What Are the REAL Odds of Success? Extreme Ownership & the Best-Selling Author

Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Many of us are doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If you’ve been following this blog the last two weeks, then you probably know I’ve had a horrific case of the flu. While this does mean I’ve sidelined editing (have to have higher thinking skills) and teaching (kind of need a voice) this has not excused me from writing.

In fact, it’s been pretty good for my writing since Robotussin apparently chloroforms the internal editor and is like Skittles to the Lizard Brain who is now running around in my head with scissors.

Oh God! It has the glitter! Hold on! Back in a minute….

Where was I? Yes, Lizard Brain is great for creating, and if I keep my pace, I should finish my 50,000 words tomorrow. Right now I am at almost 41,000 words and have been averaging about 5K a day. I never could have done this alone. I have my teammates on W.A.N.A.Tribe. We have been doing word sprints every morning and every afternoon for the past week.

Like clockwork, no matter what is happening or how we feel, we meet. We sprint for 30 minutes at a time. We write as much as we can. No looking back. No word smithing. No editing. Just writing. These folks have been a huge blessing because if they didn’t take the time to be disciplined and show up? I doubt I would be so far along.

I kept referring to them as my 5%ers and they didn’t know what I was talking about. So today we are going to talk about…the 5%er.

W.A.N.A. Sprinters, this is for you😉 .

Success

Success is a really weird thing. I used to think people just needed to be given opportunities. What I have found is that this is not actually as critical as I once believed. There are actually opportunities everywhere. Seriously…everywhere. The problem is that internal inertia.

We must overcome our natures. Will we take advantage of those opportunities? Will we make our own opportunities where none exist? Or, will we sink to average because it’s easy?

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you’ll suck forever. 

Anyone who’s ever been successful will tell you that a big part of overcoming adversity is mental. I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I still love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of SEAL training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit.

Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit?

Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is capable of sustained change. This means of ALL the people who want to run marathons, 5% will. Of ALL the people who join a martial arts class, only 5% will ever reach black belt. Of ALL the people who have a dream of being a career author, only about 5% will ever reach that goal and maintain it.

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At first, I was horrified when I heard this statistic. I want everyone to be successful! Surely if they had more tools, more chances, more affordable classes…

Human nature is a weird thing and, had I not seen this 5% rule play out countless times, I’d still be an unbeliever. Yet, like everyone is not meant to be a Navy SEAL, not everyone is meant to be a career author. This is good news and bad news. Bad news is odds are against us. Good news is multi-fold. First, we control a lot of the factors that lead to success. Secondly, this job is NOT for everyone.

Believe it or not, what we writers do is excruciatingly HARD. Just like it is NOT normal for a human body to run long miles in freezing surf carrying a Zodiac filled with water, it is NOT normal to sit and write 100,000+ words. Most people—literate or not—cannot do what we do.

They like to believe they can…but they can’t.

One of the reasons regular people are so shocked to meet a “real” writer is that so few writers ever really reach the professional level. But, why? Why do so many give up the dream? What does the 5% writer do differently than hoi polloi 95%?

I’m an optimist. I believe all of us possess what it takes to be in that coveted 5%. Question is, can we overcome our natures? What is the difference between the amateur and the pro?

Pros Like Validation But Don’t Require It 

Image via QuickMeme

Image via QuickMeme

Validation is different from feedback. We ALL love validation. We crave it. We adore it. But pros don’t require it.

When I first brought my glorious prose to a critique group, I said I wanted feedback. What I really wanted was for the group to tell me that my words were written in angel tears and that all the agents who rejected me must have been brain damaged.

I did not want to hear that I might not have a clue what I was doing. I did not want my pages handed back dripping in red ink. In fact, that hurt. A LOT. I had to learn to suck it up and press on. If one person had an opinion? Well, might just be a personal preference. When ten people gave the same opinion?

Houston, I had a problem.

Writers can work years without any hint of outside approval. Most people can’t sustain this and they give up. One glance in my sidebar and you’ll see this blog was named Writer’s Digest‘s Top 101 Websites for Writers for 2015.

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But some of you might not know that I blogged for almost two years and no one cared. My biggest fans were the male-enhancement bots.

I so licked your blog. You make many grate poinsettias. Is it just me or are all your commenters brain dead?

Hmm, maybe he’s foreign? Or not *head desk*

How much do you LOVE the dream? Because I will tell you that if I went by outside approval, I would have quit YEARS ago. If I judged my future success by my beginning blog stats or early book sales?

*weeps*

I was starting to wonder if I’d made a serious error by leaving sales. Sales had a paycheck, a fancy title and a company car. No stranger ever asked me if I was a “real” salesperson.

I went a LONG, LONG, LOOOONG time when no one cared and worse, they thought I was a joke/lunatic/poseur/hack. We need rhino skin in this business.

When I started this blog almost eight years ago, there were all kinds of other bloggers who were bigger than me. Sadly, many of them are gone. Never underestimate the power of simply showing up.

Below is an image of my blog stats.

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By the way, I can’t show you my beginning stats because they were so small, they didn’t register on a bar chart. Can you tell when I made it past “The Dip”? What if I’d quit? In 2009, I had a little over 6,000 views for the year (and I’d been blogging about 18 months by this point). In 2013, I had almost 450,000 views. But how many people would have given up when staring at those 2009 numbers (which works out to about 15 views a day and I bet half were from my mother)?

Pros Don’t Find Time, They MAKE Time

Time isn’t hiding down in the couch cushions camouflaged in Cheerios. We don’t find time, we make time. Often new writers will bemoan how they wish they could find time. 

Yet, I will posit this.

If today, I could guarantee you hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and all you had to do was finish the novel, how many would stay up late or get up early? How many would decide the family can go to the movies alone? Or that the floors are clean enough?

Often we procrastinate because there is no guarantee of success. Procrastination and perfectionism are frequently driven by fear of failure. If we never finish, we can never really fail. Our work is never out there to be judged.

As I like to say, “If we aren’t failing, we aren’t doing anything interesting.” So what if you write a blog and no one cares? Join the club. My first blogs were dreadful. So the crickets and spam bots can boo you😛 ? Write a crappy first novel. Then move on. Learn. Keep writing!

No unpublished blog ever went viral. No unfinished novel ever became a runaway success.

I read all the time. I inhale all kinds of books and my personal favorite are leadership and business books. I just finished Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and WinI love, love love this book. I opened a sticky note app on my phone just to take notes. One of my favorite lines was, “Discipline is freedom.” So remember this. Tape it somewhere.

Discipline is freedom.

This is something pros understand. It’s one of the reasons I am so hard on all of you to stop calling yourselves “aspiring writers.” Aspiring is for wimps. Writers write.

Pros understand that getting up early or staying up late and putting the words on the page every day, day after day after day no matter what is liberating. You get to eventually do what you love for a living. Discipline to write means more books get written.

Yes, building a platform can be the less fun part of the job (can be). But pros know it is necessary. Discipline is freedom. Do it and you sell more books. Sell more books eventually you have to do less of what you dislike and more of what you enjoy.

Excuses are free but they cost us everything.

Pros Focus on What They Can Control

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Show me a struggling author and I will show you someone spending too much time shopping the same book. Instead of writing more books and better books, these writers are worried about querying the same book over and over, or (if published) they fret over sales, marketing, blog tours, or algorithms.

We cannot control what will be the next hottest thing. We can’t control the marketplace or the tastes of readers or whether matte bookmarks sell more books than pink beer koozies. This means we shouldn’t waste precious time on things we cannot control at the expense of things we can.

I think this is one of the reasons I really loved the book Extreme Ownership, because if we take EXTREME OWNERSHIP, then THIS is what our careers CAN look like…

When I gave the 5% statistic earlier, many of you were probably discouraged. But let’s take a closer look at that number.

It’s been said that as much as 75% of the literate population would love to one day write a book. Out of hundreds of millions of possible authors, how many do you think actually take the idea seriously?

5%

And of the tens of millions left over, how many sit down and write and finish a first draft?

5%

Of the millions remaining, how many actually read craft books, get critique and keep revising that first draft until they have a polished draft?

5%

Of those who finish that first novel then realize they have a train wreck and not a novel, how many suck it up and start over to write a better book that’s more likely to engage with readers?

5%

Of those who finally write a decent book, how many take time to also build a brand and platform? How many learn to blog effectively in ways that reach and cultivate readers?

5%

How many get in the regular habit of writing, researching and revising? They don’t just stop with the one book and keep on writing more books?

5%

Of those who publish the first book and don’t instantly become zillionaires, how many keep writing and improving?

5%

This profession is really hard. Toss a few hundred million people with a dream into one large funnel and most will not shake out at the end. Yet, if we look at the individual pieces of becoming “successful” it is astonishing how much we control. We can take ownership of much more than we might realize.

Others whine, we work.

What are your thoughts? Does this 5% example make you feel a little better about your chances? Can you look at your own life and routine and maybe see some areas that you can come up higher? I am ALWAYS reevaluating how and where I am spending my time. Have you been allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by things beyond your control? Do you find that fear keeps you from finishing? Hey, I have been guilty of ALL of this, so we are friends here😉 .

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of NOVEMBER, 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. 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 novel.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by rijanjks on November 17, 2015 - 8:41 am

    Reblogged this on Writing and Music and commented:
    This is a most enlightening blog post by Kristen Lamb. She tells it like it is! Must read, if you are or want to be a writer.

  2. #2 by rijanjks on November 17, 2015 - 8:41 am

    Great blog, Kristen! Had to share everywhere!!

  3. #3 by sfarnell on November 17, 2015 - 8:43 am

    I think the idea of being sick for NaNoWriMo is genius, I know you were ill (and I hope you’re better now) but what better way to make time to write than to be sick lol
    You say yo love hearing from us – But I love reading your posts. I’ve learned so much in just a few months from you that my writing style has changed and whether or not I get to be one of the 5% I’m having a crack at banging out some of the tons of stories I have in my heaed, short or long. Thanks Kristen and I wish you all the best for your novel🙂

  4. #4 by Thomas Kleaton on November 17, 2015 - 8:54 am

    Encouraging! Sharing!

  5. #5 by megwolfewrites on November 17, 2015 - 9:09 am

    This post makes me feel almost as smug as a satisfied cat. 100K? Check. Craft, craft, craft? Check. Another 100K? Check. Rinse, repeat? Check. Third 100K? Check. 8th proofread? Check. Platform built? Check, etc. Income? Phhttttt. Nonetheless, Onwards and Upwards, up every single day by 5:30 a.m., and happy to do it from now ’til the day I sit in front of that Great Keyboard in the sky. Love this post and thanks for the 5% reminder while I try to get my latest published this week, do NaNoWriMo, and host Thanksgiving dinner and a house guest. Get well soon.

    • #6 by Widdershins on November 19, 2015 - 8:24 pm

      ‘Great Keyboard in the Sky’ … love it!😀

  6. #7 by blondeusk on November 17, 2015 - 9:15 am

    One of the best blog posts I have read in a long time🙂

  7. #8 by s.a.klopfenstein on November 17, 2015 - 9:24 am

    Reblogged this on S.A. Klopfenstein and commented:
    Read this. As always, very insightful advice for writers from Kristen Lamb. It is not easy, but if you put in the work, you can be successful.

  8. #9 by s.a.klopfenstein on November 17, 2015 - 9:25 am

    Thanks for another great and encouraging blog! We can be the 5%. Or the 5% of the 5% of the 5% of the 5%🙂 write everyday, toss that first novel, keep writing. Great advice!

  9. #10 by foguth on November 17, 2015 - 9:28 am

    I think NaNoWriMo is a wonderful concept, and wish I could have done it this year. Unfortunately, I am swamped – Fire Island is due 12-11 and The Vi-Purrs next spring. Thus, I spend mornings nit-picking sci-fantasy and the rest of the day writing rough, which I can rip to pieces and polish in a couple more months.

  10. #11 by prudencemacleod on November 17, 2015 - 9:28 am

    Kristen, forgive me, but I laughed my way through much of post. You began by describing the first fifteen years of the past twenty. I began writing earnestly 20 years ago. For the first fifteen only three people read what I wrote. My beloved partner, a dear friend, and me. During that time I amassed a pile of rejection letters big enough to fill a warehouse, but I continued. I still write every day, I still strive to get better, and I still dream of that million seller. I know that bugger is out there in the vast reaches of the space in my imagination.
    I only wish I could have had this post to read fifteen years ago. Rock on, WANA Mamma.

  11. #12 by Lisa on November 17, 2015 - 9:31 am

    Really great advice Kristen. I constantly have to remind myself to MAKE the time to write. I hope you have turned the corner with the flu! BTW, I just finished “Rise of the Machines” and learned a lot! Even though I don’t have a book to sell yet (working through my major 2nd draft revision), I can start to prep for the future. Many thanks for your advice!

  12. #13 by morgynstarz on November 17, 2015 - 9:40 am

    Bebe, (like you need to hear this!) vous rock!

  13. #14 by Russell J. Fellows on November 17, 2015 - 9:42 am

    Now, this is the kind of kick-in-the-pants I needed right now.🙂

  14. #15 by vrein11 on November 17, 2015 - 9:43 am

    Great advice Kristen- The 5% thing I have heard several times, and I didn’t believe it either. But your right, it DOES indeed play out time after time. I am struggling to call myself a writer yet, even though I have been blogging, with terrible stats, for 2 years now and have been writing books. I have a publisher I am working with. And yet, after all that, last weekend at a seminar, I was asked what I do. I said, “I’m just a Mom.” I’m JUST a MOM???!!!!! Yes, I really said that. Have regretted it ever since. I am praying, I am part of the 5% that makes it!! Thanks for the encouragement.
    Vicki

  15. #16 by anaatcalin on November 17, 2015 - 9:48 am

    Your blog is gold, so happy I subscribed. One of the best decisions I made. It makes me feel I’m on the right track, and not dispair. I’m not in it to make the bestsellers, I’m in it for the stories that I write and that I happen to enjoy reading myself. Love it when people give me feedback, especially that they enjoy them as well, and decide to follow my blog for more episodes of suspense stories. But hey, that’s just a sweet collateral. Should it ever become a purpose in itself, I’ll know I’m no longer in it for the right reasons.

  16. #17 by Lisa Orchard on November 17, 2015 - 9:49 am

    Great post, Kristen!🙂

  17. #18 by S. G. Basu on November 17, 2015 - 9:53 am

    Reblogged this on S. G. Basu and commented:
    Another awesome post by Kristen Lamb. The key to success is PERSEVERENCE.

  18. #19 by Lucinda E Clarke on November 17, 2015 - 9:56 am

    I was amazed to read that being a successful writer is as high as 5% !!

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 17, 2015 - 10:30 am

      Actually that is 5% of 5% of 5% of 5% so the percentage probably is more like .001% but all in all we control A LOT of it.

  19. #21 by Tamara LeBlanc on November 17, 2015 - 9:57 am

    Makes me feel LOADS better! I’m in that 5%!! Now that’s pretty freaking awesome🙂
    Loved this post, Kristin.
    Your wisdom and encouragement rock and that’s why I’m on of MANY of your loyal followers.
    Have a great week!
    Tamara

  20. #22 by thelonelyauthorblog on November 17, 2015 - 10:10 am

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  21. #23 by TheOriginalMimi on November 17, 2015 - 10:23 am

    I’m just leaving a comment to let you know I was thinking of you, and I’m so appreciative of you. You keep hitting it out of the ballpark, and this is yet another example.

  22. #24 by Covenant of Shadows trilogy on November 17, 2015 - 10:28 am

    Thank you Kristen, this really gives me pride in deciding to continue forward with the crazy idea of writing. 🙂 Thank you for putting it into perspective… great stuff.

  23. #25 by Kessie on November 17, 2015 - 10:37 am

    That funnel is so small, no wonder I keep bumping into the same people over and over.😀

  24. #26 by JA Andrews on November 17, 2015 - 12:10 pm

    This is a fantastic article! And the 5% thing is more encouraging than depressing. Working my way through your 5% ladder there…up to “how many actually read craft books, get critique and keep revising that first draft until they have a polished draft?”🙂 working, working, working!

  25. #27 by David Villalva on November 17, 2015 - 12:13 pm

    My first story coach offered me a refund. Six trunked novels and seven years later, I’m still grinding.

    “I am the 5 percent.”
    – Brought to you by the Occupy Keyboard Movement

  26. #28 by hugheswrites on November 17, 2015 - 12:21 pm

    i read this and all I can think of is how much my wife says that I need to relax about my writing while all I want to buckle down and work harder. These things are important to me and while I struggle, I’m still working hard at it. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  27. #29 by ChildofRa on November 17, 2015 - 12:21 pm

    I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year & so far it has been going great. I’m also glad I found your blog, it has definitely helped with my writing.

  28. #30 by hugheswrites on November 17, 2015 - 12:23 pm

    Reblogged this on In My Mind, This Is All Connected and commented:
    Dedication and hard work, day in and day out. Over and over again. It will never stop and nor shall I.

  29. #31 by Penquillity on November 17, 2015 - 12:23 pm

    Reasons I like reading your blog: this post. Others, too, but this one hit a magic number for me. Thank you.
    By the way, your fans share some pretty cool stuff as well. For instance, David Villalva and his “I am the five percent” quote – don’t know if it’s his or belongs to another but I like it a lot.

    Jeannie Leighton

    • #32 by Penquillity on November 17, 2015 - 12:29 pm

      Then I looked up five percent and I’m not so sure about this. Seems there is a very different spin on the number within the cyber world of internet searches.
      I prefer your definition and am heading over to Amazon for the book you referenced.

    • #33 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 17, 2015 - 1:40 pm

      LOL. David is one of my students. He is actually a REALLY great example of the 5%. His writing sample was SO GOOD when he took my first five pages class that I actually asked to read more of his work (something I almost NEVER do). As you saw from his comment (and he told me) his first writing coach returned his money because his writing was so bad, and yet? He kept at it. He’s one of my top students and I think he’s going to be one hell of an author.

      • #34 by Penquillity on November 18, 2015 - 9:45 am

        *checks out David’s blog* Good to read about his perseverance and success. Thanks.
        Jeannie Leighton

  30. #35 by Alex on November 17, 2015 - 12:42 pm

    Once again, what a great post! I have observed the 5% rule many, many times, and actually think 5% is still generous; often it’s more like 2-3% or even less. But of course, it depends.

    And I didn’t know this is an acknowledged rule. It’s always good to know about the big picture.

  31. #36 by J. A. Allen on November 17, 2015 - 12:52 pm

    Loved this. It’s equal parts terrifying and invigorating.

  32. #37 by Rachel Medhurst on November 17, 2015 - 1:20 pm

    I really do agree with this. I’ve not been pushing as hard as I would have liked (to my standards) but I’ve still been pushing. I release books and get back to writing. I’m thinking of changing a few things up to see if something else works better. Anything to keep writing and try to make a full time wage from it…:)

  33. #38 by frenchc1955 on November 17, 2015 - 1:48 pm

    Once again, you deliver excellent advice! Writers need to be disciplined about their craft and do the writing!

  34. #39 by frenchc1955 on November 17, 2015 - 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This blog post offers excellent advice for writers.

  35. #40 by Suzanne Lucero (@S_Lucero) on November 17, 2015 - 2:31 pm

    Right, then. It’s time to get off the email and back to my writing. You slave driver, you.

  36. #41 by Kessie on November 17, 2015 - 2:45 pm

    Reblogged this on K. M. Carroll, Author and commented:
    Excellent thoughts today from Kristen Lamb about self-discipline being the path to success.

  37. #42 by Shadyia on November 17, 2015 - 3:09 pm

    I loved the “black belt” photo. I sent that to a good friend of mine who is a 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

  38. #43 by johnkpatterson on November 17, 2015 - 3:10 pm

    This is terrific, Kristen. Thank you so much for the encouragement and wake-up call!

  39. #44 by johnkpatterson on November 17, 2015 - 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on John K. Patterson and commented:
    A great post with advice (and a real wake-up call) from Kristen Lamb to writers.

  40. #45 by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR on November 17, 2015 - 5:00 pm

    Great post

  41. #46 by ~Michelle Cook on November 17, 2015 - 5:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Putting My Feet in the Dirt and commented:
    This is what it’s all about! Be the 5%!

  42. #47 by aurorajeanalexander on November 17, 2015 - 5:21 pm

    This is a really motivational blog post! At least it is for me!! Thanks for sharing all your personal experience. It helps to “hold on”! You’re great, Kristen. Thank you!!

  43. #48 by Paper Stars and Blue Honey Poems on November 17, 2015 - 6:08 pm

    Well, I hope I can be one of those people in the 5%. I’ve just finally gotten my blog started a few months ago and I’m in love. Since I’m still pretty new, I mainly get maybe 7 views a day yet it’s just so exciting just seeing what I can write and how far I can push myself. Little by little, I’m realizing just what I can do and how to weave those words into a beautiful story. Reading this today is truly inspirational to a writer who is just starting out. Thank you for the encouraging words! They truly mean a lot to me and so many more struggling writers out there! Keep on writing!

  44. #49 by Barbara Meyers on November 17, 2015 - 6:24 pm

    “Want-to-be writers admit defeat easily. Successful writers never give up.” I cut that quote out of Writer’s Digest a LONG time ago and taped it above my computer. It’s still there. Thanks for another great blog, Kristen.

  45. #50 by dbkennison on November 17, 2015 - 8:31 pm

    Thanks Kristen. Thanks to Barb Meyers (#47) for sharing the post so that I could see it and celebrate being one of the 5%, something I needed to hear right now. I reblogged this on http://whispersintheair.com

  46. #51 by dbkennison on November 17, 2015 - 8:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Whispers in the air and commented:
    Kristen Lamb reminds me that I am a writer.

  47. #52 by The Meandering Matriarch on November 17, 2015 - 8:42 pm

    This was the blog I needed. I, too, am (ostensibly) doing NaNoWriMo, but I have stalled BIGTIME, not because of any problem with the novel–I like it, and it’s going well, when it goes at all. The problem is me. I have a really rotten case of ‘writer apathy’. Or, put in non-jargonese, laziness. There are plenty of pep talks provided by nano Angels, and various writing blogs, but this kick-in-the-butt from you hit the mark.(Perhaps I should rephrase that last bit…’it was the jolt I needed’…better?). Anyway, I wish to thank you. And now I shall get out of bed, drink a large can of Red Bull, and finally show up. Cheers!

  48. #53 by cathleentownsend on November 18, 2015 - 1:04 am

    Thanks so much, Kristen–excellent post. I feel much better about my chances now.🙂

  49. #54 by S. Simone Chavous on November 18, 2015 - 1:29 am

    Great post! Let’s go 5%🙂

  50. #55 by In My Cluttered Attic on November 18, 2015 - 2:09 am

    Ms. Lamb, I’m no writer—well not a real one anyway—but I think you offer a wonderful testimony as to what it must mean to be a quality writer. Your continuing to meet the goals of the NaNoWriMo writing challenge, in spite of being ill with the flu, demonstrates a fine example of a writer and the passion for her craft. You have a fantastic and informative blog for aspiring writers.

    • #56 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 18, 2015 - 6:46 am

      LOL. Thanks. Hubby loves to give me inspiration. He comes up behind me and says, “It writes the words or it GETS THE HOSE AGAIN.”😀 Really happy you enjoy the blog. Makes it all worth the work then!

      • #57 by In My Cluttered Attic on November 18, 2015 - 1:02 pm

        You betcha. Oh but that husband of yours. What a slave driver he is! Get well soon Kristen, and in the meantime, start humming the twelve days of NaNoWriMo while your pinkies glide across the keyboard to that 50,000 word goal. Or, in other words, keep writing. :O)

  51. #58 by emilyardenauthor on November 18, 2015 - 5:50 am

    Reblogged this on Emily Arden, author and commented:
    Take ownership of your writing…

  52. #59 by emilyardenauthor on November 18, 2015 - 5:51 am

    Great post Kristen – thanks! Good luck with your 5,000 words today🙂

  53. #60 by senseiorlando on November 18, 2015 - 10:32 am

    Hello Kristen I really enjoyed this post because it only means that as one of the 5% I am in great company. Keep writing!

  54. #61 by donnajeanmcdunn on November 18, 2015 - 10:51 am

    I really liked this post and it makes me realize that I am one who will not give up on my dream. I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I’m a published author. I have two books already published and my publisher promises to have book three published on November 24, 2015. Spring of next year, 2016 is set for book four. I’ve been reading your blog for several years and I have you to thank for the encouragement that kept me working on that first book that took four years to finally feel like I had something worth submitting. So thank you for making me into a 5%er.

    • #62 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 18, 2015 - 11:12 am

      So you must have been one of my first readers other than CheapXanaxandLouisViutttonPurses😀 . Go you!

  55. #63 by Jesse Magnan on November 18, 2015 - 2:09 pm

    Seeing the vast numbers of other writers all trying to get their work out there can be discouraging, however seeing it all in this context is encouraging. Think of all those who just stop. Don’t be them.

  56. #64 by Dustin on November 18, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    This is soo good, Kristen!

  57. #65 by Dustin on November 18, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Flaggfan.

  58. #66 by Samc95xc on November 18, 2015 - 10:21 pm

    Something really interesting! Thanks for sharing your insight mate!

  59. #67 by Samc95xc on November 18, 2015 - 10:22 pm

    Reblogged this on The Starlit Octave Band and commented:
    Want to be a Writer?

  60. #68 by gigglingfattie on November 18, 2015 - 10:47 pm

    I have so many friends who want to publish a novel but don’t actually put in the time – I think they should all read this article! And to the friend who actually achieved it, she should be proud she is in the 5%!

  61. #69 by gigglingfattie on November 18, 2015 - 10:48 pm

    Reblogged this on No Love for Fatties and commented:
    For anyone, like myself, who wants to get that manuscript published!

  62. #70 by trishsplace on November 19, 2015 - 8:17 am

    Heavy!
    I’m doing nanowrimo for the first time.
    I’m middle aged and haven’t written since I was a teenager. I’m writing fiction, but blog ‘random thoughts’.
    Today I’m 4000 short of 40000 words.
    Cheers, Trish

  63. #71 by trishsplace on November 19, 2015 - 8:19 am

    Reblogged this on RANDOM THOUGHTS by Trish and commented:
    Interesting thoughts.
    I’m not in the 5% usually, but have written 36000 words in nano so far. First timer.

  64. #72 by Melissa Keaster on November 19, 2015 - 8:50 am

    Now I’m all caught up and understand the 5% rule. Lol!

    Favorite part: “Discipline is just choosing between what we want now and what we want most.” I’ve said something similar for years, applying it to my college days of musical studies, then later theater, then later family, then natural healing for my disease, then learning to cook, prayer time, Bible study, etc. Now writing.

    I haven’t had the flu, but I’ve had a few bad days this month that only a combination of sheer determination and the accountability of WANA sprinters has helped me overcome. I probably would have shown up without you, but I wouldn’t have written half as much. (You guys will all get mentions in my acknowledgments.)

    Anyway, loved the post, as usual, and love you.

  65. #73 by mdellert on November 19, 2015 - 10:58 am

    Reblogged this on MDellert-dot-Com.

  66. #74 by artandicon on November 19, 2015 - 5:06 pm

    Posted on my art & writing page on facebook. Many want the life of a poet, artist or a writer, but they don’t want the discipline to perfect their skill. All they see is the celebration of the outcome.

  67. #75 by nancysegovia on November 19, 2015 - 6:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Nancy Segovia and commented:
    Discipline is freedom, the freedom to become part of the 5%

  68. #76 by nancysegovia on November 19, 2015 - 6:16 pm

    Good advice as always. On the mend now, physically, and next year will be MY year!

  69. #77 by thewriteedge on November 20, 2015 - 7:57 am

    Thank you so much for the reminder that as writers we may have the luxury of spending a lot of time with imaginary friends in extraordinary places, but what we’re pursuing is very real. The choices we make about it are real. And those choices have consequences.

    Awesome, as always!

  70. #78 by Alfa on November 21, 2015 - 8:24 am

    Thanks for the great post. Starting today I will call myself a ‘Writer’ instead of an ‘Aspiring Writer’. Admiting that you are something forces one to do something about it.

  71. #79 by Alfa on November 21, 2015 - 8:28 am

    Reblogged this on Mixture of 'Little Things' and commented:
    Its 5th grade science, when you figure out that the moon only ‘reflects’ the light from the sun, that the luminious light we see every night that has shown paths in the dark does not really belong to the moon. But the Moon is the Moon, and it never runs away from that fact.

    All writers should call themselves ‘Writers’ because admiting a fact forces one to act. Its a goal we want to achieve, then why not admit it first? And let the action follow.

  72. #80 by Jadzia on November 23, 2015 - 1:41 pm

    I really like how your blog posts apply to not only writing but real life, too. For anything and everything we want we have to make the time, not find it. And discipline…don’t get me started. Thanks for this awesome blog!

  73. #81 by annmarjoryk on November 24, 2015 - 3:06 pm

    This was a great read. Thank you very much for your candid words. Plan to share.

  74. #82 by James M. Copeland on December 1, 2015 - 5:07 pm

    I fully understand what you have said!!!!!!!!
    I wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more. All of a sudden I stopped writing and read what I had wrote. Phew!!!!!!
    Now, I have the courage to read as I go. I have mstered several problems in the craft, but I have not as yet mastered getting the agent.
    I need an agent.
    I want to know what’s wrong with my writing?
    When I read it, I understand it, should I make it harder to understand?
    Sincerely,
    JMC

  75. #83 by locustbean on December 4, 2015 - 3:46 pm

    “If today, I could guarantee you hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and all you had to do was finish the novel, how many would stay up late or get up early? How many would decide the family can go to the movies alone? Or that the floors are clean enough?”

    This tickled me. I didn’t need a guarantee of millions to stay up late and ditch house cleaning- the little badges on the Nano website and being able to log words every day in my sprint group were enough. Lol.
    I need to work on the rhino skin. I know this first draft is awful. Having someone read the disaster that I threw together in just under a month and tell me it sucks wouldn’t bother me because I know it is a disjointed mess. I see myself having more trouble if it is something that I’ve worked on, rewritten, edited, polished, etc to much better version. I’ll get there and figure out how to roll with it and take the criticism to get better, but that will definitely be the thing that I need to work on.

  76. #84 by Dawn Ross on December 8, 2015 - 1:15 pm

    Regarding your final list of 5% actions, I’ve gone up and down that list several times over the years. I’m at the point now where I am rewriting what I’ve written and trying to be consistent about blogging and establishing a name for myself. I still have a ways to go. I may get sidetracked. But I don’t want to give up.

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