Changes – This is Me

You may have noticed that I’ve recently changed a few things about my blog lately after being absent for quite a while. Life, as always, is crazy, but I want to share why I’ve decided to make these changes. Let me tell you about me.

I don’t remember learning how to read, it’s just something that has been part of me for as long as I can remember. Books have been such a large part of my life, they make up the core of who I am. I have been writing nearly as long. I dictated my first stories to my mother who kindly wrote them for me and then moved on to writing them myself. There was nothing that I enjoyed more than getting lost in a good book or creating a story.

When I was fifteen, I finished my first novel. With all the brash enthusiasm of teenagers, I sent my book off into the world to be published. I made the mistake of choosing Tate Publishers to send my book to, a company that I later found out did not have a great reputation. After waiting months to hear back and being told repeatedly that everything looked good, I received an email saying that they could publish my book….. for four thousand dollars. I was crushed, naturally, for what teenager has 4k just lying around. Also, at no point was any discussion of payment brought up, so I felt blindsided and betrayed. Looking back now, I know that this was a rather naive way of viewing the world, but it set off events that changed my life for the next fifteen years.

After receiving this email, I swore that I would never show anyone my writing ever again. Again, teenagers are so dramatic! And I was a terribly shy teenager so having summoned the courage to share my writing, this made it’s rejection all the more painful. (I think I had some wild idea of becoming the next J. K. Rowling or Christopher Paolini, an overnight sensation with people begging to read my books. I don’t know, time has passed since then.) From that day forward, I never shared my writing with anyone, not even my family, although thankfully I never stopped writing.

Years passed and I finished high school and then college, before moving into the workforce, landing my dream job as a librarian. Throughout this time, people had told my that my writing was great, although I never showed them the stories that I wrote, just college and workplace assignments. Office politics happened and I ended up quitting my job as a librarian and becoming a full time essential oil wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. This allowed me to travel to Guatemala and Nepal as well as meet some incredible people. I know, you’re wondering why I’m telling you this, but it’ll become relevant later, I promise.

Two years ago, in September 2017, I got fed up with living my life in fear. I challenged myself to write a mystery and publish it in time for Halloween. Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write the mystery and a six book series popped into my head! And thus, The Seeker Files were born. I did manage to write the first novel in a month and publish it, but I was soooooo burnt out, lol. Since then, I’ve written and published the second book and recently finished writing the third book in the series. (It is now in the editing stages, which I admit takes a bit longer. Editing is not in my wheelhouse, lol). All of this was done under the name Kat Seaholm

Fast forward to May of this year. I am still with doTERRA essential oils and right now, the company is really focused on something called Gallup or Clifton Strengths. If you don’t know what that is, check it out, it is totally amazing and life changing! https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/

I ended up taking the full 34 strengths test and it was life changing for me. It allowed me to see that there was nothing broken or wrong with me, that I was simply being ME. By learning about these strengths and how to use them properly instead of holding me back, it was life changing. It was like finally being able to breathe deeply after holding my breath for all of my life. It give me permission to be me fully, without shame or regret. And this is when I realized, that even though I had published my book, I was still living in fear. I was afraid to put myself out there, fully and totally, was hiding behind a pen name using a plethora of excuses as to why it was a good idea or why people would hate me. And I’m tired of it. So I’m currently working on rebranding everything under my real name.

So goodbye Kat Seaholm. You were good to me, you helped me get past my initial fears and to actually get my work out there. But it’s time to let you go and to step boldly out so people can get to know the real me, with all my quirkiness and rough edges.

Hello! I want to invite you to get to know me, the real me. My name is Katie Holmburg. My mother loves Irish names, so my name originally was going to be Kathleen, but as my middle name is Colleen (I’m the third generation to have Colleen as a middle name and love it), it was decided that Kathleen Colleen was too many een’s so I ended up with Katherine instead. But I am and always will be a Katie, not a Kathy or a Kate or even Kat, but simply Katie.

I turn 30 tomorrow. I know that this is a big milestone for a lot of people, but I am so grateful to be turning 30. I feel like I am just beginning to hit my stride in life, to figure out who I really am.

I am happily single and enjoying life. I have waaaaay too many cats (8) but wouldn’t get rid of a single one. I am about a year away from getting my black belt in International Kenpo Karate Jiu-Jitsu or IKKJ and love being a martial artist. My mom doesn’t understand how it is that her only daughter is the one who took up martial arts or writes murder mysteries instead of one of her three boys, but she loves me anyway.

I love to write and I love to read, but I hate grammar and it hates me back. I still have the first novel I wrote, but it needs a serious overhaul and is NOT a part of The Seeker Files. I’m still figuring out the part of being a writer/publisher/wearer of all hats, but I learn something new everyday. But I know that my characters will always have a story to tell and need someone to tell it, a.k.a. me.

So thank you for being part of my journey so far. And I hope that you continue the journey with me as I continue writing The Seeker Files and discovering Aletta and Lirim’s story. As I discover who I am and share it with the world.

Happy Friday!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJd2RyGm8Q

This is Me

Featured post

Let’s talk Nanowrimo

Hey Everyone,

It’s October, which means that Nanowrimo is just around the corner. This year will be my third year participating in this challenge.  .So let’s talk a little bit about Nanowrimo and the pros and cons.

Accountability

Writing is pretty much a solitary sport, unless you’re collaborating with someone on a story, but that’s a subject for a different blog post. Although we bounce ideas off of people and then have them beta read our work (so thankful for betas!), the process of actually creating is done by the writer alone (and maybe the cat perched nosily on their lap.) Unless you’re really good at setting deadlines independently (which I’m not) or under contract which keeps you on track, then it’s just as easy to not write on busy days as it is to carve out a bit of time to write. By participating in Nanowrimo, you are promising yourself that you will write a certain number on words in a certain amount of time. You’ve probably also told your friends and family this, which adds another layer of incentive for you to do as you said that you would and sit down and write. (Not surf facebook or update your pinterest boards, but actually write).

The cons of this can be that some people panic when they see the end goal, overwhelmed by the amount of words they’ll need to churn out, not realizing that if done in smaller chunks daily, it will be much easier to breeze through. Or they write when inspiration strikes them and freak out that their characters will not be amenable to writing every day, digging their heels in and creating writer’s block. (I find that most characters want their story told and with a bit of coaxing, will keep telling you their stories.)

Word Counts

The typically goal for Nanowrimo is fifty thousand words over the course of the month of November. It works out to about seventeen hundred words a day. This has been my goal the past two years and again this year. I did not manage to do it the past two years, but that was because of lack of discipline on my part. However, I do feel like I made good progress on my books and was glad that I had participated. The pros of having a word count for Nanowrimo is that it encourages people to sit down and write every day. I have a very high competitive streak and also like to cross things off my list of things to-do, so this encourages me to hit the goal words every day. Also, you can set the goal at whatever you want for the month. I’ve seen everything ranging from a few hundred words to 250k words. It allows you to chose what your goal is and let’s you work at your own pace of whether you are a fast or a somewhat slower writer. (You are still writing, so never look down on yourself for your writing speed. As long as you put even one word on a page, you are a writer.)

The cons for word counts are this. Some people, myself included, never know where a story is going to take them. The bonafide pantsers. And the thought of being tied to a specific number of words is daunting. What if the story wraps up in less words? What if the story takes more words to tell. Here’s the good news. Your word goal is not set in stone. It’s a general target that you can adjust as you need to as you get a better idea of where your story is going and how long it will take to get there. Another con is the fact that you have to create so many words a day.  What happens if you have a slow day and only manage to write a few words? Or that you have to go back and edit a large portion before you can continue the story? Or life happens and you aren’t able to sit down and write at all? Again, this goal is just guidelines. There are no penalties for not getting the “required” amount of words done and the unnecessary stress you are putting on yourself needs to be let go. Make a quick face, promise that you’ll try again tomorrow, and move on. The whole point of Nanowrimo is to encourage you to have a go at a project that you may have been putting off, not to make you so miserable that you give up on it entirely.

Cabins

Many new Nanowrimo participants wonder what the cabins are about and even some veterans. The short answer, community. If you already have a writing group established, you can create a cabin together and share your work back and forth throughout the month. If you don’t have people to create a cabin with, you have three other choices you can do.

One: You can do it alone. There is nothing wrong with this option and many people do Nanowrimo this way. 

Two: You can search for a cabin that’s your specific genre and get placed into it. This is what I most often do, I write fantasy and I like to have fantasy and sci-fi people to bounce my idea off of.

Three: If you are adventurous or outgoing, you can ask to be placed in a random cabin. This is a great way to meet fellow writers and get a diversity of opinion. The cabins are a great resource and community. It is a group of like minded people that you can reach out to when you hit a snag or are feeling discouraged in order to get some help and encouragement. And who knows, maybe a hurdle that you’ve overcome is something that someone else is struggling with and you can help them out.

The cons of this? Writers can be very sensitive about their work (heaven knows that I am) and are unwilling to show anyone their work until it is finished and polished. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, sometimes personalities just don’t mesh well, you may have someone in your cabin that chimes in on everything, whether or not they have anything helpful to add. Remember, there is always the option to switch cabins. You are not locked into one that just does not work for you.

So this is just the barest sneak peek at a few components of Nanowrimo. I will be writing more about this throughout the coming days. If you have anything you want to know about specifically, drop me a comment and will try to cover it.

Participating in Nanowrimo? Comment below about your project, goal word count, and what you would like to get from the month. I’d love to hear from you!!

Happy Monday!

All of Me!

Hey 🙂

I just want to share what’s on my mind and heart.

Although I have done many things this year and achieved several accomplishments, I have felt overwhelmed, stressed, and under motivated. Although I had dreams, I was only halfheartedly pursuing them, too stuck in the loop in my head filled with self doubt. I also told myself that it was ok, that I didn’t have to be perfect, that I was doing well enough.

That wasn’t the truth. I woke up tired and went to bed tired and was maybe putting 30% of myself into life. Enough to get by but not enough to thrive and grow. Even though I was getting things done, I didn’t feel proud and successful. I felt less than because I knew that I was capable of so much better than what I was putting out there.

As some of you may know, I am a wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. I was blessed to have these oils enter my life in 2013 and although it took me a while to get into and understand them, I literally cannot imagine my life without them now.

This past week was the annual convention for doTERRA in Salt Lake City. I love conventions because I am surrounded by 40k like minded people, the energy is great, and the learning to be had is phenomenal.The theme of this convention was Together and they did an outstanding job of it as always.

However, as amazing as all the new products and science was, that was not my main take away from this past week. In the past week, I ran into so many incredible people. Many had three or four jobs, one of my uber drivers was pursuing a double major and triple minor in school. They were all so happy and fulfilled, even though their time was full.

But what finally got me was the performance advocate that they brought on. Her name was Ashley Hess. She already had a full time doTERRA business, but she also wanted to pursue a music career. So she worked her business by day and pursued her music career at night. At this point, I told God that I got the message, that I needed to put myself all in.

So I have committed myself to going all in. To put all of myself into my doTERRA business, my writing, and my karate journey. I am going to stop hiding and saying no. I am no longer going to hold anything back, but I am going to let my light shine, be genuine, and put my whole heart and soul into wherever life takes me.

Onward to the journey!

P.S.
I decided that I needed an outward sign of my commitment, something that I could see every day and remind me of my promise. So I now have doTERRA purple hair 🙂

Last Week

Hey Everyone,

You may have noticed that I was absent from my blog last week. Originally I had planned on keeping up my writing schedule while I was attending my company’s annual convention in Salt Lake City. Many authors unless they are blessed to be a bestseller have day jobs as well. I am privileged to be a wellness advocate for doTERRA Essential Oils.

Every September doTERRA has a 3 day convention with individual trainings both before and after the event. I ended up flying out on Monday and getting in after midnight (That’s a whole story in and of itself), and didn’t fly home until yesterday. I was so busy the whole week, so much to learn and absorb that I did not manage to write a single word the whole week, edit, or read anything.

But you know what, that’s ok. My focus needed to be elsewhere. It is very important for me to be in the present during convention week. (Oh, and BTW, there were 40k doterrans in SLC for the convention, 4k of those being from foreign countries. It’s a big convention and so many new friends to meet). We buy into the myth that we must be superhumans, that we have to do everything and be everything. And when we try to do this, all we end up doing is losing. We lose friends and family. We lose important relationships. We lose our health. We even lose our minds.

Don’t do that. Take care of yourself. When you get to the end of your life, do you want to look back and regret the fact that you were so busy that you missed out on life? Or do you want to see that while everything didn’t get done at the end of the day, you were healthy and happy and you knew that you were loved and the people that you cared about knew that you loved them?

Happy Monday Everyone! I will be sharing more about my week in posts later this week 🙂

P.S.

I found an amazing blend this week that doterra just released. Ask me about it’s awesomeness!!

Away

Sorry for the late notice, but I will be gone all this week attending my company’s annual convention.

Will be back next Monday 9/16/19

Have a great week!

The Seeker Files New Covers

Being a writer is a funny thing. It’s an urge so strong to share a story or your knowledge on a subject that you have no choice but to put words on the page and send them out to wherever they may land.

This is the hardest part of being a writer, working and sharing the joys and dreams of your heart into a world that can be very unkind. Don’t get me wrong, the world is an amazing place and I have met so many incredible people that have lifted me up and given me a hand. But the fear is always there.

When I was fifteen (Ah, brash youth), I fell prey or almost did to a vanity company. After hearing back for months and months how wonderful my book was and how the couldn’t wait to work with me, I was told that they would publish my book for 4k dollars. I don’t know why this was such a devastating blow to me. I know that publishing is not a free industry, but they hadn’t mentioned anything about money or fees before even starting the process, otherwise I would’ve researched other options. I think what my teenage self heard was that no one would ever be interested in my work unless I paid people to care. Either way, I was crushed.

When I first started writing The Seeker Files, I was tired of living in fear of sharing my writing. I never stopped writing, but I stopped sharing, which means that I concealed a large portion of who I am. And putting on a facade is exhausting. I challenged myself to write a mystery in time for Halloween and publish it. I did it, although I was exhausted, and I did it so scared. But the thing I told myself was that I was doing it brave and boldly.

I released my book under the name Kat Seaholm. I told myself it was so that I could keep my privacy in case the series ever took off, but what my fear was whispering was entirely different. It told me that no one wanted my book when I was 15, why would they want to read anything by me now? If Kat Seaholm wasn’t me, I wouldn’t be hurt when people didn’t like my writing.

Imagine my surprise (and disbelief) when I heard good feedback. Discounting my family (Sorry guys, you have to live with me and are required to be nice about my writing), people told me that they enjoyed my writing and my characters. My writing wasn’t perfect, I’ve had to do several revisions, but people saw something that was worth taking the time to polish.

Also recently, I’ve taken the Clifton Strengths, which has been freeing and life-altering for me. I know that I’ve mentioned them in other posts and I plan to do a post on just them another day, so I’ll talk about it later.

It’s been nearly 2 years since I first sat down to write the Seeker Files. I can say with confidence that I am not the same person I was when I first sat down. I am glad to say that I have changed and I have grown. And I am no longer ashamed or scared of showing the world my writing and who I am.

Slowly but surely I’m getting everything transferred over from Kat Seaholm (I’m thankful for her, she stood for me until I could stand for myself). Today, I got back the covers for my first two books with my real name on them. I admit, I cried a little when I saw it, a mix of happy and sad tears.

So here they are

Book One
Book Two

Aren’t they pretty?

So what are you doing scared right now? How have you grown and changed? What are you doing today that 2 years ago you would’ve told yourself was impossible?

Happy Friday!

Readers vs. Writers

So what is the difference between readers and writers? Honestly, not much. A writer just decides to put pen to paper and share their stories as well, but everyone daydreams their own stories.

In my opinion, readers are the best writers and writers are the best readers.

I know that my reading list is so long (And I’m a fast reader, I probably read anywhere between 3 to 5 books a week and that’s a low estimate).

So what are you writing/reading right now? I’m always looking for new books to read and I love to hear what other people are writing 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

In the Moment

People are too busy.

We just are. We’re always trying to get ahead of our never ending to-do list, the commitments and promises that we’ve made, and the daily necessities of living. It wasn’t until two days ago that I realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. The idea of a long weekend is both a cherished and hated idea. More time off, but it means that we have to work even harder to get caught back up.

When I realized that I was thinking like that, I had to stop for a minute and ask myself. When did all the things that I HAVE to do become more important than anything else? Yes, I set myself a goal of having an x amount of words written by a certain date. But what good is having met my goal if I’m a frazzled mess trying to reach it? Or if I’m missing out on important moments that will never happen again for something that I could put off until tomorrow?

So this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to live in the moment. If I write, fine. If I don’t, well, it will always be there tomorrow. I’m not going to make plans or follow a schedule. I’m going to go where the wind takes me and see what adventures and treasures that I can find 🙂

Breathe deep. Live in the moment. Hang and be weird with your friends and family. Just enjoy life, it’s a gift.

See you Monday!

Wellness

So as a writer today, a large part of our job is creating a social media platform for ourselves. Part of that can be blogging, tweeting, newsletters, fb, etc. It shows that we know how to spread word about what we’re doing as well as letting us get to see what all the other amazing things are going on out there. I’ve been working on building my platform by engaging daily in fb and twitter. Something I like about twitter is that I can see what is trending and what people are talking about each day when I go on. A tag that caught my eye today was #WellnessWednesday.

It got me to thinking. How often does our health take last place in our busy lives? How often do we put ourselves in very last place as we try to take care of every that this world throws at us plus squeeze in a little time for writing? So here are a few simple suggestions/tips to help you have a better day.

  1. Get out in the sunshine

There is nothing better then a cheerful dose of sunshine to make your day better. There’s a ton of studies about vitamin D and blah blah blah. (I’m not really in a scientific mood today, lol). But seriously, take a few minutes and step out into those rays. Soak up the warmth and the light, let it wash away your worries for a bit. If you’re walking to a car, take a moment to just lean against your car, close your eyes, and tilt your head back to the heavens and just be.

2. Drink some water

This world takes our energy faster than we can produce it. I honestly don’t know some days how people could function without coffee or energy drinks. (Sleep would be nice, but eh, you can sleep when you’re dead, right?). But your body would really appreciate some water. Caffeine dehydrates the body and can make you feel dull and dragging. I’m not saying try to drink half your body weight in ounces or anything, but adding in a glass or two of water during the day will definitely have your body saying thank you.

3. Take five minutes and breathe deeply

We carry so much on our shoulders each day that we literally forget to take deep breaths. I didn’t even realize it until my mom mentioned it to me. But sit down and try to breathe deeply for five minutes, just a slow deep in and out. Until I tried doing that, I didn’t realize how shallow my breathing was or how often I even hold my breath. By breathing deeply, we provide more oxygen to our bloodstream with perks up our bloodflow, which leads to clearer thinking and more energy. A win-win in my book.

4. Smile

I know that this sounds simple and silly, but it’s really not. By smiling, even if it’s a forced one, you’re sending your brain the signal that good things are going to happen. Now, I’m not saying fake a smile and pretend that everything is all right. That is not healthy. We are allowed to have issues and not be alright all the time. But if your just sitting at your desk or making yourself a sandwich in the kitchen, then go ahead and put a smile on your face. You’ll find your mood boosting and smiles are contagious, so maybe you’ll brighten someone else’s day as well 🙂

5. Put on some music

Music is a wonderful way of self expression. It’s a way to say what you are thinking or feeling without having to say a word. When I write, I have songs that signify certain characters or songs that I listen to when I’m trying to capture a certain mood. (Think of those shows where you always know which character is there by their theme music, it’s pretty cool). So put on some music and be you!

So that’s all I have for today, if I missed anything, I hope that you’ll leave a comment and share your simple ways to be a better, happier you 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

Inspiration/plotting

See the source image

Where do you draw inspiration from when you write?

For me, story ideas can happen literally anywhere, when I’m doing chores, watching t.v., reading, daydreaming, any time of the day or not. Some are fleeting, just a wisp of a story that is all to soon gone. Other times, it’s a fully fleshed out story that just needs me to put pen to paper.

So how do my ideas become stories? I have a rather lackadaisical approach to it, honestly.

Wisps

These are just pleasant little treats that I get throughout any given day. A snippet of a story about someone in a grocery story or another driver on the road. What the cat was thinking about while it attacked the other cat. They are as fleeting as soap bubbles and disappear as quickly as they appear.

Odds bobs

These are stories that are clearly part of a larger story. However, what larger story it is, I have no idea. The scene or chapter is fully there, but there is no context for the rest of the story. Why are these characters there, where do they go from here, what even brought this group together and why is this scene so important? I don’t have answers to any of these question. I will usually write this portion and tuck it away. Sometimes the rest of the story emerges, sometimes it doesn’t. If I’m stuck on my WIP (or procrastinating, I hate editing) I can peek at these and see if anything gets triggered.

Story seeds

Sometimes I have ideas bouncing around in my head for several days before I get around to writing them. This allows me to get the flavor of the story, if you will, and decide whether or not I want to actually write it. If an idea has stayed around for a few days, I will jot down the main points, character name, what they’re doing, the top few points in the story. If the story goes away at this point, the story is just a seed and needs to grow a bit more before it becomes a story in full bloom.

Stories

After jotting down the idea, if the story doesn’t go away, then it’s ready to be written. The characters are developed and ready to talk to me. I like to think of myself as someone taking dictation as the characters narrate their stories to me. When I sit down to write, I don’t have things entirely mapped out, as a matter of fact, outline hinders my creative process. When I sit down, I know who the characters are, the general direction I want the story to go, and three or four milestone or anchor moments. What do I mean by that? These are parts that are unchangeable parts of the story. These have to happen in order for the story to happen. They cannot be changed, they cannot be moved, or writer’s block will happen and I’ll have to retrace to see where I tried to force the characters to do something so out of character that they shut the entire production down. The rest of the story flows around these points and I learn new things about my characters all the time. For example, I didn’t know that the main male character in my series had siblings until book three. FYI, neither Aletta nor I were happy about him omitting that fact.

Plot Bunnies

These are the stories that are just distractions. Imagine a toddler hopped up on sugar running the household. That’s what these are, they detract from the main story and have no point. They are hard to spot, sometimes I can be writing what seems like a logical part of the story only to find that I’ve followed a plot bunny and written myself into a dead end. While not totally useless, they can give you ideas that you might not have considered before layering new depths into the story, they are very disruptive to flow and pacing.

So how do you get story ideas?

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