writing

Every Story Has A Reader| Writing Fiction

Last week, I worked diligently on my current “work in progress”. I was happy, I hit word counts and managed to clean up the messes on the way. Over the weekend something happened, that something that always happens. I feel hopeless, incompetent and I want to discard this entire story. Not even midway in each of my manuscripts I feel whatever I’m writing isn’t interesting. I get embarrassed by what I’ve written, and I feel relieved that I haven’t published such an atrocity for people to read.

But…the flame hasn’t completely gone out yet. I think about the books I’ve read that had no great writing or insane twist and you know what? I’ve enjoyed some of those. As a book reviewer and lover of storytelling, I hate to call someone’s work bad writing. For me, books comes in different flavors, some are great tasting and some are less tolerable. That being said, there are some works that I simply could not get through but that isn’t to say the writing or form of storytelling was horrible.

Every genre or story has a reader out there waiting for it and if that’s not inspiration to share your stories with the world, then I don’t know what is. Of course it’s another miserable thing all together promoting your book and finding your audience but I think we shouldn’t be insecure of our ideas. 

As a writer, what makes you feel insecure?

Xo Kat

How Important is Momentum| Fiction Writing

I stumbled across a video about the importance of momentum when writing a book and although I know it’s a logical way of thinking, I don’t always apply that with my own projects. I allow many factors to affect me from completing a manuscript.

Basically, having momentum means finishing a book, at least a first draft. This is something I’m always struggling with. When I first started out writing books(not poetry), I had momentum. I wrote for a set four hours a day and in four to five months, I had a first draft and revisions completed. The book was a huge embarrassment to me mainly because I feel cheesy about writing romance and sexy times. Also, the book needs a little work before I republish it. It’s an ebook by the way. But…the accomplished feeling of having finished something that took sweat and tears was a great one.

Somewhere along the lines, I lost sight of the fact that I was writing for myself. I wasn’t writing for money, an audience or competition. In my head, I just wanted to write what I wanted to read. I wanted to bring the characters that I had invested so much time into to life. So I wrote, and wrote until I completed my story. Beginning, plot, climax. It was all there.

My insecurities started to appear after publishing my second book which I removed due to it needing a little more work. What made me feel incompetent as a writer wasn’t my newness to the field, it was all of the other things that comes with writing that I didn’t have before. It’s been hard for me during this journey to share my work as it’s always been something very private, something therapeutic in my life. Sharing my work made me feel exposed in a way. Now I’m not that writer that dislikes criticism because I believe our readers are where we grow and learn from. You learn what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and what you need to improve on.

I haven’t been able to finish one manuscript this year despite that fact I wrote over 50,000 words(different projects). Some of these projects began all the way back in 2016. It’s a failure, and I hate it, and I try so hard to work on it.

Coming back to the video about momentum. We have all read books that we didn’t like and books that we loved and adored but they all had something in common. They were completed. My take as a writer is not everyone’s going to love your work and you won’t be an established author until you write and write and learn from it but the importance of finishing, getting to the last page is very high. This is something a writer just needs to do no matter what.

Stressing over an audience and what you think they want to read is one of the most detrimental things you can do to yourself as a writer. You have a voice, you have a story and it’s your right to tell it the way you see fit. And I will touch on the subject in another post of do’s and don’t’s in writing and why I think it’s wrong to give people such a stenciled idea of a creative field.

Writing fiction isn’t like copywriting and I’m very much in my comfort zone with researching and writing articles but when it comes to creativity I let fear overtake the pen. I joke about it as writer’s block but it isn’t so funny when you feel like you wasted an entire year not doing what you love to do. So my takeaway from this video that I looked at is to have momentum. Just write. Just finish. Editing, formatting, promotions, all of that comes after. It really shouldn’t be our focal point when there is a story to be told.

As always, thanks for reading. Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

xo Kat

 

Should Writers Only Write What They Know? | Writing Fiction

What really started me out writing stories and poetry was “Composition Class” in primary school. As early as the age of six, I had to write essays (called compositions sometimes) based on pictures or a topic. It would start with a first line sometimes, and sometimes it would be titled something like “A Day at The Beach” or “The Dog.” This required critical and creative thinking from very early on for me, and often I would slip into daydreams about different things…writing in my head so to speak. During my last year of primary school, I really had to perfect my essays as it was a core part of our exams for high school entry. I even had extra after school lessons to broaden my knowledge and understanding of how 2-3 page stories work. Introduction, body, climax, etc.

One piece of advice I got from a teacher around that time(age 10) was to write what I know. I believed that, and I applied that but I also believed that it wasn’t meant to be taken so literally. Most of my essays were based on fantasy ideas, rings with superpowers, kids with superhuman strengths. I had neither of those, so where did that come from? Which brings me to my next question…”Should writers only write what they know?”

My simple answer, pertaining to my own experiences as a content creator is no. But there’s more to it than just no. It’s understanding how to utilize what you know and add to it.

I’m inserting a disclaimer here as usual that I am no scholar or established author, just a person who writes with a take on writing what you know.

If we were to confine everything that we know only into our stories, it probably wouldn’t work out too well. As writers, we do have an audience to write for and we shouldn’t treat them poorly. Readers need to feel, and most writers can provide that but can we really provide a dynamic visual for our readers if we don’t tap into our creativity? To me, writing is an art, similar to painting, although painting is very complex to a person like me. But the creative similarities are there.

For instance, many authors create epic works of fiction. To name a few, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Rick Riordan and many more. Their works are related to the fantasy or adventure genre. What this means is that these writers really tapped into a special place of creativity. Rowling didn’t attend a wizardry school and neither did Tolkien meet elves or dwarfs to get familiar enough to write about them.

Do I write what I know? Yes, my past experiences has taught me a lot about emotions, feelings. And whatever genre or story you tell, the portraying of an emotion is there, jealously, anger, love, lust, happiness, pain, rejection. These are things we know and write about better as time goes by. There are still emotions that I can’t perfectly pen out on paper and it’s because I’ve never had that particular situation to deal with so I don’t write it. But when it comes to imagination, world building, character profiling….let your creative juices flow. Just let go.

As a writer, I don’t know everything. I don’t know most of my characters when I get an idea for a book or where the story is going. Recently I had a little struggle with writing about a cold climate place that I have never been to. Is it doable? Sure it is. The research & plotting part of your novel or story is very critical and should be given adequate time to brainstorm and develop before even beginning to write chapter one.

Do you have any struggles in your writing process? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

xo Kat

The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is an expression coined by English author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. It’s main idea is the indication that communication is better than violence.

This is a sentence or phrase that resonates deep with me, in my own personal way. I’m not a violent person who turned writer overnight (haha). Writing has helped me overcome many fears and insecurities. It opened up doors of happiness that I didn’t know existed. Writing served as a form of therapy even when I weren’t old enough to understand all of the pain, rejection and loneliness that came with being a young adult. I wrote books of poetry during that period and I’ve since learned that writing is the only way I can truly communicate my emotions as well as put everything into perspective.

Before deciding to take on being an author, I wrote pages and pages of deep feelings completely unaware of what my ability to write was doing for me in a positive way. And, for that, one of the truest statements is that the pen really is mightier than the sword. I could’ve handled things differently in my life but I always turned to my pen. Now I’m thirty years old and holding a pen is my strength.

xo Kat

Can Content Mills help your Writing Career?

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What are Content Mills?

In layman’s terms, content mills or content farms are websites that hire freelancers to generate large amounts of textual content. In most cases, a freelance writer has to bid the lowest to get hired. Because of this, many writers as well as employers don’t find the services rendered from these sites credible. Questions to explore are, “How qualified is this writer I’m hiring?” or “How reliable is this person if I know nothing of their writing background?”

Read on to get my take on content mills and you decide whether or not it can benefit you as a freelance writer.

If you’re a newbie writer, and have no experience in the writing field, or maybe you have personal experience but no portfolio to show for it, content mills can be a start for you. Although the money will seem like a disadvantage to your and you talent on most days, here’s what you can learn by using content mills.

Experience

As a writer who is just starting out, trust me when I say you have a lot to learn in the world of writing. Writing is an ever flowing kind of job. Your knowledge should be an expanding work in progress at all times. There is no “know how” or “know enough” in writing. Be mindful at this point you don’t necessarily know what kind of writer you are. You may choose a niche or topic and feel you can handle it but you won’t really know until you put yourself to the test. Signing a job through content mills can help you gain that experience. Many experienced and established writers advise against using content mills and tell newbie writers to just plunge head on into pitching for jobs.

Consider the scenario of you landing your first client and not being able to deliver because you don’t know how to assemble yourself and your skills as a writer. I will go in depth into what it takes to get into writing in another post. What I will say here, no writer knows everything. There’s a lot of research, rewrites and dealing with unsatisfied clients. This is something that you’ll want to be eased into before attempting larger jobs with a higher commitment.

Portfolio/Published Work

When you browse through job posting, you’re bound to see several potential clients asking for samples of your published work. Crafting an awesome pitch is key but with a portfolio in your pocket, you’re about to ace that proposal. Clients want visible proof of what you’re capable of doing for their company as well as your writing style and voice. Again, as a beginner you have none of these. Using content mills for a few months to a year can seem tedious and daunting, like your writing career will never kick off. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and at the end of that year, you just might have a full portfolio to show when approaching the kind of jobs you want to be doing.

Finding Your Voice

Another question I’ve seen on forums is, “I want to be a writer but how do I find my voice?” Here’s how you do it…try different things. Writing is art, creativity, it’s not meant to be a straight line. Maybe you’ll fare better as a business writer or medical writer, or fiction writer. But you won’t really know until you explore your true potential. Picking up small scale writing jobs in content mills can help you find your own voice. By the time you’re really ready to put yourself out there, you have a full understanding of the kind of writer you are.

Potential to Meet Ongoing Clients

Content mills have lots of ongoing jobs and once you build a relationship with a client, who’s to say you won’t be doing business with that company for a long time outside of a content farm?

Time Management

When you’re just starting out, the only things on your mind are landing jobs and making a buck. Pretty soon it can get overwhelming. You have the opportunity to learn how to manage your time in a day in order to get the amount of work you need to get done. You also get to learn your own work process, how long it takes you to write an article and how many articles you can research and write in a day. All these are things to be mindful of when deciding to become a freelance writer.

How to Approach and Converse with Clients

Another way to prepare yourself in dealing with future clients, is actually dealing with clients. Taking up short term jobs can help you with long terms jobs in the future. In freelancing writing, a lot of your meetings are done via messaging and sometimes Skype. It’s few and far you may have an actual sit down meeting. You need to develop your people skills, how to approach clients, the language you need to use professionally. Getting your point across and also understanding the client’s vision is crucial in delivering a satisfying article.

 

I may be in the minority but I believe there are a lot of things you can learn from content mills to shape yourself as a confident writer. Money shouldn’t be your driving force at beginner level. You have to be prepared and accepting of your mistakes, clients’ negative feedback and how to fix the problem with a level head. As with every talent and skill, writing should be nurtured. Starting off with content mills is a way of getting your foot through the door without a wide gap in not writing at all.

Hope you enjoyed this piece. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think and what’s your approach as a freelance writer or if you’re considering dipping your toes into the writing pool.

xo Kat

(c) 2007 Kat Degnich. All rights reserved.

 

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

How I Outline My Novel

There are a few different effective and straightforward methods to outline a novel, however, I do it in my own way. Recently I’ve seen some questions pop up about outlining novels so I thought I’d break down the way I do it since it seems simpler to me, and in another post, I will discuss the other methods thoroughly.

I think my way of doing it is very close to the snowflake method but as you learn more about it, you’ll see that I don’t stick to it fully. I just want to let you know that even though there are actual methods and names for them, there is no wrong way you can do this. Whatever works for you will be best for you. As writers of fiction, things are almost always jumbled and coming to us rapidly and out of nowhere so we tend to note this down all over. From notepads, to phones, to different apps and software. You name it, we’ve written on it.

So without further ado, let’s get into it….

STEP 1

I would call this your idea phase. You know that moment when an idea hits you but it’s only a sentence long? This is just step one. Fun fact about Kat: I used to begin writing with just that first idea and it was horrible. I found myself being stuck more than usual. This is where you’re going to brainstorm. Write down all of the ideas, thoughts, characters, names, whatever contribution you have to bring to this novel, just write them down. It doesn’t have to be in specific order. It doesn’t even have to make sense at this point.

STEP 2

Now that you have all of your ideas down it’s time to really think about the main plot of your story. An idea can go anywhere whether it’s romance, suspense, thriller or a mixture of genres. Try writing a summary of what you’d like your story to be about.

STEP 3

Create character profiles. I’ll briefly explain here how I do this as I plan to create an entire post to help with character profiling. This takes some work, some critical thinking. Not only are you going to name your characters, you’re going to create a description of their physical attributes as well as what they do and what they stand for. For example, if your character’s name is Sophia and Sophia has long blonde hair, green eyes etc etc Then you’ll need to add to Sophia before you start writing. What does Sophia do? How does Sophia think or react? Does Sophia have a shy persona or is she outgoing? What are her likes, dislikes, boundaries.

STEP 4

I’d recommend naming and explaining as much characters as you can at this point. The main ones, their family members(if they have a part in the story). While writing you’ll most likely add characters or omit characters. Have no fear, these changes are doable and nothing is set in stone. Having a base of characters gives you ammo to write with so along with your main plot and setting, you can write something without having to stop every few paragraphs.

STEP 5

I should have mentioned setting earlier but here’s why I left it out until now. During your summary stage, you would have most likely mentioned the location or setting in which your book takes place. Let’s call stage five, research. Whatever you want to put into your novel and you feel like you need to know more about it, get on google and research the heck out of it. Look for pictures of places, houses etc You can save them for later use, or you can just makes notes as your description comes to life in your head. Another thing you want to research is jobs functions, weather of a particular location etc. Anything that you feel you need help with in creating a better summary.

STEP 6

Summary number two! So now that you have all of this information, write a complete summary with the added details of your characters and settings.

STEP 7

What you’ll do from here is expand your summary. Don’t get rid of any of your earlier work by the way. Expand your current summary. Add your sub plots or scenes as I call them. Any specific quote or line you need to place somewhere, add it all in. You can redo this as much as you need to in order to create your desired outline.

STEP 8

When you feel like everything makes sense, start writing. Having this guide will help you to write on days that you’re uninspired or lost because you’ll know what’s going to take place. Even if you get stuck take a time out and then get back into it. Remember this is only the first draft and another fun fact: My first drafts are often horrible and written very poorly with a few brilliant things in between. Patience is virtue when it comes to writing. Take your time, try to finish that first draft even if you’re not completely satisfied. Anything can be corrected, omitted and modified later on.

I hope this made any sense at all and I hope it helps you in your writing process. Good luck!

xo Kat

 

Freelancing Failures and Future Projects

Approximately seven years ago, I started a freelancing company focusing on computer repairs and networking systems. I even dabbled with a little web design but it never took off the ground. I am skeptical about going back into freelancing, having to market myself, reach out to people that don’t want to be reached out to. Nothing comes easy as we all know and I am prepared for the negative as well as the positive. This time around I’m going to extend my book writing into freelance writing services which I’ll cover more in another post. Here are some of the reasons why my freelance business didn’t work in the past.

No Respect as a Professional

Because I started out very young, and somewhat inexperienced, I was at a deep disadvantage. Most of the time you try to network with family and peers before strangers, and those close to me just couldn’t take me seriously as a professional techie or an entrepreneur.

Working for Free

People who know you tend to not want to pay you for your skill set. Even with a registered business, you’re still expected to do favors. It’s tough when you’ve put out the capital to start your business and struggle to make profits.

No confidence

At the time, I thought I marketed my business averagely. I gave out business cards, printed flyers, did social media and the traditional word of mouth. I still lacked the confidence to approach strangers and make a sound point why I would be a suitable candidate for hire.

Lack of Persistence 

Although you fail and fail, and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, in this line of work, you must possess persistence. It’s a risk, it’s a gamble and you must be on your best game at all times. Around the time things were going sour, I also migrated to another country so that was a major factor.

Death of Passion

Freelancing isn’t like landing a 9 to 5 job. Most people freelance because it’s what they prefer to do in order to utilize and enhance their skill set. If your heart isn’t in it or your skills are lacking, it really wouldn’t take off the way you want it too.

If you have freelanced in the past or doing it currently, drop me a line in the comments to let me know about your experiences. 

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