More Blogging Cowbell

 

Finally got everything for my new book turned in. As it stands, it looks like Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer will be out in mid-May. Yipeeee! Been super-busy getting that in to the publisher, so the Mash-Up of Awesomeness will resume next week. Last week I did some Sacred Cow-Tipping and pushed over the pen name. Pen names can make us crazy and hurt our brand if not executed…(Freudian slip)…I meant executed properly. As in on it’s knees blindfolded. OKAY! I will stop picking on the pen name!

…for now.

In the spirit of Sacred Cow-Tipping, I gotta say, Kristen Lamb needs more cowbell. Yes, I am going there. The readers, the fans—trust me—are gonna want more cowbell.

(For those of you who are confused, the clip is below).

And the rest of you? Pick yourself off the floor and stop giggling. We need more Blogging Cowbell. What is Blogging Cowbell? Blogging Cowbell is that passion, interest, or idea that makes you distinct. It makes you stand out. It is that distinctive essence that makes YOU…YOU. Most of the time, it is the one thing you believe others really won’t care to hear.

I have heard whispers in the trees that blogging is dying. Blogging will never die so long as humans are still on the planet and have use of computers and an Internet. Blogging might change form, but it won’t go away.

We as the reading audience just get a lot less excited when someone says they blog. In the 90s, if you blogged, you probably had a computer science degree, worked in software, or were a hacker. The rest of us were just trying to figure out how to open our e-mail without letting in a virus that blue-screen-crashed our computer that we’d traded a left kidney to buy. Back in the day? If you had a blog about ANYTHING, we were instantly impressed. Now? You need to be more creative.

More cowbell.

Writers crack me up in that they seem to lose all creativity when it comes to blogging. We have the imagination to create entirely new worlds and yet when it comes to blogging, we lock up like a deer in the headlights. We start blogs about writing. Wow. Creative. Or we have an on-line journal. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

…where was I?

In this longing to have something to say, we risk saying nothing. Or worse, we say the same things everyone else does.

In the olden days of traditional marketing, the only platform an author could build was a successful book.  If the author collected mortician tools, or knitted or was a gourmet chef, that extra information meant zip nada. No one cared if the writer loved to garden, do Yoga, collect comic books, or play D&D. The readers only cared if we wrote a great book.

It is this old way of thinking that has many hopeful novelists posting chapters of their future novels as their blog. Bad idea! Here is why.

Chapters of our book cannot connect with people, and the whole point of blogging when boiled down to its essence is…to make friends. Blog about your passions and people will gather at your blog to have community and to feel as if they contribute. Blogging, in a sense, is a club.

What kind of club do you desire to create?

Ten years ago, no one cared about the writer as a person (unless you were a mega-author and we wanted to know you were human). Now? That is part of your brand. Too many writers get on a blog and they go to one extreme or the other. Either we are ALL THINGS AUTHORLY AND WRITING or we swing over to the THIS BLOG IS MY PERSONAL LIFE AND SHHHHHHH…. I happen to be kind of sort of maybe a writer sometimes in my free time after my work and chores are all done when all the lights are out and I hide under the blankets.

Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

One thing or another is our Blogging Cowbell. If all we are talking about is writing, writing, writing, we might think people don’t care about us, our lives, our passions (other than writing) or our hobbies. They do! It is just that too many writers, when they write about themselves, write FOR themselves. They fail to write in such a way that encourages dialogue and gets people to contribute.

If your blog is all about your hobbies, and garden and Beanie Baby collection, then your Blogging Cowbell is your identity as an author. Tether that writing identity to your passions. No, we don’t have to have a blog on writing. In fact, that is actually a fairly limited blog. If you want a blog that has hundreds of thousands of followers, blog on celebrities, television, movies, beer…but not writing.

Our goal as bloggers is to have more cowbell.

Balance your identity–personal and professional. Since I encourage blogging multiple times a week, this is very doable. Just be mindful to tie everything to your identity as a writer. Hey, I had a post on junk drawers that I managed to tie to Kristen Lamb Author. Go check it out.

I talked about how I fight clutter and always lose, but what that means to the writing experience. This was a great post that had people laughing and commiserating and sharing horror stories of their own. And, it is WAY better than when I first started blogging and all I did was teach and lecture. But, it required that I get vulnerable.

I wasn’t lecturing about plot points or Facebook privacy settings. I was sharing a little bit of me, then lashing it to who I am as a writer. I was sharing a little bit of Kristen Lamb Normal Person.

More cowbell.

Now? Kristen Lamb Social Media Expert needs you to give me more Blogging Cowbell. The readers are gonna want more cowbell.

Take some time to think about your own Blogging Cowbell. Hey, share your ideas here. Tell us if you have found your cowbell. It might inspire us, or get us thinking deeper. What makes you afraid or shy about your Blogging Cowbell?

I love hearing from you! And 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 every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end on March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Happy writing!

Until next time…

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

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  1. #1 by Sheri Fredricks on March 30, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Another great blog! Gotta love them cowbells. Thanks for reminding me that MY writer’s voice is mine – and I shouldn’t be afraid to wave it! Err…write it.

  2. #2 by cegrundler on March 30, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Your blog is going to get me in trouble yet! I’m at work in my second office, writing in public at Starbucks (every writer needs to be seen writing in public or they’re not a real writer!) and I skip over to read your post… and everyone here is looking at me now because I’m laughing out loud.

    Thanks for the insight and the LOL!

  3. #3 by writerwellness on March 30, 2011 - 2:49 pm

    You crack me up, Kristen. Did you make up Blogging Cowbell? Only a TX gal would associate blogging noise with a cowbell. Here in WV, the cowbell sound means it’s time to go to work because the cows are restless and need fed or milked! But I get your analogy. However, I have to ask for another word besides “passion”. I’m overloaded with “passion”. I heard it five times on commercials this morning while watching 20 minutes of news and my students use it way too much. What else can we call it? Bliss? Verve? Zeal? Yes, I got out the thesaurus. Great post. Good advice. Looking forward to the new pub. Love WANA!

  4. #4 by Stina Lindenblatt on March 30, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    I still love reading blogs about writing. They’re free mini lessons, and my writing has improved because of them. But I think the difference is these bloggers do it in a fun, creative way while still being themselves–and they keep their posts short. There are still many I don’t follow because I find them dry or they just didn’t appeal to me. And most important of all, they lack voice.

  5. #5 by Michele Shaw on March 30, 2011 - 3:36 pm

    I love this point, Kristin. I’ve always tried to balance my blog. And btw, this is my all time favorite snl skit:) Chris Walken has always scared, yet delighted me at the same time, and I think Will Ferrell was at his best.

  6. #6 by K.B. Owen on March 30, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    This is my new mantra when I’m writing my blog: more COWBELL! Funny, but now that I’m posting 3/wk instead of only one a week, it’s easier to infuse more of myself into the posts, rather than having them come off as mini dissertations. I’m loosening up!

    Thanks for the great advice. :)

    • #7 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 30, 2011 - 3:44 pm

      So you are finding out that I am right? Blogging more often IS easier. Ot doesn’t seem like it would be, but it is and we do loosen up.

      MORE COWBELL :D

  7. #8 by Jennifer King on March 30, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    Kristen–
    I love the unique tie from blog into cowbell. The only thing better would’ve been “lamb-bell”. :o)
    I think about this often. I’ve been blogging for a few years, and I think the hardest part of blogging was figuring out what my content would be, how my general brand and categories would be based on my passions, based on me. Sure, as a writer, it’s easy to write about writing. But to me, that’s just not fun very often. And what about audience–if writers are building a platform to connect with writers, what happened? What about the readers? Sure, readers are writers and writers are readers, but not many of my normal non-writer friends who like to read are going to want to read blogs about writing. So I started the foundation for my blog based on that–the me besides the writing piece. Like you said, the normal Jennifer, not just the writer Jennifer. Because, as a mom of 3, wife, traveler, artist, and student of the world, I have more to me than what types out across the screen. So, it’s been fun, these years of blogging. Thanks for the advice. Always appreciated in a confusing place called social media. And, I love the Kristen that comes through. Great cowbell!
    Thank you! -Jennifer

  8. #9 by Mark Williams on March 30, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    Taking on board the many WANA principles you’ve expounded, my co-author and I regularly use our blogs to feature fellow indie writers and give both their book and, more importantly, their personal insights (we draw the line at hobbies and favorite films!) a chance to reach a wider audience.

    It’s rewarding for us at a spriritual level, letting us meet and involve with fellow writers, brings traffic to our blogs, and helps their, and our sales.

    To anyone out there thinking that Kristen’s ideas would never work for them, ponder our position.

    We put our debut novel Sugar & Spice on Kindle just before Christmas, an unknown author and an unknown book alone and helpless in the Amazon e-jungle. We (more accurately my co-author – I’m still struggling with the blogs, let alone FB and twitter!) took Kristen’s WANA ideas to heart and gave it our all.

    Hell, we could always ask for our money back if it didn’t work, right?

    Kristen, your money’s safe!

    Our novel is currently in the top five in the Kindle-UK chart, selling 15000 copies a month, and rising!

    All this without an agent or publisher in sight!

    Obviously having a good book helps, but no question we would never have found our way up through the charts without the advice and ideas Kristen gave us.

    Our next big challenge is to conquer the Kindle-US charts and B&N. Perhaps you’ll devote a blog sometime, Kristen .to why UK crime thrillers find it so hard to break through in the American market?

  9. #10 by Kate Ferguson Writes on March 30, 2011 - 3:58 pm

    Thanks for this! I was wondering whether you have any tips for posting every day without sacrificing quality? My problem is that it takes me a long time to churn out quality prose and that when I’m working long hours I can’t maintain my blog.. All the best with the book :)

  10. #11 by Gwenn on March 30, 2011 - 4:04 pm

    And if our passion has nothing to do with what we write? I mean: I write fantasy novels and novellas, but my blog is about an other passion (not so distant, from my point of view): mythology and legends. Does it make sense, then, when I’m published, to promote my fantasy-book on a mythology-based blog? Sure, they’ll know me as a (passionate) person, and I don’t hide that I’m writing, but I’m locking my readers with their interest in legends, not in fantasy stories…
    Do you get what I mean? What do you think about it?
    And, btw, thanks for all you advice, I finally change my name for my true name (my last name is still missing, but still, that’s better than a moniker ;) )
    Thanks!
    Gwenn

    • #12 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 30, 2011 - 4:12 pm

      Our blog cannot do what only our book can. Only our book can make people love our story and characters. Be YOU. Your blog is to promote you and connect you to a larger community.
      You’ll get there. slow and steady wins the race :).

    • #13 by Athena Grayson on April 2, 2011 - 4:32 am

      (took your advice and started using my author name everywhere–hey, lookie, I’m branding!)

      Kristen, so very very glad you answered this post. When I blog about topics other than writing, I feel like I’m in a place where I should kinda mumble into my hand “ohbythewayIkindasortawritesomebooks, too”– sotto voce.

      I’m taking this “branding ME” thing to heart.

  11. #14 by Jess Witkins on March 30, 2011 - 4:05 pm

    I was just thinking about this. Taking a look at what blog posts attracted the most comments and dialogue, I’m trying to figure out an easier way to have fun while blogging that ALSO attracts more readers. I have my moments, but it’s not consistent yet. A big part of that is that I feel so NEW and still so YOUNG, that I’m still trying to grasp the definitions and how’s of the blogging world, and at times it gets intimidating. So, I’ll have to carry my cowbell with me! One big change I’m in the process of is job hunting for a new position that would be more conducive to a writing schedule. That’s a BIG issue right now. I’ve felt so stressed and disheartened at work lately, and it consumes so much of my time I just come home exhausted. Resume’ writing is much longer than blogging too! I feel confident though in that I’m taking the right steps to improve my writing (and my happiness), and I have to patient that’s it not as instantaneous and easy as we all wish it could be. Thanks for an inspiring post! *clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang* That’s me, tappin’ on my cowbell!

  12. #15 by Catherine Johnson on March 30, 2011 - 5:05 pm

    i must admit I’ve been sipping straight passed blogs that require reading whole chapters for fun! My oh my where do they think we get the time to read all that. I think once you have found your voice it’s not so difficult to talk about more personal things, but I’d have to do that in my poem slot because Tuesdays is book reviews and Fridays is shout outs to writer blogs, all very writely. I guess if I haven’t got a poem one week that would be a great time to experiment with something else. I’ve had lots of adventures, I’m sure I could easily entertain telling some of those. Thanks for the tips!

  13. #16 by Darcy Peal on March 30, 2011 - 5:10 pm

    I’m a man so I guess I can’t have no cowbell and since bulls don’t wear bells what else can I use?
    A doorbell?
    A bicycle bell?

    I know! How about a dinner bell? One of them big ol triangles, that otta keep folks reading!

    Wait a minute, didn’t Ferdinand the bull wear a bull?

    Hmmmm.

  14. #17 by M.E. Anders on March 30, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    More cowbell, eh, Kristen? You seem to read my mind with your relevant posts on topics I’ve been mulling in this lil’ brain. Thanks for sharing experience through your wit.

  15. #18 by Annie Neugebauer on March 30, 2011 - 5:12 pm

    Kristen, your posts are always excellent. I’m so excited that you’re coming to our conference in June! You seem to talk about just what I need to hear just when I need to hear it. And I’m very impressed with the overall positivity of your tone. Even when you cover things that are driving me bonkers or making me feel down and/or hopeless, you do so in a way that makes me feel bolstered. Thanks for that! We could all use a nice sense of perspective and humor like you seem to have found. =)

  16. #19 by Jill Kemerer on March 30, 2011 - 5:14 pm

    The best part of this post? Admitting we need to get vulnerable to connect with others. So true.

  17. #20 by christine castigliano on March 30, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    You GOT the cowbell, girlfriend. :->

    Thanks for inspiring and coaching us to BRING IT.

  18. #21 by Tiffany A White on March 30, 2011 - 5:21 pm

    My cowbell is my opinion! When I composed my list of 100 “Ragu” words, opinionated was the #2 most popular answer behind loyal. Ahhh. Anyway, I’m trying to keep it positive but my cowbell is definitely my opinion!

  19. #22 by Zoey Smith on March 30, 2011 - 5:26 pm

    What a fun post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. #23 by Lisa Ullrich on March 30, 2011 - 6:08 pm

    I found it didn’t work for me when I tried to have my blog be structured. I had certain days with certain topics and I felt like I was forcing my posts. I agree with you about showing some vulnerability in our posts. My post from yesterday was just that. I’ve been having an emotional couple of weeks and yesterday, I realized I was just making things worse on myself because of how I was “thinking” or “over-thinking” everything, which created a bigger problem. I had a personal revelation and I posted about it cause it’s such a simple (yet not easily recognizable) concept. My most popular posts were on personal growth and fear. My post on fear was shared on a couple other blogs and people told me it was inspiring. It’s a great feeling when you’re able to inspire others with just being you and expressing your thoughts. Great post!

  21. #24 by Laura Sheehan on March 30, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    good stuff! I just finished my first novel and am dipping my toes into the water of self-promotion and blogging and platform-building… it’s a lot to take in, and not jus a little intimidating! I’ve heard good things about your book, and was referred over here by my writers guild (LARA). Looking forward to gleaning as much as I can from you! Thanks!

  22. #25 by Pamela on March 30, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    Love it! I’m going back to see what my Blogging Cowbell is — I suspect it is the whole Couples Who Make You Want to Puke/”Lucy and Ricky Ricardo form a Brady Bunch family” humor angle — and whether my Blog needs even more. Because I firmly believe that making my readers puke is a great sign of having just the right amount of cowbell. I post 3x/week, I agree it gets easier the more you do it. Meanwhile, I write. And work that pesky day job. Thanks, Kristen!

  23. #26 by Ashley Graham on March 30, 2011 - 6:58 pm

    This is something I constantly worry about, if I’m being honest — if centering my blog around writing is the best way to gain a following. Even *I* don’t want to talk about writing all the time, but I feel I have to or else all those writers who follow me will stop listening entirely. Also, I’ve read it’s a good idea to gear your blog towards reaching potential and future readers of your book (not necessarily writers), and I struggle on a daily basis trying to figure out how to do that. Sometimes, I can’t help but think, “How am I going to reach potential readers when I don’t have a book deal? A book published? Or some kind of fan base?” Will people really think my book is worth reading unless it’s been validated by a publisher? Who knows. I know there are other ways to reach one’s target audience — just blog about the types of things you think your readers would be interested in. But that’s easier said than done. Especially when only writers follow you.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. It’s given me a lot to think about! Also, when I hear COWBELL I think of Mississippi State fans. And my friend who carries a “cowbell” to all of those games!

  24. #27 by Madison Woods on March 30, 2011 - 7:29 pm

    Love the concept of blogging ‘cowbell’. When I picture that in my mind, though, I’m not seeing cows. I’m seeing cowbells tied onto trailer hitches so that when you’ve got the hitch and the trailer lined up you hear that glorious *ding* to let you know you’re THERE.

    The most frightening thing I post to my blogs are those musings that make me wonder if everyone will think I’m plain nuts. But it’s this sort of ponders that inspire me to write the things I write…so I will continue to post them. They’re my signature, it’s what makes me *me*.

    Great post!

  25. #28 by Anthony V. Toscano on March 30, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    Kristen, I grant you all due respect. You are a successful, published author. It’s obvious to me that perhaps your primary intention here on your blog is to help other writers.

    Point One: You say, “We start blogs about writing. Wow. Creative.” Yet here you blog about blogging. And your bestselling book is a classic “How To” for writers, focused of course on how writers might best use social media tools. Your sales record, as well as all of the comments here but for mine, prove that your advice is useful to many people. Still, to me your logic seems faulty.

    Point two: Bad idea to publish chapters from works-in-progress on your blog (with the possible exception of non-fiction articles, etc.). You’re most likely correct, at least in the minds of many unpublished writers who feel confident that they will one day be published. Me?

    I’m far from being a young man. Life is short, and I’ve been writing and submitting frequently for decades with no acceptances to my credit. Self-assessment indicates that my chance of being published is all but insignificant. So, late in life I’ve decided that I’d rather be read somewhere by a few readers than never to be read at all (yep, I know, shades of Lord Alfred Tennyson). I publish my writing to my website (I don’t like the word “blog,” although I recognize its validity; sounds like a stuffy nose in search of a handkerchief).

    I continue to read your website material, not because I find that your advice applies to me, but because you are an entertaining writer.

    I don’t mean to sound disagreeable. I mean only to explain that no one’s advice, no matter how well-intentioned or how brightly phrased, applies to every one in this game.

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 30, 2011 - 8:16 pm

      I am not breaking my own advice. NF and fiction are not the same thing ;).

      I write for writers, and my demographic for sales is made up of writers. It makes sense for me to blog about writing. If I were a novelist and wrote purely fiction, I think there are WAY better choices for blogs that will generate better hits. There are a lot more people in the world interested in movie reviews, beer, gardening, and gaming than there are people who want to learn about narrative structure. I will likely never be a blog that gets 100,000 hits in a day….but a celebrity gossip blog will get that many hits.

      So if you write romance and loooove celebrity gossip, I think the better choice would be to blog about Angelina Jolie than antagonists. You will get a much larger following MUCH faster.

      But a lot of fiction writers are blogging about writing. Okay. Won’t stop you. But I bet there are hobbies or interests you have that would make better blogs that would reach wider audiences of potential readers.

      As far as publishing chapters, again, that applies to fiction. Fiction does TERRIBLE on search engines, and it really isn’t content that will get a large following of subscribing readers, especially when we are unpubbed authors. If Stephen King slaps chapters up there, we might bite, but an unpubbed, unknown author posting random chapters out of a story that I don’t know anything about the characters and why do I care? Not going to get a following.

      My opinion is that you are better off just blogging in a way that builds community and save the chapters for downloads. If people like our blog, likely they will part with .99 for a short story or $2.99 for a novella, and that is a better plan then posting it as a blog.

  26. #30 by Sonia M. on March 30, 2011 - 8:33 pm

    Oh my. I might have peed my pants there. :D Love Christopher Walken. Sometimes he even narrates my dreams…but not, you know, that way. LOL.

    I’m trying to find my groove with blogging. I am enjoying myself although I have moments of stress too. When I try to hard to be whatever it is I think is a professional blogging writer, I get stressed. When I relax and just be myself, I have so much more fun and the posts seem to work better. I’m going to ring my cowbell loud and proud!

    We need a cowbell blog badge! Anybody up to the challenge?

  27. #31 by Cheryl Isaac on March 30, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Blogging cowbell. Love looking at it that way. And you’re write, to blog about writing all the time is just no fun.

  28. #32 by Diana Murdock on March 30, 2011 - 10:14 pm

    Metaphysics. Paranormal. First on my list. It is also in line with my YA novel in progress. An intriguing and sometimes creepy subject. I love it.

  29. #33 by Rhonda Hopkins on March 30, 2011 - 10:55 pm

    I suppose this one was for me, since that’s exactly what I did last week. I posted a chapter of my manuscript. :-) However, I didn’t do it for the reasons you expressed above. I’ve had several people lately ask what I write and if I had a sample they could read. So, I posted it just to provide those few with a sample of my work. I plan to self-publish the book in a few months and the first chapter will be available then anyway. So, I’m not really losing anything. Yes, I want to build up my following and no that’s not the way to do it. I agree. But, I also don’t see the harm in giving a few something they had been asking for. Especially, since I just started to blog recently. I write both fiction and non-fiction, so I blog about different things three days a week. Today, I actually, blogged about your website and how helpful it is. Hope I did the subject justice.

    • #34 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 30, 2011 - 10:59 pm

      If you do it once in a while, that isn’t a problem. I just wouldn’t rely on it as regular blog content. :D

  30. #35 by Piglet in Portugal on March 30, 2011 - 11:08 pm

    Great post! You always seem to have your finger on the blogging pulse, so to speak. I am not sure what my blogging “cowbell” is other than when I write about my experiences of everyday life in Portugal, post recipes, take photos etc. I try to think what makes a blog appealing and what I like to read…nothing too intellectual…just life.
    I will have to tie a bell to my curly tail and hope it rings!
    PiP

  31. #36 by Joanna Aislinn on March 31, 2011 - 12:15 am

    So I’m hearing a bit of “different strokes for different folks.” Think the best thing I’ve ever learned is this: read, tweak/internalize, apply what works best with who I am as a person, parent, health care provider, wife, writer. I’ve tried different things on for size, different approaches to the same task. Most of all, I’ve learned to be true to me and that’s what I try to bring across at my blog.

    Thanks for another informstive, thought-provoking post, Kristen.

  32. #37 by Jan Kozlowski on March 31, 2011 - 12:19 am

    I actually did start blogging back in 1996 for the shiny new Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) New England regional website that I created. At that time, the word “blog” didn’t even exist. I called it a Web Log and used it to point members to research information and writing websites. These days I’m still blogging, although since jumping ship from the children’s genre to horror/dark fiction, my subject matter and audience have changed considerably. My cowbell is my love of the history of horror so I’ve created what I call The Dark Bites Datebook where I post 5-6 days a week celebrating a author, actor, book, movie or other event from the genre’s past. Tomorrow (March 31) btw is Christopher Walken’s birthday which is definitely an excuse for even MORE cowbell!

  33. #38 by T.F. Walsh on March 31, 2011 - 12:24 am

    Love the Blogging Cowbell – I was contemplating my next blog installment, as I do 3/wk, and worried it wasn’t related to writing enough… but you’ve given me new inspiration on how to work that in… :) Thanks

  34. #39 by Patti Mallett on March 31, 2011 - 1:13 am

    Though I have not yet started Blogging, when I do, I’ll be armed and ready, and in great part that is thanks to you. After reading all of the comments I decided a question to ask myself would be, who is it I would like to meet through my blog, and that I should write to those people. As a side note, I never read chapters of books and always hope to learn something about writing, or at least read something that will inspire me to press on. It’s also important to be given a window into who that writer is. I’ve begun to recognize my new blogger friends by their blogs, and that’s nice. It makes me want to check in for a little visit and see “what’s up” with them. It makes perfect sense that we must bust out of our box if we want large numbers of followers.

  35. #40 by Maggi Long on March 31, 2011 - 1:32 am

    As an unpublished, uninspired writer with nothing finished, I’m starting to pick up the writing itch again. :) I’m enjoying your blogs and you write like you talk (DFWWW) which makes for an entertaining few minutes of information. I’m reading WANA and looking forward to the new one coming out. I may just have to throw myself out there one of these days.

  36. #41 by Piper Bayard on March 31, 2011 - 2:39 am

    You really hit the cow on the bell with this one. The blogs I love are the ones where the author’s personality shines through. Reading those blogs is like hanging out with friends for a few minutes, in a good, chatty way. They don’t tax me or preach at me. Their blogs are an offering from their hearts. Thanks for your offering. :)

  37. #42 by educlaytion on March 31, 2011 - 3:07 am

    Guess what? I gotta fever. And the only prescription is more K-Lamb. I hope my students feel about my teaching the way I feel about your writing. You are an edutainer. Love it.

    • #43 by Grace Lewis on March 31, 2011 - 4:09 pm

      I was looking for the “like” button for your comment. AWESOME! Good thing no one is around to see this goofy grin on my face :-)

  38. #44 by curiocat on March 31, 2011 - 4:07 am

    Here’s to ringing the cowbells for creative writing.Thanks for the tips.

  39. #45 by Marilag Lubag on March 31, 2011 - 6:13 am

    Blogging… Blogging has been a tool for reflection lately. It’s like me putting a mirror in front of myself and the people I know and then sifting what I learned from them. A topic would normally come to me and I would write what I think about them.

  40. #46 by Gene Lempp on March 31, 2011 - 7:56 am

    Kristen you always get me to smile :) The Cowbell skit is one of the best (my wife even had a t-shirt that said “More Cowbell” for a long time). Loosening up is the hardest thing for some of us, but really, doing so in our writing is essential to finding the “soul” of our stories in a manner that will touch readers. Thanks for always finding such interesting and relevant subject matter. Best of luck with the new book, we have your first and look forward to having a pair of Lambs on the bookshelf soon!

  41. #47 by Ronnies on March 31, 2011 - 10:29 am

    “They fail to write in such a way that encourages dialogue and gets people to contribute.”

    This sentence alone is going to keep ringing in my mind for a long time. Gotta change my writing style of blogging. Thanks for the article =)

    Note: Nice website design here !

  42. #48 by Amy Durham on March 31, 2011 - 3:43 pm

    This a great post! And I’m glad to hear someone say it’s all right to blog about my writing AND my life. I’ve thought this for a long time, but always sort of wondered if I shouldn’t try to focus even more on writing/books. I see other bloggers/authors who do, but it’s never felt like the right thing for me. After all, my life fuels my writing. The things I experience in my own life are the impetus for many, many things about my writing!

    I sooooo enjoy your posts. I’ve been following your posts about Twitter for the past few weeks. Thanks for keeping all of us informed on social media and what it can do for authors!

    Amy

    Amy Durham ~ writer and book-lover

  43. #49 by James Loscombe on March 31, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    Such a great post. When you put it like this it all seems to make sense. Taking inspiration from this I am going to be blogging about a wider range of things. I have written (and heavily linked to this site) about my plans here: http://bit.ly/fMPL5l

  44. #50 by Ella on March 31, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    This post was extremely timely. I just recently started a blog that I intended to be a writer’s blog… a place where people can come to understand my journey as a writer. And yet, now that I have been doing it for only a short time, I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut. Nothing on my blog is terribly new or clever. My journey as a writer isn’t extraordinary. I would be many would-be writers are experiencing what I’m experiencing. So do they really need to read about it on my blog and relive their own joys and nightmares. This post definitely make me want to revisit my entire platform. Thank you.

  45. #51 by scott on March 31, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    “I gotta fever and the only cure is more COW BELL!” Burgers and music: it’s on…http://bitly.com/fIi0pz Thanks for the advice. I’m still going to keep some of my writing components (because it’s what I love!), but there will be more posts about music and now I’m gonna throw in some posts about burgers. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life burgers would be it, so there you have it.

  46. #52 by Doris O'Connor on March 31, 2011 - 9:45 pm

    Thanks for this. When I first started my blog it was going to be all about my writing, but I very quickly ran out of things to say, lol. So lately I have been rambling on about all sorts and funnily enough my latest hormonally fuelled rant has attracted the biggest response yet. It was also very therapeutic ;-)

    • #53 by K.B. Owen on April 1, 2011 - 12:00 am

      Doris, I was in the same place last Sept/Oct. OMG, you wouldn’t believe the panic I felt when I thought about how the heck I was going to come up with another blog about something lame that others were doing better than I was, anyway.

      Then I read Kristen’s WANA book, and it was so exhilarating! I didn’t have to talk about writing! I could talk about my own interests, and what made me unique. Really??! I completely revamped my blog, and I went from 20 hits a month to 800-1000. I’m taking more of her advice, and there’s no stopping me now! The key is, think about your audience. There are a gazillion blogs out there. What can you do for THEM? What will make them feel as if their visit has been worth it?

      Good luck with your journey,
      Kathy

  47. #54 by Darlene Steelman on April 1, 2011 - 2:09 am

    Kristin! You’ve done it again and inspired me to write a post about nothing. In nothing I mean some sort of quirky passion I have that others may not understand. But that does not matter! What matters is that I refuse to give up.

    Thanks again. My post will be up tomorrow and I will be linking back to your blog.

    Darlene

  48. #55 by Jennifer Joseph on April 2, 2011 - 10:38 pm

    This might be my favorite post of yours ever. I sent you an email explaining why. Thank you, thank you.

  49. #56 by Elisa Michelle on April 2, 2011 - 11:40 pm

    It’s funny. I just figured this out not too long ago (love the skit at the bottom by the way). I started doing creative posts that dealt with either pure randomness and were meant to entertain or actually portrayed something I was trying to get at but wanted to say it in a more funny and fiction-esque way.

    Did I mention I want more cowbell?

    Ah, where do you find this stuff? It’s great.

  50. #57 by karrijustina on April 3, 2011 - 1:33 pm

    This was my brain when I first read this article:

    “I… don’t… have to write… about writing?”

    I feel a thousand times lighter. And I have a feeling my blog is about to get a whole lot better.

    Once again, thank you, Kristen! :)

  51. #58 by Stacy on April 22, 2011 - 11:58 am

    Naturally I’m late to the party again, but I think I finally understand what you’re saying. I can blog about things unrelated to my book, but I need to tie it into being a writer. I really thought I should blog about either writing or topics relating to the book. So much to learn!

  52. #59 by christasterken on May 4, 2011 - 2:33 am

    My favorite blog find today, seriously. I laughed, I cried. Ok, only tears of laughter…but still. Just last night we watched More Cowbell with some friends, and then today she sent me the link to your blog. Thanks for the entertainment. I will definitely be back.
    Blessings,
    Christa Sterken

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