Maya Spikes

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4 Surprising Writing Lessons From a Boy Band


What a New Kids on the Block concert taught me about writing for an audience.

As a writer, you probably won’t have to deal with being chased by a group of screaming girls and women who adore you. And that’s probably a good thing.

But, you might gain a large audience. Your popularity can come from a best-selling book, a large email list of subscribers who regularly read your blog, or having a list of long-term clients who keep you busy.

Image by Evan Forester via Flickr

Popularity is a strange thing.

I recently went to a New Kids on the Block concert. No, I’m not writing this during the year 1990. It’s 2017.

But during the years 1989 and 1990, I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan. Or NKOTB, or New Kids, for short.

The concert brought back a lot of fun memories.

I also realized there are 4 lessons writers can learn from boy bands, especially from a typical boy band’s career path.

1. The “f” in fans stands for fickle.

Preteen girls may be notoriously fickle, but they aren’t the only ones.

Some readers will respond to only one small part of your work. They might like one book or they might share and leave comments on a few of your blog posts. Some readers will stay and continue to support you as you produce more books, posts and other writing services.

But some readers will leave. And this doesn’t just happen to authors who write young adult novels. Sometimes, your readers won’t follow you as you change writing styles. Other times, a reader’s book or blog preferences will change.

2. When some fans leave, keep working.

My taste in music took a sharp turn from the early 1990s through the middle of that decade. I went from NKOTB to Nirvana. My parents and my big sister probably rejoiced about never having to hear the New Kids song “The Right Stuff” (or any other New Kids songs) again.

However, I think the drastic change was also a little confusing to my family. As my wardrobe changed from pastels to flannel, New Kids on the Block released more CDs during the rest of the decade. Some members also had solo CDs. NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg became an actor, and he’s now on the TV show “Blue Bloods.”

Some fans will move on. And you need to move on, too. Keep writing and keep connecting with your readers who are still supporting you, even if your sales, blog traffic or list of clients is low.

You can also take on other creative pursuits. I know at least a few writers who also act in local and regional theatre productions. It’s really inspiring to watch and root for people who are using their various creative talents.

3. Some of your former fans might come back.

You have two choices when this happens.

A. You can still be bitter that they left. Or…

B. You can re-introduce yourself, let your returning readers know about your more recent writing pieces, and remind them of why they “fell for you” in the first place.

Pick choice B.

New Kids on the Block in 2017

The recent New Kids on the Block concert was a good mix of the group’s biggest hits and their newer songs. I really enjoyed the concert, and I was so happy for preteen Maya who didn’t get to see NKOTB in concert during their heyday.

Even during my angst-ridden high school years and pretentious college days, I still smiled whenever I saw any old or newer TV appearances of any New Kids members.

So, happily welcome back your former readers or clients, if you notice some of them returning to check out your latest work.

4. You may eventually convince some of your haters. Maybe.

I went to the NKOTB show with a group of friends who were mostly fans. The few guys in our group were less enthusiastic and seemed more interested in the opening act Boyz II Men. (Love those guys, too.) Still, one of the guys did say that he had to give New Kids some credit for connecting with their fans and knowing what they like.

If you keep growing as a writer and keep connecting with your readers, other writers and other creative people, you just might win over, or at least soften the criticism from your skeptics. For more tips about how to handle your haters, click here.

The main takeaway? Writing has its ups and downs. Write anyway. No matter what happens.

What? Did you expect me to tell you to keep “hangin’ tough?” Or to focus on “the write stuff?” Nope. I’m not doing that.

But seriously, keep writing. Your supporters, and maybe even a skeptic or two, will thank you.

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Did this post inspire and help you? How do you connect with your readers and clients? Who is your favorite musician? Share your writing experiences and/or favorite music/concert memories in the comments section below.




6 Replies

  1. Great information in this post Maya! I really enjoyed reading it!

    1. Thanks, Cori-Leigh! Writing this post was almost as fun as the concert. Almost. 🙂

  2. Love this Maya. You have great perspective on just keep going. We write and write and write. That is the bottom line:-) Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. You’re welcome, Nancy! To paraphrase part of the popular inspirational poem “Don’t Quit”: “Rest if you must, but don’t quit.”

  3. Enjoyed this. Love your main takeaway! Writing has its ups and downs. Write anyway. No matter what happens.

    1. Thanks, Danielle! I’ve had my share of highs and lows while writing. I hope no one feels alone if they are going through a low point.

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