An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

Wild Rider Magazine – Crush Procrastination, Boost Your Blog and Writing

Life Hacks * Tips * Blogging * SEO * Movies * Links * Inspiration

This is the second issue of Wild Rider Magazine. Bringing you discoveries from around the web and my wild life.

In school or out for good, here are a few tips and life hacks to help you beat procrastination and links to improve your next blog post or writing project. We all want to do that, but a lot of things can get in the way. Procrastination or lack of focus (Wait. What was that sparkly thing over there?), fear of missing out on social media, and the lack of new information can throw our latest WIP (work in progress), into a death spiral. We can only get so much from the internet.

I’ve put together Ten Ways to Help You Reach Your Goals.

Magazine issue explores procrastination, boosting your blog and writing

Fight Procrastination:

We’ve all faced procrastination. It can lurk in the shadowy background of any project. It comes out of hiding as soon as we don’t want to work hard, we lose interest, or can’t solve a problem.

Most of us find it hard to disconnect from the Internet. We plan to get our work done, but with temptation only one click away, it can be super tough. I looked into a few apps and then realized we could do most of this on our own.

Here are some tips on combatting this enemy:

Reset your notifications. Popups used to drive me nuts while writing. I tried shutting down a few of them, but ended up turning all of them off. If there’s a fire somewhere, I’ll get a phone call.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. I’ve done this several times to make myself settle down and start on a writing project. Once the 25 minutes are up, I either quit, reset the timer, or continue writing.

I also have use this method for writing blog posts, limiting myself to 25 minutes. Sometimes I spend hours and days on posts only to get the same amount of views. Nope. I didn’t use a timer on this one.

There’s a timer on your phone or you can use this site to countdown.

Make a list of goals. If I don’t write them down, I space out half of them. I bought a daytimer in January and make a list and check off at least a couple items every day. I have long term goals in the back of it along with contest entry deadlines. I know many people make lists on their phones and that’s great, but there is something about physically crossing them off that gives me an extra special sense of gratification. I’m all about gratification and rewards. Promise me a gold star and I’ll work for it.

#UNPLUG4HOURS.  Announce to your social media friends that you will “peace out” for a few hours. You’re on the honor system and could lurk, but if you comment or Like something, you’ll be busted. I use #unplug4hours on Twitter. It helps me stay on track when I’m having a hard time focusing. For more on unplugging check out my post called Unplug 4 Hours. It works!

Twitter. Find a posse of writers trying to finish a project and meet up on Twitter or Facebook. Do a writing sprint and meet up again to give your buds virtual high fives.

Check Out These Links for Writers and Bloggers:

Read on to find a list of links to great websites, podcasts and classes. But lets start with a movie. Didn’t you love watching movies in school?

What the movie Blair Witch Project can teach you:

The first Blair Witch movie proved you didn’t need a stellar cast or elaborate sets to make an intense movie. With one view from a movie camera lens it created and executed tension so taught, it was exhausting to watch. Have you been told you need to create tension in a scene? You need to make your reader care what happens to your protagonist? This is the movie for you. The sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, comes out September 16th although this one seems bent in the horror direction.

Links for Writer’s Conferences and Podcasts.

It’s not too late to find a writing conference. Check out the Association of Writers and Writing Programs at I will attend The Colorado Gold Conference in Denver September 9-11. See you there!

The Writer’s Life will link you up with 15 writer podcasts. There are many tips and interviews to explore.

Use iTunes? Then check out The Open University for all kinds of free classes. Don’t have a Mac? Check out The Open University website and search for a variety topics.

Follow this Website. You’ll be glad you did:

I found Donald Maass’s blog, Writer Unboxed, and check it frequently for insightful writing and business tips. I also use their search bar if I’m looking for something in particular. Donald posts once a month and always blows my mind. A new article is posted every day by knowledgeable Writer Unboxed authors.

See How Your Site Ranks.

Ever heard of Alexa? Well there are probably quite a few in the world, but only one ranks your website. With Google constantly changing their logarithms, mine has been on a roller coaster ride for months. I still check once in a while for kicks and giggles.

Content is key, so the aforementioned links could help you.

SEO information from the experts. 

Now that you’ve returned from summer distractions, posting more regularly may also help your rank. Who knows? For SEO information, read MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday. Let me know if something works for you.

So now you should be ready to rock your new projects and learn something new. You can kick procrastination, and take your blog and writing project to another level. You might want to start by making a list.

Click here for last month’s issue of Wild Rider Magazine.

Click for more of the Wild Ride.

Any comments or questions? Maybe you can think of something to add that may help another Wild Rider.

On Lockdown with Shia LaBeouf #TAKEMEANYWHERE


Lockdown from a window inside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary ArtShia LaBeouf and I hung out last Sunday.

The afternoon stretched to more than three hours when two shootings occurred right outside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I thought it was some rude person tapping on the wall. Nope. Police crime taped the area and placed everyone in the building on lockdown. Most of us were pretty oblivious.

My interest in Shia’s talk began when local newspapers reported tweets of GPS coordinates for his next art installation, #TAKEMEANYWHERE. I checked it out. Using Google Earth, each photo depicted roads, intersections or land formations. Every day at noon, I checked out his tweet with the latest. Yesterday’s was 41°09’30″N 104°39’32″W. It was very cool. I was hooked.

If you thought Shia LaBeouf had a nervous breakdown, think again.

The team of LaBeouf, Nastja Ronkko, and Luke Turner have been constructing art installations for two years. They spoke at MediaLive – Corruption, after a week of installations by other artists at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Shia LaBeouf and Susie Lindau at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

They would like to add sincerity to communication in a way that makes you think, emote, and change your perception of the world in some way.

Transparency is their other goal.

Everyone is treated equally. They don’t give their friends or family a heads up about their latest art installations. Everyone finds out at the same time on Twitter. Instead of working in a bubble, the audience becomes a key element in their work. They have no expectations. Shia LaBeouf’s handle is @thecampaignbook. That’s where you can catch up with their latest installation and you could become a part of it, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The talk included very revealing remarks from LaBeouf.

With an animated and extroverted personality, like yours truly, he talked about growing up in Los Angeles in a black section of town where he got beat up a lot. It didn’t help that the “Chia” Pet was popular when he was a kid. You can imagine. He claims that he is pretty uneducated and went into acting to survive. His father is a blue-collar worker and doesn’t believe acting is anything more than a hobby. He has never seen any of his movies. I’ve rarely heard anyone talk so openly. That’s sincerity.

Remember when Shia wore a paper bag over his head?

“I’m sorry. I’m not famous anymore.” Everyone, including me, thought it was a cry for help. Nope. It was one of the group’s collaborative events and his reaction to being busted by Daniel Clowes. You see, LaBeouf used Clowes’ screenplay and made a short film without citing him. Then he won an award at Cannes. “I fucked up,” Shia said, several times. Wearing the paper bag was his apology. Clowes reacted with a Cease and Desist.

I'm not famous anymore bag worn by LaBeouf in slide show at talk in Boulder

The team rented a room. Curious people waited for hours to speak to Shia. He didn’t say anything, but he did cry on occasion showing that you can still be a man and show emotion after doing something regrettably stupid. It made me think about how most of us react when making mistakes. That took courage.


I perused LaBeouf’s site called The Campaign Book. They have orchestrated several artistic media events in the last two years. One of my favorites took place in an art gallery. The team wore headsets and sat in front of laptops. They asked people through social media to #TouchMySoul and took calls, broadcasting them inside the room while spectators looked on. One of the people who called hadn’t spoken to anyone in weeks.

Another call was from a man upset at Labeouf for misusing his fame. He felt he should head up a cause to aid people instead.

LeBeouf, Ronkko and Turner #Touchmysoul

After his rant, Shia asked, “Do you think people need to be listened to?”

“Ah, of course they do.”

“And what do you think is going on here?”

“You’re listening to me.”

“Have a good day.” Shia ended the call.

Boom. That’s what connection is all about. We need to be listened to. That’s why so many are addicted to social media. The likes, adds, or whatever the interaction, boosts endorphins because of those connections. That’s not a bad thing.

Susie Lindau with Luke Turner and Danny Lindau

Danny and me with Luke Turner.

How can we become more sincere?

By really listening. Shia thinks everyone has a right to disagree too. It’s all a part of the exchange. The bottom line? Keep reaching out to communicate.

Another favorite of mine is #STARTCREATING. They had it written in the sky and then recorded#start creating sky written people’s reaction.

After the talk, I asked Shia if his “very sincere public apology” helped him to forgive himself and if the healing process was helped or hurt by it.

He said, “It definitely helped.”


Those GPS coordinates spelled out #TAKEMEANYWHERE. The team was commissioned by The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and The Finnish Institute in London and will travel from May 23rd to June 23rd.

LaBeouf, Ronnko, Turner GPS Google Earth #TAKEMEANYWHERE

That’s an E.

Each day at noon they will tweet their GPS coordinates. Whoever picks them up first can take them anywhere. The first day, they were near Estes Park. The first person to arrive drove them to Oscar Blues in Longmont. The next day, they tweeted a location north of Fort Collins. The last time I checked, they were in Nebraska. 41°09’50″N 96°08’15″W

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.47.46 AM.png

LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner use social media to hitchhike across the US.

Check it out. Maybe they’ll hitch a ride with you! I once hitchhiked in a very unconventional way.

Nastja Sade Ronkko and Susie Lindau at BMoCA

A selfie with Nastja Ronkko.

Shia still conversed with people after the museum’s doors reopened and we were free to go. He answered questions, had pictures taken and signed autographs. He was patient, relaxed, and took his time with each person even though there was always a crowd pressing in around him.

What about the lockdown?

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Apparently, some crazy dude fired several shots into the Boulder Creek outside the Public Library. Then he aimed at police so they shot him. Minutes later, more shots were fired outside the museum. They haven’t found that shooter yet. How weird was it that we were inside celebrating positive communication while crazy maniacs shot guns right outside? Since we were on lockdown, we had more time to communicate. Bonus!

The Campaign Book site. Be sure to click on hashtags to check out their installations.

@CampaignBook on Twitter

Click on my home page for more Wild Adventures 

Twitter – @susielindau

Did this surprise you or did you know about Shia’s art?

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing Blew Up Facebook

For me traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No wayMy Facebook page blew up with comments after I shared an article written for The Guardian by Ros Barber entitled, “For me traditional publishing means poverty, but self-publishing? No way.”


She believes that making a living as a writer is almost impossible when being traditionally published since authors receive such a low percentage on the sale of each book. But self-publishing is much worse given the author is stuck with marketing. She went on to slam anyone who spams up his Twitter feed with book sales.

If you want all the deets, please read this article.

My only comment on Facebook was, “Interesting!” I thought a neutral response would encourage others to sound off. Believe me, I heard them loud and clear.

Barber calls self-publishing “a terrible idea” and enters the danger zone. There are many ways to become published these days. Agents are no longer gatekeepers. There are many publishers who will accept un-agented queries. Self-publishing may be appropriate too.

Despite what Barber says there is no right or wrong way. It’s your choice.

There are a lot of hybrid authors, like Chuck Wendig, who have self-published and have been traditionally published. He seems pretty successful to me.

Now I will use myself as an example:

I am an unpublished author.

Plan A.

Currently, I am querying agents for representation and hope to have my book traditionally published sometime before the next millennium.

If I exhaust my list of agents, I will turn to:

Plan B.

I will query publishers directly. There is a wide range of them from boutique to Big Five. I would only query those with a marketing plan in place.

If I exhaust that list, I will be bummed, but will definitely turn to:

Plan C.


Vanity presses contact me all the time. They are willing to package formatting, cover art, marketing, etc., for a price. The other option is to pay individual professionals or I can do it all myself. *gulp*

I rarely go down this road of thinking since I believe I can get my book published, traditionally.


I do agree with Barber on one point. The only way to improve our craft is by writing a ton. Eventually, we will improve. Writing a book is nothing like writing a blog post or an article for The Guardian. There is so much to learn. No one knows it all. Sorry, Mr. Patterson.

Kidding! I would love to collaborate with you someday.

No matter what kind of publishing you choose, you will be successful at selling your book if you write a good one.

Now excuse me. I have to polish mine.

What’s your opinion? Traditional, self-pub, or hybrid?

Go ahead. Blow up my comment section.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.


Think Big 1

Monday morning, I drank my first cup of coffee of the day and alternated between checking blog stats and answering comments. Then a very loud voice shouted in my head.


I stopped what I was doing. What did you say? Think big?

“YOU’RE THINKING TOO SMALL,” the voice bellowed again.

I sat up and pondered this scream from my sub-conscious self.

It usually criticized and said cruel things like, “Are you ever going to stop surfing the Internet and get something done today?” Or “You are such a gimp. You wouldn’t have broken your wrist if you had gotten into shape after knee surgery last year.” Or, “You have no life. Make a plan.”

I immediately thought of how my voice was right. I was thinking too small. As part of my resolutions I had committed to blogging more frequently and have been working to get into a daily routine to finish old and new projects.


  1. Catch up on blogging and social media.
  2. Write new blog post.
  3. Hit exercise bike.
  4. Write a few chapters in my new book
  5. Work on querying first book series.

Like I said, I had been working on it, but hadn’t quite mastered the routine.


  1. Checked on blog and social media.
  2. Wrote new blog post.
  3. Checked on blog and Twitter.
  4. Postponed hitting exercise bike until afternoon.
  5. Checked on blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  6. Wrote one new chapter.
  7. Checked on blog stats and social media.
  8. Thought about hitting the exercise bike.
  9. Rewrote blog post.
  10. Checked blog stats and comments.
  11. Finally rode a few miles while reading a book.
  12. Watched The Bachelor while checking my blog stats, answering comments, live tweeting, and rewriting my blog post and then checked stats again.

Do you see a vicious cycle occurring?

Tuesday morning, I had a conversation in my head. Yes. I’ve embraced talking to myself:

ME: So how can I think bigger?

THOUGHTS: How about planning to hike Everest?

ME: Too big and I think you were talking about something more career related, right? Continue reading

BEWARE of Cyberspace Snake Oil!

Have you been bought?

Seduced by the glitz, the glam, attracting paparazzi like steel filings to a magnet, and for some, the bouffant hairdo their personal stylist creates, many are in a full-out sprint to the top. They don’t care what they have to do to get there. Nothing is comparable to feeling adored and having screaming fans shout out, “We want more! We want more!” They sneeze and fans applaud.

Beware of snake oil salesmen


Most of us, like 99.99%, will never experience this. But what if you could buy this feeling?

Would you consider buying people to like you?

Continue reading

Drop and Hop for New Followers, If You Dare…

Boston graveyard

Want new followers? The party starts right now. It will be fast and fun. Speed is good especially when zombies may lurk and your name is whispered by the wind. OooOOoooOOOoooo…..

DROP a link to your blog in the comments, including a pitch, describing what you write about.

haunted drop and hop

HOP to other blogs and check them out. Like what you see? Subscribe. Want them to know you came from the Drop and Hop Party? Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back to your haunt.

Blast this link on Twitter and Facebook or whatever flavor social media you prefer. The more that participate, the more followers you will gain.

The witch’s brew is bubbling and the finger sandwiches are fresh. The barista can make anything you like. The bar is always open.

The party will last as long as the ever living dead, so stop by anytime. 


Please consider following my blog too, or else…. *insert cackle here*