Artists Flocking Together (It’s PARTY Time!)

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 loathsome 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 Alonearen’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. 

Francis, the WANA mascot

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’s Mission:

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.


Leave a comment

55 Comments

  1. Yay! Your course sounds great. Will you be discussing the benefits of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Skittles? 😉 I wish you full classes! See you at The #Wanaparty

    Reply
  2. Your course does sound great, August. We’ve got baseball practice tonight, but I’ll try to stop by the party. Oh, and I second the peanut butter cups!

    Reply
    • With enough votes, they may get their own chapter. 😉 Sorry we’ll miss you this time, Stacy, but happy to be sharing the WANA fun with you elsewhere!

      Reply
  3. IMO the best thing about digital is that we can go directly to readers/viewers/listeners, etc. without a big publisher, record label, gallery, studio… So much more opportunity for all! And more choices for readers, viewers and listeners, who can chose what they enjoy, rather than what the gatekeepers think they want.

    Reply
  4. course sounds excellent, but I would assume nothing else from you, August. I’m going to have to miss this round because I’m seriously taking a break over the summer – more writing less of everything else – but I am sad because I know it will be wonderful.

    Reply
    • Aw… I’m glad to hear that you’re going to be prioritizing writing more this summer, Louise. No matter what happens in the publishing world, that aspect of our careers is the most important.

      Reply
  5. Yeah! Glad to hear that you are heading up a course with this group! If the weather is not too bad tonight, I will join the party! (Satellite internet has it’s ups and downs).

    Reply
  6. I’ll be there for as much time as I can beg, steal, or borrow 🙂 I’m very excited to be part of this with my WANA family. Your course sounds amazing!

    Reply
  7. I’m looking forward to taking lots of courses 🙂 I will be there tonight for a bit (have 6 13yr old girls expecting me to chauffeur them to the drive-in tonight to see Snow White). What excites me about the digital age is that the same tools available to the Stephen Kings, Nora Roberts, James Rollins – are available to any writer willing to take up the challenge. And we don’t have to do it alone anymore! I’ve connected with so many fabulous friends online who ‘get’ me, who understand what it is to be passionate about an art – and the sacrifice it takes to succeed. Great post. C U L8r 🙂

    Reply
    • Excellent points, Lisa! Have fun (Good luck? ;)) with the Snow White party. If you need some support meanwhile, you know where to find us. lol

      Reply
  8. August : ) I’ll be there!

    Reply
  9. Congrats on your teaching position! How cool is that and it works in nicely with the book you have been working on!
    I agree that writing is different than other careers and I love the friendships that have formed on-line. I have always been a person that has reached out to new bloggers and will continue to do so… 🙂

    Reply
  10. PAAAAARRRTAAAAAAAY! Of course, I wish we lived closer so we could cavort in the same place, but this is the next best thing. Save me a table dance, WANA-sister…we’ll get our Coyote Ugly on. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ha ha! Yeah! Make sure you wear padding. My dancing skills are, shall we say, erratic. (One way in which that distance helps! ;))

      Reply
  11. Good post. John Steinbeck thought so too. I shared it with him over a couple of beers. 🙂

    Reply
  12. Cool. Good luck with the course, hope it goes great.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  13. Best wishes on your course. It sounds exciting! I am a member over at WanaTribe too. I (perhaps not surprisingly) tend to hang out in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Steampunk tribe. My favorite part about being a writer in the digital age is that I do not feel alone anyone. Isolation (self-imposed by living in the country) sucks. period. Through blogging and WanaTribes I get to meet uplifting artists and exchange ideas and inspirations.

    Reply
    • Nice to meet you! Thanks for the well wishes. 🙂

      I’m with you on that not-feeling-alone bit. Solitude is a valuable part of artistry, but isolation not so much. I’ll look for you in the tribes!

      Reply
  14. Good share! As a recently self published author I look forward to where WANA takes me. 🙂

    Reply
  15. I just downloaded Kristen’s first book as I have been blogging for a while but spent the first two years doing it in a vacuum. I need to be smarter about that and am sure this will help. Can’t make the Twitter party tonight but do love the love of the online community. Great post.

    Reply
  16. Hey, August. Your course sounds like something writers really need, myself included. Can’t wait for even more of that WANA love. BTW, I’m voting for the Reece’s PB too, but I must have the dark chocolate ones. 🙂

    Reply
    • Lovely to hear, Kecia! And there’s definitely room for, and benefits, in eating chocolate.
      Who knew Reese’s would up with dark? Smart move! 😉

      Reply
  17. Great article Austin. I actually take advanced harmonica lessons on line with Howard Levy who plays with Bellafleck and The Flecktones, the Chicago Symphony, Hohnor Orchestra, etc. It is a great opportunity and so it sounds as if WANA will be also. Thanks for the information and congrats on the new course.

    Reply
  18. Thanks for the heads up on the party. I just dropped in to say hello.

    Reply
  19. Yay! We’re so happy to have you on board 🙂 Thank you for the beautiful post! I’m gonna go pass out now… LOL!

    Reply
  20. Congratulations on your course! I know it will be fabulous!!! Great things are happening! I was looking through all the choices last night and couldn’t even begin to make up my mind. *sigh*

    Reply
    • Thanks, Debra! There’s definitely happy, excitement in the air—for your, too, no question. And I hear you. So many courses, only so much time. 🙂

      Reply
  21. That’s so cool, August! And what a forward-thinkkng class. I think diet and exercise are often ignored as creativity tools.

    Reply
  22. Sooo good to hear you are leading a class, August! I didn’t make the twitter party but it sounds like it was quite a blast! Loved your cupcake idea!

    Reply
  23. Raani York

     /  June 9, 2012

    Hello,

    I have nominated you for the “Inspiring Blog Award”

    http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/inspiring-blog-award/

    The rules are:

    1. Thank the nominating person with a link to their blog.
    2. Post 7 things about you
    3. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award
    4. Inform them that you nominated them.

    Have fun.

    Reply
  24. Missed the Twitter party, but so grateful to be part of the WANA love revolution. Your blog is one of my favorite reads, August! Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  25. Goooo WANA! 🙂 I loves me my WANA peeps, who I found after reading Kristen’s books and Googling her. Social media is GREAT for introverts like me–all that socializing and networking without actually having to say a word! 😀

    Reply
  26. Hi August,
    I have just read this posting, and I am amazed. Thank you so much for looking at my book review, because that is how I landed here. I wanted to meet you before I sent you out a thank you reply. Reading this has made my day today, and yes, I want to be a part of WANA. Living as an American in Germany, I miss the networking and socializing. I am writer and singer from the heart and enjoy touching bases with people, and learning and sharing knowledge, and technics, and whatever.
    So thank you. I have really enjoyed this blog posting and will join in.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

    Reply
    • Well now you’ve made MY day! 🙂 Thanks for your lovely note, Patricia. Reading and sharing book reviews are some of the powerful things I believe we can do as authors. There’s nothing better than giving and gaining support. Please do join us over at the WANA site and keep in touch.

      Reply
  27. Another awesome blog for me to follow! I just joined WANA, and it’s a great resource and a cool place to hang out. Also, love the idea of doing shout outs.

    Reply
  28. Kourtney Heintz

     /  June 17, 2012

    Hi August! Sorry I missed the party but I just wanted to let you know you’ve been a role model for me when it comes to social media, nutrition, and overall outlook on life. 🙂

    Reply
  29. Never heard of WANA before – thanks! I don’t know many people who are really serious about their art, whichever it may be. So being able to find other writers who are, is AMAZING. I also love the idea of having not just writers to be exposed to, but other artists as well. All of the arts inspire me.

    Reply
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