How I Write

How do I write?

Earlier this week, I shared about how I had found out that I was a discovery writer, about how freeing that was for me. So I thought that I would share a little about how the process looks like and works for me, especially now that I know what my strengths are.

So, before I found out what my writing style, this is what it would look like, especially the past month.

I would sit down, turn on my computer, and pull up my main novel and the fanfiction story that I was working on. I would then also pull up the outline that I had created for both. I’d skim over my outline, maybe changing a couple of words here and there, add a sentence to flesh out something that I’d thought of as I thought over while thinking of the story. And then I’d skim the last, oh, thousand words or so in order to spark the memory of where I’d left the scene. Once I was satisfied that I knew where I was and where I was going, I’d start a new paragraph. But this was a struggle. I’d write a sentence, maybe half a sentence, before going over and fiddling with my music, or checking my email, or facebook. Basically, anything to ignore the flashing cursor that appeared to be mocking me.

Meanwhile, I was inwardly very frustrated, even as I sought to distract myself. I knew where the story was going, what the characters were supposed to be doing, so why weren’t the words coming. I would return to the page and just stare at it, begging for my brain to produce something, anything. But the words simply wouldn’t come. So I would go and journal a little bit or work on a story that was ‘just for me’ and thus I didn’t care about it being perfect or well thought out. I would write anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand words on it and then move on for the day. I’d return to my novel, and still, absolutely nothing. Promising myself that I would get my goal finished tomorrow and make up for today as well. Then I would go and do my daily chores, wishing that I could’ve gotten more done. My frustration and self loathing grew. I am a writer, I have been writing all my life, people enjoy my writing, so why was storytelling so hard and unrewarding for me of late?

Then I learned my writing style. I’m a Discovery Gardener. This means that I have to discover the story alongside my characters. My world and self image of myself as a writer tipped on their side, but I was so tired of being frustrated that I was willing to give it a try. And to be honest, it just felt right.

So here’s how my writing looks like now.

First, I threw away all of my outlines. Every single one. I might’ve heard my characters cheering, but that might’ve just been me, lol. I gave myself 24 hours without writing to allow my brain to clear out and remove all the expectations and must haves. I didn’t HAVE to do anything but go along for the ride.

The next morning, I sat down nervously at the computer. Would this work? Or would it not? Still, I wouldn’t be any worse off than I was before and I would just need to keep looking to find what works for me. I pulled up my novel, the one that I’ve been stonewalled on for the past several months, that would be the best test after all. Having thrown all plans out of the window, I had no idea where it was going. So, taking a depth breath, I quickly skimmed the last paragraph (It wouldn’t do any good to start in a completely random place, lol). And then, I put my hands on the keyboard and started to write. And the words came! It wasn’t the painful task of trying to pull a story from someone. Instead, it was like sitting down for a cup of coffee with a friend and listening to what was going on with their life. It was almost like my character was relieved, like she was saying, ‘Finally! Now that you’re actually listening to me, here’s what happened.’

But not only was I writing again, I was happy. There was no stress, no hiding and avoiding, there were simply words telling the story. Finally, the story reached a natural pause, so I called it good for the day. I was satisfied with the progress that I had made. There were no grand revelations, no great progress, but my characters got to eat a very nice omelet and have an overdue discussion. Not what I expected, but it did move the story forward and gave me a bit more depth of my characters to work with. And it fit, it didn’t have to be forced into the story, it was just naturally part of it. And that’s when I knew, I had found my style and it worked for me.

So here’s what my writing routine looks like now. I sit down eager at my computer and pull up my writing site. I might have a story in mind for the day or I might be following wherever the wind takes me. Then I pull up my top 3-4 stories (Oh, who am I kidding, it’s more like 10-12, those plot bunnies can be vicious) and I skim through them until I find one that sparks my imagination. Then I write on that until I either hit the end of the chapter or reach the point where the story runs out for the moment. Then I’ll repeat the process, until I’ve easily written between 3-5k words on average. Are they all good words? No. Will they all be kept? Again, no. But they are there on the page and I always get to find out something new about my stories and characters.

There’s still a hint of frustration here and there, sometimes I really want to work on one story but another will hijack my attention entirely. And I’m sure that I will run into more roadblocks and obstacles that I currently have no idea exist. But I am happy once again and my stories are moving forward.

So find out what works for you and don’t let anyone tell you that there is a “right” or “wrong” way of doing things. Just do it “YOUR” way.

I would love to hear about your writing styles and routines, what frustrates you or brings you joy.

Happy Writing and Happy Wednesday!

We are strong together!

It’s Friday Night!

So it’s Friday night, also known as the start of the weekend.

However, the world has changed. Due to Covid-19, things are no longer what they once were. Instead of going to see a movie or get a dinner with friends, we’re told to stay at home and social distance from each other.

So tonight, I’ll be attending a virtual karate class for half an hour and then I’ll probably settle in and write some more. Then, if I hit my writing goals by a reasonable time, I’ll go wild and treat myself with a book that I’ve been wanting to read as I’m rereading the series since the newest book came out and so that I can be ready when the latest book comes out in November of this year (The Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. A mature read but I love her depth of world building.)

So what are you doing this Friday night in a world that is different from just a few months ago? I’m honestly curious. And would you have gone out before on a Friday night or typically stayed in?

Happy Friday!

Extras:

Here’s a snippet from my writing today on Book 4: In Search of Pack:

Spreading her magic out to about fifteen feet around her in all directions, she made sure that she lessened the signature so that it was nearly undetectable. Only a very, very strong sensitive or someone looking for it specifically would be able to find it. Then she started working her way towards the warehouse complex. She made sure to keep her walk a mixture of determination and insecurity. She was a good girl, so what was she even thinking going to this place. But she really needed this place, needed it badly enough to through a lifetime of morals and scruples away to come seeking it. What then, could she need so badly?

She passed some of the lookouts and knew that she was heading in the right direction, although she pretended to be oblivious of their presence. They were doing their best to blend into the scenery and her looking at them would’ve raised some serious alarm bells. Nope, not what she wanted to do. So instead she monitored each on until she was out of range, making sure that she glanced around enough for an average person outside of their comfort zone.

As she walked, she found herself relaxing into the persona, almost as if it was another role that she had picked up. This was familiar, this was something that she could do. Just sitting around had driven her up the wall. So even without backup, someone out there who wanted to kidnap her and find something, and her leg sore and achy, she felt more herself than she had in days.

(c) Katie Holmburg

(There is no guarantee that this will make it into the final cut of the book, but it’s always fun to share tidbits. Let me know what you think.)

Here’s another fanfiction of mine, a one shot from The Hobbit with a female Bilbo lead

Dealing with Dragons

https://archiveofourown.org/works/23138608

Happy Friday! We are strong together!

I’m Still Here

Hey Everyone!

I know that it’s been a while since you have all heard from me. The good news is that I’m still here. The bad news is that I’m busy and quite forgetful, so sometimes my consistency isn’t always the best. That means as a blogger, I’m rather hit and miss, my apologies.

So what have I been up to?

Well, I’ve been under stay-at-home, the less said about that the better, Imma bout ready to start climbing the walls. Thankfully I live on acreage and I can at least get out into the fresh air and sunshine. I’m ready for life to get back to normal.

I am still practicing my rad ninja skills. I recently tested for my provisional black belt. That means that I’ve learned what I need to know, now I need to hone and refine it before going for my actual black belt. My sensei’s have been doing an awesome job with videos and online classes so that we don’t lose our skills.

Farm life has always been fun. We recently had a single turkey poult hatch. He’s a little corker, that’s for ever sure. (‘Scuse the dirty farm hands, spring time equals a lot of dirty hands but it’s nice to be out in nature)

Corky Trotter, newest resident on the farm

Other than that, I’ve just been writing. A lot. I’m currently working on book four of The Seeker Files: In Search of Pack. It goes, not smoothly, but it goes, lol. I’m hoping to have it finished and published by the end of this month. I’ll keep you updated one way or the other.

Other than that, I’ve been writing a lot of fanfiction. It you want to check it out for yourselves, here’s my most popular story,

“Only in My Dreams”

https://archiveofourown.org/works/21115682/chapters/50247068

Check it out, tell me what you think.

So, how are all of your lives going? I want to hear your trials and triumphs.

Happy Monday!

(And May the fourth be with you 😉 )

Being Real

The internet has given us freedom that we could’ve never imagined. It has opened worlds to us that would’ve been impossible even a few decades ago. Behind the safety of a computer screen, we can become anyone or anything. It gives us a degree of separation that helps buffer us from the reality of the situation. But in doing this, we’ve lost a bit of ourselves. In our rush to show the world our amazingness, we try to hide our flaws away. But in my opinion, our weaknesses and flaws are part of what makes the sum of us. We are not complete without our scars. So I’ve decided to be totally honest with you guys today.

I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. That is because there has been a lot going on in my life. Now, I am not trying to excuse myself, but I thought that I would share what has been going on.

  1. I published the second book in my series in May. After publishing it, I was hit was major anxiety and depression. Who was I to be a writer? What if everyone hated it? Was I just kidding myself that I was cut out to be a writer?

These and many other questions assailed me during this time. With some time and sleep, I was able to work through it, but the biggest help that pulled me through this time was my reason WHY I write. I write because I love my characters and stories and want to share them with others who will hopefully love them as much as I do. While it would be nice to reach J.K. Rowling fame, if my stories resonate with even one other person, I’m happy.

2. I was working with an editor on reworking my first novel “In Search of Justice”. Now, there are two things to realize for this. One, I wrote my first novel in just under a month. After hiding my writing for years, I decided that I was sick and tired of hiding my writing and challenged myself to write a mystery AND publish it in time for Halloween. After all, I’d seen much worse on Amazon. When I sat down, I was fortunate enough to have the plot for a six book series pop into my head. I did as I challenged myself and managed to write and publish a mystery in just under a month in time for Halloween. I was so wiped out after it happened. So after recouping and writing the second book, I decided that it was time to go back and polish up the first book. Second, I absolutely hate grammar. It has been my arch-nemesis since 7th grade. I would have meltdowns about it. I love to write, but grammar is a struggle for me. So the rewriting/polishing part really took it out of me.

3. During the last part of June, first part of July, we discovered that my aunt, my father’s sister, had lung cancer. We were unsure what stage it was, but we were worried that it was quite advanced and maybe had even settled in her bones. After several weeks of uncertainty and testing, we were relieved to discover that it was only stage one and only on one spot in one lung. We were very thankful for that.

4. Since December 2016, I have been learning American Kenpo Karate Jiu-Jitsu or Kenpo for short. We test every two months to advanced rank. This month, I tested for Advanced Blue, which is about halfway to Black Belt. I find testing extremely stressful, even though I love the art itself, so I’m always wiped after a test. On a positive note, I did pass the test 🙂

5. I have started on Book Three of the Seeker Files, In Search of High Society. After fighting with Aletta and Lirim for several weeks, I went back and wrote a prologue before returning to where I was. Apparently they just wanted me to properly set the stage, because it’s been going swimmingly since.

6. And finally, two days ago, my smartphone died after it threw itself off of a table. Because of a low paycheck, it will be a few weeks until I can get a new one. I am in technology withdrawal, lol.

 

So where am I going with this? I honestly don’t know. I try to be upbeat and positive in my posts. I try to wear a happy mask for the world and honestly, most of the time it’s the truth. My life could be so much worse than it is and I am truly blessed. But I also think that when we try to hide out struggles, we are cheating those we engage with the chance to share theirs and also the ability to encourage others that they will get through things. So please, share with me. What are some struggles that you’ve encountered lately?

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Facing Your Fears – Author Toolbox

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

I haven’t been a published author very long, just a little over six months at this point. If you had told me even I year ago that I would have published not one, but two books, I would’ve looked at you skeptically and probably walked away.

Let me share a bit of backstory with you. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I don’t even remember learning how to read and I know that I’ve been writing for just as long. Now, I can’t look back at my early stories without rolling my eyes and groaning a bit. They were basically one long run-on sentence with very little in the way of grammar. Still, I am fond of those early attempts because they show my love of writing.

However, when I was fifteen, I completed my first novel. It was my pride and joy and I had spent countless hours working on it. Filled with youthful surety and confidence as only a teenager can be, I sent my manuscript out in search of a publisher. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of a vanity publisher. After waiting months to hear back, I was told that they could indeed publish my manuscript, for the hefty sum of $4,000. Needless to say, I was crushed. Afterwards, I stopped showing my writing to anyone. I didn’t stop writing, but I stopped sharing it with anyone, including my family.

It’s been over a decade since that happened. I set aside my dream of becoming an author and pursued other goals. I finished college, became a librarian and then an entrepreneur, traveled overseas, and even have started the journey to becoming a black belt. But I still felt empty inside, unfulfilled. And despite everything, I never stopped writing. Some stories were good, some not so much, but I couldn’t deny the urge to write. Last year, I got fed up with hiding and decided to go big. I wrote my first novel in just under a month and published it. It was one of the most exhausting things that I’ve ever done, but I had never felt so alive and satisfied.

So now that I’ve practically written another novel in this post, what does all of this have to do with facing your fears? I want to share with you what I’ve learned and hopefully some tricks that will help your overcome your fears.

1) Embrace your uniqueness

Now this may seem patently obvious, but please bear with me. So many times when we’re writing something, fear loves to whisper in our ears. We start to doubt ourselves, what makes us qualified to write something? Who are we to think think that we have something special to say? Why do we think we can put a new spin on something that’s been written about a hundred times before? But the truth is, we can show something new, something unique. People see the world differently. Ten people can see the exact same situation and then tell you ten entirely different versions of the event. No one can see the story like you can. And when you stay true to yourself, that genuineness will draw others to you and your writing. So don’t try to be what’s popular or mainstream. Be yourself and tell your story your way. That’s what people really want to see.

2) Staring down the blank page

For me, the hardest part of any story is starting. You’ve had a story running around in your brain for weeks. Your characters have become your constant companions, whispering their stories into your ear day and night. So you pull out a pen and paper or sit down at the computer and…. nothing. Your characters have fled into the ether and all you’re left with is a gnawing in your gut and sweaty palms. The blinking cursor seems to be growing ever larger, mocking you with the pristine whiteness of the page. This moment can be pivotal, as you can either walk away or gut through it. Don’t give in to the blank page fears, your story deserves to be told. So take a deep breath and shove aside the worries about having the perfect hook and first chapter. All of that will come later. Right now, just start writing. It doesn’t even have to be the story line. Describe a character, write a scenery element, describe one of your characters favorite foods. Once you get words on the page, even if it’s only a handful, the fear of the blank page will magically diminish. Your characters will cautiously creep back and before you know it, they will be as loud and insistent as ever, wanting their story told right.

3) Perfectionism

This is one of the biggest fears of any writer. I can literally tear my work apart, criticize it until I’m to paralyzed, until I can’t write anything at all. In fact, I’m the hardest critic of my work. What you need to learn to do is turn off the inner critic. Instead, just write. Write the whole story. When you reread to clarify the story in your mind, turn off your inner editor and just focus on the story. Instead let the story flow and write until it’s done. There will be time to go back and edit, time to go back and fix all of the small mistakes, but don’t take away the joy of writing by focusing on making it exactly right. That will come later. And truthfully? Most of what seems glaringly obvious to you, other people will not see at all.

Bonus:

chained

Have fun. So many people think that writers are chained to their desks, scribbling or typing feverishly. They are stereotyped as being odd, super introverted, having weird quirks. While this is maybe true for a few, for the vast majority it is simply not. Authors tend to be fully engaged in life, always looking for something new, something that they can take and share with others through their books. They have stories that they want to share because they add color and joy to their lives. So live each day to the fullest, engage with the world around you, because you never know what you will find that will be worth sharing.

I really appreciate being invited to join in this blog hop by Author Toolbox. If you want to learn more check it out here:

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

 

Also, I would like to share real briefly, I just released the second book in my series The Seeker Files yesterday. If you would like to check it out, you can find it here: In Search of Healing: Seeker Files bk 2

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

 

Z is for Zest

Zest

 

No, not that kind of zest. I’m talking about the other types of zest.

 

Definition of zest

*An enjoyably exciting quality

*Keen enjoyment

Source: Merrian-Webster Dictionary

 

Over the past month, I’ve had lots of fun sharing with you Everything that I Love about Writing. I’ve covered a myriad of topics, some I never anticipated and others that turned out totally different than I set out to write. I got to read some phenomenal blogs and make some new blogging friends. But we have reached the end of the A to Z Challenge. So where do I go from here?

Well, right now I’m busy trying to make sure that everything is ready for my May 15th release of the next book in my series: In Search of Healing. It’s the second book in a six part series and I’m excited about its upcoming release. For my blog, I still plan on my Feature Fridays, plus I hope to start a serial story sometime in May.

But most of all, I plan to continue writing with zest. For many years, I hid my writing away as unimportant and not good enough. But my writing brings me joy and I hope that I’ve been able to share a small measure of that joy with you over the past month. So thank you for supporting my A to Z journey and I encourage you to live every day with zest and joy.

Here’s to a great 2018!

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