How Badly Do You Want the Dream?

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WANACon was a huge success, thanks to the tireless efforts of many amazing WANAs coupled with gutsy presenters and courageous attendees. Everyone was so brave trusting that WANA could really reinvent the conference experience, and I am immensely grateful for everyone’s work, faith and trust.

But I am always growing, learning, and reaching to go higher. Right now, I am slap-happy tired, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about something very important (before I fall asleep and forget, LOL).

How BADLY do you want the dream?

Since launching my business a year ago, I have grown so much. A lot of that growing, frankly, SUCKED. It hurt.

When we reach for bigger things, we are tested. We find out a lot about who we really are, and sometimes what we see is less than pretty. In fact, it can be downright embarrassing. Pressure reveals cracks, weaknesses, and areas that are just plain flawed.

Others have dubbed me the WANA Mama, and I feel that is accurate because I am not here to deliver a fluffy kitten hug and feed you sugar.

Yes, I do believe in every one of you. I feel you are unique, special and have a wonderful story inside of you. But you need your meat and veggies, too. We all do. Becoming a career professional isn’t easy and it isn’t for the weak of heart.

I’ve had these exact same lessons, so I’m not feeding you anything I haven’t had to eat, myself.

Beware of People-Pleasing

One of the largest challenges most of us will face is the need to please others. Critique groups are fabulous, but if we don’t have a spine, we can end up with a book-by-committee.

At WANACon, all the presenters had strong opinions about what way to go, which resources to use. But, here’s the thing, no one has all your answers.

Except me. Listen to everything I tell you :D.

Kidding.

Part of maturity is listening to all the information and then applying what seems to fit to our own career. Make your own decisions. Stand firm, yet remain flexible. Not everything will work, so don’t be afraid to admit something didn’t work. Move on. Keep moving.

Traditional publishing is suffering because it’s having to learn to bend and move with change. Many indie authors suffer the exact opposite problem. They don’t stick to anything long enough to watch it bear fruit. As writers (or even publishers), we have to find that middle-ground where our feet are planted, but we can still stick-and-move when we need to.

Publishing has been very rigid for the past century, but now we are in an age that publishing can be tailored specifically for you. This is why it is vital to be educated. It’s why WANACon brought all kinds of experts not just indie.

Take everything in. Listen. Learn. Then try new things. Sometimes we will have stuff blow up in our face. In fact, a lot of the times it will. But we will learn far more from our failures than we will from success.

We have to keep trying stuff until we find the best fit, and, as the paradigm shifts, most things will continue to change. What fits today, might not fit in three months. We are all shooting at a moving target, and that is why we have to be vested, present and teachable.

If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t doing anything interesting.

When I launched WANA International, I failed…A LOT. I hired the wrong people, then had to fire, then try again. I needed to learn that talk is cheap. People can say anything. Words cost nothing. How do people react when the heat is on? Do they stand by you or do they bail and leave the mess in your lap? Do they help solve the problems or contribute more?

Is your team of support there for the good and the bad? Fair-weather friends are no use to us, and pressure is good at showing us who our support network really is.

I won’t lie. WANA International had a lot of really tough times.

For one, the original interface blew up into a GIANT mess, so I had to let go and search for better technology that could achieve the vision I had in mind (fortunately Jay found me :D). Additionally, I failed to be a good boss, set boundaries, keep people accountable, and there were consequences. HARD consequences. But the aftermath of all that pain was I grew tremendously as a person and a professional.

There are probably more tough times ahead, but we have to change our attitude toward adversity. Adversity is there to test who we are and make it plain what and where we need to change.

Comfort=DEATH

A lot of people shy away from growing pains and avoid what scares them, yet I will say this. BEWARE of times you are comfortable. It means you aren’t stretching as an artist and professional. It’s like working out using the same dumbbells for ten years. Your muscles won’t grow. Pain and discomfort are vital to making us better.

I was terrified to try doing a conference like WANACon. There was so much fear and doubt and I don’t think I’ve slept properly in three months. But I had to try it and be willing to risk that I could very well fail as badly as I did last summer. In fact, I could have failed even WORSE. But I had grown enough to know that, good or bad, this experience would make me better. Do what scares you.

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Candy Havens presenting at WANACon. “If you don’t make your page count, I will find you and punch you.” Inspiring words to live by and proof of why we all love Candy so much.

Suck It Up, Buttercup

Many times, when we become writers, we have this magical-mystical vision of what being a writer is. These dreams are for hobbyists and amateurs. Real writers work. They work hard and are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

I used to tell writers that, if they didn’t like Facebook or Twitter or blogging, to not do it. Now? I take a much more hard-lined approach. Being successful involves doing a lot of stuff we don’t like. There is no Plan for Writing Success that involves us doing only stuff we enjoy. That’s a pipe dream.

We Must Ask Ourselves What We Like MORE?

No, maybe I am not thrilled with having to do Facebook, but I LIKE the idea of being a successful writer who makes a very good living MORE. Before social media, writers had a 93% failure rate. Most writers (traditional and non-traditional) failed to ever earn a living wage doing what they love. Now we have the power to tip the odds in our favor. If we choose not to take advantage, the onus is on us.

WANA, in many ways, reminds me of Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University. Dave’s advice involves a lot of initial sacrifice coupled with discipline to become debt-free and wealthy. Yes, in the beginning it is tough to live on a strict budget and save when our friends are spending. But down the road we will have long-lasting and stable success others won’t.

If we work when others are playing, later we can play while everyone works.

It is hard to tell friends and family we have to write instead of play. It’s hard to lose friendships. It hurts to fail. But all of this is necessary for us to grow and to reach our dreams.

So I challenge you today to look deep inside. Be honest. How badly do you want the dream? What are you willing to sacrifice? What areas can you come up higher? Who do you need to cut loose? What is holding you back? What scares you?

I LOVE hearing from you…

And a HUGE thank you to all of our presenters and agents. I am super grateful for the amazing Candace Havens who not only was our inspiring keynote, but she stepped in to teach Revision Hell when one of our other speakers called in very ill. Major thanks to Jay Donovan of Tech Surgeons, to the WANA Operations Manager Chad Carver, WANA Boosters like Laura Ritchie & Lena Corazon. A nice round of applause to Jami Gold who did a fabulous job as moderator and helped keep WANACon running smoothly. TEAM WANA held an amazing conference and it wouldn’t have happened without such a wonderful and giving group. THANK YOU.

To prove it and show my love, for the month of February, 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 February I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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  1. #1 by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) on February 25, 2013 - 11:44 am

    Every time I start a new project, I fear failure. One would think this would disappear now that I have a book deal and a book coming out in three months. Nope. My scrivener folder is freaking me out now because it’s blank. Empty. I need Candace to punch me in the face. I commit right here to writing 500 words on it. They might be 500 crappy words. See ya later, comfort zone.

    And thanks for WANA Con!

  2. #2 by amyshojai on February 25, 2013 - 11:44 am

    I tell my dog (and cat) consultant clients this–the more mistakes made, they learn what DOESN’T work. Humans (and writers for the most part are human :)) get to benefit from other’s learning errors, but we all still have those head-wall-banging lessons to learn. Great post–and LOVED the WANAcon portions I could attend. Good job!

  3. #3 by Cheryl Fassett on February 25, 2013 - 11:45 am

    Kristen~ I loved everything about WANACon and learned so much. You are an inspiration!

  4. #4 by Marcy Kennedy on February 25, 2013 - 11:47 am

    The first ever WANACon was an amazing experience, and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

    In terms of wanting to achieve our dreams bad enough, I just wanted to share what I have written on a card that sits by my laptop. It’s written all in caps so that’s how I’ll write it here. (Please forgive the shouty look.)

    DON’T BE AFRAID.
    ARE YOU DOING YOUR VERY BEST?
    TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
    SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP.

    I had to smile when I saw that last one in your post as well.

    • #5 by stephscottil on February 25, 2013 - 1:10 pm

      I like this. I think I need a similar ALL CAPS reminder!

  5. #6 by shayfabbro on February 25, 2013 - 11:48 am

    I love this. And the picture too. There’s a meme in there somewhere, I just know it!

  6. #7 by Karen Klink on February 25, 2013 - 11:49 am

    I so needed this kick-in-the-pants today. What perfect timing! Thanks for reminding me that, if I fail, I will learn from it.

  7. #8 by stephanieberget on February 25, 2013 - 11:52 am

    Thanks for this. I’m at a sticking point in my edits and I needed to hear, “How bad do you want this?”

  8. #9 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on February 25, 2013 - 11:54 am

    You know what I loved about WANACon? That it was innovative. There were speakers there talking about stuff Marcy and I were talking about two years ago and people still tell us that stuff is silly and unrealistic. Taking chances is hard, and sometimes you fall, but it’s the people who pick themselves up and keep going who make it. Thanks for leading the charge. With you all the way!

  9. #10 by Kim Mullican on February 25, 2013 - 11:58 am

    Reblogged this on Author Kim Mullican and commented:
    Because I couldn’t have said it any better. And the WANA Momma is brilliant… From Kristen Lamb’s Blog…

  10. #11 by Kim Mullican on February 25, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    I had to reblog this… while it isn’t “news” to some, it is a huge reminder of the dedication it takes. Sadly, times are tough for us right now and I could not afford to attend, but words of true wisdom are hard to come by. I adore your altruistic nature, even though this is a business for you. Thank you for all you do for our writing community.

  11. #12 by kinleybaker on February 25, 2013 - 12:05 pm

    Great post, Kristen. I hate feeling uncomfortable, but you’re so right. It’s the times we push ourselves that really make us stronger. Sorry to hear about your struggles, but I’m glad you made it out the other side wiser. Very inspiring. :-)

  12. #13 by David Erickson on February 25, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Most likely the biggest problem for writers in keeping your butt in the seat. For me, it’s so much about moods. Some days I feel like editing, other days creating, but never marketing. Still, I understand that is required and I’m working hard on convincing myself to get out of my comfort zone and market!

    • #14 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 25, 2013 - 12:20 pm

      Write more books. Marketing really doesn’t work. Use social media to network and build community and a support network. The best marketing you can do is have more finished books for sale. And always remember, FEELINGS LIE. We all have to dig in an do the hard stuff. Best of luck!

      • #15 by Jennifer on February 26, 2013 - 9:30 am

        I LOVE this:
        Write more books. Marketing really doesn’t work. Use social media to network and build community and a support network. The best marketing you can do is have more finished books for sale.
        –I think it’s going up on my wall – thanks!

  13. #16 by alicamckennajohnson on February 25, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    So sad I couldn’t attend this wanacon, but the next one I am saving up for!! Both time and money LOL. Also thank you for this post, I’ve been in a funk and this has helped me focus again. Time to put my butt in my chair and get some work done.

  14. #17 by Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage on February 25, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    I’m still reeling from WANACon… in a good way. I heard a lot of interesting ideas and connected with some innovative creatives. Candace was the bomb. Yes, I’ll use that even if it is old school. :-) I might even stencil “Suck it up, Buttercup!” on my office wall somewhere. You are pioneering, Kristen, and I’m looking forward to where we’re going. Engage!

  15. #18 by darcyflynn on February 25, 2013 - 12:15 pm

    Kristen! I needed to hear this today! Thank you!!! I’m now going to read it two more times -:)

  16. #19 by Patrick O'Scheen on February 25, 2013 - 12:26 pm

    enjoyed this post…though I think my PJs would get me tossed out. Everyone needs to dream and that’s always a risk.

  17. #20 by Tyler Scotthess on February 25, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    Pajamacon needs to happen for real!

  18. #21 by Laura Ritchie on February 25, 2013 - 12:36 pm

    WANACon was an amazing experience, and I was honored to be a part of it. I want to add two names to Kristen’s list… my special thanks to Boosters, Diana Beebe and Jennette Mbewe, who were both such a help to me over the weekend.

    Candace was very inspiring to me, and I know that I need to take her next Fast Track class. This is the “what scares you” in my life right now… so I’m doing it.

    Thank you for all you have done, Kristen! Your Pajama Party on Sunday taught me a lot, and really got me brainstorming. You are doing so much that changes my life for the better. Hugs to you! :)

  19. #22 by Melinda Primrose on February 25, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Wanacon was so amazing! Thanks Kristen for putting it together. I learned so much, so manyt things I didn’t know that I didn’t know about and needed too. I can’t wait for the next one! Suck it up, buttercup is going to be my new motto. It’s time for some growing pains.

  20. #23 by Thomas Linehan on February 25, 2013 - 12:39 pm

    Great post! Isn’t that what life is about?

  21. #24 by Catherine Johnson on February 25, 2013 - 12:43 pm

    I’m sad I missed it too, I will not miss the next one. Great post, Kristen! Thanks for all that you do :0)

  22. #25 by hcfbutton on February 25, 2013 - 12:44 pm

    That’s a fantastic post and great reminder not to be complacent with our own careers. I want to be adventurous. So, I will be adventurous, at least in my writing…

  23. #26 by Jess Witkins on February 25, 2013 - 12:53 pm

    So sad I had to work the weekend of WANAcon, but I’m looking forward to more posts about it and can’t wait for the next one. It sounds inspiring and I’m glad it was a great success! Thank you for putting together something like this, I can only imagine how much preparation and work went into it!

  24. #27 by Teri Foreman Brown on February 25, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    I am sorry to have missed it, but as I have a deadline in three days, I think I can be excused. Marketing is what I am focusing on right now… marketing and time management. And thanks for the EAT THAT FROG recommendation. It’s been incredibly helpful.

  25. #28 by stephscottil on February 25, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    So much of this hit home. This in particular: One of the largest challenges most of us will face is the need to please others. Critique groups are fabulous, but if we don’t have a spine, we can end up with a book-by-committee.

    I learned that from some online critique forums, where my first page became a muddled mess by listening to too many voices. I dove into making my writing dream come true over the past two years, and wrote the book I wanted even though I wasn’t sure anyone would like it. I just recently signed with a literary agent, which is super exciting, but that people pleasing tendency is still there. I’m scared people will hate the book–and some will, it’s just a fact. I don’t want to fail, but I hear you that to push ourselves we have to be willing to risk failure. It’s scary though.

  26. #29 by teresarobeson on February 25, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    I’m bummed I missed The Very First WANACon, but am hoping the Con gods will smile on my next time so I can join.

  27. #30 by madisondeanfiction on February 25, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Madison Dean Fiction and commented:
    Tired of me reblogging other people’s posts? Me too, actually. But this is a good one and I’m juggling a full plate right now. Stay tuned for more from me in the future though!

  28. #31 by Rhenna Morgan on February 25, 2013 - 1:31 pm

    Your comments were extremely well timed. Words like these are a much needed raft when friends and family can’t understand the ocean a writer navigates.

  29. #32 by 1stpeaksteve on February 25, 2013 - 2:34 pm

    Management is a tough thing. Thankfully in my case, I worked with several large companies so I can quickly spot problems. Getting the people above to listen is another matter though!

    No matter what capacity, you first have to set up some ground rules and the hardest part for many is sticking to it. If you do not, you will quickly find out that people will do the lowest of what you expect from them. Then you will be stuck doing 90% of the work. Why pay a staff then if they are not going to contribute?

    My final piece of management advice: Learn what the individuals can contribute and then give them the ability to do so. It will greatly free you up.

  30. #33 by Moulton Mayers on February 25, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    I must say that your heart-felt post, chiding lazy writers, was very delightfully frank; inspiring; and poignant. I was quite impressed at how vigorously you endeavored to hammer home the point of not allowing failure to daunt and discourage you as a writer. The notion that failure is a mean-spirited teacher dovetailed with many of my personal experiences in life. Your point that too many writers assume that writing success is a piece of cake was well taken. It is very unfortunate our society is so driven by the stout illusion of instant “everything.” Many writers, unaccustomed to hard work, give up way too early in this shockingly ugly game of writing in the twenty-first century. The cold, hard fact is that achieving writing success can be a Herculean journey for which far too many people are quite ready. The fact is that writers are called from their mothrers’ womb to wow the world with their flaming gift of writing. Unless the burning candle of enthusiasm is blazing inside of you with revolutionary ideas that would change people’s lives, you should pass on writing. Writing that wows people will, inevitably and uttimately, take you to the top. There is simply no dark pit for talented writers. The prodess is, quite often, an arduous one; and an unweareable effort is demanded of you. Yes, most certainly, there are those who have done immensely well for themselves and have achieved grandiose, apocalyptic success in a comparatively short period time; but that is far from the norm.

    Unfortunately, the field of writing is too crowded with a host of poor, ill-equipped writers who refuse to allow themselves to be thoroughly baked in the blazing sun of hard work. The writing profession is plagued with an interminable flood of shoddily written books and far too few readers. This dynamic is an emergncy that oguht to have been addressed years ago by serious writers. Obviously, nature–through the eclectic process–eventually filters out much of the dross and chaff in the field because folks are not going stand for buying poorly written books–of whatever sort they may be; however, titanic national campaigns; geared to prodding Americans to like and read books; are the solution to this nasty reading drought in North America. People are just not reading as much as they used to in the past, and this is adversely affecting the writing industry. You can write all you want to; but unless people purchase your materials and read them, what good is that to you? After a while, it becomes kind of hackneyed telling folks that you are a penniless writer. I feel that people who are called to the august station of writing will eventually climb to the top because of the inherent value of their calling in life. Everyone is not called to doing the same line of work. Some people are called to be showcases–and some writers are that fortunate to be blessed with all those revered gifts from their natural intelligence tool kit with which they were born: Others are just born to write. Nature did not endow them with all the ornaments and bells and whistles of show; and still, others are born to do other things. Everyone was not born to write and should not be involved in professional writing. Writing is a gift and should be executed professioanlly only by the gifted.

    Your post was very sobering and uplifting at the same time: It underscored the trial and error nature of life and the exigent need for humility and patience in a world where those golden qualitis are all but relict concepts.. All too often, pride and folly get in the way and mar writers’ vision of the plain truth that is staring them smack in the face. Your humble disposition of throwing yourself out there, being willing to admit to failure, and using it as a launching pad to future success is indeed an enviably admirable quality that very few of today’s many spurious, empty people possess. I have been receiving your emails for quite some time: I had no idea that your content was this substantive and inspiring. I applaud and salute your plucky attitude and Spartan spirit regarding doing whatever it takes to achieve writing success. All hats off to you!

    Straws

  31. #34 by Carole Di Tosti (@mercedeskat45) on February 25, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    The old media paradigm is fast going the way of the dinosaurs. More and more they should be compelled to understand that publishing has taken a different turn; they must capture market share and the old ways simply don’t work. Nor do literary agents have the guts to be innovative…and they are seeking other fields or suffering. I for one am glad this is happening because of the intentional censorship of the publishing world. There are many great writers…who are artists…their voices must be heard. One way that will happen is through social media and online writing. Eventually, as in everything, persistence will pay off and hard work and diligence and growing one’s audience. What you have said here resonates and I would add that the writers’ community must stick together like never before because of the paradigm shift. Writers are readers and the past of writer-I’m on the top, you, neophyte, must genuflect to me, is baloney. Social media and virality is changing all that. Thank God. Your book, We Are Not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media introduces writers to the importance of social media. They also need to take classes on how to use it…it takes a while to get the hang of Twitter, et. al. and they need a leg up to learn it quickly, especially if they are expanding their platform. This is where writers’ groups can help tremendously, I don’t mean to feather the nest of the head guru…I mean groups which can share…find them online, or on linked in, or on Twitter, #writers hashtags, etc. then build a team or network and of course, join Goodreads. Hope that this has been helpful. Will link back your blog to mine in a brief post and of course, your post…
    Hugs to all here.

    • #35 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 25, 2013 - 4:01 pm

      Carole, obviously I agree, which is why I provide so many ways writers can connect and work together. We are not alone and if we try to do this alone, we will be in for a long, hard road filled with a lot of disappointment.

  32. #36 by KM Huber on February 25, 2013 - 3:40 pm

    Oh, Kristen, you knocked this post out of the ballpark ,maybe even into the next county. In every way, this essay has it all as it reveals the heart of WANA: honesty and integrity above all else, especially when it hurts, as pain is one great teacher. Both WANATribe and the classes of WANAInternational value the artist in the writer and from there, everything is possible. And now, there is WANACon. Thank you, Kristen, for giving all artists a place to be.

    Karen

  33. #37 by MaLinda Johnson on February 25, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    Only doing the stuff you like and expecting to fully succeed is a pipe dream in any business. If you want all of the rewards, you gotta do all the heavy lifting.

  34. #38 by danielocceno on February 25, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    “It’s like working out using the same dumbbells for ten years. Your muscles won’t grow.” – I wondered if it is the same reason for the closure of bookstores and financial woes of the biggest retail book stores, tired management.

    I am happy to say that I am moving forward in the direction of potential success. My fear since I decided to be a professional writer was “how to write the novel”. Contests were suggested and TEXTNOVEL got me to complete my very first 50K and then came along NaNoWriMo and JANO Writers, which helped in the 50K in 30 days. All accomplished while sitting at home in front of a home computer with Internet Connection.

    The dream became 2 novels a year written on January and November – achieved the past two years, but after January 2013 I decided to write novelettes of 12.5K (one fourth of 50K novels) during the other 10 months. I guess; I decided to get heavier dumbbells.

    My dream is to write the works, as many as I can. Conquer the fear and you conquer failure.

    Congratulations on a successful Worldwide On-Line Conference for Writers.

  35. #39 by Debbie Johansson on February 25, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Sadly, I couldn’t be there for WANACon, but hoping there’ll be another. Thanks for all you do! Great post as always Kristen – I could do with a good butt-kicking out of my comfort zone. :)

  36. #40 by Kimberly Unger on February 25, 2013 - 5:24 pm

    “Okay, Ladies, the time for kitten-whispers and tickle-fights is OVER.”

    People on the outside often only see the sunny, freewheeling side of being an entrepreneur. Thanks for putting up instead of shutting up, Kristen :D

  37. #41 by Athena Brady on February 25, 2013 - 6:53 pm

    Great words of wisdom from our Wana Mama. Writing is the hardest job I have ever done and I work more hours than ever before. I have made a load of mistakes and learn something new every day; but it makes me feel alive and I should have done it years ago. Instead of listening to people who said you have to get a proper job. Writing is a proper job it is at least 2 full time joba and then some.

  38. #42 by Jami Gold on February 25, 2013 - 7:54 pm

    Major huge congrats for WANACon! It was an amazing success in every way.I’m so glad I could be a part of it. :)

    *group hug*

  39. #43 by Jami Gold on February 25, 2013 - 8:18 pm

    P.S. Aren’t you glad I tweeted you all those years ago to let you know that Jay wasn’t a spammer and that he was a tech guy you really wanted to know? ;) And that I shoved you in his direction when you were starting up WANA International?

    I’m so glad he’s been able to help you. With everything you do for the writing community, you deserve to have people around you who have your back. I’m honored to be one of them. :) *more hugs*

    • #44 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 26, 2013 - 8:18 am

      Jami, it is a HUGE reason the WANA Way works. You meet people and you never know how they can change your life forever. One relationship leads to the next to the connection that changes EVERYTHING. This is what networking and community do and YES. Every day I am so grateful for people like you and others who have 1) made the writing journey so much fun and 2) who’ve given me an invaluable network of FRIENDS.

      And I love your maven ways. I hadn’t even thought to have an official moderator, but you stepped right in and helped and knocked it out of the PARK! By the way, you do realize you’ve become like Billy Crystal and the Oscars. It just isn’t right without you as MC, LOL.

      • #45 by Jami Gold on February 26, 2013 - 10:23 am

        I’ll be emailing you, but… You know I’ll be there for you. *hugs*

  40. #46 by Sheila Englehart on February 25, 2013 - 8:28 pm

    Very timely post for me. My crit group was just talking today about not enjoying social media, writing a book based on too many crits, and feeling as if all their marketing efforts are wasted. You covered them all. May I ask how long it took your blog to draw more than a handful of followers?

    • #47 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 26, 2013 - 8:21 am

      If you go it alone, it’s a LONG road. That’s why I structure my classes the way I do. So you have a tribe of support and automatically will have a core of dedicated supporters. For the first YEAR, I was lucky to top 45 visits a day. My blog took over two years to get more than 80 visits a day, and the only thing that changed that was I made WordPress’s Freshly Pressed…which spiked to 24,000 visits in one day, then leveled off to about 125 visits a day. Now I get almost 2,000. But I have been blogging since 2008. When I started seeing rapid growth was when I started using my own techniques.

  41. #48 by Kim Jorgensen Gane on February 25, 2013 - 9:45 pm

    Are you kidding me with this drawing for a winner ONCE A MONTH to win your personal critique of their work?!! I only just discovered you this weekend, during Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest, and thus missed WANAcon. Dangit! I’m going to catch up with all I can from the Twitter feed.
    This post presented invaluable information, that I will definitely take to heart. I’ve found writers to be such a generous bunch, and it’s been so gratifying to be a part of the posse. Look forward to lots more great information!

    • #49 by Kim Jorgensen Gane on February 26, 2013 - 10:48 pm

      btw, I have these words emblazoned across the top of my computer screen:

      MY WORDS DON’T HAVE TO BE PROFOUND
      THEY JUST HAVE TO TELL A GOOD STORY.

      I think it’s mine….?

  42. #50 by Diana Beebe on February 25, 2013 - 9:55 pm

    It was a great weekend! All the speakers were amazing. It’s up to us to learn what works for our own goals.

    I loved connecting with new people and getting to know others even better. I’m inspired, which is what a good conference is supposed to do.

  43. #51 by Karen Walters on February 25, 2013 - 11:17 pm

    Wow Kristen. My post today was on nearly the same thing. We are to follow the path that’s set before us, whatever that may be. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes downright terrifying but the only way to grow is to take that step and not to give up.

    Thank you so much for WANACon. It was amazing! I loved the speakers and connecting with other people but one of the best things was not having to wait in line for the bathroom! You did a great job and I can’t wait for the next one!

  44. #52 by Carole Di Tosti (@mercedeskat45) on February 25, 2013 - 11:47 pm

    Have assiduously done it all, linked back to my blog and included your book and other links. See on my blog: http://caroleditosti.com/2013/02/26/nyc-writers-regardless-of-where-you-stand-in-the-publishing-game-enhance-your-social-media-presence/

  45. #53 by ladymorganlafey on February 25, 2013 - 11:58 pm

    This is super inspiring! As a newbie blogger, I can relate. But the part I liked most about your post is your advice that talk is cheap. This a so true in life. Thanks for letting be known!

  46. #54 by SweetSong on February 26, 2013 - 12:43 am

    WANACon was totally amazing and (as far as I’m concerned) a massive success. Thank you so much for bringing that about! I feel like this is all so doable now – and I know where to start! You are amazing.

  47. #55 by Widdershins on February 26, 2013 - 2:15 am

    Well, I blogged about WANACon with lots of links back here … that ought’a get me a few tickets into the raffle :D .. didn’t mention the book though, dagnabbit!

    Wonderful Con, wonderful peeps I’ve hit the ground running, and don’t aim to stop!

    http://widdershinsfirst.com/2013/02/25/wanacon-the-view-from-the-back-of-the-room/

  48. #56 by Joanna Aislinn on February 26, 2013 - 6:21 am

    “Do what scares you.” Keeping that on a post-it on my screen. Thanks, WANAMama! And I love the PJCon pic! Think it would make a great signature poster for future WANACons ;)

  49. #57 by Jennifer on February 26, 2013 - 9:35 am

    I couldn’t do WANA Con this year, and it sounds like I really missed out. Like someone else above, I’m hoping the writing gods smile on me next time. Keep it up, Kristen!

  50. #58 by Mitzi McColley Sorensen on February 26, 2013 - 10:02 am

    I’m on submission with several publishing houses. In the meantime, my agent wanted me to create a blog and join Facbook and Twitter. All three at once is more than daunting, but guess what? I am having more fun than I ever dreamed. Now if I could just make time to work on my new manuscript.

  51. #59 by K. (@ScrivK) on February 26, 2013 - 11:11 am

    I love this post! I made a major shift out of my comfort zone this year by leaving my job to finish a masters degree and (hopefully) get one of my two novels published. It was a deliberate choice than I had planned for quite some time, I have a robust safety net, but my mouth still goes dry if I spend to much time thinking about it!

    I have also been submitting work for the first time in my life, and each response can send you over the moon with elation or dump you into a burning hellish pit of despair – it is ridiculous, but very much a roller coaster ride at this point! But… you keep moving.

    Thank you for your inspirational blog posts and the support you offer all of us. Have a wonderful day!

    K.

  52. #60 by eqtrainer on February 26, 2013 - 11:46 am

    I like the most your observation “we are shooting to a moving target” . Panta rhei and chanhes as well. I was sure that by now everyone knows about necessity of participating in social media. I am just crolling here and yes, I have purchased your books…

  53. #61 by lythya on February 26, 2013 - 1:34 pm

    You can’t say this enough. The other day I realized, while telling my brother about my dreams of writing next year, that I had grown tremendously during the last year, and especially since following your blog when he said: “Wow, you really know that it takes hard work to become professional.”
    So thank you for the lessons! And despite the terror and despite the fact that I didn’t know how to do it, I started doing my blog, and I now love it! I think about it daily, and I think I’m doing pretty well already :D So thank you for handling that whip and forcing us all to keep moving!

  54. #62 by Karen McFarland on February 26, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    Kristen, I am so happy that WanaCon was a success! It was just a year ago that I mentioned to Bob Mayer about online conferences and why wasn’t anyone doing this? His answer was..nothing. He didn’t even acknowledge my comment. Then, a couple of months later, you announced Wana International. And then the online conference was born. Congratulations to you and all who were involved. It took guts to break out of the mold. But I just knew this would work! I’m so glad that it was you who made it happen! :)

    • #63 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 26, 2013 - 3:27 pm

      I can’t speak for Bob. I know he has WAY more books out than I do, LOL. I was in a unique position to make this happen. I was blessed to know good people like Jay who had the technology for what I had envisioned in my head. I feel blessed that WANA was what made this new step happen and redefined the conference experience. It was wonderful and we look forward to making it better every time.

  55. #64 by Julie Glover on February 26, 2013 - 6:03 pm

    I used to have such a fear of failure and didn’t want to try anything unless I knew I was would be a rousing success at it. Then I realized I was living on the sidelines. I want to be IN THE GAME! It hurts a little to get on the field. You might get hit. (Scratch that. You WILL get hit.) But you never hit a home run sitting on the sidelines.

  56. #65 by Jan S. Gephardt on February 27, 2013 - 12:56 am

    Literally from age 4 I knew what I wanted to be: a fine artist and a novelist. But everyone around me warned that these were not “practical” ambitions. So I went into the “practical” versions of art and writing: “commercial art,” journalism, and teaching both subjects, since (“you can always get a job as a teacher”).

    In my professional career I was a graphic designer, a journalist, and a teacher of both subjects on the secondary and college levels–but none of those careers ever “took off” for me. I had a brief period in my early married life when I had completed two novels, acquired a literary agent, and sold several pieces of fiction–but I couldn’t make money quickly enough to be able to stick with it. I had a young family, and was pulled in other directions. It wasn’t “practical.”

    Today, we’ve put both kids through college. Print journalism is a dying profession, and nobody’s hiring. I have “aged out” of employability in graphic design. I am both too old and too well-educated (ironic but true) to be a teacher, too.

    I am finally FREE of the need to settle for the “practical.”

    Though it’s been a little daunting to launch a dual career in fine art and fiction in my late 50s, my track record is looking pretty good so far. Just this year, juried shows have started ASKING me to apply, and I am 60 pages into writing my first new novel in 12 years.

    NOTHING is going to stop me this time.

    • #66 by Kim Jorgensen Gane on February 27, 2013 - 8:21 pm

      Just wanted to say, GO, Jan!!! You must have many amazing stories to tell from the path you chose earlier in your life. I’ve only found my way to writing in the last year (I’m 46), and it’s been remarkable so far. I’m actually going to be published in a book this spring! Magical things begin to happen when we find our bliss and follow it, no matter what. Detours may still arise, but NOTHING is going to stop me this time, either. BEST of luck to you!

  57. #67 by Deb Atwood on February 27, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    I’m going to put the WANACon on my list for next year–love the idea of jamie-working. Poking around, I found some interesting social media classes.

  58. #68 by authorpatricia2010 on February 27, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    Congratulations, Kristen and all the WANACon gang! The timing didn’t work for me this year but I followed the posts carefully and hope to catch it next year. I would not be where I am now had I not taken your blogging course in 2011 and I will always be grateful for that. The learning never stops and the information sharing accomplished by this extraordinary community you continue to foster is so appreciated.

  59. #69 by katsmith44 on March 4, 2013 - 10:21 pm

    I like your comment, “If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t doing anything interesting.” I am allergic to failure. That is not to say that I haven’t failed during my life–I have. If at all possible, I just avoid situations that put me in a position to fail. Also, I am typical of a beginner blogger/writer who has been following another profession for quite some time–20+ years. When you are proficient in another career, it is awfully difficult to change over to something that you must begin to learn from the bottom up. And you are so very correct when you say that it is work. As I begin to learn this business, I am constantly reminding myself that the things that are now second nature to me as a teacher were not so when I began. I will learn to appreciate failure so that I can learn to succeed. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement!

    • #70 by Kim Jorgensen Gane on March 5, 2013 - 11:59 am

      Difficult, Kat, but not impossible! I started my first website a year ago, knowing nothing and teaching myself, now I have two. You GOT this! And you’ve got a GREAT start by following Kristen in the early stages, so go, YOU!

      • #71 by katsmith44 on March 5, 2013 - 11:34 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement Kim! I’m trying to be patient and take the time to read all that I can and learn from others like Kristen and Hope Clark (who is wonderful, too). But sometimes you just have to jump in and be willing to NOT do things perfectly and learn. That’s so hard to do. But, as you said, I GOT this!

  60. #74 by Edgerson on April 25, 2013 - 9:09 am

    Not so poor. Interesting issues here.The activities all the others is doing on the subject of good places to buy dresses and moreover the things that youhas to do different.

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