My Writing Comeback

I was born on Cape Cod, and raised in rural New Hampshire where nature and wildlife stirred my imagination. I was always writing stories, losing myself in them, dreaming about them when I was supposed to be doing something else.

I knew I wanted to be a professional writer when I was about 8 years old and wrote a story about a good wolf.

My personal writing journey has never been easy. I don’t have what many might call a “gift.” I would instead say that writing is my calling, my passion, an integral part of me. Something I find easy to love, not easy to do. Something that has treated me with more losses and disappointments than wins and accomplishments.

Something that I once gave up  — I will never, ever make that mistake again.

Quitting my dream didn’t exactly go as planned. I thought that leaving all the turmoil and angst and disappointment behind would make things better. Nope. I didn’t feel relief. I didn’t move onto a new path. I didn’t sleep better. And I wasn’t happier.

When my children were born, I thought that I could hide behind motherhood, immerse myself in their lives, and be so busy and fulfilled that I wouldn’t miss writing. Wrong again.

Kids have a way of giving you a reason to fight for what you want, and in my case, my kids are the reason I made my writing comeback.

When I took on motherhood, I automatically became a role model (not to mention a modish gladiator). Trying to teach them to be self-confident, to take healthy risks, and to stand up for what they believe in meant that I kind of had to know what I’m talking about.

My writing comeback was really all about putting my dream into action. If I was going to make any forward progress with my dream, I needed to believe in myself and to be a bit more ferocious.

I have always been a book serpent, but now, instead of reading to escape, I began to read with a critical eye and my appreciation for books and authors deepened. I took writing courses, attended conferences, participated in workshops, read magazines and articles on writing, and wrote my stuff throughout it all.

I found a fantastic writing block — 4 – 6 am. The phone isn’t ringing. The dog isn’t barking. The kids aren’t vying for my attention. Coffee, soft music, and I make magic.

Along the way, I have had some memorable wins. One of my short stories, “Treasures,” was accepted April 2011 for publication by The Greensilk Journal. In 2014, I wrote a pro-wolf essay which was selected for publication in an anthology titled Wolf Warriors. In June 2015, another short story of mine, “Shattered,” won first place in a short story contest.

In August 2015, I self-published the first book of a non-fiction series called Writer . . . Uninterrupted, e-books that are a spin-off of my inspiring blog post series of the same name. 

I believe that anyone can turn their dreams into reality. I started 4amWriter to inspire other struggling writers. I would love for you to follow me on my continued quest to be a published novelist, glean advice from the past 4 years of blog posts, get practical guidance on writing mechanics, and share your own experiences.

Become a writer today. All you need is a dream, belief, and a little bit of ferocity.


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23 thoughts on “My Writing Comeback

  1. Nothing short of awesome Kate and though I am manly, or malely, or whatever, I am shaking my pom poms for ya. Gimme K……”K”, We’ve got that K. We’ve got that K………….

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  2. This is such a lovely bio, Kate and rings so true for me at the moment. I actually gave up writing just after I had little Eri last year because I realised I’d invested so much time over the past fourteen years in what looked to become a hopeless dream – I’d always intended to be making enough money out of published books by now to not have to return to work.

    Once I was over the first three months on a newborn I found I returned to it and have spent most of my maternity leave working on a new YA paranormal book, which still isn’t anywhere close to being finished BUT that’s a good thing for me because I’m actually working and reworking for once instead of whizzing through a first draft and moving onto the next one like I’ve always done in the past. But I do feel guilty about the 2-3 hrs a day I spend tapping on my laptop when I could be taking Eri to baby clubs, or just making the most of my time off to go and visit some beautiful historic places or something.

    I have two months before I return to work with its four-hour round-trip commute (not possible to write on as I’ll be squished in with a million other commuters) and busy, sometimes stressful workload, and I’ve kind of told myself this is my last attempt. I’ll make this novel the best it can be and try to get an agent; if that fails, try the indie publish route…and then probably it a day.

    I very much doubt I will be able to call it a day though!

    I really hope that agent loves your work and wants to represent you and you get a great publishing deal because you’ve clearly worked hard to make yourself such the engaging writer that you are.

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    • Hi Sally,

      You have such a moving story. I just want to tell you to quit your job and stay at home with your baby and write to your heart’s content! But of course, I know that isn’t realistic–however, it doesn’t mean that you can’t figure out a way around your busy schedule.

      I think you’ll surprise yourself once you get back to work and fall into your new routine. If you are dedicated and motivated enough, then you can make it happen.

      There will be time for you to write if you want to write. I truly believe that. I think we make time for things when we have to, or when we want to. It will be difficult, but it won’t be impossible.

      Even if your novel isn’t finished in two months, I hope that you will still persevere and figure out how to fit in even just thirty minutes a day to tend to your creative self. You must take the opportunity to realize your dream, even if you have to go at it a little differently than what you once imagined.

      Good luck, Sally, I’ll be keeping an eye on you! 🙂

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  3. I really am so pleased to meet you! I hear yah, I too have repeatedly turned my back on my own writing dreams over and over again…. But they refuse to stay down. No matter the lack of confidence my ego feels, my soul knows it has a story to share…. And so my dreams keep getting up over and over again. I’m getting more confident now… And am in the process of getting up, dusting off and sharing my words no matter what anyone thinks of my abilities or my stories!

    It sounds like you have an incredible support system and personal discipline…. Those are valuable as you continue on your path of being a novelist.

    Just based on how clear your blog content is, I would totally buy your novel. 🙂

    Have an amazing day!
    Lindsey

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    • Hi Lindsey,

      What a wonderful, thoughtful comment. I love meeting new writers and hearing their backstory. It seems that there are far more writers who struggle with our confidence than not — which is self-affirming in some ways. It’s not just me.

      I’m so glad to know that you have overcome some hurdles of your own and that you’re dusting yourself off and getting right back in the game. It’s really the only strategy that will get us closer to our goals. 🙂

      You’re kind to say that you would buy my novel. One day closer!

      You have an amazing day, too!
      Kate

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  4. Holiday Greetings,

    I was drawn by your blog-title because that’s the same time I have to get up every morning to have a few quiet moments to write before the day begins. If I don’t, all bets are off. I might get lucky, but my days are so full with work and activity, it’s almost a given I won’t. I’ve raised my kids. Both are married and on their own life-adventures, but as an educator, my days are fully devoted to my ‘other’ kids and I find time to write is still at a premium.

    In my role as an educator, I feel a double-calling not only teach my subject matter, but also to offer sincere experience-based observations concerning the world that my high school seniors will shortly face. One of my favorite metaphors is that of a river. I tell them, “You must either navigate the river or it will navigate you. Though you can’t always call the shots while you’re paddling along—the current, the bends, the rapids, the snags, if you look ahead, if you decide on a goal and do your best to navigate toward it, it’s surprising how doable some of the troubles are and how swiftly you can reach that shore, that bend, that smoother current. If you choose not to look ahead, or at least mind your present surroundings as you row along, you might find yourself in a tributary you don’t recognize, suddenly run aground on a sandbar, or ‘wake-up’ feeling lost in some marshy backwater wondering, “How the hell did I get here!?” You might find yourself struggling to get out, and while it is true that you might learn something important while you do, it is also true that you’ll have used up precious time, allowed important decisions to pass you by mindlessly unnoticed. You’ll have to make up for it, and though it is not a race as much as a journey, the growing sense of unease and anxious tension in your heart, the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, can color everything you do afterwards. Mind the river or it will mind you.”

    I too turned away from writing and a desire to become a writer for the sake of more ‘practical’ (and impractical :-T ) concerns many of which were concerns only because I’d been unmindful and “navigated”. Though at the time, I didn’t have the early background in exploring the craft as you did (courses, conferences, workshops, etc.), deep down I knew I wanted more from my scribbles. I just wish I’d stayed true to that knowledge. Instead I let life take me where it would and it’s taken me years to turn the boat about and head back toward the writing-shore. So much time, so many stories, gone. While I wouldn’t wish such silliness on anyone over any issue, it’s comforting to know others have experienced similar situations and were able to do something about it.

    Thank you for sharing. Good luck and godspeed.

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    • What beautiful words, Sunwolfe. Your high school seniors are very lucky to have you. I think you’re learning from them as much as they are learning from you.

      Life is interesting in how it picks certain victims 😉 I envy people who were able to figure out their life’s course at an early age, giving them time and opportunity to develop and hone their skills. I have often posted that my biggest regret is that I wasted a lot of years due to lack of confidence and faith. While I know regret is one of the worst best friends we can have, sometimes it’s helpful to have that monster kicking you in the butt every morning, reminding you not to screw up again.

      I guess the one strength that people like you and I have is that we know what it feels like to give up or to turn away from our dreams. This is a strength because we’ve already been down the worst road possible. We’re not likely to do it again, and those who reached their dreams at an earlier stage in life can’t say the same thing. They could still hit a bump in the road and give up, not knowing how much worse a choice that is.

      Good luck to you, Sunwolfe. Thanks for sharing a part of your story with me.

      Keep up the good writing,
      Kate

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  5. Your site keeps popping up in a column of blogs I might enjoy so I finally came over for a visit. Your bio tells a story of passage, from “hope I can” to exasperation, frustration, and finally to confidence and success. Your method of involvement with the characters is most appealing as it does lend the credibility of real feeling to the story. Have enjoyed what I’ve read so far and will be back to visit soon. Thanks for sharing your talent.
    Paul

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    • Hello PapaBear,
      I’m pleased you dropped by for a visit. It is so interesting that you should comment on that page, actually, as I had just been thinking that it may be time to update it. I wrote that around the time I started this blog (about 2 years ago), and my writing journey has changed a bit. Not exactly easier, but I feel more aware of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I’m more savvy. Yeah, that’s it! 🙂

      My relationship with my characters has always been close — even with the villains. I take them very seriously, and they occupy my time and mind every moment I am not focused on something more pressing. Like my kids. Or what to fix for dinner. Or how to unshovel my car out of the latest snowstorm. Learning how to balance my my writing with my life has proven to be the biggest challenge I have ever come across.

      Thanks again for coming to visit. I look forward to chatting with you again.
      Kate

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  6. You inspire me. I write as a way of dealing with my feelings and to share my story. My father (who was the English major- and who grew up in NH) was truly my first writing teacher. When I was in school, he’d help me put thoughts to paper. I admire people who really put in the time and work to hone their writing craft, as you do, getting up early to have the alone time. I’m not sure if I will ever write more than a blog, but for now, I’m quite happy with it.

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    • Oh my goodness, mariner2mother, I thought I had replied to this comment! I am so sorry for my negligence.

      I love knowing that your father was your first writing mentor. I feel like I have that kind of relationship with my daughter. She is a truly gifted writer, the kind that doesn’t really have to try hard to get it right. Pretty soon, I won’t be able to give her any pointers and she’ll be the one teaching me!

      I honestly adore the early morning, especially at this time of year. The birds are up around that hour and it’s nice to write while they sing in the background. I also like the ease of early morning, before the day gets out of hand.

      I enjoy your blog, and I’m glad that you’re getting joy from it. That’s the most important thing, write because you love it, not because you feel you have to.

      Thanks so much for commenting, and again, my apologies for not replying in a more timely manner.

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  7. Pingback: Writers, Losing Just Means You Have Another Chance to Win |

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