Dare to be a Voice

Environmental Awareness, Publishing and Marketing

Dare to be a Voice is coming soon! Wildlife and wild places written by talented young writers are at the heart of this anthology.

Publishing an anthology was a brainstorm of mine when I felt the need to try something new and “daring” with my writing programs. I’ve been running creative writing programs in the local schools for eight years, and I was ready to shift gears a bit.

Dare to be a Voice, a collection of environmentally themed short stories, is the result, and I couldn’t be more proud. These authors, I gotta tell you, blew me away with their hard work and commitment. My program, Dare to Write, was largely an independent study, where the students did the work on their own time, with the help of my storycrafting lessons that I provided.

Proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to two non-profit organizations, World Wildlife Fund and Center for Wildlife.

World Wildlife Fund believes in protecting the future of nature and human beings, and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally.

Center for Wildlife is a private, non-profit organization located in Cape Neddick, Maine (USA), whose mission is to “build a sustainable future for wildlife in the community through medical treatment, rehabilitation, educational outreach, research, and conservation activities.”

This week, I’d like to present three of the writers . . .


Karolyi is twelve years old. She has two sisters, a dog, and a guinea pig. Her favorite thing to do is to read or listen to music. As for activities, she plays soccer and is in her school’s band.

Some of Karolyi’s favorite authors include John Green, Leigh Bardugo, and David Levithan. Her favorite things to write usually are realistic fiction or fantasy, and she loves creating her characters.

To her, the hardest thing about writing this story was meeting the deadlines and creating the plot.

If she had to describe herself in three words, they would probably be procrastinator, listener, and thinker.

“This was the first polar bear I’d ever seen. Supposedly they were extinct. I had the rabbit. I didn’t need the bear as well for food. I lowered my bow.”





Emily is a 6th grader at Dover Middle School. She’s a Filipino-American born and raised in New Hampshire and embraces both cultures. She loves to run and often participates in local 5Ks.

She loves to travel and has been to places like Morocco, the Netherlands, China, and Australia with her brother and parents.

In Emily’s spare time, she likes to listen to music, draw, read, or write. Ever since she was young, she’s been interested in astronomy. Even then, she still has no idea what field she wants to go into.

If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll say, “Happy.”

“I could feel my corneas bleeding. The amount of light exposure my eyeballs were getting was inhumane. The others said I’d get used to the bright lights, but I wasn’t sure about that.”



Hello readers! My name is Arissa and I’m in seventh grade. I would say I’ve been writing for my whole school career and I enjoy it very much.

Other than writing, I enjoy playing with my dog, Charlie, and doing sports. I play volleyball for my school team and a club team, as well as doing track and field with my school.

Probably my biggest inspiration is Amandla Stenberg. She was an actress in The Hunger Games, a trilogy I enjoy very much, and she speaks out deeply about her experiences in the mainstream industry being a minority. I relate to her in many ways, which makes her such a fitting person to look up to.

A film she will also soon be featured in is The Hate U Give, which is my favorite book at the moment. It revolves around Starr Carter. She is an African American teenager who lives in a poor black neighborhood, but attends a rich, white suburban prep school. Juggling the two worlds is already very difficult, but any self-image she has gets shattered when her childhood best friend gets shot by a cop. Starr is thrown into a difficult position. She has the option to speak out about what happened or stand down. It is a very powerful book, and I feel that anyone can relate to this character and put themselves in her situation.

My favorite show ever is Stranger Things. It’s a thrilling Netflix original about a boy who lives in Hawkins, Indiana in 1983. When 12-year-old Will Byers goes missing his mother Joyce launches an exhilarating investigation. They come across many mysterious events involving secret government experiments, as well as a very unusual girl. The young actors and actresses in this film are so incredibly talented and inspirational.

That was a little bit about me and what I enjoy. I hope you like my story, readers!

“A blob of trash two times the size of Texas was floating in our ocean. Our teacher wrote it on the SMART board and let it sit there for the rest of class for us to write about. That’s when I saw people actually writing. The shallowest guy I had ever met was viciously scribbling on his paper and I did too, miles and miles of words.”


If you are interested in helping share Dare to be a Voice with your family and friends, that would be amazing! Remember, every purchase of this book will help a species or biome in need. This is an easy way to help out the planet plus add some smiles to the faces of these young writers who worked their tails off to get this book out into the world!

Give me a shout here if you’d like to be a part of Dare to be a Voice street team!


Who is the Best Character to tell the Story?

Approaches to Storycraft
Point of view (POV) is a course in itself. Seriously. There are so many facets to think about with point of view – and many of them must be decided before you even begin to write your book.

Telling your story from the WRONG POV is very easy to do.

Imagine writing an entire manuscript in the wrong POV? All your scenes, all your narrative, everything that happens won’t work. Your story will lack tension and conflict. The POV character’s goals or motivations will be weak or uninteresting. Your story’s pace will be sluggish and unfocused. The setting, description, and inner story will all be affected because the wrong character is giving us the information–likely information that your reader doesn’t need or care about. How do we get started on figuring out the best POV for our stories?

>>> Read More <<<

Two Tricks to Unblock Writer’s Block

Approaches to Storycraft

Hey there, Writers!

Popping in with a mini-post on WRITER’S BLOCK for y’all! This is one of my lessons from my FREE writing course How to Fill Your Creative Well. I’m sharing with you because it’s valuable advice for any writer at any part of the journey that they can use anytime!

Read on —-

Writer’s block happens when your creative well is not full enough of ideas, creative energy, or inspiration.

The worst response a writer can have is to worry about this obstacle. Don’t fret over what to write next, or how to write what you want to write, or start thinking you’re a terrible writer.

Instead, try one of these two tricks:

1. Spend your day learning something new. 

2. Spend your day enjoying an old favorite pastime.

If you choose # 1, learning something new, you are filling your creative well with adventure and discovery, you’re solving a mystery, answering a question, crafting a new character or setting or conflict.

If you opt for # 2, enjoying an old favorite pastime, then you are filling your creative well with comfort + familiarity. You are connecting to your conscience, your heart, and your soul. You are taking time away from the pressures of performing and reminding yourself of those things in your life that genuinely move and enchant you. Going back to your roots, where the love of writing first took seed.

For more ideas on how to bust through writer’s block or other tips to help you on your writing journey, check out my FREE writing course –> How to Fill Your Creative Well.

Have a writerly day!

Strategic goals are an essential element to being productive—even for creatives. You will make progress if you have a strategy propelling your actions + decisions. Read the Marching toward goals blog series by Kate Johnston | Author and Story Coach to learn how can use create a successful goal planning system.

Marching Toward Goals Blog Series

Approaches to Storycraft

Strategic goals are an essential element to being productive—even for creatives. You will make progress if you have a strategy propelling your actions + decisions.

In my 4-part blog series on Marching Toward Goal Achievement, you will learn the “sweet spot” in a goal strategy, the definition of a Goal Tier, why some goals fail, the no-fail goal schedule, and how to grow your goals for maximum productivity.

Wrapping all of these lessons together is your natural writing forces — how your own real-world and writer selves work. Knowing under what conditions you work best will help you set goals that make sense and are “growable” for maximum productivity and wins.


The “Sweet Spot” in a Goal Strategy



Why Do Some Goals Fail?



How to Create a Goal Schedule



How to Use Plan and Action to Achieve Goals


Check out the posts and let me know how you’re managing your goal plan!

Have a writerly day!

Looking for a story coach or a freelance writer? Check out Kate Johnston's coaching site for fair, reasonable, and skilled writing help.

4amWriter is Saying Goodbye

Branding, Platform, and Community

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is feeling rested and energized and ready for a great 2018!

As for me, I am ready to move onward & upward.

4amWriter.com is retiring. I will be shutting its doors officially in March, and I’ve been slowly moving my content to a new home.

Since 2012, 4amWriter.com has been my stomping grounds, a place where I have made astounding and unforgettable comrades-in-pens.

I am an introvert and quite shy, so putting myself out there, on an alien-like platform called a “blog,” was an interesting, um, feat. Over time, blogging boosted my confidence and sharpened my writing, editing, and communication skills. I learned a tremendous amount about my real-world self, my writing self, and how to partner the two harmoniously.

Blogging blessed me with the opportunity to help other writers, and that is how my story coaching business bloomed. I discovered that I’m pretty good at giving constructive feedback on writing, content editing, inspiring writers at all points of their journeys, coming up with new & fresh ideas to make writing an active part of life, and building strategies to help writers begin, stick with, and finish their projects.

Many clients found me through blogging, some of whom only needed help on a solitary issue while others have needed ongoing support. I began a series of blog posts entitled Writer…Uninterrupted, which generated a lot of questions and requests for more information, to the point I decided to expand the blog posts into e-books, with more in-depth guidance and mini-journals. Those, in turn, spurred me to create and teach multiple writing workshops in my local area, all based on the original blog posts.

While I also write a monthly e-letter, run fundraising campaigns, manage several writing groups, host writing contests–I want to do so much more! And this WP.com site is not equipped to handle everything I want to offer.

Unveiling … *cue trumpets*

Looking for a story coach or a freelance writer? Check out Kate Johnston's coaching site for fair, reasonable, and skilled writing help.

My new business website, Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach, is on a more robust platform that will allow me to provide value to my audience — you sweet-ums.

Here is what you can expect from me:

A blog post once a week, typically Mondays.

I will be blogging about all things writing that will be a healthy mix of informational and inspirational value-packed content. I always take requests! So if there is something you are specifically struggling with or wanting to know more about, share it in the comments below (along with your pizza, of course), and I’ll be happy to oblige.

I would love to continue seeing your friendly faces and conversations over at my new blogging headquarters. You will have to re-subscribe if you want email notifications of my blog posts. There are embedded forms on every page at the bottom where I mention something about blogging and pizza…?… I dunno, just fill in one of those forms if you’d like to receive notifications of my blog posts.

A FREE online course to help writers find ideas and inspiration every single day. (Coming soon!)

A monthly e-letter that I’d love for you to subscribe to: Museletter for Writers.

Sign up for story coach Kate Johnston's Museletter for Writers for actionable writing tips and value-packed content

I promise to not spam you, because that’s uncouth, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Inside each monthly e-letter you will find a little ditty by moi, focused on a writing-real world conundrum and what I have found has worked for me. I share my discoveries in hopes of helping you, too!

Other topics of interest include a writing tip, announcements of any local or online courses/workshops I’m offering, special bonuses or deals on my products & services, and a brief news announcement of a current environmental issue. (Related to my fundraising program, Writers for Wildlife, which supports various non-profit organizations worldwide. 10% of all my earnings are donated to selected organizations for ongoing biodiversity and conservation protections or emergency relief efforts. Your support of my writing classes, workshops, consultations, and books not only helps a child or adult grow their writing skills but also helps threatened and endangered species across the planet.)

To subscribe to Museletter for Writers, you have the option of typing in your info in a pop-up or in a sidebar widget which you can find on this PAGE.

With your subscription, you’ll receive some fun bonuses and offers and chances to WIN FREE writing help, so I really hope you’ll sign up!

A page listing my books and other products (soon to be announced!) that are designed to support and guide you on your writing journey.

A Facebook Author Page: Kate Johnston | Author – come on over and follow me for quick writing tips, old-fashioned inspiration, or to ask storycrafting questions!

A Facebook group, #TeamWriter, which you are all invited to join. It is a closed group, so just request to join and I’m happy to oblige.

Plus, a lot of other fun plans that are still hush-hush!

Are you looking for a story coach or a freelance writer? Check out Kate Johnston |Author & Story Coach for fair, reasonable, and skilled writing help.

So, let’s recap in case you skimmed or just want to see all the doodads in one place:




Join my Facebook group #TeamWriter

Subscribe to my new BLOG for blog updates

Subscribe to my MUSELETTER FOR WRITERS for monthly writing inspiration and FREEBIES!

NOTE: the blog and e-letter are SEPARATE subscriptions. If you want both, subscribe to both. If you only want one or the other, then, pick the one you want.

I will post here occasionally over the next couple of months to catch up with any stragglers, but if you want to find me right away, then my new site is the place to go! Bring pizza!

Have a Writerly Day!