Tag Archives: Christina Katz

Thankful Thursday

  Because it is so rewarding to be thankful, not just to be thanked, I’m reigniting my Thankful Thursdays series. Please chime in here or  directly to those you are thankful for.

This week, I’m espeically grateful for writing websites chock full of helpful info on craft, marketing and publishing. Plus those that help to inspire creativity and focus.

Some I devoured:

In newsletter format:

Randy Ingermanson
Publisher, Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine
http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com/ezine

Via Blog Stalking:

Adventures in Children’s Publishing  

Via email feed:

Christina Katz

Via free membership:

Chalene Johnson

Thankful things that make my heart sing:

Sunny days despite the cold

Excitement that makes my 7-yr-old tremble during our reading time

Audio books (just finished SHIVER, Maggie Stiefvater. LOVE!)

New American Idol format 🙂  JLo! Steven! And EXCEPTIONAL contestants

Celebrating the birth of some of my fav peeps: my son, my sister

Spread da  love – what are you thankful for?

~~~~~~~~~~~****~~~~~~~~~~

I’d be ever so grateful if you’d SUBSCRIBE to my blog 🙂  <<< see? that’s me smiling

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Find Your Authentic Self in 4 Easy Steps

If you’ve lost touch with the rest of yourself, find it, and then reclaim or develop it. You’ll be amazed and delighted with the results. ~Mark Sanborn, Author & Speaker

Maybe it’s my thirtysomething age, but I’ve been going through this self-discovery phase of my life. Finding out who I am by asking: what brings me joy? If you’re a parent, spouse, teacher or caregiver of any sort, you might not remember what brings YOU joy. That little burning ember in your heart that when given a bit of light and air can spawn flames of excitement and hope.  Is it there? Let’s find out!

Here are four paths I’ve skipped along on my journey to (re)acquiring my authentic self:

  1. READ BETWEEN THE LINES: These books are helpful in getting in touch with your true inner desires (joy!) (authenticity!) Your Heart’s Desire (ready to sign a contract to find your true desire?); Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway (Fear is the number one reason people stop instead of go…); Finding Your Own North Star  (I’m still absorbing this book, written with truth, respect and a heaping dose of humor) and Simple Abundance (oldy but goody, brings the simple pleasures to you in a daily format.)
  2. JOURNAL YOUR HEART OUT:  Your own words read back to you can be very telling. Telling you that the same reoccurring incidents or complaints bring you the same feelings of drudgery and boredom. But, also notice the instances when you’ve found excitement, joy – dare I say passion? in your journal. Take stock. Do more of those things.
  3. SEARCH THE STARS: Whether you follow astrology or not, there’s something to be said about our Sun signs: they are pretty dead on in describing our personality, which can aid in the search for self. As an intense Scorpio, I am a well-suited to write passionately about intricate relationships or the dark underbelly of human nature. This truly fits my writing and reading style. Pick up Sun Signs for Writers to discover how your sign can help you discover or recover the perfect writing career for you. Find your authentic “voice.”
  4. HAVE A Q&A WITH YOUR BFF: Who knows you better than your best friend? Be it your spouse, sibling, co-worker or highschool chum. Have a pow-wow and bring your questions of What am I good at?  ~ What am I known for? ~ How do I appear to others?  Or try these, suggested by Christina KatzAm I known for keeping things real?
    Am I known for my sensitivity and tact? 
    Their honest answers may rekindle the flame within. The flame burning for your authentic self.

Have you found your “authentic self” – or maybe you never lost her/him? Share with us!

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Filed under Advice, books, emotion, Inspiration, Voice, writers

First step to Clarity: Decide What you WANT

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want. Ben Stein

If you ‘ve been following my blog at all since Dec 31, you know that 2010 is The Year of Clarity. What does that mean? For me, it means to get back to my roots of writing and submitting fiction, narrowing my niche to better  build my platform and before deciding to take on any more, put heavy decisions through a “filter” to discern if  new writing or teaching gigs  fit my “ecosystem” for my ultimate writing goal. What I want is to finish and publish my novel and inspire young writers in my community, with the long-term goal of continuing in these areas to eventually replace my full-time job.

Clarity also means to simplify: my goals, my lifestyle, my space and my relationships. Focus on the things that bring me most joy. This weekend, that meant hanging with my sons: window shopping and walking through parks and an old 16th century graveyard, visiting the library, and reflecting on the school year about to come to an end.

I bring “clarity” up again, because Christina Katz is talking about it in this week’s issue of The Prosperous Writer. What clarity means to us as writers. What does it mean to you? Perhaps after journaling about it, you’ll hit an epiphany. As I did on April 28 of this year:

{journal excerpt}

4-28-10

I am so happy today! Excited with the idea that I WILL be writing a book. A novel I scribed in November 2008. It’s been fermenting in my hard drive. Hate the title. I’ll have to think of something catchy, deep and relative to the mood of the book.

Yes. Today I took the next step in finishing my first novel. I printed each of the 15 chapters, along with unconnected scenes, story map, plot outline, setting and each main characters’ description – from the forms I completed on storyright.com.

I was so afraid to look the mss. over after November 30 2008 struck midnight and I uploaded the whole messy beast into NaNo’s official word count thingamajig. I never looked back. Until today. And I like what I see. I like it a lot! : )

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Deadlines, Novels

Celebrate Good Times, C’mon On!!

“There’s a party goin’ on right here, a celebration to last throughout the year…”

Actually, the PARTY is here. Christina Katz showcases the PROUDEST moments from 40 writing mamas! Read for  inspiration, laughter, tears and motivation. Continue the party on your own blog! What is your proudest writing moment so far? Raise your beverage of choice and cheer!

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Filed under Inspiration, Platform/Marketing, writers

Emotional Monday

{image: janezlifeandtimes.wordpress.com}

We all need to vent, right? Where better than here, on my blog, for my readers to cheer or weep with me? I know, this is Writers INSPIRED. But I can’t be Mary -freaking-sunshine 24/7, my head may explode and I kind of like my head.

Though today will not be a rant but a rave. Just a general “feeling good” zone I’ve slipped in to. Yes, it’s  a natural euphoria I’m feeling lately. Why? Let me count the reasons…

  1. Spring has finally arrived in Chicago! Warm sunshine, soothing breezes, trees in bloom; my kids can now play OUTside 🙂
  2. My husband’s new business is up and running and I am so proud of the work he’s done so far and that he’s following his passion (P.S. Today is our 13 year wedding anniversary!)
  3. I work with some pretty cool people who “get” me and if I have to be in a cubicle all day, well, they’re the people I want with me. Abusing the internal intercom system and all ; )
  4. One of the teachers from my recent mini Teacher Workshop wrote on the Teacher Page about the success she’s having in her 6th grade class by putting to use the exercises I introduced! YIPPEE! I LOVE luring in more young writers. This way, my little pretties…
  5. I finally revived my completed novel from the recesses of the “NaNo ’08” file on my desktop. I printed that bad boy out. 15 + chapters, plot outline, character sketches and “unconnected” scenes. And you know what? It’s not as bad as I thought it was when pounding it out in mass quantities two November’s ago. Of course, I was hyped up on  caffeine and crazy deadlines. It’s actually pretty good. I am excited, giddy even, to get started on the revision process and may even blog about that bumpy road here…

So, what emotion are you wearing on your sleeve today? Do share.  (For more “happiness” posts, subscribe to Christina Katz‘s The Prosperous Writer newsletter, she’ll add a collection of happy posts in her next issue! And, she just rocks. So there.)

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Filed under Advice, emotion

An Interview with Christina Katz About Author Mama

April 2010

Why would you do an e-book after two traditionally published books?

Like most traditionally published authors, who blog, teach and speak, I have a backlog of quality content to draw on and some of it, though not all of it, will lend itself to the e-book format. So I plan to write several e-books over time and Author Mama is the first. I have old sketchbooks full of ideas I’ve had over the years, which will lend themselves well to e-formats. Equal opportunity access to e-publishing technology offers all of us writers a lot more creative leeway than we have traditionally had, which can lead to exciting and fun possibilities.

Besides being in e-book format, how is Author Mama different from Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal?

Author Mama is the story behind how I landed my book deal for Writer Mama and then wrote the book. I wanted to describe in play-by-play form what writing a non-fiction book is like for the benefit of moms considering the possibility with the lessons I learned along the way. One of my students who is on the verge of querying agents with a nonfiction book proposal says that Author Mama “goes there.” In other words, it deals squarely with the rollercoaster ride that most first-time authors experience. The format of my traditionally published books is not as driven by my personal experience, even though it informs them both. In Author Mama, I include all of the books that I recommend first-time authors read before, during, and after the book deal, so they can become as informed and empowered as possible.

Who are the intended readers for Author Mama?

Well, my two traditionally published books don’t target the same exact audience and neither does Author Mama. When I wrote Author Mama, I had my Writer Mama readers in mind, but of those readers, I was specifically focused on anyone seriously considering writing a book someday. Not every writer mama wants to write a book someday. Some are perfectly happy writing and publishing articles. So Author Mama is a slice (a writing book), of a slice (for moms), of a slice (who are considering becoming an author some day), and therefore too small of an audience for a traditional publisher. But many of my students and fans have this question and would like to answer it for themselves. Author Mama is for them.

Did you have any hesitations about self-publishing?

Considering how much content I have sitting around languishing on my hard drives, I am sorry that it’s taken me this long. The person I had the hardest time convincing was myself. I’ve had some hang-ups about e-books that I’ve had to get over in order to move forward. As long as my work continues to serve the best interests of my readers, why wouldn’t I self-publish? I certainly have a lot more to offer than I would just letting it sit around collecting virtual dust. At this point in time, I feel like it would be foolish not to e-publish, even as I continue to write traditional books.

Are publishers anxious about traditional authors self-publishing? Doesn’t this undermine their business?

I think, when it comes to self-publishing the opportunity always exists to take the enlightened view or the fearful view. I have heard people in publishing make comments that authors self-publishing is terrible news, which is absurd. The fearful attitude is, “Oh no, if that author can self-publish, then we lose.” The enlightened view is that when the people you partner with are more successful it’s good for you too because it raises all boats. Besides, when all the folks involved in a partnership are empowered and come together because they want to be there, that’s good for the relationship. It’s important to have good boundaries and communication in business and know the difference between what’s yours, what’s not yours, and what is joint ownership. When you keep these things in mind, and communicate clearly, there is really nothing to fear but fear itself.

How do you keep people from “stealing” your e-book?

I can’t stop people from stealing my e-book. I am completely powerless over that aspect of e-publishing, as most of us are. However, my target audience is not teenage boys and young men, who are supposedly the folks who do most of the pirating, according to the experts who study these trends. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Also I don’t plan on giving my e-books away to avoid the impression that they are “freebies,” whereas with a traditional book I always do a lot of giveaways to get the content out into circulation. E-books are a lot easier to circulate. I can send one to you in seconds. So at this time, I don’t see the point in giving them away and encouraging others to share them without permission. I’d prefer to sell them to a smaller, more exclusive audience, who will see the value and, hopefully, respect my copyright.

What are three major points you hope aspiring writers learn from reading Author Mama?

That landing a traditional book deal and delivering a well-written book is possible but not easy by any means.

That someone else has survived the rollercoaster of emotions that come part and parcel with a first traditional book deal and you can too.

That some writers actually give up along the way and don’t succeed at delivering their first book but this won’t happen to the writers who read Author Mama because forewarned is forearmed.

Is this book only for nonfiction writers or can fiction writers benefit from it too?

Author Mama is specifically about my nonfiction book writing process, which is different from the process for other genres like fiction or memoir. However, a lot of my readers, who write in other genres, have said over the years that they find a lot of takeaways in my nonfiction experience. Also, I fully expect Author Mama to convince a few readers to try writing a nonfiction book, who might have only considered themselves other types of writers or not even writers at all.

Can I order a print copy of Author Mama?

When the book comes out in the final version in May, I will make it available for purchase in print-on-demand format, as well as all the other e-formats. During April, while it’s in beta, Author Mama is available in PDF format, which means you can print it out and put it in a binder yourself, if you prefer a hard copy. I’ve invited the first readers to participate in the process, so I’ve included a feedback form with the e-book but participation is voluntary. However to sweeten the deal, I will provide those who share feedback on the beta version with the final version for free, after it’s updated in PDF form.

How can I order this e-book for someone as a gift?

Sure you can. When you place your order, simply submit their e-mail address in the notes section and I will e-mail the copy to them instead of to you.

Thanks for your questions about Author Mama. If you’d like to learn more, please visit http://christinakatz.com.

About Christina Katz, The Author Mama

{Christina Katz}

Christina Katz has been teaching writers to cultivate thriving careers for the past decade. Many of her students start by writing short articles and work hard and long until they eventually succeed in landing traditional book deals. Christina is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

In addition to writing books and articles, Christina publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, hosts The Northwest Author Series, travels to writing conferences and literary events, and coaches a hundred writers a year. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. She lives in an idyllic cottage in Wilsonville, Oregon with her husband, daughter and far too many pets.

Keep up with Christina, if you can, at www.christinakatz.com.

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Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, Get Published

Topsy-Turvy: finding balance

{image courtesy of foresightculture.com}

 

What is that called when you receive a “message” at just the right time? You know, when things just become clear. An “Ah-ha” or “epiphany” or Kismet? A coincidence, a quinky-dink, fate? 

Well, the night after my husband and I had an argument, I received Christina Katz’s newsletter The Prosperous Writer in my inbox. The theme? BALANCE. Ah-ha! 

The argument between my man and me was about, again, my writing/computer time and how he feels like low man on the totem pole. Last on my list of priorities is how he stated it, actually. Ouch. It hurt me that I hurt him that way. But, where do you draw the line? If a deadline is looming, how do you shut off that “entrepreneur” part of your brain to get into sexy spouse mode? Or even carefree mommy-mode? That’s balance, people. Something I’m apparently lacking. 

Feeling like I’ve been turned upside down and around, my day job, my writing and teaching goals and my role as wife and Mom have come unhinged on the priority pole. Time to take a number. But, who/what comes in first? Of course, the P.C. answer would be “your kids!”  “your husband!” And that’s true. People relationships are the foundation for the rest of it. If my kids and husband aren’t as excited about my writing and teaching career as I am, well, I can still be successful, but lonely. And I imagine it’s not much fun at the top if there’s no one there to clink glasses with. 

Though, I’m not prepared to say goodbye to the writing and teaching opportunities that I have grown in the past several years. Maybe I do need to prepare to say, “let me get back to you.” For instance, now when someone presents me with an opportunity and asks, Hey, would you be interested in-  “YES!” I interrupt. Trigger-happy. I’ve gone through this before and paid for it by experiencing slight burnout and major attitude issues, including exhaustion, doubt and anxiety. Sound familiar to anyone else? 

Christina says that sometimes this imbalance is the best thing to set us straight again. And again. (in my case!) And remember my Year of Clarity? Quinky-dink? It’s time to reassess my goals in relation to my time and find that balance. How am I going to do this? Let me count the ways… 

  • Decide which projects I’m already committed to and note their deadline(s)
  • Figure out the timeline(s) leading up to these due dates, i.e. the amount of time I’ll need to prepare, edit and present or submit these projects, then break them into bite-size pieces
  • Discuss with my family how much time I’ll need per week to achieve these goals, making sure everyone is in agreement that I’ll be “unavailable” on certain evenings and that it won’t interfere with family obligations: band concerts, school open house, my husband’s work schedule.
  • Communicate! Write on our kitchen calendar the times I’ll be “working” and out of the house.
  • Stick to it. When I’m not on the calendar as “working” I need to release the responsibilities. Meaning? No checking emails. No updating Twitter. No researching online or checking in with my writing group.
  • Use my off days to: start a scrapbook with Sam, take David to the basketball hoops, cuddle with my husband, try a new crock pot recipe, play with Comet (my bird), read for pleasure, take a walk, have a movie night, play Rockband, etc.
  • Before I say “yes” to any more opportunities, I need to Stop. Drop. And Roll. Stop before speaking. Drop the idea by my family, considering how much time this will take from them. Roll it through my ultimate goals filter – does it fit within my plan for “Getting Known?” or is it just another to-do?

  

These steps will be a struggle for me, I know. But the first step is admitting there is a problem, in my case: imbalance. 

How about you? 

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Filed under Advice, Deadlines, goals, Organization, Perseverance