I’m always teasing my husband that I’d be Dr. Kitty at least once by now if I could go to school as much as I want…which is almost always. Hahaha! I love learning! I know the Internet is full of information — too much information to not get sucked into procrastination mode if you’re not careful — but focused learning is important. It’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your career.
There have been so many great topics on my podcast in the last month that I wanted to let you know so you don’t miss something that could be really helpful for you! As much as I’d love for you to subscribe and listen to every episode (!), be careful not to use “learning” as a way not to act, whether it’s writing or editing or submitting or marketing or any of the many other things we writers must do with our time. But in case you missed something that could help you where you’re at right now, here are links on YouTube to the latest episodes. You can also find them on your favorite podcast app or on the Episodes page of my website.
Episode 247 is an interview with agent Cynthia Ruchti, Are You Ready for a Literary Agent?
Episode 248 is from me asking the question, What Will It Take to Finish Your Book?
Episode 249 is a great discussion between me and writing coach, Ann Kroeker, about How to Find the Right Coach.
Episode 250 (woohoo!! 250 episodes!!) is an interview with author Jody Hedlund on Building Book Buzz.
Episode 251 is one of my Encouraging Words episodes, 5 minutes of encouragement to relax and say, This Isn’t Working For Me, when you feel things are going in a direction you’re not comfortable with.
And tomorrow’s episode, #252, will be super interesting in terms of the mind-body connection when I talk with autistic biohacker Jackie McMillan, Are Creativity and Lymphatic Movement Linked?
If you’re interested in learning more about what I do as a writing coach, you can visit the coaching page on my website, https://www.writenowworkshop.com/writingcoach/. Feel free to reach out with any questions. I love to help! And if you’re thinking of self-publishing, download my free Self-Publish Your Book Checklist, a fillable PDF that will help you organize all the information you need in order to self-publish your book.
One of my favorite things to do is create the monthly Encouraging Words podcasts. My even more favorite thing is when someone tells me they were encouraged after listening to it! If you need a reminder that you are special and what you do matters, take a listen to this month’s episode. You are awesome!
I went through a bad burnout period a couple years ago that took me nearly two years to recover from, so I got used to treating myself very gently during my recovery. I tried to give myself the compassion I would give my best friend. In fact, even the compassion I would give a stranger would be better than how I had gotten used to treating myself!
So I was surprised to find myself hearing over and over this idea of — am I truly giving this writing life my all?
It’s a growth mindset and I’ve been feeling myself itching to move from a stable recovery back into growth again. That’s probably why I kept noticing — but quite possibly it was also a matter of hearing what I need when I’m ready. I think God was pushing me to consider some areas of my writing life anew.
I “accidentally” had a Disney movie with Mark Wahlberg on in the background while I was working last week — “Invincible” about a professional football player who was a bartender and former teacher the week before. He was waiting to find out he was cut from the try-outs, but he didn’t get cut. However, the coach yelled at him during the first game that he needed to start giving 100% or he was out.
That was such an inspirational movie that I turned on “Miracle,” which I had already seen a couple times (meaning: so I could work and ignore it, use it as background noise), about the US Olympic hockey team that beat Russia back before they started using professional players. Again, the coach was incredibly tough on those college students, pushing them to give 100% or get out.
Trying again to turn on something I could ignore, I put on “The Blind Side.” Again, I’d seen it several times, didn’t have to get caught up in the story, and I genuinely dislike American football so…ignore, right? But these stories aren’t about sports so much as they’re about the underdog doing more than they think they can.
Fully inspired now, I turned on “The Rookie” today and specifically looked for the most inspiring parts because…the movies weren’t the only things reaching out for my attention.
We’re having a prayer and fasting week at church so I’ve been praying specifically over my writing business. The Bible verse in my Bible app was about — “are you trying hard enough?” The devotional there led me to a book about creativity (The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus), and the excerpt on Amazon ended with the author asking himself if he was trying enough, praying enough, expecting enough.
Then, because apparently God wanted to be very clear that He’s talking to me and didn’t want me to think some of these things were coincidences, I opened up a devotional book (My Utmost For His Highest) I hadn’t read in a couple years and turned to today, February 9. At this point, I can’t say I was shocked to discover it was asking, “have you given all you have?” And it reminded me to stay aware of my “why” — why am I doing what I’m doing? Because that’s what will keep me going.
By the time I’d had all of these things filling my brain, I was full of questions. Am I giving all I have? Am I giving 100%?
And you know what I decided my answer was? No.
Even though I’ve been working 6 days a week, and 3 nights, too, every week for months to build my writing and coaching business, I’d say I’m giving about 98%. Like Vince, the teacher-turned-bartender-turned-professional-football-player in “Invincible,” there is a small part of my mind that isn’t sure I can do this and is ready to lead the way out when I fail. (Vince was sitting on his bed with his duffle packed waiting for the knock telling him to go home, he was cut.)
Like Vince, it’s easier to say, “Look how far I’ve come, I should be proud of my accomplishments,” and have my duffle bag packed and ready for when someone points out that I’ve failed to build this business but boy, you sure tried hard.
But like the coaches in those movies, and the writer of the Bible verse, and the writer of the devotional — someone is pushing me to just believe and give that last 2%. Because it will change everything!
I was an A student in school. While I tried to get 100% on tests just for the fun of it (and for my pride), I was happy to get a 90 or 95 or whatever other number gave me the highest grade. Sadly, being an A student doesn’t prepare you as well as being a C student. I didn’t learn to work for it; I learned that 98% is generally more than enough.
But 98% is not enough in professional sports.
And apparently Someone is trying to show me that 98% is not going to be enough to achieve what I very much want to achieve.
I genuinely and passionately want to write books that change people and change the world, and I absolutely want to help others finish and publish books that do the same.
But it’s going to take 100% of me to do that.
What are you thinking about right now? What do you need to give 100% to?
Happy New Year, friends!! I hope the first week of 2021 was a beautiful surprise, with more peace and more joy and more hope than you expected. (With one glaring exception, that’s how my week went.)
I emailed my list this week and encouraged them to believe that each of us can change the world with our books and writing. I shared what a nurse friend told me, that when she loses a patient all she wants when she comes home is to escape into a story with a happy ending. Now, more than ever, I want to be part of encouraging those with necessary and difficult jobs to keep going.
And I want to encourage you to keep writing stories that help people feel connected, stories that give them hope, or nonfiction books that help people where they need it. If you’ve been stuck in your writing, if 2020 seemed to have stolen your artistry or creativity, maybe my Finish Your Book one-to-one book coaching can help. Reach out to me (kitty at kittybucholtz dot com) and let’s talk. Finishing your book and getting it out into the world is a worthwhile use of your time this year!
You may know that I always have an Encouraging Words episode on my podcast on the first Sunday of every month. This month’s episode is a great boost to get 2021 on the road to being a great year. I hope it encourages you!
I’m excited to share with you that I have a mini-season on my podcast all about editing in honor of all the first-drafting that went on in November for National Novel Writing Month. Five episodes of editors and agents talking about editing and giving you their best tips. Jennie Nash, my first guest, even gives you two handouts!
Check out the episodes every Thursday on WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast. You can find it on your favorite podcast app or watch the episodes on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe, either way, so you don’t miss out! In 2021, I’ll be moving to seasons, which means there will be a couple weeks in between without an episode and I don’t want you to miss anything.
As we finish up a difficult year, I also wanted to share my Encouraging Words episode with you. I hope you find it uplifting and hopeful. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
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