writer

Where am I?| Writing Books

I talk quite a lot about writing novels on my blog, and although I haven’t been able to complete anything in 2017 thus far, I am writing everyday. Some days I write almost four thousand words, and the more I think I make progress, I feel like I just dig deeper holes for myself.

Writing is a complicated process if I’m being honest with you and I admire authors, especially indie authors that are able to put out multiple books a year. My main hurdle is time. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I struggle with time management with everything that I have to fit into twenty-four hours. It’s also hard to pull all-nighters now, especially with two kids.

So where am I in writing books?

There’s this one idea that I had for over a year now and I have been working on it for that long. Although it’s an awesome plot for a book, the details surrounding the sub plots are quite tricky. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve already written the ending of this book. I know how I want it to end. I know my characters inside out. Yet, why can’t I finish this book? It’s frustrating. I wrote forty-thousand words in my first half-finished manuscript and I wasn’t satisfied with how the events played out. So I kept re-writing the crap out of this story, until I changed the point of view it’s told in.

I am still unsatisfied somehow. And the clock is ticking. I’m not sure how many other authors do this but I really hate to get stuck, especially when I have so many stories going on in my head. So now, I’ve shelved that work in progress for the millionth time and I’ve been working on another half-finished manuscript which I hope to complete by Christmas, since it is a Christmas romance and a tribute to my love of cheesy Holiday Romance movies.

Where are you at in your writing? Has this year been a productive one for you? Let me know in the comments.

xo Kat

Why a Phablet is Beneficial for Writers

If you haven’t figured out what I mean by a phablet, it’s basically a phone tablet, meaning a phone way past the average screen size, such as the iPhone pluses etc etc. Before I purchased a phone with a huge screen, I had to really examine my uses for it. I didn’t want to lug around a phone that I could barely hold in one hand, at least not for just social media. Most of my work is done via the internet and on a computer so after weighing my options, I finally went with the phablet and here’s why.

Note: My title references writers but this post can work for anyone.

Screen Size

Well obviously a larger screen is easier on the eyes when you have a lot going on. It’s easier to scroll up and down and capture your work than reading on a screen less than five inches.

Infinite Amount of Apps

I’m guessing you can do this with any smart phone but like I said when you have a lot of words going on, a phablet is the device for you. As a writer, I honestly don’t have the time to sit hours behind my computer. My kids won’t allow it. Then how do I manage to keep writing and hitting word counts? Apps of course. Apps like OneNote lets you sync your work so it’s easier to move back and forth from your phone to computer without have to email yourself or copy and paste.

Makes for Better Reading

Because we’re writers, it means that we also read a lot. Books, research and random things like how bubble gum was invented at 3am. Who doesn’t want to lie in bed and work? I do it every night when my body just can’t anymore and I wake up with fresh ideas and thoughts about my work-in-progress.

Tablet Elimination

Now here’s where it gets technical. I personally hate having to read on a really huge screen so I’m not super crazy about tablets. I’m a laptop kinda gal when it comes to my work, and since a phablet can be held in one hand, that’s doable for me. I don’t need to carry around a crazy amount of devices with me when I can do everything from my one little device.

Portability

How many times have you forgotten to recharge your tablet? Or even leave it at home? We all know that doesn’t happen with our cell phones, so why not utilize your main device to do everything that you need?

Leave me a comment down below if you’re interested in a post based on Apps for Writers. Thanks for stopping by!

xo Kat

The Secret Life of A Writer

As a self-published author, and someone who’s starting with no strings in the business, I lead a double life. Until date I have hidden my writing projects and determination to be the best writer I can be from the majority of people I know, family members and peers.

My reasons for writing anonymously doesn’t have anything to do with insecurity or fear of rejection. As writers, it’s a benefit to yourself and your craft to actually get negative feedback. It helps you learn, it helps you improve.

My secret author life is not so secret anymore though. I’ve met some awesome and supportive people online who are basically in the same boat as I am. It’s been great to connect with my tribe you know, but there is still that darkness that haunts me when someone asks me what I do.

As it is, I don’t get paid for writing books, something I hope to change soon. My previous self-published projects only garnered a few dollars over the past year. For this reason only, I bite my tongue when I’m about to say to someone, “I’m a writer.”

I feel like hardworking, unpublished writers like myself aren’t taken very seriously until we land a publishing deal. So it’s not something I broadcast to each and everyone. Here are some of the reasons why I live this secret life:

Why are you so busy?

Having two kids, running errands, making sure everything is organized and writing makes me a busy gal. I don’t socialize much(not by choice, I just don’t know anyone) and I am home ninety-five percent of my life. People often have the impression that I sit down and watch TV all day while my kids are on tablets. This isn’t the case but I don’t say different. It’s hard to tell people I write most of the night, when I wake up in the morning my book is on my mind and I can’t wait to get to it. It’s hard to tell people I’m always writing down ideas or even parts of my book in a notebook or on my phone, whatever is available to me while I use the bathroom, in between cooking, in between homeschooling my kids.(My oldest attends school, we just do academic activities during school breaks).

People just don’t understand your drive, your thirst for writing. They don’t understand that sometimes you do it because it’s natural to you, it’s how you live, it’s what you love.

Oh, you’re a writer…what do you write?

uhhhh romance….uhhhh with sexy times. It’s hard to belt that one out. The look on the person’s face just screams, “Stay at home mom writing her teenage fantasies.” And then you’re back to being laughed at or not taken seriously. People expect you to be a JK Rowling or George Martin in one go. I promise you I don’t only write romance. It’s just what I’m comfortable with writing right now.

You’re still writing that book? 60,000 words isn’t much!

People who don’t write or even read for that matter don’t understand how much work, effort and time needs to be put in for a proper manuscript. Writing the first draft is the smallest task actually. These things take time especially when you have to give up sleep or something else to find that time to write. It isn’t easy and if you do it or have done it, give yourself a big ole’ pat on the back.

Wow you actually know what you’re talking about!

Okay so I got this one concerning my blog. I have to say I was taken aback. When you tell people you blog or write, they assume because they know you personally, you don’t know how to write professional and profess shock when they read something of yours. Did you not think I was smart enough? Or capable enough?

It’s all of the above really. I like writing anonymously, I like writing for readers, or critics even but I don’t write to attract negativity from the wrong sources. This my friends is why I lead a double life!

xo Kat

 

My Writing Story

This week I’ve been really hitting the book tags on my blog so I thought today, I’d share a little of my writing journey and how I came to the realization that I wanted to be a novelist.

I’ve seen a lot of videos titled, how to know if you’re a writer but I’ve never clicked on them. It’s because deep inside myself, I feel it. Writing has been a strength for me, to express things that I couldn’t communicate. When I was younger, I had many trust issues concerning peers and I’ve never reached to that point where I feel fully able to confide in someone. I am now thankful for those lonely periods where I experienced a lot of pain, rejection. It’s what gave me my voice.

Here’s how it all started.

I’ve been writing my thoughts and feelings in journals for as long as I can imagine. The way I express myself isn’t very direct to a reader. There are parables, emphasis and much elaboration in how I feel. As I got older I lent bits of fiction to my feelings. At this point I didn’t think I could write a story,  I didn’t even know I was carving something out of nothing.

Like many readers and writers, I too lived within my imagination as a coping mechanism when my will to smile faded. I was a child who felt so deeply, and hurt so easily and I was disconnected from everyone around me. I felt misunderstood, and I still do.

From an early age, I’d look at a lot of movies. Sometimes I believe they thwarted the reality of love and relationships for me, but nevertheless, I became so engrossed with those movies, based mostly on love and also my books that stories began to take fruition in my mind.

I used to dream that one day I’d write a story like that and see it on a screen so I had this unrealistic dream of becoming a screenwriter. This is entirely different from being a novelist. Being a novelist is more of a struggle to me as I do better with dialogue and conversations.

During my teenage years, I started outlining stories… I even wrote a full story in a notebook in my last year of high school which I let one friend read, and she actually enjoyed it. If being a writer wasn’t such a world away from where I was at, I would’ve continued with my stories there.

After I left high school, I wrote books of poetry. I went through heartache, more rejection, I was emotionally disconnected from my family. I felt unsupported and pressured into studying things I didn’t want to study. Nevertheless I did it, because I had to follow norms, I eventually had to pay bills. I couldn’t just survive on a silly childhood dream.

There was a period of just work and university, I barely found time to read, the one thing that helped me throughout my life. I hadn’t even turned on the TV in two years. It was a horrible period in my life but the stories never left me. The worlds I’d build a decade before, the characters I’d molded, the lives they lived…it never left me.

Fast forward some years, where I’d now migrated, gotten married to a man who I believe could be my only true friend, and a kid later, I was better grounded in my life but still trying to figure out what I want to do personally with my life. I was searching for that part of myself that I never found. Did it mean going back to college? Did it mean settling again to do something I didn’t want to do?

It was through my daughter’s physical therapist that I learned about the world of self-publishing and it took me two years to even sit down in front of my computer and write. It’s been a year since I’ve started writing and outlining my story ideas, and it’s brought me self-fulfillment if anything. It’s my hobby, it’s my stress reliever. Do I wish I could do it as a career? Of course but the most important thing for me is, to read the very stories that took birth in my own head.

What roll does writing play in your life?

xo Kat

Start by Writing Simple Stories

Recently I have been so engrossed with writing techniques and listening to other people on Youtube share their writing journey or publishing journey. My eyes have opened quite a bit since I have started pursing writing full on. I have all of these stories in my head and the need to get them out is sometimes, painful. I go through these period where I feel like a failure because all of these ideas mean something but it’s hard to choose which one is the most epic. In the middle of writing something, I feel it mundane compared to what I know I can do. Deep down we know our potential, and we can only get there through hard work and diligence.

Last year when I started writing my first book-like piece, I was under the impression that to write something good one had to be over-the-moon smart but after hearing some of my most admired authors’ stories, I’ve started seeing writing from a different perspective.

I’d like to share something I’ve noticed, and also experienced to people who are pursuing writing, as a hobby or as a career. This is for beginners like myself and comments/tips are always appreciated on this blog!

There’s a Youtuber that I look at from time to time who shares writing tips. Said Youtuber has a self-published book out and I thought to myself, “Wow, her book must be something great if her tips are that great.” So I went over to amazon and downloaded a sample of her book and do you know what I found? Within the first few paragraphs I saw that she broke the very rules she was telling people not to break. Over usage of metaphoric descriptions, too much telling.

I’m not here to bash on another writer’s book, it simply wasn’t for me. But that’s not the issue. From what I gathered, this author had to build an entire world and characters in them, and it was quite a lengthy task. I myself, as a novice writer have many epic story ideas but I won’t pursue them quite yet.

Building worlds, and writing about other worldly elements is quite a difficult feat. So if you’re just starting off like I am, go simpler. Learn your craft before you tackle anything too hard. I think it was JK Rowling that said you have to get out all of that bad writing out before you find your voice. It’s like that saying, practice makes perfect. And no piece of writing is bad writing. Never delete your work. It came from a genuine place and it would project in your story. Anything you don’t like, can be fixed but never delete it.

Happy Writing! Leave me a comment to let me know how your writing process has been thus far 🙂

xo Coffee Doll

Where Do You Get Your Writing Ideas?

Where do you get your ideas?

Not very often I might be engaged in a conversation with another human, and I might reveal the fact that I write stories. Mostly it won’t be an interesting topic for them and they’ll likely move on but sometimes I get asked, “What do you write about?” My tongue gets caught for a moment because, while I do have a lot of ideas, I have been writing romance for the past year and people react strange when I say this. I’m focused on romance currently because it’s easier to navigate through the story and less research goes into it compared to my fantasy and thriller ideas. Those take quite a bit more planning and may take years to complete.

The question that follows the first one is, “Where do you get your ideas?” or “How do you come up with these ideas?” It seems unnatural to people who don’t see a story in every feature of their day, and sometimes it surprises me. What do non-writers even think about? I don’t know anymore. The moment I made the commitment to become a storyteller, most of my spare thoughts are focused on my characters or plot.

By the time I brush my teeth in the morning I have three or four things to write down that I may or may not use in a story. By the time I drop my kid of to school, I’ve made about ten mental notes to explore with an idea.

My ideas come from everywhere, and everyone. I’ve always been observant about people and the way they are, fascinated by the things they do and what drives them. I don’t judge people based on anything whether it be race, religion, choices…and that’s a plus if you’re a writer because you can explore a character in a non-biased way. I don’t exactly copy anyone’s physical attributes or their demeanor but closely paying attention can help you shape your characters in a relatable way.

Story ideas are always brewing in my head. No process or major thinking goes into the core idea of a story. The hard work comes when the writing starts but plotting the story just happens and it can be triggered by anything. Any thought or action can bear fruit into an idea for a story. It’s how story telling works. If someone pisses you off write about them. If you feel an emotion deeply, use that also in your writing. Anything and everything is part of a story. I have this book that I literally label book idea #1, book idea #2 etc. I’m sure I won’t use all of it, but brainstorming for ideas and plots is one of the best things you can do to let your ideas run freely.

xo

Writing Day Off and Ruined Coffee

Yesterday morning, as I groggily made my way to the kitchen for my cup of “day-starter”, I did something I do more often that I’d like. Instead of the usual non-dairy creamer that I use in coffee, I poured the kids’ soy milk in there instead. Thankfully, I didn’t pour a great amount but my coffee was ruined nevertheless. I glanced at the clock thinking of the three long minutes that I’d have to wait for another cup of water to heat and thought I’d surely pass out on my kitchen floor by then. So I did the unthinkable. Yes, I added creamer to the ruined cup of coffee.

Although the funny taste, I had enough gulps to wake myself up. I have no shame when it comes to caffeine in the morning. By no means was this coffee a day spoiler, compared to some of the abominations I’ve drank before but my brain registered it as such. After dropping my oldest to preschool, I felt normal. The day would be fair, I thought. But my brain kept thinking about that cup in the morning and nagging me to have a different day.

I thought surely, I’d choose a topic from my handy book and carve together something for my blog, maybe write a few words for a story but as the day progressed, none of that happened. I didn’t laze by any means, I caught up on life aka laundry. I write my best at night when the kids are asleep and I don’t have that niggling feeling that someone is going to make me get up from my spot. But last night I felt like I should have a day off. Bear in mind I do study as well so I was taking a day off from all of that. I opted to look at a movie since it’s been a while that I’ve sat down and really absorbed myself in a film.

I chose Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and I assure you, the movie was nothing short of fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can I commit blasphemy and say at some parts I felt like it was almost better than Harry Potter. Oh no! I did not just say that. It’s not that it was a better story than Harry, but I felt at this age I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts. I grew up with Harry and my eyes glazed over as a teenager/adolescent when I read the books and saw the movies but if I were to see it now in my super late twenties for the first time, it may not have the same effect. Fantastic Beasts definitely hit the spot. It was absolutely terrific and I almost don’t feel bad for giving myself that day off.

xo Coffee Doll

At Twelve I Wanted to Be a Script Writer

This is something I was laughed at for, a lot. Growing up in the Caribbean in the nineties and early 2000s, there really was no creative opportunity at school. Almost everyone took an academic route such as accounting, business management, sciences etc. Computers and information technology was on the rise so everyone rushed to do that including myself. I was not advised according to my true skills and desires, hence I’m here as an adult, still trying to chase dreams.

Professing my desire to create something was a bit of a joke back then because there really was no way to make it happen. The avenues were far apart and unavailable to a wide audience and especially little old me with a middle class background and no influence. Who was going to encourage this bout of creativity in me?

I posted earlier how I escaped in my imagination, in worlds with different characters but I also escaped by watching a lot of movies. I just fell in love with carving a story, the beginning, the end and all the good stuff in the middle. This is what drew me in, the characters and the different stories that they had to tell. I also read some Shakespeare at a young age as we studied his work in Literature class and I was also gifted some of his books by my parents at Christmastime.

I self-learned how to put together my stories in mostly dialogues, and not descriptive. I genuinely wanted to write stories that you could see on a screen or a stage. I still do but as I got older, I have a better understanding of my capability and reality. This is something that has a slim to zero chance of ever happening but at twelve years old, it was a new dream, a pure dream. One that I had to suppress because I couldn’t foresee a way to make it happen. No tools or opportunities were available for me to learn this craft.

Whatever I know today is self-taught and I do intend to keep working towards just getting some good stories out.

xo Coffee Doll

Morning/Coffee Routine and Lack of Creativity

A lot of moms I know just roll out of bed, get their kids ready for school and they’re on their way. I just can’t start a single thought without a drop of coffee. Here’s how my morning goes…I wake up thirty minutes to an hour before I really need to wake up in order to have a cup of coffee. If I don’t, I won’t only be tired and cranky, I’ll be dysfunctional. My thoughts need to be collected before I wake the kids up. I am incompetent without coffee. That’s just the way it is, I can’t do anything about it at this point. I’m also diabetic and I’m not a breakfast person as soon as I wake up. I’m more of a brunch person so coffee holds me out until then without passing out.

So recently I’ve been feeling very incompetent about writing. I forgot about my natural born passion for storytelling and got engrossed with just producing any kind of content even the not so good kind. I mentioned before about kindle unlimited books that I found very unlikable getting great reviews and readers, and I felt like I should cut pieces of my stories and produce a quick read.

When I reread these rushed pieces, I not only disliked it but I disliked myself. I made myself nauseous. It’d be embarrassing to put such atrocities out into the world. But I also felt very inferior in my craft and I say my craft because it’s what I love to do, it’s what I truly want to do. Being a storyteller is my heart’s true desire. There I’ve said it.

In the last few days I’ve had an epiphany of sorts. I feel like I should really take a step back from rushed and disorganized writing, collect myself mentally then begin again, but with better planning next time.

Writing is not an easy task and because I’m struggling with it, I feel like maybe I’m not cut out for it. But I want to be cut out for it, I need to be cut out for it. So many characters exist in my head and their stories need to be told. I need to tell those stories like I need air. I’m not sure why I thought that successful authors write easily, that their creativity flows out of them with no effort. Great stories take years upon years to write so why do I sell myself short? The extensive research and planning that goes into a book is all part of it. After hearing about some authors’ journeys, I do feel inspired and motivated to continue reaching for the stars.

Creativity is not dead.

xo Coffee Doll

Writing Hiatus and What I Did Wrong As a Writer

pencil-1486278_1920This January(2017) makes it a year since I started my eBook writing project. I completed two contemporary romance novellas sometime during the first half of last year. I knew they weren’t good, or even readable even but it’s something I just wanted to complete. I self published on Amazon Kindle and since then I’ve taken down one of them for rewrites. I think I left the second one up as not to hurt my small ego.

After those two books which were the first and third part of a series, I started another writing project, and then another and then another. Here’s where I went wrong.

Impatience. I think this was the main thing that flopped my entire project as a self published writer. I read a lot of books published with Kindle Unlimited and when I say a lot, I mean I can knock off a book in one sitting. It rarely ever takes me more than two days to complete a Kindle book. A lot of what I read on Kindle are contemporary/erotic/dark romances and historical romances. I just love stories set in the past especially in places such as England and France. I do enjoy a good highlander romance as well, and most recently, Viking stories.

Back to my point, I read a lot and I see other authors releasing books like crazy and I get impatient. I know I have my ideas and plots, my characters thought out and I just want to get it out as fast as possible. In doing that I skip loads of the outline and planning process, and I get stuck. I’m left with chunks of the story and plot holes.

Bad planning. The first story that I decided to go with wasn’t a very interesting one, however I took time and care in plotting my scenes and characters. The same with the second. And it kinda worked. But on reading some of these Kindle books which I thought were written well but didn’t take a whole lot of planning, I decided on short cuts. Instead of following my own style and principles in carving a story, I was trying to do what other authors did, books that I left negative reviews on. I thought if people could love and review a not so well written piece, they might read mine. My introductions are usually well detailed but I started jumping right into the story where the two main characters met. I felt as if a lengthy and informative introduction might bore readers. I made shortcuts in my story and it had an effect on my characters and overall plot.

Time management. If you’ve read some of my previous posts or even the about section, you’ll see that I have a preschooler and a toddler, and my days are often booked and busy. Some women do it with grace but I’m not one of those. I do it with coffee and I’m often overwhelmed. I’m not a very focused person all of the time and it’s a downfall of mine. When I first started writing, my husband was supportive and still is but at that time I literally sat by my laptop and worked on my book day and night. He handled the kids and things around the house. As the year progressed, I realized that my life can’t be this way. At some point in time I have to revert to my duties as mother, wife and errand runner. I also study which should be taking up most of my time as well. In my head I thought I’d take a month or two, write my eBook as quickly as possible and then take a rest period to catch up on everyday life, but I soon found out it doesn’t work like that. So I thought I’d write for a couple hours after I put the kids to bed but I’m so exhausted by that time that nothing worth reading ever gets written. I just can’t keep up with everything. I’m not a quitter though, writing is my passion. I just need to revise my schedule and try to fit everything in as best as I could. Currently, that’s not happening.

Can’t decide on a genre. I love reading all genres, from romances to thrillers, fantasy to crime fiction…I love it all…and I love to write it all. An idea doesn’t come in the form of a genre to me, it just comes. Sometimes I’m having a hard time with a script and I feel the need to change the initial story and cross genres. For example if I feel like I don’t have enough for a plain romance, I’d try to make it a suspense or dark romance. It all really comes down to properly outlining your story, and that’s where I’ve failed drastically.

Can’t stick to one story. I do get stuck in the middle of a story most of the time even when the climax and resolution are clear to me so what do I do? I have all of these ideas in my head so I get started on another project and think to myself I’d just get back to the first project when I’m not so blocked up anymore. What happens is, by the time I get back to the first one, I’ve lost momentum. The story sounds ridiculous to me. I wonder what on earth was I even thinking? It sounds like a preschooler wrote it and then I feel like I can’t even finish that project.

Not staying true to myself. I do struggle with staying true to my story and characters. Organically a lot of my characters are flawed and they do very wrong and absurd things but I tend to rewrite and sugarcoat it thinking I’ll be judged for how dark I write my characters. I soften them up and then they become like pieces of furniture. This is something I have to stop doing altogether. I need to stop thinking of what kind of readers I will attract and just write my darn story.

To close this off, I’d just like to say I’m a novice writer. I call myself a writer because I write. A lot of work needs to be done before I can put out a book to my satisfaction, hence I’m taking a writing break(from eBooks). I need to become more organized in my craft and evolve as someone who can really believe they’re a writer. I wish to focus on my blog a little more as it’s something I’m also passionate about and have been putting on the back burner.

xo Coffee Doll

Image: pixabay.com