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Life, Motivation, personal growth, Positivity, Success, Writer, writer's block, Writer's LIfe, Writing

Writer’s Block

How many of us have sat in front of a blank sheet of paper? How many of us can identify with crumpled up pieces of paper? How many of us have suffered from writer’s block?

I have. I went through years of writer’s block. I tried and tried to get words down on the page. For the most part unsuccessfully. It was brutal. Ideas were in my head. Characters were talking to me. But there was a huge disconnect going on from my brain to the keyboard. Can any of you identify with that? I hope not, but I suspect I’m not alone in what I went through. Sad to say, but it happens to most writers at one time or another.

But I continued to try to write. There was a lot more crumpled and discarded paper going on.

Oh, I’d have brief moments of success where I’d start a new project and get maybe 50 or 75 pages into it before doubting myself and my abilities and putting it aside. The inability to write was painful. And frustrating.

It’s heartbreaking to have a passion for something and you just cannot sustain it. I had gotten to the point where I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I’d never write again.

Almost.

But before giving up, I decided to confront my demons once more. Could I beat this thing?

I’m happy to say I have.

So how did I do it?

First, I searched for a writing coach/mentor. Someone who would hold me accountable. Someone I’d pay for the service. I’d tried to do the whole accountability thing with friends, but I had no penalty factor in play. With a paid coach, if I wimped out, I’d lose money.

Second, I set goals. I know I harp on goal setting a lot. But if you set realistic goals for whatever you’re trying to accomplish and steps to reach those goals, it really does work.

Third, I paired with a dear writing friend and asked her for help and accountability too. And this time this did work for me. We do daily check-ins on what we actually get accomplished. We also review our monthly goals with a FaceTime meeting and assess how we did for the past month. And declare our goals for the coming month. This helps to keep me pushing forward.

Because my writer’s block was so strong and of such a lengthy duration, my final step was to work with a therapist to get to the root of my problem. My issue stemmed from the loss of my husband. Things are sometimes connected in ways we’d never think they could be.

And all of my efforts have paid off. I now write every day without fail. I’ve completed two full length mystery novels already this year. I have plotted out two more. And I have concrete ideas for several more books and series. My goal is by year end to have five books for sale. I’m well on my way.

My latest novel is the second book in The River City Mysteries, set in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Your Time is Up. It gives me great joy to see readers buying it and to hear from many who take the time to write to tell me how much they are enjoying it.

The first book in the series, Your Eight O’clock is Dead, is enjoying a new cover and new life as readers discover the story and the series all over again.

What’s stopping you today from pursuing your dreams? I suggest you sit with that for a bit and see if you can write down anything that comes to mind – no matter how far-fetched it might be. I know I discounted a lot of things that really were connected if I’d only taken the time to figure them out.

Do you set goals for yourself? Do you have someone with who you are accountable? Do you review your goals and revise them as needed to get where you want to go? Are your goals realistic? Unrealistic goals will sideline you quicker than anything. Are you prepared to do the hard work? Perseverance can take you far in writing and in life. Giving up or giving in gets you no where.

The key to your success is waiting for you. Pick it up. Figure things out. Get a plan. Implement your plan with concrete actions. Reach for your dreams each and every day. And never give up.

I wish each of you success and happiness in whatever you do.

Kat

Life

The Pandemic Has Turned Me Into Aunt Alice

Growing up my father told me many times about his mother’s aunt, Aunt Alice. She lived down in the country in a very little place on some family member’s property. Aunt Alice was a committed recluse – I suspect she suffered from some sort of anxiety condition that left her unable, or unwilling, to venture out.

I asked my grandmother about Aunt Alice. She wouldn’t tell me much, but what I was able to piece together was that this poor, sweet woman had suffered a lot of sadness and tragedy in her life.

Each Sunday, my grandparents would pack up my father and his sisters and take a basket of food to Aunt A. They’d leave it on the porch and then go visit other relatives in the area. But all of the kids were cautioned not to make noise or do anything to upset their great aunt.

I write mysteries. Aunt Alice has always been a mystery in my family tree. I’ve done genealogical research, but I haven’t uncovered anything more than I knew before. She died when my dad was a little boy.

When it was announced earlier in the year that those of us at high risk for Coved-19 should shelter in place, I was very concerned. I’m a fairly social person and I was worried that I may not be able to do this. But I have to say somewhere along the way, I have embraced my inner Aunt Alice. I have hunkered down. And I have enjoyed it on some level. Sure, I still miss all of my family and my friends. But I do not miss the endless appointments I had or the many errands I was forced into doing on a daily basis before the pandemic hit.

I have used my time wisely. I’ve rereleased a book that I’d written several years ago. And I’ve just released the second book in that series – Your Time is Up. That book had just been waiting to be revised and published. I’m hard at work on edits for the third book in the series. I’ve been VERY busy. And it’s felt great.

And as I’ve been safely ensconced in my little sheltered world, I’ve often thought how different my self-imposed reclusive life has been from Aunt Alice’s. What would she have done with a laptop and her imagination? How would her life have been different? Would it have made a difference? I really hope so.

But I have no idea and I wish I knew the answer. One thing I do know is that Aunt Alice will turn into a character in one of my books. Loosely based, of course. I’m a writer. It’s what I do.

I hope you’re using your Pandemic time wisely and are getting a lot accomplished.

Kat

Life

It’s Up

My book, Your Eight O’clock is Dead is published on Amazon in e-book format. And it is in the process of being published at other retailers.

Click on the image to be taken to where you can purchase the book.

I’ve overhauled my first book in the River City Mysteries, Your Eight O’clock is Dead, and given it a new cover. And I’ve revised the long-awaited second book in the series, Your Time is Up. It will be out very soon. The third book in the series, Your Lights are Out is in the revision/editing stage and awaiting a cover. But I hope to have that published this summer.

Additionally, I’m writing a prequel to the series since so many readers over the years have inquired about my main character and what happened in her life to bring her to her current circumstances. That book will be entitled Your Jig is Up and will be free to anyone who is on my mailing list when it is published – or who joins the mailing list later.

Also, I have ideas for more stories in the River City Mysteries. I’m looking forward to writing these.

Ideas for two other light-hearted mystery series have also come to my imagination. They surround my passion of knitting. So that’s exciting as well.

I feel like rushing water that has been held back by a dam for too long and has broken free. Or as someone said to me recently the genie is out of the bottle and is not going back in.

Life, Motivation, personal growth, Positivity, Writing, Your Best Life

Stay Busy and Carry On

Most of us are staying in place and practicing social distancing, washing our hands and not touching our faces. Working from home. Practicing new daily routines. But what else are you doing?

In times such as these it’s easy to let yourself be a target for fear and anxiety. None of us knows how long the pandemic will last, not even the experts. So what can you do to keep yourself positive?

First, I think this is an excellent opportunity to use our time wisely. Is there something you’d like to study or do that you simply haven’t had time to do before now? Or do you have a hobby you’ve been neglecting or one you’d like to take up? Go for it.

Or maybe you’d just love to have time to kick back and relax. Read more books. Garden. It’s spring in the Western Hemisphere and everything is starting to bloom. Now is a great time to get outside and work in your flower garden. Or maybe plant a food garden. Or take a walk. Spend quality time with your family if you are fortunate enough to be quarantined with them.

If you live alone, make sure you are staying in touch with others daily via social media, emails, and video chats. Loneliness can lead to depression and that’s something none of us needs to deal with on top of all of our other challenges right now.

As for me, I’m using this time to write. I’ve finished my second book in The River City Mysteries and have moved on to writing the third book in the series. I hope to have all of the books for sale sometime this summer.

I would really love to have you subscribe to both my blog and my writing newsletter. Newsletter signup can be found on this website’s home page. Right now, you have to go out of the website and sign back into katjorgenseauthor.com for the subscribe button to appear. I’m working on that. I will never share your email and you will hear from me about writing related things – new releases, contests, giveaways and inside scoops.

The Mona Lisa and I are both wearing our masks for the times when we do have to be out and about. I encourage you to do the same. Stay well, Stay safe. Be kind to one another. Think about a donation to a food bank to ensure those less fortunate have food. Or find other ways to donate to our first responders, healthcare workers, and those on the front line. We are all in this together.

Life

Read and Relax

Lately, I’ve been working on edits and revisions on my latest novel, “Your Time is Up.” It’s a very left brain activity. Those of you who know me, or are getting to know me through my blog, will know that I much prefer right brain activities. But edits and revisions are so necessary. So what do I after a hard day’s work?

By the time evening rolls around, my brain is fried. I need to do something to relax and recharge. And that’s when I turn to reading for pleasure. Do you read to relax? To recharge? If not, why don’t you try it?

Books can transport us from our ordinary lives to new places and new adventures. We can forget our troubles or stressors while we are reading.

Add in your favorite beverage or a snack. Make it a daily ritual. It can be as relaxing as a little mini-vacation.

I love to read before bedtime. It puts me in a good mood for a good night’s sleep. But if you have the time in the morning, reading can feel decadent. I save that for the weekends when I don’t have anywhere I need to be. And the kitties will let me lounge in bed for a bit.

Next time you need a break, pick up a good book. Your stress will melt away and you’ll feel so much better. And that’s what I want for you. Happy reading – and relaxing.

Life

New Month, New Goals.

Every month I try to reassess where I am on my journey for the year. Am I moving forward? Am I stagnating? Have I checked things off of my to do list? Or am I ignoring my goals and hoping for the best? What will put me back on the right track if I’ve veered off at any point?

I make lists for both my work life and my personal life. I encourage you to do the same. A master list of sorts to get you from A to Z in 2020.

Look closely today at where you are in your goals and where you want to be. Is there a noticeable gap? If yes, write down your action steps in each area to get you back to making positive changes and moving forward again. Start a 1-2-3 plan to move yourself from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.

Your plan may require many steps. One thing is for sure. If you don’t plan with forward progression, you will stay rooted to where you are. Remember, a misstep on your journey is only a wrong move if you don’t learn from your mistake. Back up, regroup and go forward with your new knowledge.

List out your goals for the month and the necessary actions you need to take to accomplish them. And then start checking them off Forward progress is a good thing.

Life, Motivation, Your Best Life

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Are you complacent? Are you living in a comfort zone where you aren’t stretching yourself to be the best that you can be?

Too often we get in a rut and accept where we are as where we need to be. But by doing that we don’t grow and we don’t push ourselves. Being comfortable is easy. To stretch forces us to grow, learn and be more than we are.

I really try to push my comfort boundaries. To try new things. Perhaps it’s just a new way of doing something familiar. Or perhaps it’s trying something totally unfamiliar. Whatever it is that I do, I usually am much better off for having tried it.

The first step of any new endeavor is tough. We might fail. We might make fools of ourselves. Or we might just succeed. And how great would that feel?

Get out of your comfort zone and reach for something new and exciting.

Writing

Listen

All month long I have been fighting my writing.  In my heart, I knew something wasn’t right with this latest book, but I could not figure out what it was.  I hate that.  After all, I had carefully plotted the book and was happy with both the plot and the characters.  Or was I?

By asking myself some questions, I got a glimmer of what was bothering me.

I didn’t want to kill off my intended victim.  I’d grown to like her.  And because I didn’t want to bump her off, my scenes were suffering and my pacing was off.  I was going to the computer each morning practically kicking and screaming.  And procrastinating about murdering her on the page.  Of course, I didn’t know that that was what I was doing.

But once I figured out that I didn’t want to kill her, I had to figure out what to do.

Was this just a whim on my part, or did she really have a place in the story other than as the murder victim?

When I’m in a dilemma like this, I don’t do anything rash.  I turn it over to the characters.  So I posed the question to them and asked them to come up with reasons for her to stay among the living.

And they came through.

I woke up the next morning and the answer was clear.  She gets to live.  And the characters (or my subconscious) came up with all of the answers.  I knew why she had to live.  I knew who had to die in her place.  And I knew what plot complications I could make based on letting her live.  I was delighted.  The story was going to be better than ever.

What if I’d ignored that nagging feeling?  I would have continued to write.  That’s a given.  But I would not have enjoyed the process.  The book would have been completed, but I have a feeling it would have been flat.  I wouldn’t have been happy with it.  And ultimately the reader wouldn’t have been either.

I’ve learned to pay attention to those “something isn’t right here” feelings – whether they’re with my writing or with other aspects of my life.

We are amazing creatures.  We know more than we think we know.  But we need to train ourselves to tune into the things that we know but routinely don’t listen to or ignore.

Inner feelings are there for a reason.  Sometimes they steer us wrong.  But frequently they have merit.  Be still and listen to what your body is telling you about your writing, your hobby, your health, your relationship, your whatever.

We’re always so busy doing that often we forget to just sit and be.  The answers are always there.  We just need to listen.

Are you listening to your inner voice today?

Life, Your Best Life

Enjoy the Little Things

Time goes by so fast.  We work hard all week.  The weekends disappear in a blur if we’re not careful.  Any many of us get so caught up in jobs and errands that we don’t stop and enjoy life.

Do you take the time to notice a sunrise or a sunset?  The smell of a baby after a bath?  Dew on the grass or flowers in bloom?  Or just nature in general?  

Do you have a hobby?  If not, I encourage you to consider finding one.  Yoga, running, knitting or some other type of handwork, photography, playing with a pet, painting or drawing.  

The ideas are endless.  And most are free or minimal cost.  Something that will allow you to downshift from the daily grind.  To destress.  To renew yourself.  We give and give so much of ourselves that we need to find time to refill our well with the things that will give us pleasure.

All you need to do is schedule the time on your calendar to relax.  Make it as important as any appointment or committiment.  Because it is.  It’s important to your health and well-being.  

Since I’ve started taking regular time to pause and enjoy the little things, I’m less stressed and definitely happier.  And I think if you try it, you will be too.  What do you have to lose?

Life, Motivation, Your Best Life

Never a Failure; Always a Lesson

We’re human.  We’re going to make mistakes. I have to admit it. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and failed many times in my life.  In all areas of my life.  

But I know one thing.  I’ve always learned lessons from my mistakes. And those lessons have been invaluable in my life.  They’ve made me a better and stronger person.  I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve learned along the way.  Will I continue to make mistakes?  Sure, I will.  But hopefully, I will continue to learn as I go through life. 

When we learn from our mistakes, we do better the next time.  We only fail when we ignore things and continue to plod through life without learning and growing.  

Life lessons are some of the best lessons.  They may not feel like it at the time, but they are.  Don’t resist learning from your mistakes.  Don’t be too proud to learn either.  Embrace the mistakes in your life and determine how you could have approached things differently.   Live your best life.