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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: social media addiction

Kristen Lamb, self-sabotage, self-help, sabotaging our success, tips for success

Self sabotage is so common in our Western culture, I think we’re almost oblivious to how much we actually do it. We’re even more clueless about specifically WHY we do it.

The answer is pretty simple, but I’ll add in something special to spice it up a bit.

*jazz hands*

#YouAreWelcome

Whether we want to become a best-selling author, start a blog, get in shape, or drink more water, the foundation for all success looks pretty much the same. Yes, foundation.

Ever seen a foundation?

Foundations aren’t sexy. Rebar, concrete, maybe some pipes and pylons. That’s pretty much it. From skyscrapers to that shed in the back yard, if we want that sucker to remain standing long-term, we must have a foundation.

Same in life.

The foundation for finishing a novel, running a 5K, rearing well-adjusted children who don’t grow up to be serial killers, all looks fairly similar. There are no MASSIVE, HUGE actions that determine the outcome. Rather, it’s the compilation of countless small (and consistent) actions that makes the difference.

Those unsung moments no one sees or cheers. The boring parts. Oddly enough though, this is part of why we’re so prone to sabotage success.

#1: The Foundation of Success is BORING Kristen Lamb, sabotage, self-sabotage, success, why we self-sabotage, self-help

If you haven’t figured this out already, then let me be the one to drop the truth bomb. Most ‘success’ is a complete and utter snooze-fest. I have a soft spot for the folks who build foundations. They don’t get the sexy part of the skyscraper, mansion, or house. Nope.

They get the ugly, sticky, repetitive and unsung work.

Work that, oddly enough, is the part NO ONE sees or ever compliments. Nobody walks past the Chrysler Building in NY and exclaims, ‘WOW, I bet those buried pylons, pillars and rebar are AMAZING!’

No, humans admire all the stuff that isn’t nearly as critical and we’re all but oblivious to the very thing that’s keeping everything standing.

This is part of what makes sabotage so appealing, especially in our modern culture. Foundations aren’t fun. We could post or tweet about our foundation-building, but we’d annoy ourselves and others in less than a week.

Here’s a pic of my eggs and kale juice…again. Just like the last twenty days.

I threw my clothes in the hamper instead of on the chair!

Paid a bill as soon as it came it! GOLD STAR!

Made sure I flossed.

Calmly but firmly corrected my child for being disrespectful.

Wrote another five hundred words on my novel.

Sure, we might post on this stuff now and again, but seriously. Who wants to hear about this? Probably no one. And, since foundations are dull, we sabotage and fixate on other ‘activities’ that deliver more zing.

Insta-Fame seems so much more fun than waiting on a darkroom destiny. 

self-sabotage, Kristen Lamb, sabotage, social media addiction, codependency and social media

Successful relationships, businesses, parenting, gardening are all pretty much a lot of wash, rinse, repeat.

Want to be a great writer? Write every day. Read as much as possible. Study. Get professional feedback, help, training so you can improve.

Start the book and finish the book.

Write, revise, revise, revise, edit, revise, edit again, publish, repeat. Simple.

Not glamorous…at all.

One exception—NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

One month out of the year, writers excel at getting words on the page—November. Why? Because what the professional does in the dark eleven months out of the year is suddenly a big brouhaha. The unsung mundane drudgery of the author is suddenly ALLURING and EXCITING.

Hey, I am NOT dissing NaNo. Quite the opposite. I LOVE it. Heck, it’s why I DO NaNoWriMo! ONE month out of the year I get freaking BADGES and AWARDS for doing…well, pretty much my JOB.

We gather our friends and tweet our drama and struggles. People actually give a rip about the best line we wrote that day. There’s a counter to display word count and if we’re close to ‘WINNING.’

Now Let’s Talk About the REST of the Year

But once NaNoWriMo is over, how many writers finish? How many sabotage? We keep going back over those first chapters ‘perfecting’? There are so many good reasons why we’ve not finished that novel—and there ARE—but the truth is that often WE ARE BORED.

Sabotage brings back the sizzle.

Remaining committed to a novel until ‘published do us part’ is HARD. Sabotage? Way funner (yes, ‘funner’ is a word…today). Start a NEW book, with an even BETTER idea. It’s HARD to figure out how to write my way out of a plot problem. It’s exhilarating to begin anew.

I know this from experience. Every book I’ve ever finished (and published) I never wanted to read AGAIN.

EVER.

This is the paradox of progress. The more miserable it feels, the harder it is? Likelier the closer we are to achieving the remarkable.

But…it…so…suuuuuucks.

Yep. All of it. I agree. I’ve been on both sides. Still am. I have SO many cool ideas for new books, but I’ve banned myself from writing any of them until I FINISH what I’ve started.

*primal screams*

Same in a lot of other areas. Sticking with one meal plan and exercise routine is a GRIND. Seriously, how much broccoli can a person eat? We allow tedium to have too much of a say and start a NEW plan.

Me? I’ve been RIDICULOUS here. I have LITERALLY begun a day with a plan for fasting in the morning but then by about 10:00 a.m.? Bacon sounds too good. So helloooo…um Keto? Keto is totally perfect. Until late in the afternoon when I really, really want some carbs and then ATKINS IT IS (because even induction lets me have some carbs).

By the end of the day? I’m eating marshmallow fluff with a spoon because, well…marshmallow fluff is ‘fat-free.’

*hangs head in shame*

Accept the boring parts, because the duller it is? Likelier the more vital.

One way to stop sabotage in all its many forms is to set our mind and keep it set. Accept that building foundations isn’t exciting…unless we fail to build them properly (or at all). Then it gets REAL exciting…and ugly, painful, and costly.

#2: Most of Success is Invisible

Sure, there are foundational behaviors that lead to success in all areas of life. We get that. But, foundations aren’t foundations unless we build something on top of that foundation. Otherwise? Unless we construct something meaningful on our foundation, we don’t have a foundation.

We have a really sturdy/well-plumbed parking lot.

But think about buildings, whether it’s a new strip-mall, sky-scraper or housing development. Aside from when we initially notice something is different—Hey, didn’t that used to be a scrap yard?—we pretty much zone out and go back to our lives.

We don’t pay attention to the framing and the drywall and the bricking and windows that are all being systematically added on top of the foundation. No one sees the grind (unless you’re the one in the grind). It isn’t until the builders are finished that we might even notice.

In our increasingly codependent world, we might sabotage because we crave attention and reassurance. This has only gotten worse, and is even impacting the groups who were initially the most resistant to participating on social media.

When I first started trying to get authors on social media, I thought they’d burn me as a witch.

Authors, historically, tend to be reclusive, anti-social, and prefer imaginary people and worlds over the real thing. We suffered and bled in silence. Braved rejection and wept and no one gave one single fig about our despair.

Once social media went mainstream, this ALL changed.

If one looks at the Myers-Briggs personality test, the INFJ is the author personality. It’s one of the rarest personalities. Yet, once social media went mainstream, I couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting some ‘author’ posting about being an INFJ.

They couldn’t see the irony that the TRUE INFJ was more likely to be the Unibomber than to be posting countless memes on Facebook about being an INFJ.

Alas, the personality least likely to even BE on social media seemed to never get OFF of it.

Maybe these folks are INFJs and social media is simply their NEW personal holodeck where they can remain in their own minds. That IS part of what made INFJs such prolific authors.

They wrote TONS of novels because they had to put words on a page if they wanted to experience a world they built and controlled and could live in most of the time without having to deal with people they hadn’t created themselves.

Me? I think Facebook Myers-Briggs tests aren’t entirely accurate. Also I’m pretty sure I was not Cleopatra in a previous life (well other than fab makeup, clothes, cats, worship and a hot Roman boyfriend…but no…okay on the fence if I believed in past lives).

In fairness, I am NOT an INFJ. I’m an ENFP and everyone expects me to be hopped up more than a toddler on cocaine-laced Pixie Sticks.

***As a note, for those who care. The ENFP is the most introversive of the extrovert classifications. I require long periods alone without people to recharge.

Sabotage gives short-term gratification.

I understand why we are so prone to sabotage this way (regardless of personality). First, just being a functioning adult is an utterly thankless job. No parties for the person who (correctly) loads the dishwasher. Zero compliments for using our blinkers when changing lanes.

I’ve yet to get a You Didn’t Go to JAIL Today! sticker. Not even any stickers for, Hey, Your Kid is Still Alive! Another Day NOT Worshipping Satan! GO YOU! You’ve had 4,973 Days With NO Underground Pit Bull Fights!

Oddly, the better we are at something (like NOT going to jail), the less likely others will notice and compliment.

People don’t compliment punctual people for being on time. Strangers don’t compliment us for waiting our turn in line at a store. Thanks to the People of Walmart, no one gives us a pat on the back for wearing pants when we go outside.

Utilities companies never send extra letters to people who always pay on time.

***I can, however, attest, they send a LOT of letters—ones that even change color—to those of us who are prone to forget or procrastinate.

Sabotage and the Thrill that Kills

As a long-time author, I can appreciate why writers are increasingly prone to leaning on social media for assurance. With the implosion of traditional publishing and rise of self-publishing, the goal posts and mile markers we used to celebrate—that used to actually MEAN something—are pretty much extinct.

When I first started, I would imagine getting the agent, the book deal, seeing my novels on B&N shelves, the book-signing, the accolades and praise for gutting it out long enough to be one of the chosen few. I envisioned my novels leaving top book critics and reviewers gobsmacked.

Not once did I ever envision how book reviews would be a popularity contest. That our books would be open to just anyone who wanted to say something, even if it was cruel, stupid, or untrue.

Did I mention STUPID?

I couldn’t conceive of a world where ‘people’ who’d never bought or even read my books would be permitted an opinion—an opinion that directly impacted my life.

***FYI, this is why Goodreads is dead to me.

Our rites of passage are all but gone. Publishing participation trophies have replaced authentic triumphs.

Before Amazon, to even be able to claim one was a published author inspired awe from strangers. Why? Because it wasn’t something just anyone could do. Even if our book sold five copies, we held a title most people would never attain.

We’d suffered years in private and made it through gate-keepers when most gave up. Now? I admit it’s hard for me to dream. The dreams are so much more daunting.

I could reasonably imagine landing an agent, getting a book deal, seeing my books on shelves.

To imagine being a NYT best-selling author, or that my books would be movies or HBO series was just bonus. In the realms of mythos. Sure, I’d have loved it to happen, but it wouldn’t have been necessary.

Now?

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I think the only way I’ll believe I’m a good writer is if I hit the NYT list and have my stories made into HBO series. Even then…

I already had ‘Imposter Syndrome’ like most creative people. But these days? In the digital paradigm?

*weeps*

Which brings me to my final point about success.

#3: Success is More than Vanity Metrics

You guys are smart, so you might see there’s been a bit of a theme running through this post. It is madness to define ‘success’ externally.

In regular life, we might find ourselves caring too much if people liked a post on Facebook or Instagram.

We can also fall into the comparison trap, judging our raw footage against other people’s highlight reels. I have family members who make Martha Stewart look like a slacker. They post pictures of their child taking art classes in London and the family trip to Lake Cuomo in Italy—which is FABULOUS and I am genuinely happy for them.

And then remind myself they LIVE in Europe and that a trip to Italy is like me going to Galveston for the weekend.

As for me and my life?

I just figured out the white bits on the bathroom wall are my cat Izzy’s art project. She’s very creative. I took away her yarn because she’d made the entire dining room into a God’s Eye/safety hazard.

So now?

I thought we just had a TON of nicks in the paint on the one bathroom wall…then I looked closer.

Apparently, Izzy has taken to tossing rolls of toilet paper into the bowl so she can scoop out the wet bits WHERE SHE THEN PASTES THEM ON THE WALL AND WISH I WERE JOKING. I had to clean up an entire wall of ‘Cat TP-Mache Art.’

This is what an evil genius looks like….

*breathes*

Metrics don’t make mega-authors.

When I teach writers, far too many want to learn how to be mega-marketers instead of brilliant/skilled storytellers. As if George R.R. Martin became one of the most influential authors in modern history because of his social media marketing and NOT because he’s penned a gazillion short stories, novels, and series.

Not because he’s practiced and studied and worked to hone natural talent into awe-inspiring genius.

Nope. Had to be his ad campaigns and mastery of Hootsuite *face palm*

Sabotage and busy-work.

Granted, mega-authors like George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King were already household names before the major shift in our world and in publishing. Alas, there are other authors who’ve ‘come of age’ in the modern era and the reason they are successful is because they focus on what matters most.

Finishing books.

Yes, as a branding expert, I will tell you that if you want to do this writing thing full-time and be paid and have any hope of success, you must have a platform and brand. This is no longer optional unless your last name is Kardashian.

For those of us who don’t already come from famous and uber-wealthy families, we have to cultivate our audience because discoverability is a nightmare.

Ah, but here is the catch. A platform and brand is only useful for an author that writes and finishes and then publishes books.

***I have one finger pointed at y’all and three at myself.

Yet, far too many writers are fixated on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, building a newsletter, improving their metrics, and all this is a distraction. Worse, it’s a socially acceptable form of sabotage.

Even blogging can be self-sabotage. One has to be careful. Frankly, it’s one of the reasons I’ve not been posting as much. I needed to be focusing more on other areas of my writing (and recovering from multiple rounds of dental work).

***Though, to be fair, prolific blogging will vastly improve our writing skills, our speed, self-discipline and ability to make self-imposed deadlines. Facebook and Instagram? Not so much.

Just DO IT

We might chat more on this another time, but all this frou-frou stuff is best summed up by the famous Nike slogan—JUST DO IT. Sure, we’ll talk later about our why and motives and all that other jazz. For now? Just DO it.

We all self-sabotage. There is no need for us to journal about or fears, to learn our triggers, or uncover all the reasons we feel like frauds. Granted, it’s good work…just do it AFTER the hard work.

Pretty much everyones self-sabotages. Why? For the same reason we eat junk food and binge watch Netflix. IT’S FUN. #Duh

But if we can simply accept that sabotage, while a great high in the short run, seriously sucks long-term (much like living on Twinkies and hard liquor). If we can just deal with THAT truth? Everything else becomes easier to endure.

If we can appreciate success (however you define it) is a lot of same ol’ same ol’ and that most people won’t give a fig about what we are doing or not doing…then we can move on with it and enjoy a life rich with meaningful accomplishments.

We can rear non-serial killer kids, build enduring friendships, find joy in small moments of mundane…and we can keep writing sucky books. Write sucky books and finish sucky books and eventually the sucky books start being less sucky and maybe even one day are GENIUS.

Won’t know unless we finish.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you find yourself getting stuck because every day looks so much like the day before? It seems so far to the finish line that you start taking a break here and there only to wake up and realize you’ve not written in months? Do you change your mind, diet, goals, plans, more than my kid changes socks?

***Hint: That is A LOT.

In the modern world of publishing, do you struggle with celebrating accomplishments because—short of landing your own HBO series—being a published author doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal?

Do you struggle with feeling like a fraud? Wonder if your writing really is any good or if maybe you should consider learning how to do medical billing instead?

Are you frustrated with the world of popularity contests? With the push to be plugged in ALL THE TIME? I am.

Business idea. Someone PLEASE open a salon that forbids electronics. I miss going to get my hair done and chatting with other women. Now they all stare at tablets like zombies.

I LOVE hearing from you!

Really, I do. Y’all give me fresh perspectives. But if I don’t hear from you? That’s cool, too, because I have books to finish. And now that I am FINALLY through all my dental surgeries (I hope), new classes to create.

In the meantime, here are some FABULOUS On Demand offerings… ((HUGS))

SABOTAGE-PROOF with some ON DEMAND CLASSES!!!

On Demand Fiction Addiction: Write the Books Readers CRAVE!

On Demand for a limited time. Watch all you like from comfort of home. $55

On Demand Story Master: From Dream to Done (A.K.A. Fast-Drafting 101) 

On Demand for a limited time. $55 for basic/$349 for GOLD

On Demand: Harnessing Our Writing Power with THE BLOG!

On Demand for a limited time. $55 Basic/$165 for GOLD

ON DEMAND: A Ripple in Time: Mastering Non-Linear Plotting

Taught by Kristen Lamb, $55 Delivered to YOUR computer to enjoy at your leisure.

 

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of David Rogers
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of David Rogers

We live in a brand new age for humans. Technology has fundamentally altered every aspect of our lives and offered writers countless opportunities and advantages. Yet, as the French philosopher Paul Virilio once said, “When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck.”

Before we talk further, I want to be clear. Writers benefit greatly from being on-line and it is next to impossible to be successful without a solid on-line brand. Yet, one of the reasons I became a social media expert instead of pursuing fiction was I saw far too many gurus pushing tactics that required way too much devotion to being on-line.

Chasing trends and algorithmic alchemy requires a lot of energy better spent writing books. We actually don’t need to be on-line that much to have an amazing brand.

Yet, let’s be honest.

Many of us spend a lot of time on-line that has nothing to do with building a brand. We are all guilty. We sit and chat on Facebook, laugh at memes, or—sighs—get drawn into political debate (and those never end well).

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 6.36.37 AM

We have become a world addicted to instant gratification, distraction and time-filling/time-wasting. But what impact is this having on our ability to write?

The biggest impact is the obvious one. TIME. Many people believe they simply don’t have enough time, yet if we added up every micro-visit to social media? It would actually be a significant chunk. But that is the low-hanging fruit. Today I want to explore what technology addiction is doing to the muse.

I cannot help but thinking of all those Faces of Meth images, where we see the one picture before meth of a healthy person who has all his teeth versus a couple years later when the same person is sickly, sunken, and looks twenty years older. Is this what we are doing to the muse?

Image courtesy of MattysFlicks via Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of MattysFlicks via Flickr Creative Commons.

Meth abuse is devastating because of a myriad of reasons, but almost all the effects are caused because the user is in a constant state of hyper-stimulation. This hyper-stimulation comes at a cost. Users forget to take care of themselves. They don’t eat or sleep and if they do eat, it is usually foods high in sugar.

Since the drug wears out the dopamine producing areas of the brain, the user requires higher and higher dosages to get the same high (and to avoid the low lows that inevitably follow).

When we are hyper-stimulated constantly on-line aren’t we doing the same thing to the muse? She needs care. She needs rest. And she needs a diet that consists of more than kitten videos and click-bait. If not, she can become yet another among the Faces of Meth Facebook.

Being Bored Can Be GOOD for Us

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Boredom is a necessary and vital ingredient for creativity. It gives the brain time to wander, to reflect, to make connections previously unexplored. It sparks divergent thinking which is the beating heart of innovation.

The problem with constantly consuming the content of others with no downtime is that the brain cannot take the ideas it’s gathered and refashion them like Legos into something unique and new.

So yes, being online can have benefits.

We read a lot of blogs or articles that captivate us and inform us. Articles that contain seeds of story inspiration. But, if we fail to ever unplug, then that article about the murder suspect in Florida found biting his victim’s face off fails to ever germinate into the world’s next runaway-hit zombie series.

What Are We Missing?

Last time we talked about how to use description. All novels require it and good description goes beyond the one-dimensional. But to use description well, we must immerse ourselves in a three-dimensional world that has authentic intimacy.

We simply cannot get that on-line.

How much of the world are we missing because we are sitting in an airport scanning Instagram instead of people watching? Are we taking time to absorb, process, question and explore what is around us? Or are we tapping our phone like a crack addicted gerbil in a lab?

If we are walking through the park, eyes on the screen, can we truly experience the world around us? The stuff that is below the surface that no image could hope to capture. Not merely the color of the sky, but the emotion of it, the meaning of it.

Crucial Conversations & Intimacy

Image via Pink's Galaxy Flickr Creative Commons
Image via Pink’s Galaxy Flickr Creative Commons

Psychology Today had an article The New Menage a Trois that explored how tech is sabotaging intimacy and ruining relationships. The article asserted that many of the moments that connect us in relationships are born in the pauses.

For married couples, the twenty minutes before dinner is ready matters. Maybe it is one comment that garners a laugh that leads into a discussion and that all leads to a greater degree of intimacy with the other person. Bonding time, so to speak.

But how many times are we filling those pauses with a quick check of e-mail? A scan of Facebook? How many times have we been in a restaurant and we instantly spotted the married couple because instead of being enthralled in conversation? Both were staring at a screen.

What do we writers use to generate conflict? Human interaction. If we are minimizing how much interaction we have, insulating ourselves from conflict and discourse, then we become distant from the emotional aspect of the human experience.

Empathy Check

Great writers have the ability to empathize with a myriad of characters. Sex, gender, age, or species (for the sci-fi folks) all become real simply because the author can understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is fueled by noticing and listening.

If we are listening to iTunes in line at Walmart, we are checked out. If, instead, we unplugged, we might notice the stocker with the carefully hidden gang tattoos, the lines around the eyes for someone far too young, or the jagged scar tucked under the high collar. We might become curious and fill in the blanks of this unspoken life and give it voice, meaning and immortality.

Handle With Care

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Steve and Shanon Lawson
Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Steve and Shanon Lawson

Our muse is the sensitive part of our soul and it must be handled with care. Embrace quiet. Embrace alone time. Ignore the siren’s song of a world that tells us to be busy, busy, busy. All things in moderation.

We can enjoy the good parts of technology, but it will take self-discipline to maintain a healthy boundary with it. Use timers if you have to. The next time you are bored waiting in a car, interrupt that urge to scan social media, and instead look up. Look around. What wonders do you behold?

Do you think your muse has become one of the Faces of Facebook? Are you struggling to find connectedness? Are you noticing you are too “checked out”? That maybe you are missing the depth and details because of too much on-line time? Hey, I struggle too so while I have one finger pointed at y’all, three are pointed at me, LOL. What are your thoughts?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of AUGUST, 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).

Check out the other NEW classes below! Now including a log-line class! Can you tell me what your book is about in ONE sentence? If you can’t SIGN UP.

All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.

Upcoming Classes

Blogging for Authors  (August 26th)

This class will teach you all you need to know to start an author blog good for going the distance. Additionally I would also recommend the class offered earlier that same week (August 22nd) Branding for Authors to help you with the BIG picture. These classes will benefit you greatly because most blogs will fail because writers waste a lot of time with stuff that won’t work and never will and that wastes a lot of time.

I am here to help with that 😉 .

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist September 2nd–September 2nd

All fiction must have a core antagonist. The antagonist is the reason for the story problem, but the term “antagonist” can be highly confusing. Without a proper grasp of how to use antagonists, the plot can become a wandering nightmare for the author and the reader.

This class will help you understand how to create solid story problems (even those writing literary fiction) and then give you the skills to layer conflict internally and externally.

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist Gold

This is a personal workshop to make sure you have a clear story problem. And, if you don’t? I’ll help you create one and tell the story you want to tell. This is done by phone/virtual classroom and by appointment. Expect to block off at least a couple hours.

Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-Line

September 7th

Log-lines are crucial for understanding the most important detail, “WHAT is the story ABOUT?” If we can’t answer this question in a single sentence? Brain surgery with a spork will be easier than writing a synopsis. Pitching? Querying? A nightmare. Revisions will also take far longer and can be grossly ineffective.

As authors, we tend to think that EVERY detail is important or others won’t “get” our story. Not the case.

If we aren’t pitching an agent, the log-line is incredibly beneficial for staying on track with a novel or even diagnosing serious flaws within the story before we’ve written an 80,000 word disaster. Perhaps the protagonist has no goal or a weak goal. Maybe the antagonist needs to be stronger or the story problem clearer.

In this one-hour workshop, I will walk you through how to encapsulate even the most epic of tales into that dreadful “elevator pitch.” We will cover the components of a strong log-line and learn red flags telling us when we need to dig deeper. The last hour of class we will workshop log-lines.

The first ten signups will be used as examples that we will workshop in the second hour of class. So get your log-line fixed for FREE by signing up ASAP.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

 

Image via Pink's Galaxy Flikr Creative Commons
Image via Pink’s Galaxy Flikr Creative Commons

We have all been there. In a restaurant where people are texting instead of talking. They tweet and Facebook and seem to be lost in the digital world instead of participating in the real one. Many writers (and people) are skeptical of social media and technology. We’ve all been with that person who can’t stop chatting on the phone long enough to actually engage in the real-life conversation. Yet, is technology to blame for the emotional distance?

I never really knew my father, particularly in my early years. He left for work before I was even awake and frequently came home just in time for dinner. Then he would read for hours and say three words to us kids. We knew better than to interrupt him watching TV or reading his latest paperback. And my dad easily read three books a week. I think part of the reason I loved books as a child was I wanted some way to connect to my father.

My grandfather worked all the time. He was gone on the road most of the year. When he was home, he was immersed in a newspaper or any number of sports on the television. Baseball, basketball, football, fishing, golf all the time. Silence. No conversation. It might interrupt the crossword puzzle. My dad had tried to connect to his father for many years, but his father was too busy with his company. Probably why my father sought escape in fiction. His brother took refuge in sports and the youngest immersed himself in D&D and later video games.

When I did get to talk to my grandfather, I learned that his father was a minister and farmer. Too busy writing sermons, planting, caring for the community to really be engaged. Work was the only time there was a semblance of connection. Maybe this is why my grandfather looked to work for solace.

And the females of my family were equally distant. My grandmother was busy cooking, the other grandmother too busy cleaning. My mom and aunts would shuffle us outside as soon as the cartoons ended so they could clean, organize, wallpaper, sew or talk over coffee.

When I was in college, I finally gave up visiting a long-time friend. She would invite me over for a visit and then spend the entire time on the phone while I twiddled my thumbs and wondered why I was there.

Thus, I am no stranger to having to compete with “things” for attention. Whether it was work, chores, books, papers, sewing machines, games or television, barriers have always been a part of life. So have poor manners.

I don’t know. Maybe the problem is more prevalent these days. Maybe my family is the odd duck.

Part of why I work so hard at teaching WANA ways is that, if technology is going to be an integral part of our culture, then we have a choice HOW we use the tool. We can use it to unplug from the human experience and drift along on auto-pilot, or we can actively resist our nature and use the same tools to become more involved in others. We can use technology to connect, laugh, love and offer support.

What are your thoughts? Is technology the problem? Is it how we are handling the technology? What are your frustrations? Do you find technology has helped you be closer to others, or that it’s become a barrier? Are you like me and grew up competing with television, phones and sports?

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. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. 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).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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