writer life

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

 

All Work and No Pay

Placeholder ImagePeople that know me look confused when I say that I have work to do. Well, it’s because I don’t actually have a paying job. It’s bizarre to some people why I would invest my time, sweat and tears into something I’m not being paid for. Do I wish to be paid for it? Yes, maybe. Does it need to impact my creativity? Absolutely not.

The thing that I’m talking about is writing but there are many creative people whether it be artists, musicians, cooks that aren’t making money where their skill set lies. I truly believe what drives creativity is something that comes from deep within, that no matter what you’re doing or what people tell you to do, you cannot shut the lid on your creative aspect.

Personally I do it because I love to do it and it’s a dream of mine to put out some completed work. Maybe see it on a shelf one day? Wishful thinking I know. But it’s really the journey of doing something you were born to do that keeps people going.

Many people became famous long after they were dead. Not everyone generates a whopping income at the end of the month doing what it is they love. And that’s okay. I believe that creativity comes from a place where there are no boundaries or limitations. One can truly set free and reach unimaginable lengths.

Writing is an escape for me. I delve into different worlds and carve a variety of characters and it’s empowering. It’s liberating to be the author of the story that you want to tell. It can go anywhere you want it to. And that’s something I can’t ever experience in a nine to five job unless it revolves around writing. I’ve never been so fortunate to have a job like that so I’ll settle for this unpaid one for  a little longer.

I’m not saying there aren’t avenues to sell your writing or paintings or whatever it is you do but money can’t be the only driving force. The moment you let making money become a factor, it becomes strenuous on your creativity. And don’t think this hasn’t happened to me. I’ve spoken on rushed kindle books and how it impacted my process of writing.

It’s not about setting unrealistic goals for yourself. It’s about finding who you are and what you were truly meant to do. What excites you, what contents you, what motivates you. And just do it. Do it with diligence, let it come from an honest place and you have to believe that you will succeed.

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

Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

macbook-336704_1920Let me just start by saying these tips are what works for me and it may not work for you. I’m not going to use a textbook approach for writer’s block as you can find that almost anywhere on the web. This is what works for me and my lifestyle and I’m sharing it because it may be found to be useful at some point.

As I was ranting in my previous post about experiencing bouts of writer’s block, it dawned on me that I do have little ways of dealing with it.

Sleep. First and foremost sleep is essential. My days are so busy that when all is said and done, I can’t even manage to sit down and function in front of my laptop. I feel like I do write better when I get a good night’s rest, however far and few that may be.

Coffee. You know of coffee breaks, don’t you? Well I have coffee starts. A piping hot cup of energy elixir is what I need to put me in the right mind frame. It gives a burst of energy, a satisfied stomach and helps me to collect my thoughts.

Physical Activity. This is a given. Any form of physical activity whether it be walking, yoga or going to the gym will be beneficial. Getting your body worked up releases endorphins, that happy hormone. It reduces stress and you feel better about your life. I simply do walking, I just do a lot of it and random dancing in the kitchen with my kids.

Do not worry about the end product. This is a problem I faced early on. I felt like everything had to be perfect in one shot and then I ended up proof reading for a longer period that it took me writing the actual story. Just write, don’t worry about grammar or perfecting your format. You’ll get to that later. It’s important to just finish your first draft.

Leave the introduction until later. This is one of the bigger contributions to my writer’s block. I know what I want the story to be about and by the time I’ve figured out the ending, almost all of the book is completed in my head. But I do have issues with my introductions. I always feel like it’s not sounding right, nobody will be interested in reading the rest and I get stuck. I can get stuck for months at a time so I tried a different approach. Whatever I’m already sure of, I write. And leave the rest for later.

Write freely. This is similar to what I’ve said earlier. Just write without worrying about grammar, spelling or the story you’re working on. You’ll be able to produce raw material that’d be useful later on as well as gear yourself up for continuing to write your book. I write freely on this blog. Much of it makes no sense, it’s like a journal. It’s like a little break in between life to offload thoughts an ideas.

Do not write for readers. I am still struggling with this one. I read reviews of other books in my genre of writing, looking for ways that readers criticize stories. Whenever I write an organic piece, I sometimes feel as if a reader might not appreciate it, maybe laugh about it and I tend to rewrite a lot and get stuck of course. This takes away from your creativity, your uniqueness. Just write what you know, what you feel. It doesn’t matter if people aren’t hopping to get to your work. Self satisfaction is key. Getting your story done according to your eyes is key.

Get rid of distractions. In other words, get rid of your kids. Just kidding! On a serious note, when you do decide to sit and write, do not be distracted. If your thoughts are elsewhere, you won’t do your best work. You need to stay focused. My children distract me a lot hence I mostly write when they’re asleep at night. Another distraction is social media. The time really flies when you’re scrolling and scrolling, losing all thoughts, just looking at memes and laughing. So when you’re about to write, stay away from your phone.

Write on pen and paper. I can really stare at a screen and get nothing done, for hours. What helps sometimes is to revert to our traditional methods of pen and paper. You’d be surprised at how your thoughts flow.

Timing. Some of us think better on mornings, some at night. Figure out when you write at your best and utilize it.

Don’t over plan. I thrive on not over planning. It creates pressure and I cave. I never get anything done on time anyway. Your story speaks to you. Write it with flow as it comes.

Leave it. When you’re stuck, just get up and walk away for a minute. I can walk away for weeks at a time to catch my bearings. Sometimes you need to reconnect with what inspired the story initially to be able to write it in a flow.

Sleep/Dream Writing. So this is something I do. Before I sleep is one of the times I really plot my story and put together dialogues for my characters. I often dream of my characters and even if I don’t, I wake up with a refreshing realization of where my story should go next.

Read. Not reviews as I mentioned before. Every writer is a reader first. It’s where we first connected with our passion to tell stories. So read. The language of different authors helps your words to flow freely.

xo Coffee Doll

Image: Pixabay.com

 

Bouts of Writer’s Block and Incomplete Novels

journal-1577764_1280.pngSo it’s been almost a year since I started working on novellas(short novels). Till date I haven’t been able to publish much, and I feel like crap about it. It seems like I’m not working or I’m lazy but the truth is, I lose sleep over this. Despite not being able to self publish more than a few books on kindle, I am always working. My brain never stops and it’s exhausting.

My writing gets put on the back burner because I have parental priorities and other family type stuff to do. I know I should demand time to work, but I really can’t as I have absolutely no one to help me with the kids, and I cannot afford a babysitter or child care. So yes, my writing suffers due to being tired all the time, physically and mentally.

I often call it writer’s block but it’s just plain old exhaustion. I have many ideas and I’m always brainstorming them. I’m writing in my head all the time and sometimes it’s so intense that I leave it in a voice note on my phone or just write it down wherever I can find a piece of paper and pen. I am dedicated, and very passionate about telling my stories, unfolding the characters that came to life in my mind but….and there’s always a but…I need more time in a day.

I leave my house unattended at times and let the kids go wild in front of the TV just to get some work done and then I get stuck. I sit and stare at a blank page on my screen, typing out a few words then backspacing it. And I feel so horrible about myself. I keep saying I know I can do this, I have to be able to do this. All jobs are taxing and challenging and I view my writing as that. Challenge is good, it means I’ll learn something. What pisses me off the most is the fact that I’m always in a hurry to get things done around the house and with the kids so I can sit and let my thoughts flow through my fingers as I type away but when the time comes for me to do it…I am so damned tired.

I try to be as organized as I can be, truly but how do I keep up?

I think I’m very bad at plotting a good story. My stories usually gets sparked by an idea or a character that I’ve shaped in my head and from there it grows. Obviously the characters will have a story to tell and also there are always specific dialogues or situations that needs to be put into a story of mine. Without that particular thing, the story wouldn’t work, at least not the way I’m telling it.

So I know the beginning and I know the ending. I also know the conflicting and resolving parts, however while writing the novel, ideas about the story or characters begin to change. And then I have to change something, and then another thing needs to change. I completely loathe this about myself. Last night I reviewed two half written scripts of mine and decided I’m going to fix them and finish them once and for all and do you know what happened? Well for one I got tired and wanted to sleep and secondly, it appeared to be too much to fix. I forgot why I wanted to tell those stories anyway.

I don’t know if this is really block or not but it’s definitely something. Today is a new day, it’s also a long weekend. I wish myself luck on what I’m going to work on. Right now I’m going to start with a cup of coffee. Aahh! The best way to start anything right?

xo Coffee Doll

Image: pixabay.com