Tag Archives | Writing

To blog or not to blog about writing.

Okay, the whole thing started with this post by Kristen Lamb. Sacred Cow Tipping – Why writers blogging about writing is bad. Read it.

The gist of it says that by blogging about writing you only reach a small percentage of the population. You want to be reaching readers. Her one example made perfect sense: a paranormal author who blogs about wine and cooking.

It’s easy to read Kristen’s words and immediately scorn the blog you’ve put so much time into. A hot flush races across your skin as you realize you’ve been doing it all wrong.  You can’t blog about writing anymore! So maybe you better start watching soap operas – and fast! Or pick up knitting. Something. Anything.

I’m pretty sure that strategy won’t work either.

So is Kristen wrong or right?

She’s neither, just a little misunderstood. Blogging about writing is different than a pure writing blog. My takeaway is that she encourages your blog to be about you. Don’t limit your blog to just writing tips all the time. Be yourself. Include parts of you that you want to share. Funny stories. Book reviews. Your travels. Your research for your stories. Be you. Let your voice shine through. If you’re passionate about cute little green inch worms then blog about it. Or not.

No one can argue the success Jody Hedlund has had and her blog is primarily about writing. But she puts herself into each and every post. There is a difference.

I write for children and teens. Most of my targeted audience won’t read my blog unless I sell a book on the bestseller list or win an award. And then they’ll look me up to fill out a book report. So my next target would be teachers and librarians and moms. (No thanks. I’m not becoming a mommy blogger no matter how cute I think my kids are.)

I can think of a handful of authors who naturally embrace Kristen’s approach. Lisa and Laura Roecker (hilarious) blog about pop culture with self deprecating humor. But they are entertaining. Kirsten White used to blog about nothing in particular, but again, is extremely witty. And Elana Johnson not only has posts on writing but her blog is full of heart. She’s Elana. And those bloggers reached higher heights of followers through getting agents, giving back, book deals and almost dying (Kirsten).

So if you blog about nothing or pop culture or soap operas or cooking you better be ready to entertain. Or you won’t gain many followers even if they are potential readers. But the same holds true when blogging about writing. And entertaining doesn’t have to mean funny.

I return to the motto I uphold when blogging: unique, useful, and updated. Use your slant, your voice, your approach to any topic, even if it’s writing.

That’s what I think Kristen meant. Don’t dig yourself into a “writing” hole. #ofcourseicouldbewrong

Here are some great links to check out.

And Roz Morris answers my questions on the subject in this blog post. (How will she promote her fiction when she blogs about writing?)

Roni Loren recently wrote an incredible post on ten things she’d do differently. (In reference to her blogging journey) (Incredible post!)

The Bookshelf Muse wrote a terrific post about knowing your audience.

Livia Blackburn writes Author blogging: you’re doing it wrong.

And of course this brings up another scary question: How effective is blogging? Um yeah, that will be for another time. Maybe next Wednesday.

What do you all think? Are you going to start blogging about your lifetime obsession with the Smurfs? Make me laugh and I’ll read it.

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Would you really want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyers?

My family has asked me this question.

And when I said no, they didn’t believe me.

Yeah, the money would be nice. The validation would be nice. All the fan mail would be nice.

But when you’ve already hit the top what is left? Will your next series be as big? Or do you end up being stuck?

I’d love to be successful with my writing. I’d love to be able to write until I’m 90 years old. But I also want to be able to continue to create and tell different stories and build with each one. To spread my creative wings and fly – sometimes over the desert and sometimes over the mountains.

I’d love for my work to never go out of print and continue to be loved by future generations. I’d love to hit the best seller list.  But I feel like J. K. Rowling and Meyers don’t have many places left to go.

I hesitate to even pick an author whose career I’d like to emulate because everyone’s path is different. I want it to be my path. And we all know that success and publication doesn’t bring happiness and contentment, right?

What do you think? Would you want to be the next J. K. Rowling? Seriously.

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What’s your “bliss”?

Camping in May in New Hampshire is risky. You really don’t know what the weather will be like. Fortunately, we had beautiful weather. Or this would have been my last camping trip in May, but don’t tell my husband.

On Sunday we went on a long bike ride. And, if you couldn’t guess, camping in the White Mountains means that the bike trails will not be flat! Our first hill was a very looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong hill. Kids were crying. Calves were burning. Parents were begging encouraging.

And as my daugher said, “It feels like someone is slashing my legs with a knife. And then shoving red hot pokers on them. And then pouring lighter fluid on them and lighting them on fire. And then taking a machetti to them. (No, she’s not dramatic at all.)

On the way back to camp though, we had a loooooooooooooog downhill ride. The kids were calling the downhills “happy”. (reflecting their mood) And on this long downhill, they switched over to the word bliss. So all the way down, they kept calling out.


And then my daughter said, “I’m effervescing!” (Yeah, we like to read books and then use the harder words in our daily vocab. out of context.)

Riding uphill is extremely hard. Riding downhill – coasting – is a lot of fun. Let’s switch gears to writing. For me, I experience writing bliss when writing the emotional scenes on the first draft.

What part of the writing experience is “bliss” for you. Drafting? Outlining? Writing the first draft? Revising? Polishing? And I dare you to call out “Bliss” when you are feeling happy writing. (Or go crazy and make up your own word!)

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Mr. Green did it in the library with the wrench.


Okay. I admit it. I’m competitive.

And one game I do get competitive in is Clue. When four people are playing, I get intense. I keep track of what everyone is asking and how often they ask it. I keep track of what everyone says they don’t have. I make little marks and code signs on my tiny who-done-it paper. (I can’t say exactly how I do this just in case my family is reading.) Yes, it’s an incredible mental strain and almost impossible to get it right. But, still, I try. Because that’s fun. And no, I don’t always win.

Being competitive doesn’t make me a sore loser, it just makes me try harder the next time.

And now, on the writing path, being competitive is what drives me to get better. I could float from novel to novel and keep writing, but I try and figure out what I did wrong and then I go out and find out how to do it. I’ll read books and study techniques those authors employed.  I’ll read how to books. I’ll google topics and read blogs. And then, I practice with my next story.

 Thankfully, I don’t feel competitive with my writer friends. It’s just a drive that pushes me forward to learn, to write, to improve.

When you move from one story and start another – how do you make sure your writing is improving? Do you just start plotting/writing another one or do you single out your weaknesses and attack them head on?

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Riding the writing rollercoaster with confidence.

 I love riding roller coasters. It’s the one ride at an amusement park I can still ride without getting sick. (Don’t ask about the crazy barn ride at Story Land. Just trust me, don’t ride it!)

I love the thrill of feeling the lurch as the cart chugs up the hill. The anticipation of reaching the top, and the rush of whooshing down with my stomach left somewhere at the top. (Okay, I probably could only ride it once or twice.)

Up, up, up.

I finish a first draft. Maybe the first set of revisions. Maybe, I’m polishing my words. I get excited. I love my story. My emotions are at a high as I consider querying and getting published. Okay, I admit it. I fantasize about the “call”. Guilty.

I’m feeling confident.

Down, down, down.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. So as confident as I was feeling, one day, for no particular, I crash. My writing sucks. This is stupid. Why am I doing this? Am I just fooling myself?


I’ve finally learned how to ride the ups and down of being a writer.

1. Ignore the up, up, up. Yeah, have fun dreaming, but feelings aren’t always a good measuring stick for skill. Read books. Know the market. Have realistic expectations. Look at your writing with the rose-colored glasses on the table. (I know it’s hard.)

2. Ignore the down, down, down. Depression isn’t good. It causes writer’s block. It’s not good for you or your family. Or your writing.

Have confidence. Confidence in whatever stage you are at: beginner, advanced but not quite published, published but not sure if your book will spread, or incredibly famous you’ll be on Oprah.

I can experience the tippy top of the rollercoaster of emotions  but  know that its subjective. I can sink down into the pit of suckitis and still have confidence. Because these are emotions.

My writing is separate from how I feel about where I am on the journey. Just because I love my story, doesn’t mean I’ll get an agent. Just because I hate my work (on that day) doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.

So in order to ride the emotional roller coaster of writing: realize you can’t stay on that writer’s high without crashing once in a while. Just don’t take it personally and give up on your dreams.

How do you ride the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being a writer?

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