Thursday, November 08, 2012

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, November 08, 2012 14 comments
I've invested more time in social media in the past month than ever, and yet am coming to the realization I'm doing something wrong. I really couldn't put my finger on what was not working until I read this post by Kristen Lamb: 3 Social Media Myths That Can Cripple Our Author Platform.

First of all, can I admit I hate the term "platform"? To me, a platform is where a greasy politician oozes charm through his Ken doll mask, tells people what he thinks they want to hear. And frankly, politics make me crazy--all the jockeying for power and manipulation. Is that any way to meet to goal of reaching a readership? I don't think so.
 Pelt the mime with hazelnuts. Have a little more wine.

To me, the term "venue" is more helpful. It incorporates environment, gathering, and a group gravitating to something attractive. You have expectations about what to expect at a funky coffeeshop venue versus a classroom venue, right?

If a blog is a venue, then what's the furniture like? Velvet couches, equipped worktables or classroom desks? Is it warm or cool? Is there music playing, and if so, what style? Do folks arrive at this venue primarily to passively learn? To be entertained? To interact?

Writers' blogs are dying because they've become an uninviting venue to those who don't want to wander from writer's conference to writer's conference. Fiction READERS are certainly not interested in doing that.

My blog has been ineffective because I've built a "brand" that doesn't make you want to read my fiction.

I'm sorry.

Really. I am. Sorry for me, sure, but more sorry for you. I've robbed you of smiles and genuine camaraderie by failing to show up as the zany nerd I actually am. I've rarely let you see the parts of me that show up in my fiction loud and clear. Instead, I've given you a whole lot of lectures.

Lectures. OMG. How did I turn into the person who gives lectures?

I guess when I started up this blog, I felt all I had to offer was technical expertise. I was out to get myself some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That kind of thinking comes from one place--insecurity.

I don't want to be that chick any more. She's so scared, so rigid, so un-fun.

I want to start showing up in my own life, on my own blog, starting today.

Have you ever found yourself in a rut, or become a persona you don't like? How did you begin to change?

photo credit: nioanto, morguefile.com

14 comments:

  1. Well I'll be honest, I will miss that Laurel, because I learned so much from her! But at the same time, I understand. In terms of blogs, I think about this question all the time . . . trying to decide what my readers would enjoy most (because yeah, I'm all about pleasure) . . . yet I feel like I fail at it. But beginning change always starts with recognition . . . so that's where I'm at. :)

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    1. I appreciate that, but since I don't write writing-craft books, it makes sense for me to makes space for a bit more variety. That writer-conference material is still around, but I'd like to reach those who would connect with my fiction voice. That side of me hasn't come out much in recent years. And believe me, she is worth hearing from, too!

      Kristen's article is worth a read. I think she's onto something about the glutted field of writing advice blogs, and that inbreeding can be a problem.

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  2. I don't mind that you're changing--I'd love to see the zany side. But I've always enjoyed your blog! I've always gotten a sense of your honesty and kindness from it. So definitely part of who you are has come through.

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    1. Thanks, Connie. I'd like to start having more varied content that's interesting to all kinds of people. My own husband isn't interested in reading this blog because it's "too much shop talk." I feel like my creative writing would also get a shot in the arm if I were having more fun with wider topics.

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  3. I always say: Blog about what you want to blog about, and your like-minded audience will find you.

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    1. Yep. Time to ditch that "shoulds" and talk about whatever I fancy. If nothing else, it will be more energizing for me, though I hope like-minded readers will resonate with the new content.

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  4. Personally, I really appreciate your lectures, Laurel. Because they don't sound like lectures, they sound like advice from a trusted friend. I actually avoid "cozy" blogs. I don't have time to fool around with stuff that isn't relevant to my pursuit of better writing.

    But, with that said, I'm a writer and not a "fan" so perhaps that's a different animal.

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  5. Thanks, Christine. I try to keep the info posts fun where possible. I didn't mean to imply that I'd never do writing posts, rather that I won't ONLY do writing and books posts. More variety means broader appeal, and more opportunity for non-writers to connect with me too. My current format makes sense only if I wrote writing resource books; it's not giving anyone a sense of what my fiction is like so that they'd want to read it.

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  6. What a great idea. Isn't it funny how the blogging world is naturally evolving? I like the idea of venue better than platform too, and I think I've been slowly trying to move that way myself.

    Having a better word for my goal environment might be a great help.

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    1. I needed a new way to visualize Kristen's great point--that talking shop with other writers is like making your blog into a writers conference. I could just picture the readers I want to connect with walking right on by for the funky coffee shop down the street.

      As both a writer and reader, I want to connect with your fiction content. It is inviting and creatively inspiring.

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  7. Very interesting!! Hey, I never saw you as any of those things, or your blog as dry and boring. (Hmm, makes me wonder about my own now.) I do think it's always important to show your personality on a blog. I love the connections and conversations from blogging!

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    1. Even if entertaining, my blog is mostly shop talk. I'm glad for the connections I've made too, but I think the main reason blogging feels like a chore periodically is because my topical range has been so narrow. I'd have more fun writing broadly and will, I hope, connect with those who readers rather than only other writers.

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  8. Hey don't feel bad! I think your posts are really informative. I think the key here is to have a balance. That's what I aim for and it seems to be working out well. Sometimes I have book promo, sometimes I have informative posts (such as the lit mag ones) and sometimes I'm just me in my own blunt and honest skin. Sure, let your hair down a bit, but don't completely neglect sharing your knowledge. I think it's invaluable!

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  9. Aww, I hope you're not too hard on yourself. I've gone through some difficult times on my blog, as well. I've finally found a happy place because it feels like my personal corner now ... a place I think many find comfortable to visit. I hope you can find the same thing with your blog!

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