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Writing and Publishing

When Your Post Goes Viral: 4 Tips For Survival

As writers we all want more people to see what we write, right? If we have a book, we want more people to buy it, and if we blog we want more people to read it and comment, right?

Be careful. Last week I heard about two bloggers whose posts went viral.

The first case occurred a year ago, with over a million views and almost 1,500 comments. The writer touched a nerve. Some loved his post; others hated it. However, the attention his post received earned him the attention of publishers, and he turned his post into a book, which went on sale this month. Though the result was good, the path was rocky.

Another blogger had a post go viral earlier this month. Though I don’t know how many people read it, they left 644 comments—so far. Most agreed with her, but a few took exception. Of the comments I read, I saw two trends:

A few women, from the right, took issue with one line in her post, while many more (all of whom were men) attacked her from the left and derided her “narrow” point of view. I use the word narrow because I don’t want to repeat the name-calling they resorted to. Those who hated her words were often quite mean, and some attacked her personally.

Both bloggers were caught off guard by the response. Here’s what we can learn from their experiences:

Our Audience is Different Than Society as a Whole: For the most part, the people who regularly read our blogs like us and agree with our message. Their comments are almost always kind and if they disagree, they do so politely. We have formed a nice community; civility is the norm. However, this is not the case with everyone else, the folks who don’t know us and are swept into reading one post gone viral.

Our Words Will Offend Some People: We write because we want to touch readers. While we hope to inspire, encourage, guide, or entertain our audience, this can’t happen all the time. We will offend some people. It is inevitable. If we try to avoid causing offense, we end up with bland words that accomplish nothing.

People Can Be Mean Online: With the protection of distance and anonymity afforded online, otherwise nice people can de-evolve into spewing inhuman invective. I suspect in most cases their issues are not really with the blogger but are a response to their personal failings or deep hurts. Haters are often damaged, people.

Don’t Defend Ourselves: When attacked, we need to suffer in silence, not stoop to their level. Our friends will defend us when needed. We must be content with that.

Remember, we write for others to read our words, and we need to be prepared to handle the fallout when their reaction isn’t positive. If we persist in writing, it will happen sooner or later.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Six Types of Writing Communities

Two weeks ago I asked the question, do you have a writing community? Although a writing community can be a haphazard hodgepodge of writing connections, an intentional solution will likely offer the best type of community. But what might a structured writing community look like and do? The answer covers a gambit of options. Here are six:

  1. Critique Group: The purpose of this writing community is to give one another feedback on our work. The success of these groups hinges on two things: the structure of how the critiques take place and the attitudes of the writers. Not all critique groups work for everyone.
  2. Support Group: The purpose of this writing community is to care for and encourage one another, sharing the joys and struggles of the writing journey. Consider it as self-directed group therapy for writers.
  3. Writing Circle: Similar to a support group, but with the focus on sharing our writing with one another, but not for a critique. It’s also a place to update each other on what we’re working on and our career plans, as well as our successes and failures.
  4. Accountability Partners: Do you need someone to check up on you to make sure you’re writing every day and doing what you said you would? Then you need an accountability partner. Just keep in mind that it’s often a fine line between holding someone accountable and nagging—and no one likes a nag.
  5. Discussion Groups: The goal of a discussion group is to read books and talk about them. While most groups consider their reaction to the words, writers will gain more by analyzing the authors writing style, techniques, and voice.
  6. Craft Groups: The purpose of craft groups is to mutually help one another become better writers. At each meeting, one person takes a turn to share an aspect of writing he or she is good at (or at least one step ahead of the rest of the group) or to research and teach one facet of writing.

There are many similarities between these options and much room for overlap. Often, groups will focus on one area, while dabbling in a few others, be it as needed or consistently. While there’s great value for these interactions to occur in person, when it isn’t an option, online groups offer a great alternative.

The important thing is for writers to seek community.

Are you in a writing community? What does it look like?

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to write the first draft of a novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of a novel) during the month of November.

The rules are simple:

  • Any type of fiction, in any language, counts.
  • Advance planning and preparation is acceptable.
  • Actual writing may not start prior to November 1 and must end by midnight November 30 (local time).
  • No prior written material may be used.

Though no prizes are awarded, everyone who completes the 50,000-word goal is a winner. Started in 1999, the fifteen-year-old event draws more writers each year, with over 400,000 participating last year. A tremendous online community and support group surrounds NaNoWriMo, providing comradery, encouragement, and resources.

Though I’m not a novelist, I’m drawn to NaNoWriMo and hope to participate one year. If you’ve not already prepared for NaNoWriMo, it’s likely too late (though not impossible) to take part this year, but you can follow along this year and plan for next year.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Do You Have a Writing Community?

As writers, we write alone. Even if we compose our words with people around us—such as at a coffee shop or the kitchen table—writing is a solitary effort. Often we must isolate ourselves for progress to occur; we say “no” to social activities in order to move our work forward or meet a deadline.

Our family and friends, as non-writers, often don’t understand this. With well-intentioned prodding, they urge us to emerge from our writing seclusion to embrace others and experience more of what life offers. And sometimes we must, but often, we must not.

What we need are comrades who understand, fellow writers who know the agony and the joy of creating art with our words. We need colleagues who can celebrate our successes and comprehend our discouragements.

We need other writers to walk alongside us. We need wordsmiths who can guide us. And we need writers who we can help. We need opportunities to both to give and to receive.

We Need a Writing Community

Too many aspiring writers struggle alone. When discouragement emerges, writer’s block hits, or self-discipline evaporates, they have no support team to fall back to. They abandon their vision, suppress their dream, and stop writing. If only they had someone to support them, someone to offer encouragement. If only they had a writing community.

Writing communities can happen in person or online. They can take on various forms and formats, with different goals and purposes. The important thing is to be in community with other writers.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Tribe Writers: Online Writing Course

Last year I took an online writing course from Jeff Goins. It’s called Tribe Writers. It was the most significant thing I did all year to grow as a writer.

I enjoyed it so much, I took the class again to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. Then I took it a third time.

Now Jeff is ready to start another class. Signup begins today, November 6. If you want to grow as a writer, I encourage you to check it out. You’ll improve your writing, learn how to build your platform, make new friends in the writing community, and more.

The class has four modules: 1) Honing Your Voice, 2) Establishing a Platform, 3) Expanding Your Reach, and 4) Getting Published.

Each module has several lessons, many short writing assignments, a slew of recorded interviews and teachings, and unlimited networking opportunities with other students. The class is designed to last eight weeks, but you can work on it at your own pace.

I hope you’ll check out Tribe Writers—I’m glad I did.

[This is an affiliate link. I only recommend what I use, and I’m sold on this course.]

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.