Blogging–Part 2 Don’t Feed the Trolls

Welcome to Part II of my blogging series. Blogging is one of those endeavors that separates the real writers from the dabblers, hobbyists and dreamers. Why? Blogging is regular proof of what we are…writers. How is that? Um, we are writing. Duh. When you finish and publish your novel, then feel free to call yourself a novelist. Until that day, though (which likely will be a couple years in the future) you are a professional writer. What do professionals do?

Professional writers write. They don’t make excuses. But I am here to give you fair warning. When you take on the task of writing a blog, just go ahead and expect that the Crappy Excuse Troll will rear his ugly little head…and it is up to you to kick him in the face. If you aren’t hard-core enough to stomp him like a Florida waterbug, then for the love of God, at least don’t feed him. Then he shows up with his friends and starts adding crap to your grocery list.

  • Saran Wrap
  • Apples
  • Peanut Butter
  • 60 jars of Marshmallow Fluff and 10 pounds of chocolate
  • Jumbo Bag of Rubberbands and Jumper Cables….. WTH?

I don’t know if you know this, but there are supernatural creatures whose sole purpose is to steal or sabotage your dreams. Last week, we met the Bright Idea Fairy. She is the creature who comes fluttering down with what seem like really cool ideas that are actually time-wasters in disguise. If you don’t spot her and shoot her immediately, she can have you off a primrose path of procrastination in six seconds flat. And if you’re not tied off to a safety line–which most of us don’t run around with a bright orange nylon belt strapped to the plumbing–your blog or novel might not see you for months.

Like the Bright Idea Fairy, the Crappy Excuse Troll is on a mission to tempt you away from your desk with the promise of candy, a movie, or any shiny object that can gut-hook you like a trout. But, here is some good news. The Crappy Excuse Troll, though, is fairly predictable. He is like that weird guy in the Wal Mart parking lot who manages to “run out of gas” every other day and yet people STILL give him money. Crappy Excuse Troll knows that his excuses suck, but suckers keep falling for them so he’ll keep using them. Crappy Excuse Troll makes 12% commission off of your shattered dreams, btw.

How do you spot Crappy Excuse Troll? Easy. He gives the same lies to every author. Whether you fall for them or not is up to you.

Oh, you just don’t have time. With the kids and the house and the baby and husband and yodeling class, you are lucky to get sleep you poor dear. Writing a novel has already been hard enough and NOW they expect you to blog too? Why you just can’t FIND the time.

Okay, Crappy Excuse Troll wants you to believe that time is laying around like loose change in the couch cushions. It isn’t. We have to grab hold of Time by the scruff of the neck and wrestle her down and let her know who is boss. In fact, just picture an episode of The Dog Whisperer and Time is that pain in the ass Chihuahua who pees on your rugs and bites your kids. You have to be calm, assertive pack leaders and wrestle the pack of feral Chihuahua Minutes under your control. Time is not in control of us. We are in control of Time. Now pop Time on the snoot and tell it sit and stay and mean it.

Now, when you do wrestle enough time to write, expect Crappy Excuse Troll to come from a different angle.

Oh, that is great that you are taking time to write, but 30 minutes is just not enough. If only you had all day to write.

Here is the deal, no matter how much time you dedicate to your writing, Crappy Excuse Troll will tell you that you aren’t doing enough. Just expect it and then ignore it. You will be shocked how much you can accomplish if you will just dedicate even a half hour a day to your writing.

Crappy Excuse Troll, when he doesn’t get his way, often will call in the Procrastination Pixies to give one last ditch to lure you away from your computer and crush your dreams. Procrastination Pixies, like the Bright Idea Fairy, are all sparkly and pink and sound like a good use of time.

Oh, I can’t possibly write until the house is clean.

When I get an agent, then I will start blogging.

When I get a book deal, then I’ll do social media.

Why does the Crappy Excuse Troll call in the Procrastination Pixies? Because they have the ability to take on human form. They can morph into our mother, husband, wife, children, neighbors or friends and lure us away with movies, errands, shoe sales and Happy Meals.

We can’t let them win. Every time the Crappy Excuse Troll convinces us we can’t possibly write for whatever good reason…a kitten dies. Kidding! The kittens are safe, but your dreams and goals will be eaten away one excuse at a time. We always have to be mindful that these supernatural creatures call out to all of us, like sirens from the rocks. We have to stuff cotton in our ears and refuse to give them audience or that is where our dream of being a full-time best-selling author will crash…on the rocks of Gave it a Good Try.  By the way, those rocks are a giant graveyard for the aspiring writers. That’s why I say screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. 

Okay, so why did I take the time to go through all of that? Because blogging for platform separates the writers who are trying and the writers who are doing. Be a doer. No one will take us to writer jail if we do not blog, but we must appreciate that other writers are blogging and are gaining a large following and that is the competition. This is like Rocky IV and the big freaking Russian is training in the lab with all that high-tech science stuff, and we know that we are going to be a red paste if we don’t get in serious shape…fast. Grab a log and a harness. We’re going snow-running.

It’s the eyeeeeeee…of the tiger. Okay, where was I? Right.

Before we go any further, I want to clarify. I don’t care what you blog about. There is no right or wrong for blogging in general. But, when it comes to blogging for platform, with the goal of creating a large following, then there is right and wrong. I don’t make the rules. I tell it how it is.

You can blog from the perspective of the fairy queen protagonist in your book. I will not stop you. Feel free to blog about your life and the tortured struggle to be taken seriously. You can even post your fiction.  Again, I won’t stop you. I will, however, tell you that it will be next to impossible to gain a large regular following in the thousands with those topics.  

I am here to help you guys plan for the long-haul. If you desire to be a career author, then you need to put those roots in deep and plan on being around for a few decades. What I am teaching here is how to connect to a large audience to support you as an author.  Are there super mega bloggers who use a moniker? Yes. But their goal is not to build a platform to sell a book with their given name on the cover. Ours is.

So are you guys ready to be real writers? Then grab your gear and keep reading. We’re gonna talk blogging. Many of you, when I shot your bright idea-fairies to show you how it’s done, promptly had a panic attack and curled into the fetal position. So much…blooood. Okay, I’ll stop *snicker.* Anyway, I promised to hook you up in this week’s blog. What do you blog about as a fiction author trying to build a platform?

There are two ways to go about this.

#1 You can blog on topic (which we discussed last week).

If you are writing a period piece, then blog about that time period—the politics, daily life, the conflicts of the time. Many people who read period romances and mysteries LOVE history. I imagine you do too, or you wouldn’t spend time writing a novel set somewhere back in history. Duh. So if you love history, why is this so hard? Talk shop! Finally people who love to talk about the same crap you do. When you start talking about Elizabeth I or Bull Run, your followers will totally dig what you have to say…unlike your family whose eyes glaze over and drool begins to run down their chins. Take advantage. Odds are you will even meet people geekier than you who can add to your flypaper of random seemingly useless facts. I can hear your leg thumping like a dog getting a belly scratch😉.

If you write thrillers? Again blog on topic. Blog about the CIA or FBI or Manchurian Candidates or current security threats. Talk movies. Write scientific thrillers? Blog on the latest trends in science. Read Discover Magazine or Popular Science and then tell us about what you learned in your own words. Blog on Jurassic Park or The Fly. Science or peek into the future? Write suspense? Blog on serial killers if that is what your book involves. Blog on forensics. Put all that research to good use. This will help connect you to readers who enjoy the same stuff. Trust me, the people picking up Tess Gerritsen’s books are the same people who DVR Criminal Minds and Las Vegas CSI.

There are tremendous advantages to blogging on topic. First, you are less likely to run out of ideas and stall a month into writing your blog. Second, blogs on topic naturally lend themselves to discussion. People want to be involved and they gravitate to blogs that generate a dialogue. If we are just blogging about how tough it is being a writer, then we risk our blog devolving into weekly bitch session, not a thought-provoking dialogue. That is unproductive.

As I said last week, the secret to blog success is simple:

Topic you are passionate about + Topic readers are passionate about = Hit Blog!

We are passionate about ourselves and our works. But we have to be careful blogging solely about ourselves. Do we like people who do nothing but talk about themselves? No. So why would that be a good plan for a blog? Common sense.

Serve the reader FIRST. Find the common passion.

#2 We can also blog by demographic.

I wrote a book about social media for writers. What is my target demographic? Writers. Ergo, I blog on all things writing.

Writers do tend to be avid readers. Thus, they will be part of your demographic, too. So, if you want to blog on writing, go for it. Just make sure you are blogging about the craft of writing. Write blogs that serve those reading. You don’t have to know everything. Heck, you can be brand spanking new. Even better. Get readers involved in a conversation. Tell people what you learned, then ask for opinions, comments and feedback. People love to be helpful.

No one expects you to be an expert right away and that is fine, so long as you are deferring to experts. Now you have my permission to write about your struggles.

Today’s blog is about POV. I have always found it hard to understand. Yesterday I read Bob Mayer’s  The Novel Writer’s Toolkit and he explained it like this. Blah blah blah. Do you guys have trouble with POV? Why?  Any advice?

Writers looooove offering advice. We are a very helpful group. And if you write good blogs, we will happily send our peeps your way. Don’t believe me? Look at my blog roll and the Mash-Up of Awesomeness at the end.

 We love finding good blogs to help us improve our craft. If you love all things writing, then blog on writing. If you have 15,000 followers when your book comes out, they will buy the book because they like YOU and want to support YOU. That is the goal…for followers to like YOU. Not your characters, not your world, not even your novel. News flash. Your novel will do that. Your blog is to get people to know and like YOU. Your blog cannot do something only your novel can accomplish. That is about as productive as trying to get your plumber to put in new kitchen cabinets for you.

I buy way more books than I ever read. I buy from people I know and LIKE because they have served me on their blog, and I feel it is my little way of giving back for all the hours they dedicated for FREE to help me. We need followers to like YOU if you plan on being around for a career…because I assume you have more than one book in you. Put your efforts behind YOU.

Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure it fits in the formula. You are passionate and readers are passionate as well. This formula creates a conversation between you and your readers. Conversations lead to friendships and that is the goal. Serve your readers and they will like you and will grow to be your biggest cheerleaders. Some of my greatest allies/promoters are peeps who follow my blog.  

Okay, now the hard questions.

How often do I blog?

You need to blog (minimum) once a week. If you are blogging once a month or when the fancy strikes you, that’s just wasted effort toward building a platform. Readers need to be able to count on you/your blog.

Me? I was a lazy sloth with zero self-discipline when I began blogging. I started with once a week then upped it to three times a week. In retrospect? Three times a week is WAY easier. You gain a following much faster and  it is easier to stay encouraged. I blog on three different topics, so I always have plenty to talk about.

I, personally, think blogging every day is too overwhelming for most writers and readers. I won’t stop you, but my experience is three times a week is enough to keep you top of mind with readers, and not wear them out.

What if I started a blog about my characters, book, writing journey?

Keep doing it. Just pick a day for that stuff, then blog on topic the other two days. Originally I came up with Free for All Friday where I would talk about me and my book, but I just don’t think I am all that interesting. I love being silly too much, and Fridays are normally my time to cut loose and poke fun at writers, writing, and the world in general. I am not saying you can’t blog on that stuff, I am just saying it is a garnish and not the main dish. People want to chew on steak, not parsley.

Personally? I believe you could blog on Monday about writing, your topic (serial killers) Wednesday, then talk about you/your book on Friday, and that would be just dandy.

What if I can’t find anything good to post?

Try harder. If you want to be a career author, then finding something interesting to say once a week should not be that big of a chore. If it is, might want to reconsider career choice. We all get stuck. In that case? Read other blogs and get some inspiration. Heck, write a blog about their blog. We love it when people do that!

I do want to say that I advise you STRONGLY not to post sections of your novel. All it will take is some jerk posting something mean to crater your self-confidence. And DO NOT blog from the POV of your characters. That’s gimmick. Steer clear.

Next week we will start talking about how you prepare a successful blog. Any questions? Comments? Why does blogging intimidate you? Why do you love it? Any resources or advice to share? Put it in the comments!

Happy writing!

Until next time….

Dying to meet me in person? Stop laughing. I will be presenting at this years DFW Writing Conference. Not only can you meet me, but Sandra Brown will be there too. Okay…remember me? *sniff*

Give yourself the gift of success for the coming year. 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! Enter to win a FREE copy. Check out Author Susan Bischoff’s blog.

The Mash-Up of Awesomeness

10-Minute Fixes to Common Plot Problems by Writers Digest’s Elizabeth Sims

How to Get Your Short Stories Published & Even Get Paid by @Bubblecow

When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books by Jane Friedman (I LOVE this blog!)

Want to learn a lot and laugh until Diet Coke comes out your nose? Read Chuck Wendig’s:

Edit Your Shit Part One-The Copy-Edit and Edit Your Shit Part Two-Editing for Content Only Chuck would think to compare Microsoft Word’s Spell Check function with SkyNet.

Author Piper Bayard has a whole string of blogs guaranteed to make you laugh your a$$ off (Can you tell I like a good laugh?) Seriously, only Piper could make the Donner Party tragedy tasteful… boooooooo! Read Snow is Relative & Relatives Might be Handy in Snow.

Peter St. Claire has two interesting blogs. One is on over-researching and the other is on the Jonestown Cult. Yeah, he had me at cult😀

Author Jami Gold has a really interesting post about how readers access blogs. She took a survey and even uses pie charts. Oooooooh.

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  1. #1 by Piper Bayard on December 15, 2010 - 2:53 pm

    Hi Kristen. Thanks for the shout and for your great post. I can honestly say that everything I know about blogging, I learned from you. You rock!

  2. #2 by CMStewart on December 15, 2010 - 3:00 pm

    You scared me with that kitten thing . . good thing I read further instead of freaking out.

    That troll is cute too, but I won’t feed it. It looks fat enough already.😉

  3. #3 by M. McGriff on December 15, 2010 - 3:03 pm

    This was awesome and I love the trolls and Procrastination Fairies! Too funny yet so true!

    I do find that blogging three times a week is more than enough. I love blogging because it gives my brain a little mental break from editing my novel, yet I’m still in writing mode. What helps me cram in blogging is taking a day to write and pre-schedule all of my posts for the week so that way whatever trolls or procrastination fairies may pop up, they won’t have a leg to stand on because my blog posts are done! To help me with ideas, I keep a blogging calendar and jot down ideas (especially when I’m extra motivated) to blog about each week so that way when it comes time to blog, I’m not scrambling around trying to find something to write about.

    Like I said last week, I’m really glad you started this series on blogging! I think I’m getting my blog mojo back!🙂

    • #4 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 15, 2010 - 3:14 pm

      That is why it is so great to read other people’s blogs. It is truly inspiring. I am happy you are getting your mojo back. Mojo feels awesome,😀

  4. #5 by alberg137 on December 15, 2010 - 3:12 pm

    The great thing about writing, is that it can be self-perpetuating. So if you can get around the Crappy Excuse Troll, you’ll find you’ve got all kinds of things to blog about. During NaNoWriMo, when I was struggling to get my word count I found that I was constantly thinking of things I wanted to blog about too, and the funny thing was, none of it took away from my novel writing time.
    Writing begets writing. The more we write, the more we have to write about.

  5. #6 by sthowell on December 15, 2010 - 3:18 pm

    Great advice. I torture myself with whether to blog or do “real writing.” As you demonstrate here, blogging can serve so many purposes toward getting a novel written. I’m inspired to get busy with my infant blog.
    Thanks.

    Steve
    Vicenza, Italy

    • #7 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 15, 2010 - 3:20 pm

      Yes, it does. As Al mentioned here in the comments, writing begets more writing. Please keep me posted on the progress of your blog. I always need good material for the Mash-Up of Awesomeness😉.

  6. #8 by Jason on December 15, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    Wow…there’s so much meat in this post that I’m going to have to wrap it in tin foil and come back later for a second helping.

    I have a problem with my blog in that I’m a writer, I’m working on fiction but my blog has always just been a transparent glimpse into my real life. My struggles, my walk with God, trips I take, etc. There’s no real “theme” other than my being transparent…and that’s not really a good “theme” to grow a huge blog. When I try to blog with a “theme” I tire of it quickly. It feels “fake” to me (if that makes any sense.)

    Anyhow…I’m going to chew over your words again. Oh, and get a troll gun handy because that little bugger comes around way too much.

  7. #9 by kadja2 on December 15, 2010 - 3:52 pm

    This is such a great post! Thank you for it! I love that “Edit Your Shit!” I read that a few nights ago, too. I am going to check out the other links too! YOU totally rock!

  8. #10 by poddys on December 15, 2010 - 4:01 pm

    I guess one comfort I get from reading this is that I’m not the only writer who has brilliant ideas, barely 10% of the required time to actually work on them, and enough experience in procrastination to earn an honorary PHD!

    Procrastination is my biggest enemy. It prevented me from doing my homework when I was at school, many moons ago, it prevents me from doing my taxes until the last minute, even though I tell myself to begin in January, and right now it’s preventing me from getting my Christmas Presents ordered/bought and wrapped.

    Then when I do get settled and start on a project in the evening, on the recliner couch with my laptop, the dog (big German Shepherd) will come up, stick his head on the keyboard, or try and lick my hand, which makes it itch. Then I get all agravated, and have to play Bejewelled again or something like that until I settle down again. But then lo and behold it’s bedtime…

    Sigh…. I know where you are coming from…

    As for the book I am trying to research for and write, it’s hard to get started on that…

  9. #11 by unwilting on December 15, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    Since I’ve only started my own blog a few days ago, this post came along at the perfect time! I’m glad you’ve said I don’t need to write a post every day. Before this, I had a sneaking suspicion that the best bloggers post daily.

    I’m feeling encouraged. Blogging every other day is probably the best I can do and that’s fine! Thank you!

  10. #12 by CrystalSpins on December 15, 2010 - 4:33 pm

    I started my blog a few years back, before I was considering becoming a professional writer. So it was just an online diary of sorts. It has morphed since then and while it still covers diary-type items I always try to expand my experiences into something that a lot of people can relate to or comment on. I find I get the most responses when I write about dating and my weight.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  11. #13 by Marilag Lubag on December 15, 2010 - 4:56 pm

    This one is funny. I found myself laughing with your trolls and fairies. Images of them get stuck in my head.🙂 I’m still trying to find what I’m supposed to blog about. Along the way, I realized what I want to blog about (inspirational) but I’m not sure how it relates to my writing. I’ll figure out how along the way. Thank you for the hilarious mental images and the sound advices.

  12. #14 by Bridgette on December 15, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    Another great post and your book is on my Christmas list. By the way, how did you know I gave money to the guy in the Wal-Mart parking lot?

  13. #15 by Peter on December 15, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the shout out, Kristen! I try and send people your way every chance I get. Like others, this post came at a perfect time for me as I start down the road of blogging. I post about craft as I’m learning it and I only hope people will point out my errors like you suggest. I don’t know everything and thanks for reminding me of that…lol

  14. #16 by Patrick Thunstrom on December 15, 2010 - 5:38 pm

    As I’ve mentioned before, my blog isn’t about writing topics, but as I’m growing used to it (Got a special announcement Sunday, going to be moving to at least two days a week, might make it three if I make a sufficient backlog!) I’m realizing that even though I’m not writing about WRITING, I’m writing about gaming in fantasy and Sci-Fi, which is my genre, and table top gamers are often readers, which is a potential bridging point for the blog.

    And I’m slowly beating the troll. It’s been work, but now that he’s lost school work as a potential excuse, I can focus a bit more on beating him back!

  15. #17 by bobcb518 on December 15, 2010 - 6:54 pm

    Thanks! This was quite helpful.

  16. #18 by A.J. Zaethe on December 15, 2010 - 7:29 pm

    Brilliant. You make things easy to grasp. I was informed of entering this world of social media for writers, by my instructor Jennifer Holbrook. And since then, have been staring at twitter, facebook, and blog pages in complete horror. Where was I to begin? Who was I to follow and make contact with? How should I begin? This has finally started to see me into the right track and I enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks for being on here.

  17. #19 by Minka on December 15, 2010 - 9:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this i have been reading a few different entries and have gotten some great information. Writing has always been a passion and will be a future career. I don’t care what i have to do to get there, I will. Right now its blogging..now that i have started it’s pretty easy going. The crappy excuse troll played a big role in getting started. What if it’s not good….what if no one reads.. i don’t have time for that. Well i squashed that troll! HA!
    You also make a great point about not posting parts of my novel. I really considered doing this in hopes of getting some interest in it, but realize that is probably not the best idea.
    Thanks again for sharing, look forward to more entries!

  18. #20 by Jami Gold on December 15, 2010 - 9:27 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out. And I’m glad you like the pie charts (they took me for freakin’ ever to figure out because I hadn’t done them before🙂 ).

  19. #21 by katekatharinaferguson on December 15, 2010 - 9:35 pm

    Let’s round up the fairies and trolls and defeat them by writing a fairytale about them! Nice post – you are a “no shit” motivator: the best kind.

  20. #22 by Susan S on December 15, 2010 - 11:38 pm

    Great post Kristen. I moved to an author blog about three months ago (after blogging on an anonymous humor blog for over three years) and I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Audiences grow when they find a voice and content they can relate to. I made a conscious decision not to self-identify with the old blog (for various reasons that anyone familiar with Bayard and Holmes would understand, though my reasons were slightly different) and it’s interesting growing voice and audience from scratch again – but boy am I glad I had the experience to draw on.

    I do blog five days a week, but I’m comfortable with it based on the old experience – particularly since I give myself the freedom to do “short-form” entries (under 200 words) at least one day a week if I have the content to make them pop without more length. That said – 3 days a week is daunting enough for a lot of people.

    One piece of encouragement for the readers who might not already blog regularly: once you find your voice and style, it does get easier. Topics will present themselves and you’ll even end up with runs of entries that stack up and want posting more frequently than you usually post – the advance post scheduler is your friend!

  21. #23 by Jody Hedlund on December 15, 2010 - 11:44 pm

    Just love your humor, Kristen. I like the idea of having different blog topics to correlate with the days of the week. Since I’ve already established my blog as a writer’s blog, I’m not sure that I want to or should change at this point. It’s something I’m mulling over and discussing with the powers-that-be.🙂 But yolu’re right, I think that we really need to blog on a consistent basis in order to build relationships.

  22. #24 by lryanis on December 16, 2010 - 12:07 am

    I am glad I found your blog. I appreciate your words of wisdom as a rookie blogger. I used to be a TV News producer. Now, I am shooting videos with my flip cam and inserting into my blogs. A few tips I read elsewhere talked about trying to blog or feed the beast every day. I much prefer your advice of three times a week. Also, how many views should you expect as a new blogger? And are there ways to project growth?
    Thanks again for your help.

    • #25 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 16, 2010 - 12:58 am

      Your following will grow way faster if you blog more often. A lot will depend on the social media platform you already have and how well you are using it. The type of blog (subject) also affects number of hits. Thus, I would focus on percentage of growth. The trick is to stay encouraged. All the sudden you will hit a “tipping point” and then your blog hits will explode. When I first started this blog a year and a half ago, I was lucky to get 30 hits in a day. Now it is common for me to have 200 hits before 8 in the morning. It’s just plugging away and serving people and figuring out what they like to hear. Network with other bloggers who will drive traffic your way. Whenever I do the Mash-Up of Awesomeness, I always give a shout-out to unpubbed authors whose blogs demonstrate excellence.

      • #26 by lryanis on December 16, 2010 - 3:37 am

        Thank you so much. I will keep reading your tips, try to execute and let you know how it goes.

  23. #27 by Rachel on December 16, 2010 - 3:11 am

    I find that the Crappy Excuse Troll visits me every single time I try to write! Sometimes he is like a ninja – I turn around and BAM! There he is, trying to convince me that I can’t write, that no one will care about what I have to say, I’m not interesting, blah, blah, blah…

    But I love blogging because I am writing! And even if one post sucks or is boring, at least I am writing. I can learn from my mistakes and keep going. And as you have so eloquently stated, when I find a topic that both I and my readers are passionate about, people respond and I feel accomplished.

    Thanks for the pointers about what to blog about. I have a random whatever I felt like blog that I don’t know what to do with in addition to my blog about China. Now I have some ideas as to how to resurrect it.

  24. #28 by Harry Smeltzer on December 16, 2010 - 3:11 am

    “When you start talking about Elizabeth I or Bull Run, your followers will totally dig what you have to say…unlike your family whose eyes glaze over and drool begins to run down their chins.”

    As host of a blog (mostly) about First Bull Run, all I can say is “A-freakin’-men”.

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 16, 2010 - 1:29 pm

      LOL… i feel ya, Harry. That’s why all my friends are writers. I can talk shop without them slipping into a coma ha ha ha ha😀.

  25. #30 by Amanda Hoving on December 16, 2010 - 4:19 am

    Between that blasted fairy and the ungodly troll, writers are surely in for it, aren’t they? Thanks for always inspiring us to keep on, keeping on.

  26. #31 by suhei on December 16, 2010 - 4:43 am

    Another nice post. I am not a blogger. I have had several blogs over the past five years but I’m a dabbler so I can really stay on topic and get very few feedback.

    Thanks for the post, I”l be sure to tell my friends.

  27. #32 by Marwa Elnaggar on December 16, 2010 - 5:40 am

    Now I’m going to start feeling guilty about the poor trolls. I can hear them whimpering. Kristen, I can’t get enough of your fearless posts. But now I have to stay awake at night worrying that all the fantastic creatures of writers’ hell are plotting against you. May all the trolls move to Antartica.

  28. #33 by Manon Eileen on December 16, 2010 - 12:05 pm

    Another super useful blogpost! Thank you, Kristen, for your great advice!!

    • #34 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 16, 2010 - 1:30 pm

      Thanks and good luck on your new format. Keep me posted.

  29. #35 by Rads on December 16, 2010 - 1:32 pm

    “I was a lazy sloth with zero self-discipline when I began blogging.”

    I’m at this stage right now!😦

    Crappy Excuse Troll keeps popping up and saying “Hey isn’t there an awesome looking recipe you wanted to try out? Go make it!” or “Aren’t you too sleepy to type anything?” or “Hey, you know what’s reaalllllly fun? Watching Glee. While dancing.” 😐

    Thanks, Kristen, for the advice! I’m a new follower. I’ve saved this blog for future reference!

    • #36 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 16, 2010 - 1:37 pm

      I hear ya! I am thinking of getting one of those troll dolls and sticking him on my computer to convict me when I go to goof off LOL.

  30. #37 by sharonholly on December 16, 2010 - 7:19 pm

    I found your blog through @elizabethscraig on Twitter. I’m a new blogger (sort of) and I love reading your articles for advice. I’ve been pretty nervous about what to write about in my blog, and I originally wanted it to be a blog about my writing process. It didn’t take long to realize that I’m going to run out of things to say! Still, I was relieved when you said there’s not need to rule it out completely.

    “Just make sure you are blogging about the craft of writing. Write blogs that serve those reading. You don’t have to know everything….Tell people what you learned, then ask for opinions, comments and feedback.”

    I think I will take your advice and divide my posts between the subjects of writing, the topic of my book, and the book itself. Thanks Kristen!

  31. #38 by KrisEKing on December 16, 2010 - 7:29 pm

    You make me laugh while giving great advice. Thank you! Your humor is awesome as is your advice. Look forward to all of your future posts.
    Peace,
    Kris

  32. #39 by Chase McFadden on December 16, 2010 - 7:54 pm

    More terrific advice, Kristen, and it is always so seamlessly wrapped up in great writing and enjoyable reading. I laugh and think. Thanks.

    The Crappy Excuse Troll(s). Interestingly, my Crappy Excuse Troll(s) are exactly what I’m blogging about: parenting, fathering, surviving yet savoring four kids under the age of six. And I often let myself fall into the Workout Trap: If I can’t exercise for an hour, it’s not worth exercising at all. Really? A twenty minute workout isn’t more valuable than no workout? That’s completely illogical. If I can only write for 20 minutes, then I write for 20 minutes. That’ll add up over time.

    Thanks again, Kristen.

    Chase McFadden

    http://SomeSpeciesEatTheirYoung.com

  33. #40 by shewriting on December 17, 2010 - 2:22 am

    Kristen,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I read a lot of writers’ blogs and I love when I come across one that makes me laugh…we seem to have similar senses of humor. I’m hoping my sense of humor shines through on my blog like yours does here.

    Speaking of which, I just started my writing blog this week. I was planning to blog about writing in and of itself but knew that I needed another topic or two to blog about in order to post more than once a week. I never would have thought to blog about my book topic or by demographic. Great suggestions, thanks!

    I’ll be back to read more (right now the Crappy Excuse Troll is calling for me.) I invite you to come visit me as well.

    (strange coincidence…we both ended our post with “until next time” and “happy writing” wth? 🙂

  34. #41 by kate macnicol on December 17, 2010 - 6:28 pm

    Kristen,

    I struggle with the “whatever I do isn’t enough” troll. I’ve had to ignore the little bugger three times today and it’s only early afternoon!

    One thing I struggled with about blogging was thinking it was all about sales and self-promotion. Thanks to you and Bob Mayer I see blogging in a totally different light.

    Thanks for the funny-good information.

  35. #42 by e6n1 on December 19, 2010 - 12:38 pm

    Great post about the dreaded trolls. Trolls in folklore lived under bridges but now the rapid pace of modern life acts as their bridge. I blogged about similar creatures (Vampires. aliens and zombies…) here:
    http://eeleenlee.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/how-to-slay-toxic-creatures-in-your-creative-life/

  36. #43 by Madison Woods on December 19, 2010 - 7:46 pm

    Love the analogies using trolls and fairies as blog dissuaders, lol. There was a lot of info in this post, and I’m not sure I’m doing things right on my own blog because I surely don’t have thousands of followers (yet). How long does it take to get to that level?

    • #44 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 20, 2010 - 1:53 am

      Depends on how widely appealing your topics are, how often you blog, and whether you can rally the support of successful bloggers. So best way to reach that level is to 1) write about stuff that interests/entertains a wide audience 2) be consistent 3) visit other blogs and comment/include trackbacks. Support begets support😉.

  37. #45 by pk Hrezo on December 19, 2010 - 8:10 pm

    This was so funny. You are the Queen of Clever Metaphors.😉 I switched my blog to focus solely on writing craft back in September and it grew so fast because I focused on posting about what I’ve learned from writing manuals and other blogs. There are so many writers out there eager to learn and participate.
    Tips I learned are posting on weekends when others are off their blogging duties, and visiting at least 2 new blogs a week and actively commenting. Your blog will grow so fast once other bloggers read your helpful or interesting posts.

  38. #46 by Cheryl Reifsnyder on December 20, 2010 - 6:02 pm

    Thanks for a terrific and inspiring post, perfect for this time of year when there are oh-so-many trolls lurking in the writer’s world. I’ve wrestled quite a bit with how to focus my blog, and received advice ranging from “Write whatever you want, it doesn’t matter” to “Don’t write articles–no blog post should be more than 50 words long, because people don’t want to read more than that, anyway.” I think the first advice applies if you’re already so famous that people WANT to know every little thing you think and say, and the second…well, it seems to work for that particular blogger, but I want to do more than point people on to others’ websites, articles, and blogs. I’d like to add a little content of my own to cyberspace🙂 . Your thoughts on how to focus your blog are great!🙂 Cheryl

    • #47 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 20, 2010 - 6:14 pm

      I don’t care how long or short a blog is so long as it is interesting & easy to read. My blogs have always been too long (I confess). But that is the price I pay for blogging 3 times a week. For me to take time to condense a blog would just take too much time. Also, because I am teaching in these blogs, I figure people want to be able to apply what I am talking about before they grow old and die. I say a blog is as long as it needs to be. The downside of a long blog is that you could break that big post into more posts and save time.

      A lot of this goes to your blogging “voice.” Some are short and sweet. Others are long but funny and snarky. You just have to see what works and what readers respond to. Different audiences will respond to different blog styles. I like article-length blogs, but the Internet is where I get a lot of my information. So happy you are enjoying the blog😀. Thanks!

  39. #48 by Donna Newton on December 22, 2010 - 3:52 pm

    An excellent blog! And everything you say is so true. So, and on your advice, I have beheaded the trolls and caged the fairies. (The pixies fled in fear). Weekly blogging, here I come.

  40. #49 by pinensikwe on December 24, 2010 - 8:33 am

    Thank you for this blogpost! I know have a better understanding of what to blog about, how to sit down and write and it gave me more confidence in finding my voice with blogging. It was great.🙂

  41. #50 by educlaytion on January 5, 2011 - 10:15 pm

    Every once in a while I discover a blog I like and jump in for the ride. Your stuff is so good I want to devour it all, but you’re so dang prolific. I’m enjoying catching up!

    Now you drop trolls and knowledge while making Rocky IV references. Are you kidding me? You’re my hero. Keep rockin what you got because this place is dope.

    I will disagree with you on one point though: You ARE that interesting.

  42. #51 by Terri Dryden on January 19, 2011 - 2:32 pm

    Oh my, this is so helpful!!! I have let those critters get to me sometimes also but I am too old to put up with all of them. I am going to be a published author, when the time is right!!! (Hopefully, soon!)
    So, I am changing my blog, as of today I will use my blog as a platform for my writing! Now, to figure out what to say! Of course, with me that shouldn’t take to long. I talk to much and that sometimes causes me to ramble. (I think I’m doing it now)
    Okay, enough said, I have things to write about…
    Thanks again Kristen!
    Terri

  43. #52 by Tyler on February 3, 2011 - 5:49 pm

    Hey hope you don’t mind I love ur little troll pic and I use it as an avatar on a website demioned.me if it bothers you feel free to e-mail me at perrigotyler@hotmail.com

    • #53 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 3, 2011 - 6:40 pm

      I got it off google images. No worries from my end😉. If they come after me, I will give you a heads up, though. LOL.

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