8 August 2018

Journal 8.8.18

I went back to an uncompleted project I’ve been working on off and on. I’ll call it MF. Its currently halfway finished. When I first started writing the novel, I aimed for New Adult.

    The New Adult genre involves characters that are older teens, right on the cusp of adulthood through to the early twenties. The characters are exploring and experiencing their place in the world and may also be encountering love.

In one of my moments, I thought maybe I would change MF to an older YA novel as I was seeing more and more get published.

MF could go either way, really.

As I was writing the WIP (work-in-progress), I felt something wasn’t right. I didn’t know if it was the opening scene or the pacing or what.

Then it hit me.

My issue with this WIP is the tone and setting.

I write in different voices in my stories. For my YAs, I want a teen voice in a modern setting. For my Adult/New Adult novels, I write edgier stories and tones.

So I realized I was forcing myself into a niche that wasn’t working. This novel has an older feel. An exploration of a new adult, experiencing newfound feelings. She’s suddenly on her own and unsure where she fits in her world.

I feel good about this direction. I can release the restrictions I had put on myself and just write freely, knowing my younger readers won’t be able to relate. MF will be for older teens and adults.


Glad to have worked that issue out.

7 June 2018

10 Things I Would Tell My Younger Writer Self

1. “Think positive thoughts!”

The more you worry, the more you freak out, the more you bring those fears into your life. Think about all the good stuff that is happening. You are publishing a book! Your story is alive and in your hands. This is freaking amaze-balls!

2. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Not everything runs smoothly in publishing. It’s just like any other business. Sometimes things go smoothly, sometimes there’s an error or a sudden looming deadline. Go with the flow, you’ll be fine. This is publishing! Your dream job!

3. “This book is GOOD!”

The publisher wouldn’t have offered you a contract if it was garbage. C’mon, Kel. You love your characters and readers will have the chance to as well. Let readers decide for themselves.

4. “Don’t live in a Wayne’s World movie, You ARE worthy!”

You wrote the book, didn’t you? You spent chunks of your life writing it? You stayed up late while the family slept just so you could write when it was quiet? You worked your ass off writing it, plotting it, typing it, editing it, dreaming it, creating it, right? Yes, you. You deserve this and you are worthy of being published. Forget about the rejections you got before. You found the right agent and the right editor. It all came together for you because you deserve this. You go, girl!

5. “Be grateful.”

Instead of stressing out, be grateful. The Universe wants you to love the things in your life that you want to keep. So be grateful for this moment and wish for more.

6. “Don’t be embarrassed by attention. It comes with being a published writer.”

Okay, so you’re in your twenties, you’re still young. You’re still a little shy. Suck it up, Buttercup. A little attention and standing in front of people comes with the territory. But guess what? You’ll do just fiiiiiiine.

7. “Be like Taylor and shake it off.”

So agents and editors are business people. The successful ones are pretty straight to the point, no filter, blunt by birth individuals. That’s okay. They are going to help you get published. They are going to tell you what’s wrong with your book and hopefully how to fix it. It’s not personal. Yeah, it might feel like they are criticizing your child—or you—but it’s a book. They know the biz. You want to get in the biz. You shake off the tough comments and you get that baby polished and ready for the world.

8. “Relax. This is a job, not a ticket to happiness.”

Being an author is a job. Let’s not forget. Even if you don’t have a contract, you’re still a writer. No one can take that away from you except YOU.

9. “Live the Joy!”

Have fun! Mingle. Share your book! Share your story! Dance in your living room! Live the joy of writing! Live the joy of creating! Live the joy of storytelling! Live the joy of doing something you love!

10. “Just write.”

This is how it all started. You. Sitting. At. Your. Computer. WRITING. That’s what you want to keep doing. You just writing. You got it now. Just write.

4 April 2018

The Joy of Walking

We drive our cars. We need to get places. We’re on a schedule. Need to get things done.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

The streets are cluttered. Cars are weaving in and out. Lights are taking too long.

Sound familiar?

Are we traveling too fast? Missing our surroundings? Are we even really seeing what’s going on before us or our minds flashing with a hundred things that need to be done that day?

Are we driving too much while forgetting that we can walk to destinations not too far away?

I moved a mile from a current job and I was eager to ride my bike. More exercise and not to mention, saving on gas. It was nice for a while. I focused so much on riding and worrying about weaving around cars and people, I was missing something about being outdoors. I was missing the joy.

One day I decided to go for a walk. Have you ever just taken a stroll and experienced the scene around you? Really listened to the birds chirping, the wind blowing gently against your face. The wind as it shivered the leaves on a tree.

I hadn’t until I started walking. One mile to work and one back home.

The first day I walked, I felt the muscle in my legs ache. I hadn’t been using certain muscles while riding my bike, but walking that first mile and the second back home gave me a good wake up. Made me feel good. Energized. My body was moving. My skin was soaking up the outdoors. My mind was settled. Sometimes it wandered. Sometimes it revealed the things I’d been worrying about that were causing a tightness in my shoulders and upper back.

Taking the time to walk taught me to be in the present moment. To enjoy the nature of my surroundings. In the mornings, I take in the quietness of the neighborhood. I say hello to fellow walkers and their dogs. In the afternoon, if the sun’s out, I feel a light perspiration on my skin as I notice a cat sneaking up on a little bird or a gopher popping its head out of the ground. Sometimes I just watch the clouds in the blue sky as the wind pushes them into beautiful shapes. I never noticed the clouds as much as I do on my daily walks. Somehow all the list of things I needed to get done don’t seem to matter so much.

They’ll get done.

Now when I’m not working, I go for a two-mile walk on my days off. Just for the pure joy, for the light exercise. To listen to the sounds of my environment. To be present in the moment. To experience. To feel peace and happiness. And you know what? I don’t notice that tightness in my shoulders and back anymore.

One day take a walk.

You may just discover the joy of walking.

28 January 2018

Journey to Simplicity

This year, I had a web crash. All of my web data and blog posts had been compromised and my site was taken over. It was pretty stressful. My web designer helped get back the bare bones of the site but pretty much everything was gone. I had over 12 years of blogs. That’s a lot of words and memories. I can now look back at it as a lesson that it was time to get rid of the old built up data that I was no longer using and start over.

It’s also something I’ve been trying to do with my life. Get rid of the old and keep only what is useful and a necessity. I call this life change my journey to simplicity.

About three years ago, I started to get sick. There wasn’t a label to put on what I had but I knew something was wrong with my body. I was also under a ton of stress. As a writer, that’s when the research began into being healthier.

Gluten was part of my problem. It was causing inflammation in my body and I had to learn what to eat all over again. No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine and no processed foods for a month. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. And there began the change in my life.

Now my diet is pretty simple. I try to eat simple whole foods of vegetables and grains, minimal processed dairy, and I’ve become a pescatarian because it makes me feel better. I began to read books and blogs on simplicity and minimalism. I began to clean out the built up belongings in our home. Things I held onto out of obligation or stuff that was still in good condition but I hadn’t touched in years. It had taken time to realize that clutter was one of the main causes of my stress and anxiety.

The thing is my journey to simplicity is still a work in progress. I have a family who still has tons of stuff. And the stuff is what we need to deal with our daily lives.

I just know the simpler I make my life, the easier I can manage the lives of my family, our home, my jobs and my writing. It also gives me time to squeeze in for myself in order to stay healthier and happier.