Tag Archives: writer

Should Authors Have to “Market Themselves”?

14 Mar

This has been a crazy day. I had a meeting two towns over, cooking, cleaning, errands… basically life happened today.
So, I offer a blog post that will fit just about everyone. If you are in any type of business where you need a personal brand this is a great blog post for that.

If you couldn’t care less what a personal brand is, just cruise through until you find the YouTube box and watch the funny video. (It made me laugh, anyway.)

Hopefully my brain will be unscrambled by Friday evening and I can come up with a poem for you. If not, then I’ll just have to come up with a helpful and entertaining substitute… again.

Enjoy! 😀




Kristen Lamb's Blog

"Crap. Revisions tore my hose. But I need to sell more books and 'market myself'…" “Crap. Revisions tore my hose. But I need to sell more books and get out and ‘market myself’…”
Image via Darwin Bell, Flickr Creative Commons.

All right, don’t stone me, but I feel some of the marketing “buzz words” range from terrifying to annoying to outright offensive. For instance, every time I read “target your demographic” or “target your readers” I wonder if this comes with a Predator Drone or at least a laser sight.

I don’t know about you guys, but I get creeped out being “targeted.” It makes it seem we (seller and consumer) are opponents—one the cunning victor and the other the hapless dupe who landed in the marketing crosshairs.

But the one that’s gotten my hackles up over the past week or so is when writers are beating themselves up. They write things in my comments like, “I know need to try harder to market myself”…

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Sometimes It Sucks Being A Writer

18 Jan

I’m stumped this week.  For the past several hours I have been trying to come up with something to write, anything.

I got nothin’.

Not a single idea has stuck around for the second line. I can’t tell if I’m uninspired, my mojo is off, or what, but nothing is coming to me. Sorry.

All that is spinning through my mind is the refrain from a poem I wrote a few months back, over and over. It’s so sad, but thankfully has a happy ending. The poem, has potential to become a song. I can hear the tune in my head as the imagery, the fear and sadness gang up on me and make me want to cry.

This might be an ice cream and cuddles night.  😦 

Nights like this are when being a writer sucks. We bringing out our fears and play with them. We put words to them, keep them in safe places. Unfortunately, sometimes they come back to make us feel all that again. The fear. The sadness. The pain.

Years ago I was under the impression I was an emotionally tough person.

I’m not.




How To Keep A Writer Entertained And Happy

26 Nov

This is just a short list of things you can do to help keep life with your Writer a little more comfortable for the both of you. Whether your Writer is your wife, room-mate, sister, daughter, or strange person who comes over in her sleep to use your computer, using these tips could make things a little easier.

(Disclaimer: Every Writer and situation is different. If you discover that your Writer does not like any one of these tips please discontinue its use and attempt to find a suitable substitute. Also, the Writer is referred to as ‘she’, this is simply because I am a female Writer and have no knowledge of what it is like being a male Writer. Sorry.)

  1. Keep her surrounded by books. Preferably from her favorite genre or author, if not, just be sure it’s not drivel.
  2. Make sure you do not interrupt her supply of coffee, soda, apple juice, gin and tonic, Twinnings decaf English Breakfast tea (or, you know, whatever she drinks).
  3. Chocolate is always welcome, especially while really buckling down to get stuff done (rather than staring at the wall thinking about what she is going to get done…).
  4. Allow her to keep her environment the way she wants it. If the room is too cold for her to work comfortably, let her bring in a space heater; if she needs things to be quiet, put the pets and kids in another area of the house; if she needs to have no interruptions…
  5. Do not be suicidal. This one is a little more tricky. It includes things such as asking how the ‘writing thing’ is going today, then walking off before she is three words into the answer. Or peeking over her shoulder to watch the words appear on the computer screen. It doesn’t matter how mild mannered she is, you have just died a horrifying death in her mind… repeatedly. Please refrain from such actions so that she does not have the urge to act on these imaginings in the real world. Prison time could really interfere with her ‘writing thing’.
  6. Hugs. Some Writers need a lot of hugs (from the right people/person). There are several universes competing for face time inside her head, and she is working really hard to remember which one is ‘reality’. Hugs help her remember.
  7. Encourage her to occasionally take a little time to watch a good movie with you. This could include: Princess Bride, Star Wars, Thor, Beauty and the Beast, Sabrina, The Avengers, Quigley Down Under, Labyrinth, Hotel Transylvania, The Blind Side, Captain America, etc.
  8. From time to time you may find that it would be in her best interest to help her leave the house. On these rare occasions (such as Christmas, family vacations, and her annual physical) you may need to ‘encourage’ her as she leaves the house. Don’t be alarmed if this results in claw marks in the door jam. A little buffing and that’ll come right out.
  9. You may occasionally need to be a sounding board. If your Writer feels the need to talk about her work in progress with you, please listen. She most likely just needs to hear something aloud so as to clarify it in her mind. Also, please do not be offended when she spaces out in the middle of a sentence and rushes back to her computer. You have helped, really.
  10. When you do interrupt her creative flow, please be sure that it is for a worthwhile cause, such as: the house is on fire; one of the kids needs to go to the emergency room; those sirens mean a tornado is coming and we all need to get into the basement; and the most important one of all “Dinner is ready”.

While this is just the tip of the ice burg, I hope it will help keep your life and relationship with your Writer on an even keel.

Lovely tea.  :)

Lovely tea. 🙂


Most of these are meant half jokingly,

but there is at least a little truth in all of them.


A Couple Thought Inducing Quotes On Writing

2 Nov

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life.  ~James Norman Hall*

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.  ~Burton Rascoe*


Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.

Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.


It’s interesting how much time is spent just thinking about your project. Before a pen is put to paper, or fingers poise above the keyboard, the mind has spend at least a little while contemplating where the story will go.  Sure, a few of my flash fictions came out of my imagination as I was writing them. But for the most part, a story needs to percolate for a while.

Rushing the process usually turns into a disaster, because the ideas are not fully formed. You spend so much time trying to put your thoughts together that what you end up writing is more like a stilted conversation with yourself. Believe me, I have pages of the stuff in my novels. And that’s ok sometimes. There are times when the ideas don’t come smoothly and you need to do some hashing out. You need to write it out so you can see it all, and rearrange things so the story flows.

However for the most part you want to let your thoughts wander all over the story. Get to know you main characters. Invite them over for a big round table discussion in your mind. Or have each of them over for a quiet cup of coffee, as you sit in your favorite chair, looking as though you’re peacefully asleep. In a way, that is the best kind of dreaming.


*I found these quotes at http://www.quotegarden.com/writing.html



How To Write A Book? Who Knows?!

20 Oct

This video pretty much describes my feeling on the subject.

You can learn all the technical stuff, but if you don’t love your story through and through there’s very little chance that you’re going to stick with it long enough to actually finish writing it. And if you’re bored with it in the first draft, who else is going to be interested enough to finish reading it?

So first and foremost, you must be in love with your story.

After that, it really just falls to what kind of writer, person, personality, worker you are. The little details of How you write are not quite as important as whether or not you Want to write this story.



When Writers Face a Constant Climb

8 Oct

This! This post describes the ups and downs, the uh-ohs and the victories of a writing career in the concept of rock climbing.
I’m still feeling like a total noobie at this writing thing, but she gives hope to the beginner.

Enjoy! 😀

WordServe Water Cooler

Sandstone boulders and harnesses and ropes, not really what I had envisioned when the new guy picked me up and we headed out for the afternoon—our first date together.

Girlie-girl me had somehow landed in a ragtop Jeep headed for some serious rock-climbing. Or so Mr. New Guy thought—what actually happened was girlie-girl watched some cute guy scale the side of a cliff, up, down, and sideways.

But getting to the top wasn’t his end-all plan. He seemed most challenged {and the proudest} when he slipped and then recovered. The catch and the readjustment seemed just as exciting to him as the time he stood at the top and waved high from the completed climb.

It’s been a few years since I sat in that ragtop and watched that guy climb. Seems I was about as interested in him as I was in climbing those rocks myself.

Why would we…

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Learning to be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life

6 Oct


(I honestly can’t tell if some of these words are inappropriate for little ears or not. Sorry.)

This is something that’s hard for me to do.  Camera shy me has a hard time stepping into the spotlight of my own life.

As a writer, as someone looking to sell bags by booking in-home parties, as someone who dreams of other out there careers down the road, this concept should be a no-brainer. But it’s not. It’s not uncommon for me to have to tell myself to be the leading lady in my life several times a week. Because, I’m not usually acting like the movie of my life is actually about me. I usually only think of myself as part of the supporting cast (on good days. Other days I feel more like a makeup person, or a grip. Sad, I know).

What can I do to make myself remember that I’m the one who’s name is at the top of the credits? How do I maintain the perception that I am in charge of my decisions, good and bad, and that nothing positive will come about in my life without me putting myself into this important role?

First off, I have to get rid of the idea that other people have a say in my choices. The only person who could possibly have an opinion that carried any weight with these kinds of decisions is my husband. I have yet to hear him say anything about me slowing down or toning down my dreams and ambitions. In fact, he’s usually pushing me harder than I push myself. He believes in me so wholeheartedly it’s mind-blowing some days, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have even started on these roads if not for his promptings and encouragement.

Secondly, I should stop with all the excuses. A book on Amazon is not static. You have more than one chance to get it right. If I screw it up, oh well. I’ll panic for about ninety minutes then get down to making it better. When it comes to other business opportunities I need to make the decision, then jump in with both feet. The whole point of me trying to make money is to afford babies. I’m not getting any younger. Stalling and hemming and hawing is only going to push back all these time tables and just delay all my dreams. No more waiting!

Third, and last, I need to find joy in this role. I was the heroine in a melodrama some years ago. I loved every minute of it. Why is it so difficult for me to once again embrace that excitement, that wondrous control over the audience? Put me on a stage (with enough footlights) and I can do anything: sing, dance, flirt, swoon, almost anything the script calls for (Just don’t ask me to cry. I totally can’t pull it off. *eye roll*). I want to enjoy being me. For the most part I do. It’s just when I’m confronted with something to do with moving myself forward that I have stage fright. Perhaps I need to create a gutsy writer persona. Huh. Something to think about.

Basically, I need to embrace the fear just long enough to hog tie it and throw it in the closet along with my first draft editor. This fear has a place. It makes sure I don’t jump without a parachute. Not only do I have a parachute, I have a backup chute and a jet pack. If anything I may be a little too well informed as a first time author. I know too many of the pitfalls, too many of the horror stories. It’s time to chuck it all behind me and go for it. Throw caution to the wind and set sail for my dream island. (It has WiFi, chocolate, and plenty of books. 🙂  )


Who’s with me?



Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Writer’s Holding Pattern

11 Sep

I have had this song in my head since I woke up.


What’s interesting is that it seems to be my subconscious telling me that imagining wonderful sales numbers is not the same as getting things finished and actually seeing real sales numbers.


How many of us creative types do this?

We create these grand schemes in our head, follow them all the way to multinational best selling author status, but neglect to spend that hour a day actually writing. We feel safe in our imaginary world. No one is telling us we’ve used too many commas. No one critiques our work on sales sites where hundreds of people can see it. Our hopes and dreams are safe, inside our minds.

Actually getting that thing (book, invention, theory) out there would mean finishing. Finishing means having someone else see it. Having someone else see it means possible rejection. And who wants that.

Then there are the what-ifs.

What if it doesn’t sell well?

What if it isn’t good enough?

What if I’m not good enough?

What if all that time and effort was for nothing?


The more practical side of your mind is probably screaming at you most of the day. Pointing at your unfinished projects. Telling you that if you don’t finish the dratted thing then you’ll never make any money at it. If you don’t try, then you have already failed. Imaginary money doesn’t buy groceries or pay the electric bill.

You have set goals; decided on rewards for accomplishments; tried to beg and plead the creative side of yourself to get things wrapped up. Charts have been created. Schedules have been written out. Nothing has worked. All self-imposed deadlines have passed at the speed of sound and the blur of shredded self confidence as it flew by.

What are the reasons for this hesitation?

You are so close!

Why can’t you finish?


I don’t know.

If I knew I would be making money from this thing they call writing.

If I knew I would probably have all these outlines filled out and for sale on Amazon, making money from 6 romances, a couple sci-fi’s, and 3 children’s series.

Yeah. It’s all waiting. The ideas are there. The follow through is not.

What is wrong with me?


Are you stuck in this writer’s holding pattern? Circling the thing that you both love and dread?

How are you dealing with it?


Have you found a way to get out this cycle? What worked for you?

Please, if you have discovered a way to get passed this stage, share it. That tip might be the one thing one of us starving artists needs to hear.


On The Long Game – A Guest Post By Laura Oliva

6 Sep
Here's a photo of her saucy self.

Here’s a photo of her saucy self.

You remember the cover reveal we did here a little while ago? Here’s the author.

I have to admit that my first thought after seeing that her second book was already done was “I hate her.” But on reflection I kind of started to wonder how she does this whole writing thing so dang fast (especially with a toddler at home!).

So after a few days of wondering, I invited her to write a guest post.

Here’s what she has to say about staying creative as a writer:

*            *            *

“There is no rule on how to write.  Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” -Ernest Hemingway

It’s that time again.

Fall is in the air.  The sun is shining.  The leaves are changing.  And I am sitting down to start another book.

I crack my knuckles, position my coffee cup within reach, and set my hands to the keyboard.  The unique pleasure of creation crackles through me.  I hunch over the table.  And then…


I look around.  The table is filthy.  The floor hasn’t been mopped in ages.  My chair has no lumbar support; I can feel my spine begin to telescope the longer I sit.  Rattled, I take a sip of coffee.  It tastes terrible.  And as if that’s not bad enough, it’s getting cold.  The panic every writer knows all too well starts to build.

What if I can’t do this again?

The Muse is a fickle mistress, as any writer, artist, or musician will tell you.  Jungian analyst and writer Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls it Rio Abajo Rio, the River Beneath the River.  It’s an apt metaphor.  One minute we can be swimming along, basking in our creative groove, and the next…

Nothing.  The water disappears underground, and we’re left gasping on a dry riverbank.

So what do you do?  You could sit and wait for your river to surface again.  Lots of writers do.  But when might that happen?  Sometimes, waiting is just not an option.  What if you have goals?  Deadlines?  Diapers to change?  You need every second of writing time you can get.

Every writer I know has their own little bag of tricks: tried-and-true ways to get The Muse back on the chain gang when she’d rather stay home and do her nails.  Many of us utilize the same tools; music, visuals, voodoo, et cetera.  Here, for your reading pleasure, is my personal survival kit:

A Picture Is Worth… Well, You Know.  I’ve always been a very visual person.  When I was younger, oil painting was my creative outlet of choice.  Now I write more than I paint, but I remain compelled by the power of a good picture. 

Most recently, I have become an unabashed Pinterest addict.  The ability to curate pictures that inspire my writing is truly priceless.  On days when I feel my creativity dwindling, you can usually find me on Pinterest, scrolling through old pictures and finding new ones.  This alone is usually enough to snap me out of a slump.

The Right Note.  Music is a daily routine for me.  I have a playlist for each book I write, and I’m constantly on the hunt for songs that capture the tone of my projects.

Ironically, I rarely listen to them while I’m actually writing.  Rather, I play them all the rest of the time: running errands, cooking dinner, or just driving around.  I’m convinced this helps them seep into my subconscious to emerge later, when I do sit down to write.

What Do You Want?  You’ve probably heard this from every teacher, life coach, and college professor you’ve ever met, but you need goals.  This is true of life in general, but it’s especially so in writing.

Embarking on a writing career is a long game.  It’s not easy, and it’s not quick.  If you don’t have something on the horizon to keep your eye on, it gets very difficult to stay motivated enough to continue.  So what do you want?  Be as specific as possible.

Then take a deep breath, and dive in.

 *            *            *

Thanks, Laura!  (lol, Voodoo.)

*            *            *

Want more?

Laura’s Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/lauraoliva

Her website: www.lauraolivabooks.com

And on Twitter: @writermama



Have I Always Had A Writer’s Heart?

3 Sep

In one of my early memories (all of which are spotty, rather hit-and-miss I’m afraid), I remember having a short conversation with a girl who lived on our block. She had said that we needed to wait, because as she put it, “I have to itch my foot.”

Even at that age I, and I think the sister just younger than me, explained to her that she was scratching an itch on her foot.

I couldn’t have been much over 8 years old and already I was correcting peoples choice of words. Perhaps it was because my Mother had been an English major in college. Or that we were never talked to in baby-babble. Perhaps it was because we were constantly being read to.

Maybe all of the above. All I know is that it seems as though we have always been word snobs.

I don’t really see that as a problem. 😀


Say Your Right Words! 😉

Oof, now I’m going off to go on a Labyrinth kick.  See ya!


O.K., just one. Here’s my favorite song from the movie.



Be careful what you wish for,

someone might be listening.