);

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

The past few months have been tough. I’ve struggled with being down, depressed and stuck in a rut. The writing profession I once loved just had lost its…sparkle. In a recent post, I believe I voiced what many writers have been feeling:

Don’t know about you, but I dreamed of book signings, launch parties, my novels on pretty displays in an actual store. I imagined a real book signing with devoted fans I’d be able to meet face-to-face. Those were the dreams that kept me going in my darkest hours when it made no sense to keep on writing.

I don’t think a single one of us fantasized about favorable algorithms, a massive mailing list with a solid open rate, or a depressing spot for ten copies of our book on a Costco bargain table. And I sure as hell never dreamed of working like an organ-grinding spider monkey for fractions of KU pennies.

None of us did.

 

I never minded learning and doing the business of my business. I embraced branding, blogging, social media, SEO. But something was just…off. Something I couldn’t articulate. Leave it to my subconscious to kick me in the @$$ and have the answer…in a technicolor dream (okay, nightmare).

Last night *deep breaths* Chef Gordon Ramsay royally chewed my @$$ out at…a writing conference.

Bear with me, this is bizarre but salient.

And Lo! An Angel Appeared

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

More like an agent.

In my dream, I’m at a writing conference, unaware I’m an attendee (not a presenter). Right in the middle of a coffee social, the head of the conference orders me (on the spot) to stand and pitch my novel to mega-agent Donald Maass.

*panics* Is Donald Maass even repping books himself anymore? Apparently so. *dies inside*

It takes three tries to even pitch the correct novel (I pitch two works that are already finished/published). FINALLY, I pitch my Southern Gothic, which is only half finished. But like any good writer, I lie my @$$ off.

Willing my best game face, I confidently declare my novel 100% complete.

Donald Maass loves my story idea and asks I bring my novel for him to read pages aloud…in front of a giant packed auditorium. Oh-kay. No problem. I know that WIP is at least 150 pages long and he’s only going to read the opening, so whatever.

Just BREATHE

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

I race up to my hotel room, only which room is mine? I try every door on the floor and no dice. Finally, I find a room where the electronic key works and fly inside, heart pounding. Since this suite looks like a drag queen’s dressing room was hit by an F-1 tornado…I know it’s mine.

How the $#@! did blush get on the ceiling? Did I really need to pack that much makeup? 

****Yes. The answer is ALWAYS YES.

Ah, but there’s one major unanticipated problem. Apparently I had author roommates and there are laptops everywhere.

Scrambling through the suite, I’m opening laptop after laptop, and, since you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a writer who uses an Apple laptop…I keep opening the wrong ones.

FINALLY, I locate MY computer (the one with the corn chips in the keyboard) and the correct files.

I’m Cool…Really

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Relieved, I rush downstairs. Maass scans the first pages and proclaims my writing is incredible! He goes on and on complimenting my work. I’m so relieved, excited even, but then….

Maass tells me he plans on reading some paragraphs from my opening, middle and END to show the emerging writers how professionals get things DONE.

*gulps*

My novel isn’t finished. I lied. Breathe. I can do this. Stick and move, right? I will my game face hoping somehow I can come out of this unscathed. Maybe say I brought the wrong file? The finished version is on the computer at home. Yes, that’s it. When in doubt?

LIE SOME MORE!

Maass is ecstatic about my writing and I say something about getting a contract with his agency. He makes a face then says somberly, ‘Your writing is superb but more is required out of authors in the digital age than just a great book. You know that, right?’

*hair flip*

I confidently declare I’m no rookie, and I totally know more is required of authors this day and age. Then I relay how I have a blog and vlogs and brand and platform and…he cuts me off.

‘No, not all that,’ he says as if talking to someone who’s been living in a cave for ten years. ‘Everyone has social media. That is SO 2014.’ *rolls eyes* ‘Can you pass the cooking test? You did know about the cooking contest.’

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

‘Yes, of course cooking!’ I reply with gusto.

Donald seems to only be partially be buying my bluff. He continues, hesitant. ‘Then I assume your dish is ready. Because Chef Ramsay is on scene ready to inspect what you’ve prepared in fifteen. Only writers who can impress Gordon Ramsay will get publishing deals.’

*screams inside*

THE HELL? WHAT DO COOKING SKILLS HAVE TO DO WITH WRITING?

Never Let Them See You Sweat

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Again, I roll with it and act like this sudden revelation is not nearly as shocking as the time I found out the crush of my life, George Michael, was gay.

***Gimme a break, I was in third grade with no gaydar.

Maass liked my book. I was not going to go down without a fight. I DID have food I brought from home, since I have food allergies. Mind whirring, I recall there’s still some of the pan-fried gluten and dairy-free chicken parmigiana (half-eaten) and some leftover vegetables up in my hotel fridge.

I’m not out yet.

Yeah, not that I am Type A or anything…

I rush to my room, pull out my pathetic chicken and tear off the end I’d bitten into. Then, I rifle through the other writers’ leftovers for wilted greens and veggies to fill out the plate. Satisfied it doesn’t look too terrible, I rush downstairs with my paper plate of dressed up, gnawed on, semi-cold chicken…that’s a day old.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

The other writers somehow were aware they needed a novel and that they ALSO had to win a cooking contest with CHEF RAMSAY as the judge. I’m beginning to think I really was living in a cave.

How did I miss this industry shift?

It seems everyone (but me) has prepared fresh, hot glorious meals. Their dishes are proudly displayed on carts covered with fancy serving domes. Every writer (but me) is ready with some culinary creation ready to be inspected by the likes of Chef Ramsay.

….so they can be published.

What Would Ramsay Say?

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Yeah…that. I’m dead. D-E-A-D.

Initially, I think it’ll be fine. We’re writers, not chefs, so he’s gonna go easy on us. Right? You know like how he is with the kids who cook. All gentle and encouraging and telling us we gave it a nice try.

Nope.

Horrified, I watch Chef Ramsay go dish to dish shouting at writers, making them cry.

Writer #1: AVOCADO FOAM? WHAT THE *beep beep beep beep* WERE YOU THINKING? NO ONE WANTS TO EAT FOAM! We want substance, not CLEVER *beeeep*! Piss off!

Writer #2: HOW MANY *beep beep* CHEMICALS ARE IN THIS *beeeeeeep*? Who wants to eat something that would survive a *bleepity bleep* NUCLEAR ATTACK? Even the ROACHES would rather STARVE!

Writer #3: HOW MUCH BLOODY FOOD-COLORING DID YOU USE? THIS GREEN’S SO RADIOACTIVE, KIM JONG IL’S TRYING TO STEAL IT! Get the *beepity beep beep* out of here before we all DIE OF CANCER!

Run For Cover

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Chef Ramsay then spots who the next ten writers are…and his eyes narrow. He points and shouts for them to just leave and get the *bleeeep* out of his sight.

The writers all stammer the same thing, talking over one another, aghast. ‘Why? You haven’t even looked at our dishes!’

Ramsay: I don’t NEED to look. I’ve sampled your ‘dishes’ before, and I already know you’re going to try and serve me. The same formulaic bollocks just with a different garnish. What am I? Some nit you think you can fool? Bugger off! No one wants to ingest your recycled tripe. NOW GET THE $#@& OUT!

They stand, frozen in disbelief. Then they all declare he’s wrong. Their dishes are totally fresh and new.

Ramsay glares at them…then starts dramatically tossing the stainless domes off the dishes one at a time, but—to my astonishment—Chef Ramsay accurately guesses what’s under each and every dome before he lifts it…then throws it clattering.

He was correct. He knew what they’d prepared already. They were serving the same dishes…with slightly different garnishes.

What’s Ramsay Going to Say About…ME?

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Chef Ramsay gets closer and closer to me. Meanwhile, I’m sneaking bits of lettuce and leftover veggies from writers who’ve run and abandoned their stations. I’m doing all I can to dress up this sad tiny piece of dry leftovers.

I’m bracing to get yelled at because I know what I’m serving…and that I deserve the tongue-lashing.

Why couldn’t this all just be about my WRITING? My BOOK? Maass, Donald Mass, liked my book! Why am I supposed to do all this other stuff—social media, vlogging, blogging, rafflecopter, give-aways, Instagram, ads, promotion, SEO optimization—and NOW I have to also win a…cooking contest?

To get a publishing deal?

Then, as Chef Ramsay makes it to me and looks down at my chicken, I wake up soaked in sweat…with an epiphany.

Ramsay is RIGHT

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Once the terror passed, I realized the Chef Ramsay in my dream was RIGHT. First, our part of the author business is actually very simple (which I’ll talk about next post).

Writers are getting fixated on roles they don’t need to even be DOING, and quality is suffering. WE are suffering!

***I’m not judging. We’re bombarded with all we HAVE to do. It’s hard to keep the faith. Even ME.

Quality matters. This is true in branding/platform building. Instead of authors slowing down, being real and developing lasting relationships, there are authors who distribute more SPAM than HORMEL. A Billion Served is cool for McDonald’s but on social media?

YUCK.

It’s also true in the writing (which is the most IMPORTANT part of our brand, btw).

Because so many writers have sucked down the KU Kool-Aid, or bought into Amazon’s Algorithmic Alchemy…they believe they must have all this output to succeed.

They’re churning out novels, ‘box-sets’, novellas, short works every month….every WEEK! To promote all these ‘works’ they’re also churning out automation, promotion, newsletters, giveaways….

*puts head between knees*

Consequently, far too many ‘stories’ are incomplete, half-baked, over-processed or just rehashed leftovers…with different covers (garnish).

No wonder these authors won’t charge retail. They can’t! Who’d pay top dollar for the literary equivalent of a microwaved cheeseburger?

What KIND of Writer Do We WANT to BE?

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing

Have we taken time to even ask this?

First of all, just like there’s a viable market for fast-food burgers, there’s also a market for fast-fiction authors. Just be aware that there’s also only so much consumers will reasonably pay for this type of product…meaning quantity is a major deal. 

This career trajectory is an option. Thing is, too many writers have been led to believe it’s the ONLY option.

Nope.

Some writers naturally do well with this pace. They can turn out books readers enjoy. These authors relish the marketing and promo and have tons of fun because they’re in their element.

But, just like the market can only support so many fast-food chains, it can only support so many fast-fiction-authors. The ones who will do well? The ones who are GOOD at it.

Not everyone is.

I know I’m not. Perhaps this was behind my malaise…and my brain dragging in Gordon Ramsay AND Donald Maass for an intervention.

Ramsay was right. This Lamb is so overcooked, I DO belong on an altar.

Granted, I’ve written hundreds of posts about keeping the business simple. Ignore the fads, the algorithmic alchemy, the trends, the pressure, and on and on. But, deep down, there must have been some latent guilt that maybe I was wrong.

Perhaps I was shepherding *bada bump snare* y’all the wrong direction.

Like off a CLIFF! AHHHHHHH!

NO! We DO Have OPTIONS

publishing, Chef Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay, books, quality of fiction, quantity and quality in writing, how to sell more books, writer burnout, What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing
Really? Can I come out then?

The entire point of the shifts in publishing were to offer us options. It is OKAY to take our time. We can slow down and build vested audiences of followers who actually CARE. We can write excellent books worthy of retail (regardless of whether we publish legacy, indie or self-publish).

Pulp fiction always sold for pulp prices and clipped at a pulp pace. But news flash!

Pulp prices never once impacted the price of hardcovers or the pace.

Ever.

They were DIFFERENT audiences and DIFFERENT products.

Readers didn’t expect a book from Michael Crichton as frequently as they did paperback Westerns from Louis L’amour. Fans were willing to shell out cash for stacks of cowboy stories. Other fans? They eagerly paid hardcover prices for Crichton because his books were well worth the wait and the price. 

Both authors were/are legendary…and yet vastly different.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Louis L’amour books were relatively short, easy to read and a nice way to spend an afternoon. They filled the time while we waited on our favorite hardcover authors.

Crichton books took incredible research, detailed plotting and were thick enough to kill a burglar. The work that went into his novels merited the price fans lined up to pay.

So guess what?

Y’all have my permission to…relax. You’ll need your strength because DANCING WITH THE EDITORS is NEXT!

Hope you still have tights that fit 😛 .

What Are Your Thoughts?

No more spicy food before bed? Even though I’ve remained steadfast on keeping this simple, I admit the panic attacks have crept in. What’s ‘allegedly’ expected from writers?

Have you lost your love for writing? The pressure just taking all the love out of it? Frankly, the dream wouldn’t have been so terrifying if some part of me didn’t partly expect it COULD happen. Jeez, what other hoops do we need to jump through? Baton twirling? Karaoke?

NO!

Cait and I are both tired of the nonsense so we have new classes to guide you through what’s necessary and what is complete BUNK. It is time to enjoy writing again.

NEW CLASSES!

Business of the Writing Business: Ready to ROAR!

Class with me, teaching what is ACTUALLY our business. February 15th 7-9 EST. $55 and recording FREE with purchase.

Self-Publishing for Professionals: Amateur Hour is OVER

This class is THREE hours with USA Today Best-Selling Author Cait Reynolds and comes with Cait’s custom workbook to guide you through everything from how to do competitive research to tracking ISBNs and distribution and more. February 16th 7-10 EST. $99 and recording and workbook are FREE with purchase.

DOUBLE-TROUBLE BUNDLE

BOTH classes for $129 (Save $25). This bundle is FIVE hours of professional training, plus the recordings, plus Cait’s workbook to guide you through everything from how to do competitive research to tracking ISBNs and distribution and more.

30 thoughts on “What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing”

  1. Elizabeth DrakeElizabeth Drake

    I completely understand this.

    I just can’t do all the things authors are expected to do and also write. I have been trimming down on blogging and Twitter time. I open up Facebook less and less.

    Branding is important. Blogging is important. But if I have nothing to brand, it doesn’t make much difference.

    I decided at the beginning of the year to focus more on writing books and actually getting a book published.

    I’m not giving up on branding, but I am focusing on it a lot less.

    • Debbie JohanssonDebbie Johansson

      I completely agree with you Elizabeth and I have done exactly the same thing. I’ve found that spending less time on social media has been liberating and is renewing my love for writing. As I’m unpublished, I have found social media has been great for networking and blogging has improved my writing skills, but now it’s time to take a step back and really focus on my stories. I wish you all the best!

  2. Lynn KelleyLynn Kelley

    Wow, Kristen, that was some nightmare! Bizarre! An interesting and entertaining post. As always, your humor rocks. Here’s one of my favorite lines: THIS GREEN’S SO RADIOACTIVE, KIM JONG IL’S TRYING TO STEAL IT!

    It’s so easy for us to lose our sparkle. Taking your classes has helped me tremendously and inspired me to keep on keeping on. You guide me in the right direction and it feels good to be on the right track, even though it’s kicking my butt.

    I know you’re the WANA Mama when it comes to writing and social media, but you’re also young enough to be my daughter, so I get the feeling down part and how family doesn’t understand writers. (Your hubby is an exception, I’d say). Anytime you need a pep talk, feel free to call. I give great motherly advice and I believe in you.

    So, next post is about dancing? I’ve only had three tap dancing lessons so far. Guess I better get cracking and practice some more. Haha! Looking forward to your next post. Signed, “Your Biggest Fan” *sprinkles sparkle dust*

  3. Betty BolteBetty Bolte

    This is so very true. I’ve run on that gerbil wheel long enough. Now I’m focusing on writing the best book(s) I can, and then developing quality relationships with my readers who want to know me, through my Facebook fan club and newsletter. I simply don’t have the energy to do everything that authors “should” or “must” do. More power to those that have it!

  4. Maria D'MarcoMaria D'Marco

    uh-oh…
    A third of the way into this post I was giggling like an idiot, then I hit LIE SOME MORE, followed by your J Depp pirate persona and lost it. Thank you! I needed that — so much…

    In my little world of editing and writing, I am easily overwhelmed by my schedule, needing to get a blog out, an article for another publication, plus finish a novel assessment and a developmental edit of another novel, all by the end of the month (that’s this month). I can do it, but I often wonder who I’m trying to impress with all this. Now I know…

    Chef Ramsey!!!! :O)

    I think your nightmare was magnificent — the epitome of publishing goals and the titan of brain-ripping judgement. I think every writer has those two (maybe different symbols) things at war in their heads. I judge myself much more harshly than any other living entity. I also daydream of really outrageous triumphs with equally outrageous ‘tests’, which I, of course, make it through, though not without outrageous wounds and lying my ass off.
    So, where’s the ‘happy medium’? And how do we build a little fort we can operate out of? How do we rise above the war of impossibles? And who the heck set up those impossibles? Who fed that crap into our minds until we find ourselves bobbing along the infernal river of life, little red-and-white balls of plastic, bobbing and waiting … for the fish we ‘know’ are down there, circling our golden hook, to take our bait?

    Love the new classes…
    and thanks for the great, really stupendous, absolutely magnificent post.

  5. Amy L SauderAmy L Sauder

    I laughed so hard at your dream! Sounds like a stress dream I’d have 🙂

    perhaps more importantly, your encouragement at the end – wow! I needed to hear that, because I’m consistently but slowly moving forward with my books. I don’t want to churn them out fast, because I want elaborate plots and intricacies. But it feels like that’s the “wrong way” nowadays. I’m glad to have a confirmation that it’s not wrong, it’s just different….and I’m all about being different 😉

  6. Jessica HernandezJessica Hernandez

    As a writer who just got the, “Okay but what about your platform?” email, this really hit home. Thanks!

  7. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    What an insightful nightmare!
    I’m glad to hear there are options, because at my current speed, I’m going to have to take the Day-Lewis Plan (Daniel, not C.) and bring out one quality item every few years 🙂
    But a little more speed and efficiency wouldn’t hurt me. Onwards!

  8. Lakota GraceLakota Grace

    Kristen, you have outdone yourself with this one. I didn’t realize until half-way through it was a dream-bit. I was BUYING the routine with the Chef Whatizname. THAT’s what the brainwashing has done to us. I’m looking at all that is going on in marketing and thinking okay, I can do this. And then I think, no I can’t. Does that mean I quit? I can’t quit. Maybe I can do this…it’s a squirrel wheel! So glad to know someone of SUBSTANCE–that’s you, gal–has given us permission to just slow down a little and write at the pace that works for us. Kudos!

  9. Debbie RichardsonDebbie Richardson

    100% right, Kristen. I’ve disengaged from some Facebook groups who encourage (that’s too kind) to publish one 300 page novel A MONTH if you wanna make money!! Two feeds later there’s an author crying that he has 3 books in the market and not a single sale. Then another group is asking where all the readers are. The next day I see a post stating blogging and social media is a waste of time and the only way to make money is to churn, churn, churn.

    Most important takeaway from this post is that writers need to ask themselves what sort of writer they want to be. Once you know that, it’s easier to ignore the BS. Thanks again for your insight and a nudge in the right path.

  10. James EggebeenJames Eggebeen

    I totally agree. I have been involved in some of these groups that declare that in order to make money, you have to write fast. Minimum viable product is what they call it.

    When I received the comments back from my editor on my latest book, she said I needed more work to make it really shine but if I was tired of working on it, we could just wrap it up.

    I desperately want to get started on the next book, but quality is more important, so now I’m going back for another pass and crossing my fingers that by doing a solid job, this book will sell much better than two of lesser effort.

  11. Liz TalleyLiz Talley

    So on point. And that pressure is so real. I feel it every day. Do more. Hire a publicist. Do a FB ad. Blog. Be OUT THERE. More, more, more!

    Just sucks the joy out of writing. And I really love that joy. It’s my precious, so, yeah, I’m doing what I like now. If no one buys it, well, then no one buys it. I know what I can control and that’s the quality of my book. Great post! Thank you….and that horrible dream…for bringing perspective.

  12. Christine RobinsonChristine Robinson

    Kristin, that was a lion’s “roar’ right down to the last word! Came through loud and clear. I’m too old for cooking or dance contests. I’ll read your blog posts (they all help considerably), research accurate history for my WIP, keep up my blog site, and just write. When I get to The End, I know the nightmares begin. Jeez…

  13. Lyn ChurchyardLyn Churchyard

    I cannot think of a nightmare worse than one containing Gordon Ramsay. His potty mouthed diatribe would be enough for me to want to serve him en brochette with an apple stuffed and glued into his mouth with super glue. Pirates are another thing altogether. Jack Sparrow’s line, “But you have heard of me” never fails to make me laugh whenever I watch Pirates of the Caribbean.
    Weirdest dream I ever had was when my children, some friends and I were being chased along a beach by Federation Troopers on horseback. We were all running and very quickly being gained on. Along comes Maestro Tommy Tycho (oldies would know who I mean) with a grand piano. He tells us to jump up on top. We did and then he proceeded to play “The Flight of the Bumble Bee,” and the faster he played, the faster the piano sped over the sand.

    • Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

      What a dream! I’d quite like to see it as an oil painting, although I realize the Bumblebee wouldn’t come through so well in that medium. Perhaps one could go a bit symbolic (dreams do, after all) and represent it by a flight of actual bumblebees…

      • Lyn CLyn C

        That makes sense – Bumblebees tend to fly erratically at times. We were certainly moving in random directions to avoid laser blasts 😀

  14. Mike LawrenceMike Lawrence

    Well, I’m one of those who didn’t buy into all the marketing and sales machinations. I’ve turned out three novels and a novella in four years. I have a small organic following on WordPress – all people who opted in after finding my blog and reading stuff there. I’ve charged anywhere from .99 to 5.99 for my books, but most of the time they’ve been 2.99+ I have one instafreebie going, the only I’ve ever done just because I want to see if *anybody* actually likes the book – to see of it really is just worth a single two-star review and nothing more. I dunno’.

    And, yeah, I’ve spent most of my time as a writer studying the craft and working on my stories. I wrote full time for over a year. No job, just writing.

    And boy was that a mistake. I’ve made exactly $184.79 with those four books over a four year period.

    Which could mean a variety of things, up to and including the simple idea that one can study the living hell out of craft and still not produce quality work. Or at least appealing work. The thought has crossed my mind.

    But I do know this: writing a book and selling a book are two different things. Based on my experience, just writing them isn’t enough if one’s goal is to make money. Nor is a blog and an occasional promo.

    I’m the Guy Who Just Wrote Books. And it doesn’t work. If you’re making money with your writing, then my humble advice would be to just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing. It’s probably working.

  15. Debbie JohanssonDebbie Johansson

    That’s some dream Kristen! Thanks so much for this post as the timing couldn’t be better. Before Christmas, I had seen some other writers take a step back from social media to concentrate on their writing and to actually have a life. I decided to do the same thing and take my time. Now I feel more relaxed and my love for writing is being renewed. I’m looking forward to your next post, but for some reason I’m thinking your ‘Dancing with the Editors’ will somehow involve Simon Cowell. 😉

  16. Christa BakkerChrista Bakker

    Loved this post so much, I wanted to react. I hope you will be able to keep this positiveness, because I know what it’s like to be depressed. Okay, mine was probably for a different reason, I was in a foreign country with two under two and no friends and family AND 3 years later I find out that there’s also something physically wrong with me, but that’s not the point. Writing was a large part of leaving the bad stuff behind for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Just writing, none of that other stuff. That’ll come later (easier for me to say though, I’m only working on the first novel).
    Wishing you all God’s happiness!

  17. Robin StoreyRobin Storey

    Your blog really resonated with me, Kirsten, as I also have been feeling in a rut over the last few months – I seem to have lost my writing mojo. Even though I have not assigned to my writing the burden of earning my living, I still create deadlines for myself to complete my novels within a certain time, which can lead to stress when I don’t meet those deadlines. I long ago came to the conclusion that I will never be a prolific author – I would rather write one good novel a year than four mediocre ones. I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote in Big Magic – ‘you can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.’

  18. Robin StoreyRobin Storey

    Sorry, Kristen, for the misspelling of your name!

  19. EloiseEloise

    Hi Kristen, always been a fan of your blog, but for me, this is one of the best posts you’ve written. I love the humour you put into your posts, and you really had me laughing here, especially because what you’re saying is so true – and really refreshing to hear. I’m of the slow writing variety. It’s taking me years to finish my first epic fantasy novel because so much research goes into it (and because I’m still mastering the craft). When I finished the first draft (three years ago now), I initially thought I could get away with it largely as it was (with just a bit of polishing), but then I realised that it was only going to add to the pile of shallow, fast MacFantasy already on the market. So I’ve been digging deeper and deeper, trying to write with the kind of realism that George R.R. Martin brings to his world. It involves a lot of research. Don’t know if I’ll ever be as good as him, but I’m trying 😀 I totally understand why he takes so long to write a book – it’s really hard to do what he does.

    One of the reasons it was good to read this post is that I often get the niggling feeling that it shouldn’t take so long to finish a book, that I should just move on. I hear the advice to push out one, two, (three!) novels a year and I hear about people doing this and think, wow, are they really that talented that they can just do that, are these books any good? I definitely feel more reassured now and that I should keep going and hopefully eventually write something I can truly be proud of.

  20. P J LazosP J Lazos

    A timely post for me. I’ve had my blog for about three years and have a little over 700 followers. Some would say I’m not a very good marketer, but even 700 is hard to interact with on a constant basis. I’m thrilled that it continues to grow, but numbers aren’t the end game for me (well, maybe a little), rather, connecting with readers is. I prefer the genuine relationship over, say, a platform like twitter which is mostly form and no substance. I really enjoy getting to know fellow writers and their writing styles. All that takes time. ?

  21. Jessica KnaussJessica Knauss

    Awesome post, Kristin! Your dream illustrates what it’s like to be a writer perfectly. It’s rather nightmarish at times. This is a great chance to step back and bring some sanity — and actual writing — back into our lives as writers.

  22. Randy BrownRandy Brown

    Oh, Ladies, what a delight it is to read you. I really must find time to take your classes or catch your act in person. Maybe when I catch up with my writing–which isn’t selling–mainly so that I can afford your classes, which are already cheaper than any I’ve taken to date over the last twenty years.
    To the reason I write today; Kristen mentioned that she has a ‘southern Gothic’ she’s working on.
    In the 1970s, when I should have gone to college but didn’t, I hung out at student unions where the book stores existed. There I discovered Richard Brautigan and decided that if his stuff could get published, anyone could. [sigh] Well, I became a fan and have collected all of his published work, even his daughter’s story.
    The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western is from 1974. As you read and re-read this story you actually learn a little bit about writing.
    Trout fishing in America and Watermelon Sugar are the best of all of his books, but only in my opinion. Since my opinion is also wrapped up with the memory of a young woman who called herself ‘Flower’–going back to Mavis in later life– I doubt the books would hold as much appeal today as they did in in 1970.
    Thanks for your wonderful advice.

  23. Cathy NoreenCathy Noreen

    I’m slowly coming around to the point I can stop beating myself up about not driving myself toward becoming my own worst nightmare, feeling obligation to force it to happen, via social media, and whatever else, because otherwise I won’t see myself as a “real” writer.

    I knocked myself for such a loop on all of this last year, that I just pulled back and had to re-think the goals and expectations I was setting for myself. “Why am I doing this?” “What do I want out of it?” Things like that.

    I had tried to re-write so much of the initial characterizations in the WIP, due to concerns about putting myself “out there” in my own politically incorrect way, (risking the on-line backlash) that I ended up feeling like I just needed to put the whole thing in a body bag and give it up.

    The new research, trying to make the character more “safe”, felt like I was weakening everything with the character’s motivations, all to save me a little trouble down the line. Basically I killed the story because I was scared. It stopped speaking to me, of course… perfectly justified behavior on its part.

    So. Many shower-talks-with-myself later, I’m re-establishing the character as what he wanted to be in the first place, undoing the damage previously done. And the story is talking again. It just took some despair, and calling myself a Donkey (tm: Chef Ramsey) to undo the damage I had done.

    Now I still don’t know how good the story will be when new edits are done. Nor do I know if it will sell. But at this point I don’t care. I just want to tell myself a good story and have it available for the 5 or 6 people who will care.

    Keeping my expectations low. Letting Madame Serendipity have her way with me. This is about letting go of fear, for me. Just letting it be. I do not have to get it “right.” I just have to do it.

    Btw… Noticed the Kindle version of “The Devil’s Dance” is missing, Kristen. (And the printed version is saying Out of Print… wanted to get it for my sister.) Did you take it down, or are they messing with you?

  1. Writing Links…1/29/18 – Where Genres Collide
  2. Author Business 101: Books, Brand & Buds - Kristen Lamb
  3. What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing – written by Kristen Lamb – Writer's Treasure Chest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.