Monday, December 28, 2015

A SPECIAL GIFT {the gift of words}

This week has been a flurry of wrapping paper, tinsel, ham, prawns, and Pavlova. I spent the week at my parent’s place, and with ten people in the house, it was pretty noisy. But we all had a great time, and the kids were spoiled rotten. I love Christmas, because I love seeing people happy.

Amongst the ruckus, I still managed to find the time to write every day. I even surpassed my daily goal of 500 words, reaching double that most of the time.

I also got some pretty awesome gifts. More books to read, another colouring book, and my favourite present … a leather bound journal.

It was given to me by a special friend who has stuck by me, even when I’ve been at my worst. She gets me more than anyone I know, and it’s the most thoughtful present I’ve been given in a long time. I plan to start using it on January 1, and I want to fill it with something meaningful. So, it’s going to be my learning journal. Each day I’m going to look for something new to learn, and I’m going to write it down. I also plan to use it to record anything I think will help me in some way, whether it be dealing with something that’s happening at the time, or to see the world differently. Quotes, thoughts, song lyrics … all the things I love and want to love. Thoughts, speech, words … they are so wonderful, and I’m so grateful for this gift, because it has given me a special place to put all the words! 

Have you received a special gift this Christmas? I’d love to hear about it.

Stay awesome, and see you in 2016.
K x

Monday, December 21, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS {and a writing update from me}

I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away. Where has this year gone? At the beginning of 2015 hubby and I agreed that we needed to slow down, and start making the most of things. We wanted to prioritise better, meaning less work and more play. Even though we’ve achieved a lot over the past twelve months, I feel as if the year has gotten away from us. I think I feel this way every year. And now it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead again. The prospect of another year excites me because it’s another chance to start over, and another chance to set long term (and short term) goals. So … I thought it's about time I gave you an official update on where I’m at with my writing, and what you can (possibly) expect from me in 2016.

I’m currently drafting Die For Me, the final book in the Tate Chronicles, and I plan to have it out before the middle of the year. I’m excited for this final book because it’s going to be a good one, and after everything Grace as been through … well, all I’ll say is she’s going out with a bang. I’m going to miss my characters from this series because they have been with me for so long, but to be honest, I’m also relieved. I’m excited about moving on to new stories and ideas, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

As well as releasing the final book in the series, the Tate Chronicles will be getting a makeover. The first two books will have shiny re-designed covers, and I’ll be doing a triple cover reveal some time in February. Sacrifice will remain the same because I’ve always loved it, and it fits well with the new designs.

I had originally hoped to release Die For Me in January, but there are several schedules I need to work in line with such as beta readers and editors, so that time frame wasn’t possible. I’m not ready to announce an exact date yet (I still need to finish writing the book!) but when I am you’ll be the first to know.

In March I’ll be going back to uni to continue my studies for my BA. I’ve had a semester off, so it will be a shock to the system, but I’m looking forward to hitting the books again, and getting back into it. This means my writing time will be more limited, but I have plans to work on another story that has been floating around in my head for a few years. Ideally I’d like an October release, but I’ll have to see how things go. It may end up being October 2017! I’ll definitely try my best to have something to release by the end of 2016 though, because I have quite a few stories waiting to be told. My fingers are itching just thinking about them.

To give you an idea, I’ve started plotting a few of them: a ghost story, a story involving romantic betrayal, and a dystopian video game. I have no idea how any of them will turn out, but that’s half the fun.

As for New Year’s resolutions, that may have to be a different blog post in the first week of January. I think I’ll make it through Christmas first before I go and set anything in stone for 2016. Plus, I need to think about it more and work out exactly what I want to focus on. The options are limitless.

I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a supper Happy New year. I hope Santa is good to you.

Stay awesome.
K x

Monday, December 14, 2015

Back to Basics {writing in a notebook}

For the past week or so I’ve been writing in a notebook rather than sitting at the computer to get my words down. This stemmed from me having to work extra days at my day job in the lead up to Christmas. I’m a graphic designer so I stare at a computer screen all day. On most work days, the thought of going anywhere near the computer when I get home makes me cringe. What’s even worse, it makes my writing feel like a chore.

Another reason why I thought I’d get back to basics is because I felt disconnected to my writing. I felt like I’d lost touch and was simply going through the motions and not producing quality work. Picking up a pen and writing on paper has let me free my thoughts, and given me the chance to write with abandon—mistakes and all. Everything is raw on the page. There’s no delete button.

Sometimes I wonder if we are slowly losing the art of writing, letting it get lost amongst all the pixels and images, and ease of the digital world. Writing on paper is an art in itself, and one I have really enjoyed exploring again.

These are some of the notebooks in my collection.
I admit I’m a notebook hoarder.

I used to worry that I wouldn’t be able to read what I’d written after I’d written it, but I think no matter how messy our handwriting is, our brains have an uncanny way of deciphering our own thoughts. I used to envy those who have beautiful and neat handwriting, and I’ve tried relentlessly to write neatly and make mine pretty. I often start out neat, but then it turns into a messy scrawl because my hand can’t keep up with my brain. This would be my only downfall when it comes to writing with pen and paper, because I look back and think, Wow! What a mess! But I’ve also come to appreciate that I can write and still read it afterwards, and I’ve changed my mindset to view my notebooks as objects of beauty, filled with imagination and ideas, rather than a mess of miss-formed words.

From my experience, I think writing with pen and paper is a good exercise that every writer should do on a regular basis. It’s a lot nicer watching the ink flow from a pen than watching a cursor flash on a white screen. Writing on paper can help unblock our minds, and get our ideas and thoughts flowing freely. If you find you’re having trouble with your current WIP and feel stuck, why not try using a notebook instead? You might be surprised at how much it can help.

Stay awesome.
K x

Monday, December 07, 2015

WHAT MAKES YOU A WRITER? {how to define your purpose}

I often hear of writers who don’t believe they’re actually writers. If you spend time creating stories with words, in any form whether it be a diary entry, blog post, novel, poem, play, the list is endless … then you are a writer.

Say it with me. I am a writer.

You don’t have to be published or famous, to achieve writer status. All you have to do is write.

Today I thought I’d share with you the top ten things being a writer means to me.

1) Happiness: When I’m writing, I’m happy. When I’m thinking about writing, I’m happy.

2) Creativity: I’m a highly visual person, and I love to create. Whether it’s painting, colouring, illustrating, designing, or writing, I love seeing my creations come to life. Writing is just one of the many forms of creativity I enjoy.

3) An escape: When I write, I’m taken away from the real world and into a place that I love to be. I have no worries in my imaginary worlds, and my characters wrap me up in a warm blanket and keep me safe.

4) Time out: I see writing as a way to take time out from everyday life. This could be considered the same thing as escaping, but I disagree. Sometimes I don’t need to forget about the real world. Sometimes all I need is a short break from it.

5) Stress relief: This is a big one for me. I get anxious over the smallest things, and it can be quite debilitating. Writing helps me calm down and deal with issues in a better way. I find the act of writing very therapeutic.

6) A Challenge: I like to set goals and reach above and beyond them, but this is challenging on the days when I’m time poor. I also like to improve and better myself and my skill. Writing every day helps me achieve this. Writing also challenges me to think about certain things differently, and I like having to look at situations from several angles.

7) An opportunity: I see my writing as an opportunity to connect with lots of different people in many different ways. This connection can be through interacting with fans of my work, or through meeting like-minded people in the form of other writers.

8) A sense of accomplishment: When someone tells me they’ve read my book and loved it, it gives me all the fuzzy feels. There is no better feeling than knowing I have touched someone with my writing. I also feel accomplished when I meet my personal goals and striving for them keeps me going.

9) A way to entertain: Story telling is a great form of entertainment. I enjoy reading, and if I can write something that someone else enjoys reading, then even better. There’s nothing more satisfying than the feeling you get when someone tells you how much they enjoyed reading your story.

10) A purpose: I feel that my writing gives me purpose. It’s one of (the many) reasons why I get up every day. It gives me something to look forward to, and helps me face things I don’t always want to. I enjoy spending time with my characters and their world, and bringing them to life. It’s like they’re my children, and it’s my job to care for them and nurture them into existence.

So the next time you tell yourself, or someone else tells you you’re not a writer, because you don’t have anything published, or no one knows about your work, or *insert other reasons here*, don’t listen to them.

Be the writer you want to be.

Download my free worksheet and fill it out to remind yourself why you love to write.

Be awesome.
K x