Gone are the days of bar hob-nobbing with Hemingway and Stein…
…but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed!
If you’re like many artists, stories of writers’ bars and artists’ coves make your heart tighten in envy. (Youch. Yep, like that.) How are we supposed to accomplish our real work (our art) when we have bills to pay? Households to run? Relationships to nurture? All without going crazy? While varying opinions abound, I believe that prioritizing our passions is necessary for artists, if we want to be happy, healthy and successful. This past year, I’ve learned a great deal about another crucial factor—community.
Signing with my literary agent last August was exhilarating, but the aftermath left me a bit lonely and confused. What now? I wondered. So accustomed to working my butt off to land an agent, I assumed there’d be plenty to do, other than writing my next novel. When I asked my agent, he sent me a packet of marketing tips intended for post-publication. May as well start early, right?
In the packet I spotted that l
oathsome daunting annoying beautiful word: blogging. A web-search led me to Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer, a book by social media guru Kristen Lamb. I dove in and soon felt not only less annoyed at the thought of social media, but excited. No, seriously. (I still have mental double-takes at that revelation…) Kristen demystified Twitter and other social media platforms, and led me toward a world full of talented, passionate creatives, many of whom struggled with the same lonely bouts, passion for writing and determination I had.
The people I’ve met through #MyWANA—a hashtag based on Kristen’s second book appropriately named We Are Not Alone—aren’t simply fellow artists, but friends. Before connecting with these fab folks, I thought I’d find passionate, driven writers solely at writer’s conferences. But guess what. While many of these passionate souls do attend conferences, they’ve also sought avenues to bring their craft and careers to the best possible level in between. Rather than complain or shrink away in the face of e-books and social media, they’ve embraced the digital age. They blog, Tweet, share and promote their work on Facebook, support one another in the dark times, the blah times and the brightest of shiny-happy-news times. They are my WANA sisters and brothers, and I love them with my big, squooshy heart.
Here is more good news: The more we support and connect with others, the more our own artistry grows. And the more we grow individually, the stronger artists become as a whole. Like birds, each artist brings unique beauty and flare to the world. (Just ask Francis!) As a flock, we become breathtaking, empowered, empowering, and even world-changing.
This week, Kristen Lamb and her business partner, Ingrid Schaffenburg, launched WANA International. It’s goal? To empower artists—singers, dancers, writers, painters, actors…—of the digital age.
WANA is seeking to fill a vacuum. We were inspired by the movie “Midnight in Paris.” We found ourselves longing for a time when creative people—ALL types of creative people—could all hang out, talk, chat, brainstorm, help each other, etc.
One of the things that bothers me about social media is that I see a lot of inbreeding. Writers talk all to writers about writing and that is good, but after time it stagnates. No new blood and no new ideas. Thus, WANA will solve this
problem. —Kristen Lamb
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU, SERIOUSLY??? WANA International offers a powerful new social media platform and a broad range of webinars, taught by experts ranging form New York Times bestselling authors to technology, lifestyle and business pros—all of whom are artists, first and foremost. I’m stoked and honored to be among the teaching crew, with my first course, Write-amin 101: Eat Well, Write Better, launching in July.
To help celebrate, please join us on Twitter tonight, using the hashtags #MyWANA and #WANAPARTY. To learn more about WANA and all it has to offer, visit Kristen Lamb’s post, I Bring You…A Gift–A New Era for the Digital Age Artist.
So I WANA know. What’s your favorite aspect of being an artist of the digital age? Have you dipped into WANA International? Will you be joining the Twitter party tonight? I’d love to see you there.