler live! My biggest social media lesson so far is that it’s a two-way street. You must follow to be followed. Rather than focusing on my numbers, algorithms or other whoodo, I am just trying to show up, connect authentically and learn things like why Zemanta just up and disappeared on my blog last week, what “press this” means and how to choose the best materials for favoriting and retweets. Oh, and how to type on an iPad …

  18. WOO HOO! I love this. When I first started my blog I was trying to hard to figure out what would go viral, how I could attract my niche. Then I finally started really writing about what interests me and have seen my stats go up. It’s not huge…yet, but it’s steadily climbing. I’m hoping by the time I publish I will have a network that will support the novels. Thanks for all your advice. Keep it coming! I’m listening and putting it into practice! I’m happy being the turtle!

  19. Wonderful post. Writing a book has got to be just like anything else in this world, a lot of hard work.

  20. Super post, Kristen! I wish I could do your laundry for you. Personally I think you should break into a neighbour’s house and use theirs 😉

  21. Granted, I’ve never met a veggie I didn’t love, but the simple fact is I have so many food allergies this diet would kill me. I’m not particularly a meat-eater (Psst, Don’t tell the other Texans.)..This anecdote hits fairly close to home. My mother is a vegan per health reasons as well (she can’t digest meat protein very easily) and we are from Texas. You know that face people get when you ask for tacos with no meat? Yeah…it is almost the same face people get when I tell them I’m a writer. I am always afraid to post more than once a day or so on the Facebook page, even though we have a contest about to happen if we can get to 100 ‘likes’ ( ) and the same goes for Twitter. Thank you for the encouragement, I will try to take it to heart.

  22. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I recently bought your book and devoured it in a day, but I’ve been having trouble applying some of your lessons. Somedays I just wade through a sea of automation on Twitter, or strike out on Facebook conversations. I’ve considered throwing my blog completely out the window a few times, and today I was about to swear off it completely. I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for so long now, but never felt the need to comment. I remember reading a post about how to find the perfect critique partner and weed out the bad ones, and I knew I had to subscribe. You’ve given me more help than most of the craft books in my overflowing bookshelf, and I hope to one day be half as successful as you’ve become. Keep up the amazing work, and thanks!

    1. It can be hard. I blogged for over a year and the only one listening was the spam bots. But I did it for ME, to train me for a professional pace and trusted that one day a tipping point would come. And, even if it didn’t? I learned the most VITAL CORE PRINCIPLES of success in anything—self-discipline, finishing, and pressing. And to avoid the automation, come hang out with us on #MyWANA :D. I am a ruthless bot-killer.

      1. Thanks for saying that. Its encouraging. Its tough some days to work up a weekly blog post, when I know there will be zero comments and a dozen or less views. What kept you going during that year that you weren’t seeing any results?

        1. I didn’t do it for others or to sell unpublished books (one day). I did it because I knew most people cannot be self-directed and self-disciplined (I sure as heck wasn’t). It’s the #1 reason for failure in my POV. Could I post if no one showed? Could I show up with no hint there would ever be outside validation? Because, to be blunt, as artists we face this. What if we write the books and no one reads? Can we continue? There are writers who’ve died penniless who are now legends.

          True writers write because we MUST. We aren’t happy unless we are writing. Blogging and social media help weeds out poor motivations like outside approval, success, stats and money and whittles it down to the core and reveals our truth. WHY are we REALLY here?

          And don’t get me wrong. I wanted comments and stats and book sales and money, but those things aren’t instant. Can we endure? Blogging and social media are endurance training and it’s also forging vital relationships that keep us from quitting when things get hard because they ALWAYS will. We can’t live on the mountaintop desire the view ;).

    • Sarah Brentyn on March 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm
    • Reply

    Overwhelmed? Burned out? Um…yes. I just joined Twitter and I am seriously thinking of deleting the account. All my social media accounts, actually. I hear you, I really do, but I SO understand where the blogger who contacted you is coming from. I feel his/her pain.

    1. But sometimes we might just not be doing it properly. I hated Twitter until someone showed me HOW to use it and enjoy it. And we don’t have to be everywhere. That’s one of the things I teach in my book. But, the other side is nothing great every happens in the comfort zone.

        • Sarah Brentyn on March 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm
        • Reply

        True. We do have to break out of that comfort zone, don’t we? 😉

  23. “social media, blogging and writing rewards the faithful, the diligent, the committed, the humble, the giving and the kind.”

    I like how you frame this: virtues rewarded, vices leading one astray.

  24. Reblogged this on aarondavisauthor.

  25. Great advice, especially for someone like me struggling with the first steps of my journey. Thank you.

    • netraptor001 on March 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    • Reply

    Ugh, I’m so out of shape, I need to work out.

    But my writing rocks. I can casually drop 1k a day on two WIPs and it’s no big deal. 🙂

  26. My thoughts after reading your post…First, in college we dieted on cigarettes and Tab soda. Second, my daughter refers to me as fluffy. Third, I am glad to read your post; I am trying to follow your approach for my blog, social media platform and the marketing of my first book. You are right, it is hard. I hope to be able to stick it out for the long run!

    • talktraffic28 on March 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    • Reply

    I so needed this blog right now. A good swift kick in the bum. Thanks for your insight and inspiration;) Now, off to the writing table!

  27. Great post. As for me, right now I’m only blogging about once every two weeks and it’s usually about an issue people are facing today. I would like to do more. All the reason why I like your exercise analogy. If you want to lose weight you have to take baby steps first before you take the big ones. I would like to do more for my blog, my novel writing and creating a good networking writing team.

  28. Yeah, I feel like this social media thing sucks me away from my writing. I’m bummed that I left 300 followers behind on the WordPress blog that I started in 2010 when I got my website up an running and moved my blog there (per the instructions of social media Jedi Master Kristen Lamb).
    I’m getting disillusioned with my writing on this my third time through the novel I wrote (first edit). Part of me wonders if anyone will want to read it when I finish the grueling process of perfecting it (only to discover there is no perfect piece of writing on the planet).
    Tired, yes. Making a plan and following it, yes. Writer up? Well, I believe so.
    Thanks for kicking me in the butt today. I needed it.

  29. So true. Sometimes I feel a bit defeated because it seems there are lots of hares around.. But slow and steady wins the race.

  30. For the past three months, I feel like social media is the IRS of writing time. Twitter, facebook, and my blog are just agents sucking away my writing time into a vortex. The same way that your money is taken away in taxes before you’ve seen it or held it in your hand.
    However, there comes a tipping point. Suddenly your platform starts growing in leaps and bounds. Stay diligent folks.

  31. Kristen, if it wasn’t for you, I’d probably be cowering in a corner somewhere feeling overwhelmed and terrified. I also wouldn’t be comfortable with an e-first publisher, feeling that I HAD to go NY or fail. Now, I know that when I’m on FaceBook just being me, I’m adding to my platform.

    I’ve also learned that blogging is more fun if I say things I truly want to say, even if that means showing more of myself that I used to be comfortable with. And I Tweet and even enjoy it. Plus still having time to write.

    You are amazing! You saved my writing life, or at least the publishing part of it.

    Thank you!

    1. I LOVE hearing that. And, as I said, One Size Doesn’t Fit All. I think the WANA Way is kinda like social media yoga pants. WAY more comfy to be yourself ((HUGS)) and CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Kit Dunsmore on March 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    • Reply

    Needed the reminder about baby steps today. I’m a few months into being re-committed to my blog and illness and computer problems have led to an unscheduled hiatus. Now I have to get back in the saddle. I will remind myself that for now at least my blog is for me and also try to lower the bar. My posts take a lot more than 15 minutes (more like 2 hours). Have to learn how to do that!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, and I totally get your health story. After 20 years as a vegetarian, I decided to start eating meat again last summer because most of the veg protein sources were causing me problems. I’m a new woman. The what-I-need-to-do-to-be-healthy analogy resonates with me!

  32. This post helped, Kristen. I have been struggling with posting frequently on my blog, as I often do not quite know what to blog about and then do not quite consider it worth the effort. Yet although the content does not flow out as regularly as I would like to, I do love writing, and need posts like this to inspire me and realign myself with the goals I made a few months back. Thanks!

    • hawaygeordie on March 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on Brian Parkin's Blog and commented:
    Before I had read Kristen Lamb’s book, “Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World”, I had already started to write eBooks and articles but I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast. Nobody seemed to want to read anything that I had written. OK, one or two people had downloaded a free copy of my work, but that was it. As I started to write my novel, I wondered if it was worth it. What would be the point if no one even knew of it’s existence?
    I read through Kristen’s book and it was a light bulb moment for me! You need to market your book yourself. Nobody was going to do it for you, and no one was going to miraculously find your novel by themselves. You need to blog frequently to attract people to your blog. You have to provide them with enough information and images that they want to follow your work. Link your blog to your social media accounts, such as Twitter, and suddenly you have more followers!
    By the time I finish my novel, and other eBooks along the way, my readers will already know what I do and hopefully will be interested enough to read my work.
    It’s not an instant formula, but neither is writing a novel. You need to work at it. So suck it up and write!

    1. GO BRIAN! *fist pump* I need to get Writer Up T-Shirts made :D.

        • hawaygeordie on March 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm
        • Reply

        LOL!! Put me down for a large one, thanks!

  33. I love this post. I am making baby steps along the way with building my social media and I’m seeing it’s working. Not in a huge way, but at least I still get excited when I get a new like or a new follower. I try to respond to comments left on my blog of FB page and most importantly, I don’t feel like a fraud or a spammer. If I post something about my upcoming book it’s because I’m excited about it. If I retweet a review it’s because I can’t believe I have one. If I don’t respond to a private message it’s because I’m happily married, thank you very much.

    Will I make mistakes? Of course, will I turn people off with my sports tweets? Probably. But other than scheduling my blog to post once a week, and linking my FB & Twitter, I don’t automate. My posts are spur of the moment, me being real.

    • Kelly Roberts on March 3, 2014 at 8:42 pm
    • Reply

    OK, this is just creepy…how did you manage to get into my head today? If that tactic is somewhere in Rise of the Machines I must not have gotten to that part yet. Like others here I’m devouring Rise, and this post is one I’ll refer to again.

    I can’t tell you what a social media savior you’ve been to me. I’m actually excited to start my platform now. Before Rise/this post when I thought of that word, I usually envisioned a flat pad, 30m in the air, hovering over lots of water…and I’m standing at the top, hyperventilating and hoping I won’t soil my suit. Now, I am ready to dive in. I might not look like Greg Louganis on the way down, but I’ll still get there, in my own way…

    Thank you a million times over!

  34. I give you a lot of credit for what you’re doing with the workouts. I am in the first phase of writering up. I lost my job not too long ago and rather than allow depression to strike decided I would be a “full-time writer” while I searched for a job. I write as much as I can a day and am working on perfecting my craft as I go. First draft of book one of a series is done and will soon undergo 1st round revisions. I write because it is what I love, if it sells, all the better (icing on the cake). Keep up the awesome work.

    1. Losing the job can sometimes be a blessing. Guess how I became a writer? 😀

  35. I need to read the book. I’m still fighting with myself over blogging. I would love to be able to go the traditional route sans blog or social media, but it seems things do not work that way anymore. My favorite author is Wendell Berry who writes on a typewriter and almost completely eschews the internet scene. I would love to do that, but he got his start in the 60’s when typewriters and traditional publishing was the way it was done. Thanks for a very well-written and much needed kick in the pants.

    1. Most agencies won’t rep an author with no platform. They will tell you to come back when you have one or will take you on under the provision you do social media. Times have changed, but we traded that for better pay and a lot more authors making a living. 93% of all authors (traditional and non-traditional) in 2006 sold less than a thousand books. That number is shifting BIG time and in the favor of writers willing to be bold and be innovative.

      1. I bought your book last night and read until past midnight. Looking forward to the rest of it. I appreciate that you came to this with the same trepidation about change as I do. But I can’t deny reality. Things really have changed in a big way. BTW, I have Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It’s one of my favorites.

  36. ah, this hits home on so many levels because I am both building a platform AND trying to lose weight. Fortunately, your advice of long-term thinking is starting to pay off. Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Writing and platform building have made me more sedentary and therefore out of shape (although round IS a shape). Photos from the SAWG Saturday critique group prove it.
      Some rotten little brats tried to slap a Good-Year bumper sticker on my back as they zoomed by on their bicycles. It’s definitely a sign that something needs to be done.
      Yes I’ve learned to laugh at myself.

      1. You’re hilarious :). I at least have the benefit of a factory job that keeps me more oval than round, but there’s always room to improve. As to the brats, I recommend a cane with an ice pick!

      2. ((HUGS)) I can relate. Writing is easy to grow extra “bottoms.” We’ll have happier careers and lives if we just shake it off and laugh.

  37. Kristen, can my writing diet be chocolate….LOTS of chocolate? I wanted to say that I really love how you make a point…I’ve never thought of my writing this way before and certainly not my blog. Thanks for making things easier to understand and fun! 🙂

    1. I learn through analogies and parable. It’s how things sink in for me and stay. Story. See? Even in a NF blog I use the writer superpower of STORY ;).

  38. So… being sort of new to blogging (less than a year), I only started my blog after learning that publishers look for potential authors who already have a following (with lots of connections via social media)! I most assuredly miss my historical fiction, but blogging I must… Yet, based on the few followers I’ve gained so far, it appears that bloggers scratch each others’ backs in hopes of getting their backs scratched. Are we just a billion blogger-writers in a ginormous virtual room making each other feel good while adding to our tally, to make us more appealing to publishers? Or are some of our efforts actually reaching and making a difference in the lives of non-blogger-writers in the “real” world? Maybe I’d get more followers by following more bloggers, but I’m barely keeping my nose above the surface as it is, trying to find enough time to do what I must do–I absolutely do not have time (or room in my email inbox) to read hundreds or thousands of blogs every week. Would you please help me understand this? Or if you’re scrambling for time, as well, direct me to someone who can? I’d really appreciate it! 🙂

    1. If you read my book, I walk you step-by-step how to blog to attract READERS and regular people who can be converted into reading. I will also probably run a blogging class soon. A big thing is writers overcomplicate the blog. It’s far simpler than many experts make it.

    • Tracey Jaffart on March 4, 2014 at 2:15 am
    • Reply

    Thank you Kristen! Just what I needed to hear this morning. Very inspiring with a great analogy.

    • Mary Ann on March 4, 2014 at 3:12 am
    • Reply

    I’ve read Rise of the Machines, and I do intend to follow your suggestions, but there’s still a couple of things that really hold me back. I love writing, but I only love writing fiction – not about myself or my opinions – and also, I love writing middle grade fiction. I can’t imagine any kids browsing through blogs, so what audience do I aim at (when I do get started)?

    1. Blogging will be for the adults—parents, teachers, librarians, the media.

  39. The trick is to divvy up your available time to maximum effectivity between blogging, social media and WRITING (the author part). I am still struggling with that.

  40. As always I agree withy you. I started Blogging three years ago, and halfway through last year PDMI asked me to write a book which is due out on March 19th. I have found that being a regular blogger of long standing has done more to promote me than any electronic wizardry, which is lucky as I wouldn’t understand that stuff anyway.

    • ANNA C. MCCORKLE on March 4, 2014 at 7:27 am
    • Reply


    1. Same here! I started a facebook fanpage without putting my picture or any personal information on there. My biggest problem is that I don’t want to bug my friends with this stuff. But so far my fan page is almost totally dead. It’s difficult to give up privacy.

  41. Reblogged this on Lenora's Culture Center and Foray into History.

      • ANNA C. MCCORKLE on March 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm
      • Reply


      1. Very true. But people often don’t respond with love. But I guess that shouldn’t matter if we’re being unselfish, eh?

          • ANNA C. MCCORKLE on March 5, 2014 at 9:18 am
          • Reply

          HAVE A JOYFUL DAY!

  42. This is awesome

  43. This helped a lot!

  44. 20+ years of retail prepared me for the writing battle.
    I may not blog or even Tweet every day, but I know that being a human instead of a robot is the right thing to do (not just marketing, but life in general!)

  45. Kristen, although I agree with your logic about a decent platform, I do believe the need for social media is different for each individual. The Internet does give us a way to get ourselves ‘out there’ but it isn’t the only way. Word of mouth does not always mean Facebook or Twitter. I am not the book I write. I am the person who has written the book.

  46. Not sure how well this dovetails, but it is a nice introspective exercise:

  47. Hmm, sounds like “cowboy up”,did you watch “8 Seconds” the other night too?Brilliant insight dear!!! I may “not be a book” but a “piece of me” does reside in every thing I write and in the books that are so well written I don’t just purchase one and then never again touch it once I have read it, I read it over and over and recommend the writer to others. By the way, blogged again today!

  48. Thank you for the candor, Kristen. You give me hope. My favorite line: “Because I know many of you possess the talent to take you over the moon, but it will be character that will keep you there. I’m not in the bottle-rocket business. I want to ignite stars that burn for generations.” Inspiring!

  49. Reblogged this on Angela's Hub On WordPress and commented:
    Great advice. Just take one baby step at a time, and keep stepping… 🙂

  50. Moderation in all things including moderation. I’m still building a platform. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself, but that might change some time.

    Good job on the diet and exercise thing. I’m fighting the opposite battle for the same reasons.

    • mecarr3 on March 5, 2014 at 10:56 am
    • Reply

    Another great post. What I love is the implicit analogy of the writing life, social platform building and all, with LIFE. The overt analogy is food and exercise, and that really rocks! But I think it boils down to life itself. We can’t outsource our relationships with family or friends, we can’t automate our parenting, we can’t expect to have loved ones if we don’t put in the time. Thanks for the reminder that we each choose our approach but it doesn’t get done without us!

  51. Congratulations on your blog. You have many beautiful subjects. If you like our site please visit Greetings from Romania.

  52. I was also daunted (not opposed) by social media. That’s how I first met “kristen” – through her interview on Author about WANA, the book. Over time, I’ve come to enjoy it — although I probably should participate more, I enjoy what I do. And, probably, that’s the most important thing.

    • James Cornwell on March 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this great set of stories about your dad and your life. I REALLY needed to hear that I wasn’t alone this morning, and here was your blog entry, making things better right away. Been feeling overwhelmed lately–nice to read about folks who really get it. Cheers! –James

  53. Reblogged this on Vampire Syndrome Blog and commented:
    Writer up!

    • Allie Eads on March 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm
    • Reply

    I really love your outlook on things.

  54. I swear you have a super power. I often read your newest posts and they are JUST what I need that day. I was just thinking today about how I should work on my blog more, went and sat in front of a draft and, yet again, didn’t hit publish because it isn’t ‘just right’ yet. I need to get over some of my perfectionism and focus more on shipping! Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration.
    And, oh my goodness, how amazing would it be to pay someone else to work out and see the results. Lol. Sigh. Think you’ve also inspired me to restart my work out tomorrow XP

    • marycheshier on March 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on How 2 Be Green and commented:
    Wonderful post. Very insightful

  55. You are my hero! Thank you for your honesty and humor. And for the wonderful advice!

    1. I laugh because I have done all the dumb stuff so y’all don’t have to. 😀 THANK you for taking the time to comment ((HUGS))

  56. Holy, crow, I completely missed this post until today! I never win anything. Thank you so much! I’ll be sending my pages by Friday.

    Also, this is a fabulous post. I needed to read it. I’ve been struggling with doing too much or too little with my social media.

  57. Great advice, thanks! I am not a writer, but I discovered I like to write. While batting breast cancer last year I started a blog for friends & family and I ended up loving it as much as they did. Now I am taking a break from the corporate business world and want to explore more passions, like writing. You gave me some things to think about, I appreciate it.

  58. Reblogged this on Untitled.

  1. […] Love to write but need inspiration to keep going? Lauren Oliver has 6 tips for aspiring writers; Jenny Bravo shares how to be a first-time novelist without going insane; and Kristin Lamb challenges us to suck it up & writer up to prepare for greatness. […]

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