Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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Truth: The Door Between Our Greatest Fears & Our Greatest Selves

We’ve likely all heard the phrase, The truth shall set you free. Truth is critical in all areas of life, yet we’re often afraid—okay, terrified—of truth. It’s dismally human to eschew truth because truth often hurts.

A lot.

Truth and pain are inseparable, which is why great authors (or great people in general) are probably masochists.

What separates the amateur from the professional is the person’s willingness to face truth and embrace pain. If we think about it, authentic triumph always follows on the heels of pain.

Ask anyone who’s finished a marathon, completed an advanced degree, paid off a mountain of debt, or wriggled into max-control Spanx without losing consciousness….

Ask your mother about pain. Well, maybe not…

Ironically, the more pain involved, the greater the victory on the other side. Yet, how many of us long for victory…just without all that ‘pain’ stuff?

Truth increases self-awareness. It makes us face aspects of our character we’d rather hide in the bathtub with the piles of dirty laundry.

Don’t you judge me O_o ….

Today, I’m going to toss down some truth bombs. I’d love to say that I knew this stuff all along and am some mystic sage imbued with super powers.

But that would totally be a LIE (thus, likely unhelpful).

Truth About Time

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

One phrase I recommend banishing from your lexicon: If I could only find the time. Here’s the deal, we don’t find time, we make time. Time isn’t hiding in the couch cushions with the remote control.

Time isn’t wandering around crying until mall security hands it a balloon. It isn’t buried in the woods like some stash from a bank robbery. There is no map, GPS, or time-sniffing dogs to help locate time because time isn’t lost.

It’s right there asking us all, ‘Hey, buddy, what would you like us to do today?’

We choose. If we hope to find any success in life we must realize we are ultimately responsible. Everything else is an excuse. Why so many of us feel guilty that we haven’t done X, Y, and Z is we know we could have.

We simply chose NOT to.

*winces*

I know, but don’t worry. It’s cool…

We’re All Human Here (Mostly)

What fascinates me is how closely great stories mimic great lives. This is why humans have loved great stories from the invention of fire until today.

Here’s the thing, though. No one likes a ‘story’ about a character whisked along passively caught in the riptide of bad stuff happening. Great stories involve choices, forks in the road, decisions…tough decisions.

Decisions we KNOW we could never make…so we read about/admire OTHER people who do 😀 .

We admire people who’ve made the brutal choices, choices involving time, effort, focus. This is why athletes, activists, authors, innovators, scientists, entertainers, and people with immaculate closets fascinate us.

As writers, we of all people should appreciate the power of words. When we keep espousing time ‘can be found,’ it’s a self-delusion, a cushion from reality.

Truth is, life is suffering. There is no way to escape suffering, but we can choose our suffering. If we are going to suffer anyway, why not be in control?

Truth About Talent

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

I wrote a post a while back asking the question all writers ask (or should). Do some people simply lack the talent to become authors? I would say talent is highly overrated. This goes back to our overall theme of truth, time and suffering. When I began blogging over a decade ago, I was clueless. There were so many bloggers who were better than me, BIGGER than me.

OMG, if I could ONE DAY get five-hundred unique visits, I would, like totally DIE.

***Probably good I didn’t.

When I decided to blog for real, I was thrilled when I got my first comment—A FAN!

I was so excited, I even commented back to my new fan knowing one day we would be best friends and maybe…meet in person! Squeeeee!

Of everyone who said I was an idiot for becoming a writer this one lone angel saw what no one else did (other than me and my mom).

This commenter found me and believed…in…me.

*moment of reverent silence*

My commenter’s name was *deep breath*…Akismet.

Odd name. Is that Russian, Albanian, Indian?

I ACTUALLY THOUGHT THIS!

Of course, when Akismet was so rude as to not reply I shrugged it off. Imagine my mortification when I learned Akismet was WordPress’s spam filter, and I’d tried to befriend an automated message.

And also been hurt when I was ghosted by an automated message.

I CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, PEOPLE!

Truth About Blogging

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

The truth is? I was a raging idiot (if you haven’t already figured that out). Like one of those people who is so stupid they can’t see HOW stupid they really ARE? Yep…me. With writing, blogging…life.

I was a raging idiot because I began as an unteachable know-it-all. It was only through a lot of failure and stupidity (like trash-talking my ‘fake friend’ Akismet) that I eventually saw myself for who/what I truly was.

And it stung…a lot.

When I finally faced my true character (or lack thereof), that’s when my life started making authentic progress. I began blogging for the wrong reasons (affirmation of how AMAZING I was), but found something vastly different.

See, I’d been told my entire life I had talent, that I was a fantastic writer, and maybe that was true.

Problem was, I had the skin of a grape and no self-discipline. When everything wasn’t immediately stars and fame and unicorn hugs…I quit. I was lazy, self-absorbed, insecure and wanted to be a writer for all the wrong reasons—a desire for affirmation, approval, fame, glory, and more approval.

Did I mention needing approval? That’s okay, right?

Once these truths slapped me in the face like a school of dead fish, I had some tough choices to make. Where would I dedicate my TIME? Would I give up or press on? If no one ever read my blog, would I be okay with that?

I could continue choosing the pain of never finishing anything I started, OR I could push through and see what might be on the other side of that pain.

Initially, I blogged for fame. Then, I changed my reason and blogged to improve my character. Blogging trained me to hold myself to self-imposed deadlines. No one was going to arrive and toss me in ‘blogger jail’ if I failed to post. This helped me overcome perfectionism and SHIP.

Since I had no fans, if I didn’t post, the only one I’d be letting down was myself.

The Truth About Myself

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

As mentioned (a lot), I was addicted to approval. Could I keep posting when there was no chorus to sing my praises? Then, once people actually did begin reading, could I stick to my guns and keep blogging despite a long line of people telling me I was a hack, poseur, amateur, idiot, etc.?

I was addicted to perfection, always revising, redoing, tweaking. Blogging taught me to let it GO. Perfect is the enemy of the finished. Thus, when feedback inevitably slammed into me like a boomerang I’d forgotten I’d thrown, I saw stars (not the nice ones).

Initially, my voice was too preachy, so I lightened up. Followers responded far more favorably to my humorous side. Once I gained more confidence, I eventually let the comedy FLY! It was fantastic and fun and…

#Oops

Ah, but then my jokes got SO good, readers didn’t realize I WAS joking…which I found out when I unintentionally started a panic.

When G+ launched, I wrote a hysterically funny parody MOCKING Facebook for copying Twitter. I say this humbly.

*gets cramp patting self on back*

Anyway, I blogged about Facebook’s new function Twit+ (a term I TOTALLY MADE UP )…and fielded emails for weeks from hysterical writers who couldn’t locate the Twit+ function on Facebook.

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

SHE TOOK IT TOO FAR!

Yes…yes I did. And I eased back on the throttle. But, blogging allowed me to hone my skills and my voice. By trial, error, and unwittingly starting a digital stampede—or ten—I learned more by DOING in a year than decades of ‘thinking about doing.’

Truth Revealed

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

When we choose our suffering and then dedicate TIME to that endeavor, eventually this reveals truth. The more ‘novels’ I wrote (and failed to finish), the more it became seriously clear I needed to do more studying.

With every blog, I gained progressively thicker skin and increased confidence. I learned that what had been true about me in 2004 was no longer true by 2010 and certainly isn’t true here in 2018.

Over a decade later, most of the bloggers I aspired to be ‘one day’…have quit. The critics who blasted me about the future of publishing, ‘experts’ who called me lots of names for suggesting writers needed a platform and brand? Most are no longer around.

The trolls who blasted me for calling out the exposure dollar SCAM, who rallied their platforms to flame me when I suggested writers needed to be PAID? They’re now…

…oddly quiet.

😉

Why is La Cucaracha playing in my head? Go ahead, throw a shoe at me! I’ll be waiting for you in it in the morning *evil laugh* Oh, and I licked half your Cheetos while you were sleeping. Which half? I’ll never tell.

MUA HA HA HA HA *coughs*

Sally forth.

Truth About Motivation

Kristen Lamb, truth, fear, habits self-awareness, motivation, facing our fears, writing afraid

Motivation is overrated and hangs out with ‘Talent’ in dark alleys. They sell dime bags of ‘Instant Happiness,’ ‘Noble Excuses’ along with sweet chasers of ‘Do It Later’ shots.

There’s a lot about being a writer (and blogger) that’s a TON of fun, but a lot of it seriously sucks. That’s life. Show me a job that is all awesome all the time and I will lovingly ask you to stop dropping acid.

Often our ‘lack of motivation’ is we’re afraid.

Maybe our fears are founded. I have no clue how to plot and am hoping no one notices.

Perhaps they’re a lie. Your book is awesome and will never be perfect so STOP MESSING WITH IT AND SHIP!

Sometimes, we just gotta do it afraid. Fear is a feeling and feelings LIE.

Our entire consumer culture rests on the fulcrum of ‘feelings.’ We’re trained to live by emotion. Why? Because emotion makes us stupid and stupid people buy more stuff they don’t need and probably can’t afford.

While the advertisers are employing feelings to pick our pockets, we can easily catch a nasty case Emo by Osmosis.

I just don’t feel like writing today.

Creatives get away with this ‘feeling’ excuse more easily than, say, brain surgeons, firefighters or Navy S.E.A.L.s…which is why it’s more likely to become a bad habit for us.

Feelings rarely have much to do with truth. They are also crazy fickle and, in an act of awe-inspiring irony, show up to work when they feel like it.

Motivation, enthusiasm, exultation are fabulous feelings. But the REASON they FEEL fabulous is because these feelings are RARE. They’re the creative endorphins only earned by working super hard.

Unless we artificially create these ‘feelings’ with Pixie Sticks, cocaine, or a steady diet of pricey self-help retreats telling us we’re special?

Tears, sweat and blood, baby 😉  .

Motivation is the result of starting. Start when you don’t feel like it and eventually, feelings WILL catch up because feelings are attention whores who hate being left out.

Don’t argue. It’s science.

What Are Your Thoughts?

I love hearing from you!

Are you not finishing that novel because you’re afraid you’re really terrible? Or maybe actually awesome? Do you make excuses for why you can’t write or blog or train circus ferrets? Have you taken time to examine those excuses? What they might be telling you?

Have you ever set out to accomplish something and were shocked at the truths about yourself (or others) you failed to see? Do you find ‘good reasons’ why you can’t blog, write, finish that novel?

Hey, it is OKAY. We all struggle. We learn by DOING and DOING IT AFRAID.

In fact, to help you guys, I am running the ‘Write Stuff’ DO IT AFRAID Special, where I do a detailed line and content edit on your first 20 pages. ONLY TEN SLOTS AVAILABLE.

What do you do well? What’s falling flat? Are you nailing the hook? Are there ways I can help your story hook DEEPER?

Treat yourself! I don’t bite…..that hard *whistles innocently*. I can tell you from experience is it WAY better to have someone who cares about your work and is vested in you to critique your work and make it the best it can be.

As for comments…

What do you WIN? For the month of MAY, for 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 novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Also NOW OFFERING MORE CLASSES PLUS ON DEMAND…

Retelling Myths & Fairytales

Instructor: USA Today Best-Selling Author Cait Reynolds
Price: $65 USD Standard (Cool Upgrades Available)
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: FRIDAY May 25th, 7:00 PM E.S.T. to 9:00 P.M. EST

Myths and fairytales are as fundamental to human existence as communication itself. We grow up hearing these stories, being formed by them, and often rebelling against them.

One of the hottest trends in publishing right now is bringing these stories back and giving them new life with creative interpretations and retellings.

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The Yarn Behind the Book: Backstory

Instructor: Cait Reynolds

Price: $55.00 USD

Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom

When: Friday, June 8th, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST

Behind every good book is an entire story that happens before the reader ever opens to page one. This is the backstory, and done right, it is what sets the stage, provides clues and cues, and rescues you from writer’s block.

A good backstory will help with logic and consistency in the plot, developing complex motivations for characters, and sorting out exactly what needs to happen going forward as you either plot or pants your way to the end.

This class will cover the following topics – and much more:

  • The elements of a backstory;
  • How to take your current plot idea and work backwards into a backstory;
  • Integrating character profiles and the backstory;
  • How the backstory relates to the logline and synopsis;
  • Using the backstory to dig yourself out of corners and shake off writer’s block;
  • Why a backstory is crucial to writing a series.

SIGN UP HERE!

A recording of this class is also included with purchase.

About the Instructor:

Cait Reynolds is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lives in the Boston area with her husband and neurotic dog. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking, running, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes.

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I also hope you’ll pick up a copy of my debut novel The Devil’s Dance.

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26 thoughts on “Truth: The Door Between Our Greatest Fears & Our Greatest Selves”

  1. Mary FosterMary Foster

    “Fear is a feeling and feelings LIE.”

    You speak the truth.
    Great post, Kristen!

  2. Maria D'MarcoMaria D'Marco

    Nice one, Kristen. And timely too! Just as I had conjured up the perfect excuse for not doing something writing-wise…

    Since I work/respond well to sudden, knee-jerk demands for writing/communicating, maybe I can find someone to email me every day and demand the next chapter? Is there an app for that?

    Thanks especially for mentioning cats/evil plots/talent

  3. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    I don’t lack time…I lack time management and energy! But I am working on them both – and working on how to write more efficiently. But there’s always that gremlin in my mind that says that the reason I have not become an instant overnight success is that my work is rubbish.
    Rationally, this does not appear to be true. I guess I’ve just got to keep improving, thus strengthening the proofs for my rational side so it can hunt down my irrational fears and eat them for breakfast. That’s how this works, right?

  4. JanJan

    Kristen, every time I read your blog entries I laugh both with you and at myself, as I see so much of my own inner struggles at work in your life.. How can that be? Are we both human?

    Thanks it’s really great to have that sense for not being alone.

    Lately I find myself, coaching others on their writing, or writing other people stories, instead of my own. Do you think it avoidance, or is this perhaps my path?

    Thanks Jan

  5. Janice C JohnsonJanice C Johnson

    I found this post both off-the-wall and encouraging. (Your sense of humor and mine could be cousins.)
    One question: What does SHIP stand for??
    Thanks!

  6. Rachel CappsRachel Capps

    It’s funny you mention bloggers no longer around after a decade. I’ve noticed that too. There are only 2 left of the ones I followed 15 years ago (break from writing for kids). Fantastic post! You’ve gone from Akismet to reaching Down Under, congrats! You’re proof hard work pays off.

  7. MikaelaMikaela

    How do I sign up for the Backstory class?

  8. Ramshah AkbarRamshah Akbar

    And nobody told me I should have read Kristen’s blogs in my formative years. But my kids will totally read. I am not a writer though, this still speaks to me in what I do everyday.

  9. Lisa OrchardLisa Orchard

    Great post, Kristen! We creatives have to face the fear and do it anyway!

  10. Raidon T. PhoenixRaidon T. Phoenix

    On point as always. I’ve spent the last year hiding from manuscript work with worldbuilding and other “fun”. Finally jumped into the decision of finishing, and now I can’t stop. Spent two weeks breaking down my series into tiny action steps, and enlisted a friend’s help to set up a prioritized calendar. Thanks for the no-holds-barred reminder that what matters is the doing.

  11. Vivienne SangVivienne Sang

    Excellent post, Kristen, and inspiring too. so much truth there.

  12. EC SheedyEC Sheedy

    “Motivation is the result of starting.”

    I am going to have it tattooed on the inside of my forehead.
    Thank you. 🙂

  13. Brian PopeBrian Pope

    You deserve a mic drop for this post. Or would it be a pen drop? No, a keyboard drop, or . . . I think you get what I mean.

  14. Eloise Rose McInerneyEloise Rose McInerney

    Just wanted to say I LOVE these lines and I will be quoting the wise Kirsten Lamb forever more :-D: “…we don’t find time, we make time. Time isn’t hiding in the couch cushions with the remote control.

    Time isn’t wandering around crying until mall security hands it a balloon. It isn’t buried in the woods like some stash from a bank robbery. There is no map, GPS, or time-sniffing dogs to help locate time because time isn’t lost.”

    So true!!!

  15. EliseElise

    Laughed as soon as I read Akismet!

    I’ve been frustrated with the blogging sphere because my numbers have gone down (as far as views) since January and I’m trying to figure out what I should do about it. Pay for a Facebook page? Get better at Twitter? But then, my writing suffers. I just started on this self-employment track and also work on the farm, so time management, which I had a handle on in previous vocations, is a new endeavor for me.

  16. Talena WintersTalena Winters

    I love your truth bombs, Kristen. It’s so true that we make time, not find it. I chronically overfill my schedule, but I started taking ownership of that years ago by telling people I hadn’t made time for such and such. It’s amazing how much more accountable you become and how you gain to start dating no when you’re honest about those things, haha.

    As for writing, I heard the advice that if you can’t finish something, just write something like “and they all died. The end.” and your subconscious will tell you the ending that it really wanted all along. It won’t be able to stand what you wrote down. (Was that from you?) For me, the hardest thing on the days when I don’t “feel” like writing is getting the first paragraph down. I have let that stop me before, but I recently applied the same advice to beginning for the day. I’m writing on a freaking word processor, not engraving words in stone, for Pete’s sake! So I just wrote something. And if I didn’t like it, later, when I hit my word count goal for the day or the week, I could go back and change it. When we start prompting our subconscious in the right directions and get it off its lazy butt, it’s amazing what the Muse will accomplish. Have an awesome day. I gotta go write now!

  17. Denise McGeeDenise McGee

    “Start when you don’t feel like it and eventually, feelings WILL catch up because feelings are attention whores who hate being left out.”

    I need this tattooed on my forehead…or something. Thanks, Kristen.

  18. Andrea FreedmanAndrea Freedman

    What an inspiring post! I will think of your advice when I am supposed to be writing but need a push so I don’t get sidetracked or make excuses not to write. Thanks.

  1. Busy: A Small Word Sending a HUGE Distress Signal

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