Blog to Book

Going Off-Road on the Path to Creativity

By Dec 14, 2011January 30th, 201530 Comments

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You’re in for a real treat today!

SITStah Anna Lefler recently published her first book! We thought it would be great to have her talk about the process of getting a book published,  and how it happened in the most surprising of ways. You’ll be inspired by her perspective as a member of our blogging community. Enjoy, and read on for an exciting giveaway!

People blog for many reasons.  Even a quick skip through the Internet will give you a sense of the boggling variety of motivations that drive millions of individuals to spend their spare time wrestling with the graphic nuances of a masthead, weighing the SEO benefits of one post title versus another, and asking themselves the question that even the most prolific blogger faces on a regular basis:  what shall I blog about today?

When I started blogging back in 2008 (yes, when you had to travel from blog to blog in covered wagons and the keyboards were made from sticks and leaves), I knew what my motivation was:  silliness.

And I was serious about it.

My creative love was (and is) fiction.  I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and for decades have carried a novel-in-progress with me, whether in my backpack as a student or in my briefcase as a professional.  It wasn’t until I became a full-time mom, though, that I began seriously to write fiction of my own.  That endeavor changed my life and, just as importantly, the way I viewed my place in it.

(One of my great regrets is that I did not start much sooner, but then again, I try to embrace the belief that things happen in your life exactly when they are meant to and when you are ready to embrace them.  The key word in that sentence, of course, is “try.”)

I started my humor blog, Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder, for two reasons.  The first was to begin building a readership for my comic novel, which I was still finessing and getting ready to shop.  The second was to create a place to let my truly silly side romp outside the confines of novel structure (where imaginary letters to Angelina Jolie and grudge matches with Facebook probably shouldn’t live).

Little did I know that what I was actually doing was opening the door to an entire creative community filled with lovely people and unexpected opportunities.

Although the road to a completed novel can be a solitary one, blogging felt like a perpetual hurricane party where the doorbell never stopped ringing and folks just kept showing up with more food, drinks and party games.  Blogging provided encouragement, commiseration and nourishment (much of which began with SITS, to whom I am grateful for putting me on the road toward a substantial readership).  Also, people seemed to like the silliness.

I felt I was part of something, even as I continued down the occasionally lonely path toward becoming a novelist.  At some point I embraced the fact that I was now on two parallel tracks that coexisted beautifully.

Cut to:  present day.  I’m in the middle of a book tour, but the book is not my novel – it’s a nonfiction book – a humor book – that came about through my exposure in the blogging world.  Earlier this year, a very silly essay that I posted on a humor site caught the attention of a publisher and they contacted me through my very silly blog.

Once I finally accepted that their email wasn’t spam (even though it was nestled between an “urgent message from the British Prime Minister’s Office” and a notification from Western Union that my million dollars was waiting to be picked up), things moved quickly.  Within a week, I was immersed in writing a humorous women’s dictionary on an aggressive deadline.  That book – The CHICKtionary:  From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know –  just launched this month.

It’s been an amazing, humbling, eye-opening journey and I’m very grateful.  Let me be clear:  I don’t claim to be ANY kind of expert.  However, I can tell you this with confidence:  you just never know.  You never know what opportunities will come your way, you never know what those skills you’re honing will ultimately be used for, and you never know who’s got their eye on you.

Is this exciting…or terrifying?  Yes.

You have your own reasons for blogging, your own dreams.  Whether you’ve scribbled them down in detail or whether you like to keep your aspirations free and loose, the fact is that the minute you staked a claim to that URL, you took the first step on a creative path.

My wish for you is that it takes you exactly where you want to be.

Anna Lefler (@AnnaLefler on Twitter) is the author of The CHICKtionary:  From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know, a humorous dictionary of the things women say and what they mean (or don’t mean) when they say them (Adams Media, November 2011).  For more information, visit www.annalefler.com or Anna’s humor blog, Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder.



About Alina Thomas

Alina is a Northern Virginia wedding photographer based out of Leesburg, VA. She has a passion for arts and design, and strives to express it through her work. She is creative at heart and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge in photography with other Virginia wedding photographers on her blog each week. Alina loves being a new mom to her first-born and spending time with her husband who helps her run her businesses. Please feel free to follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+.


  • Congratulations on your new book! Being a novelist is so hard. I too am trying to get my book published and it’s not an easy road. Never give up on your novel. You might never know when the right door will open for you to make it happen. I know I’m a stranger so my words might not mean as much coming from someone you actually know but here it goes, “I believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind too. You. Are. Awesome.” Again congratulations on your new book, it looks fabulous!

  • TrishR says:

    You are truly a classy lady Anna , with or without the mustache. Also a wicked, funny lady. Congratulations on all your success, you have earned it all! God bless. 🙂

  • I love Anna’s brilliant writing. Congrats on the book!

  • Annie says:

    Thank you for sharing! What a whirlwind!

  • Tricia Oakes says:

    Oh, the ultimate dream of writing a book. Mine is bouncing around in my head, and I need posts like this to keep me motivated. Thanks for sharing your story, and congratulations on your hard work and tenacity bringing something fantastic to fruition.

  • Life As Wife says:

    Reminded me of why I starteD this blogging journey!!

  • Awesome! Congrats on your success with the book!

    Blogging has given me the chance to get back into writing and learning more about myself while getting the chance to reflect on past posts. I laugh at some of my posts and wonder what I was thinking on others. It’s been a wild ride thus far but I’m enjoying it.

  • you just never know. You never know what opportunities will come your way, you never know what those skills you’re honing will ultimately be used for, and you never know who’s got their eye on you.

    Loved that & very thrilled for you! The book sounds great!!! Gives me hope! 😉

  • heidi says:

    Congratulations and thank you for the inspiration! I just completed a manuscript (memoir) and so far it’s been quite the journey and I have a long way to go still. I needed to see this today.

  • Pamela list says:

    Congrats! Will put it on my list for WInter Break very exciting.

  • Anna, what a great story. It’s almost like being Lana Turner and getting discovered sitting at a lunch counter in Hollywood. I’m sure today, Lana would be writing a blog, too. After many years as a television writer (and being aged out), I took to blogging for a creative outlet, too, and met some amazing people. Little did I know when I started that a book would emerge for me, too, albeit by a different route. My book, “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry” is now available on Amazon. The whole blogging experience has been great fun and you’re right. You never know where the road is going to lead.

  • Anna’s book is hilarious and her generosity is amazing. This is the first time I’ve heard her talk about how all this came about. Thanks Anna. This was inspiring (even though I have no clue where I’m heading).

  • I know first-hand Anna’s genuine perspective. She dispensed humor-filled advice to me some time ago and it’s made all the difference. My post here is to say thank you. I have my copy of CHICK and loving (and laughing on) every page.

  • Penelope says:

    What a great story! Wonderful that a blogging community can make a solitary activity so social. I follow a few of my favorite authors on Facebook. It’s fun!

  • So inspiring and many congrats on the new book!!! I definitely have to check it out 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    Well, I’ve heard a lot about Anna recently! I’d love to win her book.

  • HouseTalkN says:

    “Silliness” is always a great place to start! I can’t wait to chuckle my way through your book!

  • Shell says:

    Great story! Sounds like a fun book.

  • The book is so much fun.

    As are you, Anna.

  • Andi says:

    This looks like the PERFECT vacation read, something to give me a good laugh!

  • Jodi says:

    Congrats on your book! So VERY cool!! 🙂

  • YAY! Congratulations. So glad you didn’t delete the meat between the spam in your inbox.

  • Isn’t that amazing?
    I loved hearing how this happened for you!
    You just never know, do you?

    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff, and a HUGE congratulations!

  • Allison says:

    Awesome! I’m an aspiring novelist myself. Kudos on the book – I’ll have to check it out!

  • Kathryn says:

    A funny book with the word chick in the title? Me, pick meeeeee. Oh please.. Ok enough begging. Congrats on your wild ride and wonderful success!

  • Lisa says:

    I love these types of stories. It is always when you’re not looking for something that they blessing comes forth in totally unexpected ways. Way to go in showing us how to simply enjoy the ride more than the destination!

  • Viviene says:

    This is awesome, Anna! I am so inspired! Im now in the middle of writing a book. Having another SITStah publish a book inspires me even more!

    You know the blog that I have now is my 5th (or more) attempt at blogging. The previous ones died a natural death. I’d say that keeping this last one active longer than the rest is because of SITS! Truly, the secret to success is SUPPORT!

    Thank you sits!

  • Anna,
    You are so right! Writing a novel can feel terribly isolating, and blogging gives me much needed contact with real people while I sit for hours in my office. Best wishes on your book tour!!

  • Megan says:

    Thanks for sharing your story!