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You Can Go the Distance by Kitty Bucholtz

January 10, 2023 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , ,

Happy New Year! The thing I love about mornings, Mondays, and January is that it’s a great time to start again. Today is the first full working week of the year for me and I’m excited. I’m making plans and figuring out, of the hundreds of things I want to do, how much I can get done this year and what things are most important to me.

Decades of experience shows me there’s no way I can accomplish everything, not even the most important things. 😀 So I’ve been telling myself — like when you get on or off a train in the city — to Mind the Gap. Be aware that, in addition to my Everything list, my Most Important list is too long to finish in a year. But I also want to keep training my brain to believe that I CAN do what’s necessary. Even if my conscious mind doesn’t know how to do that, my unconscious can figure out some things that will be nice surprises to me this year.

I want to help you and our other writer friends find ways to get more writing done in a less stressful way this year, too! One way I’ll do that is to reintroduce my online class, Going the Distance: Time and Project Management for Writers. Yay! I’ll post more information about it here. Let me know if you want to join us!

The other way I can help is to share a simple exercise I shared with some of my clients in December. Looking ahead at the whole year, what are the top three things you’d like to accomplish? And for each of those things, what are the top three things you can DO to achieve each item?

That’s it. Simple. Nine tasks to move you toward a satisfying conclusion to the year twelve months from now. 😀 I hope it helps you to have this simple but comprehensive view of the year, no stress, no pages and pages of detailed plans. Just nine tasks.

If you prefer a deeper dive into planning your whole year so that you get the most accomplished that you possibly can, look for details on my upcoming Going the Distance class on my blog over the next week or two! Have a fantastic day and year!

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What Are Your Top 2 Questions by Kitty Bucholtz

November 9, 2022 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I’m so excited! After 2 1/2 years of working on it, I’m almost ready to launch my new Finish Your Book program — yay!! You may know that I’m a big believer in the idea that we can write books that change the world, whether it’s making a reader’s day better or changing how people think. So I want to help all the writers I can to write and finish more books. AND to do so with more peace and joy.

Before I launch Finish Your Book on December 1, I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything important. Can you do me a favor and answer a 2-question survey? I’d really appreciate it! And you’d be helping other writers, too!

Here’s the link to the Google Form.

Look for me on Facebook Live and YouTube Live over the next three weeks where I’ll be talking about my WHOLE PATH System to writing, finishing, and getting your books out into the world. I’ll also be teaching a free Master Class at the end of November explaining the WHOLE PATH System. It’s going to be a great new year for all of us! Here’s to writing and publishing more books!

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How to Plan a Writers Retreat by Kitty Bucholtz

October 9, 2022 by in category Writing

Yesterday, I was so happy to host another in-person and Zoom writers retreat at my home. I’ve been to lots and hosted several over the last few decades, and I just love all the creative energy driving people to get more done faster in a fairly stress-free environment.

In case you want to host one but don’t know where to start, this is what I did.

  • Look over my home and guesstimate how many people could comfortably work on laptops for a day, and how many people could comfortably eat together
  • Make a list of local friends who might be interested and decide if I wanted to open it up to non-locals via Zoom (or any of the other video services)
  • Contact friends individually and add the interested ones to a group chat (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.)
  • After double-checking my calendar, offer three dates to the group and ask which ones work, choose the one that works best
  • Decide if I wanted to prepare the food myself, or if we’d do a potluck; make sure everyone posted allergies, then create a menu; decide if I wanted to take on the cost or distribute it evenly
  • Send reminder messages a few weeks before and create a schedule so everyone knows what to expect and we don’t accidentally talk most of the day
  • Send final reminders in the few days before with a list of things to bring: laptop, cords, chargers, extension cords (if I don’t have enough), food/snacks/drinks if applicable, sticky notes, pens, etc.
  • Do a little housecleaning the day before, and set the coffee on about ten minutes before the arrivals
  • Have some encouraging words ready, remind people of the schedule and where to find drinks and snacks, open Zoom if applicable, and start on time
  • Ask everyone what they accomplished at the end of the retreat and celebrate everyone’s successes!

For me, the key to success was to make sure I created an atmosphere where I, too, would get a lot of writing done. That meant that I picked my writing friends carefully and didn’t have too big a group. (We found that 4-6 additional people besides me and John fit comfortably in our apartment.) After we did this successfully once, THEN I asked if they wanted to do it again.

When first asking the group about a date, I found it was better to limit the date choices to a few I knew would work for me rather than to look at the entire calendar and ask everyone to pick one date that they could all commit to. (I made that mistake first!)

I also made sure that my husband John and I only committed to the amount of hospitality we wanted to provide. In our case, John loves to cook and he chose to make both breakfast and lunch! But he chose meals that were easy for him to prepare and easy to clean up after. (If you’re wondering, yesterday we had peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and his amazing grilled cheese with sweet potato soup for lunch!) For the first two retreats, yesterday and this past July, we decided to buy all the groceries and prepare all the food and ask everyone to chip in a set amount that was approximately equal to what we’d spent. Next time, we’ll do a potluck because now all my different friends know each other and everyone wants to contribute and work together.

We have a “great room” rather than separate areas for kitchen, dining room, and living room, so everyone was able to spread out over that whole area, and I connected my laptop to the TV so everyone could see our Zoom friends and they could see us. John and I worked in our offices, giving the others more room and allowing us to work in a setup we already enjoyed. Both times we started about ten minutes late because we were all happily talking over pancakes for an hour. Haha! But some friendly nudges every time it was time to start again got everyone back to their computers and we completed all the sprints close to the times on the schedule. (I set an alarm on my phone for each sprint.)

My schedule, in case it’s helpful as you’re planning your day, was:
9-10am Breakfast
10-10:30 Sprint 1, shorter to give people time to get back in the writing mindset
15-minute breaks between them to stretch, etc. and to share accomplishments
10:45-11:30 Sprint 2
11:45-12:30 Sprint 3
12:45-1:45 Lunch
1:45-2:45 Brainstorming, plotstorming, etc. (we used part of this time to do a “How to Create a TikTok Video”, and everyone who wanted to created an account and followed each other)
2:45-3:30 Sprint 4
3:45-4:30 Sprint 5
4:45-5:30 Sprint 6, getting tired, asked people if they want to do one more or stop, they always continue
5:45-6:30 Sprint 7 — Done!
6:30 – Ask each person what they accomplished for the day, CELEBRATE! Then some people have to leave, ask others if they want to order pizza, collapse on the couch and decompress, eventually everyone leaves, YOU finally collapse and tell yourself you’ll clean up the kitchen tomorrow 🙂

My little group works so well together that we decided to do this quarterly, so our next one will be in January. For friends outside my time zone who want to sprint via Zoom, I tell them the time and they decide when they want to arrive and leave. One person was going to write from when she woke up until we finished, about noon her time. Another is a night owl, so she wrote with us the entire time — 3am until almost noon her time! A few of us will probably get together at my place a couple Saturdays in November now that we know this will work — but for that we’ll get pizza or sandwiches or takeout so no one is cooking and we can write even more.

I hope this was helpful as you consider what you could do to create a writers retreat. Remember that one of the main points is that YOU also get a lot of writing done! Enjoy!

Writers retreat over breakfast
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Give Writers a Gift They’ll Love by Kitty Bucholtz

November 16, 2021 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

If there’s one thing I love to hear, it’s someone telling me that they’re a writer. I immediately go into instant-friend mode and ask them about what they’re writing. It may not be something I’m interested in, but nonetheless we have a connection.

 And if there’s one thing I love even more, it’s someone telling me that they just published their book. Traditional or indie publishing, I’m thrilled for them. I know the feeling of accomplishment and nerves coming together to form a potent cocktail!

That’s why I became a writing coach. To help people get through the valleys of self-doubt and procrastination, over the mountains of rewriting and learning new things, into the bright land of accomplishment – now they have finished their book.

While I like the idea of a Black Friday sale, and have done my share of shopping that day over the years, I don’t like the feeling of the pressure to BUY NOW. So I’m offering a special from now through the end of 2021 – a full seven weeks to decide and act. If you or a friend has a book they’re stuck on, or someone you know has always wanted to write a book but only has false starts so far, how about the gift of a book coach this year?

My rates will go up in January, but for the rest of this year I’m actually going to discount my rate. My most popular six-month Finish Your Book 1:1 Coaching package includes a live-on-Zoom recorded 60-minute call twice a month, helping the writer through the plotting or the writers block or the brainstorming – whatever the writer needs that week, plus feedback on 20 manuscript pages of work each month, and membership in our twice weekly writing sprint group. Normally $2750, and increasing to $3000 in January, this package is $2500 when paid in full by December 31 (or six monthly payments of $500).

I know that the cost is only half of the question we ask ourselves when deciding whether to do something – the other half of the “should I” question is time. To help you feel more comfortable that your friend will actually use this gift, I’m giving the recipient a full year to begin their six-month coaching program. We can book our first session together anytime between now and December 31, 2022.

There are only two things that I have to limit – I have a limited number of spots open since this is one-on-one time together, not group coaching, and it’s best that I meet with people first to make sure we have a connection and they’re writing something I can help them with.

If you’d like to talk to me about a friend you’d like to gift this to, or if you’d like to send your friend to me directly, you can book a 30-minute call with me here on my scheduler. (If the times look a little weird to you, I live in Sweden now, so I’m 6 hours ahead of Eastern time, 9 hours ahead of Pacific time.)

Remember, if you or your friends don’t need a writing coach, there are plenty of other things you might want to ask for or give to the writers in your life this year! There’s the MasterClass group of courses, wonderful for inspiration and tips from the writers there, but also fantastic for research for your next protagonist. They also have a 2-for-1 membership special as of the day this posts.

Bryan Cohen has a Kickstarter for his new book Self-Publishing with Amazon Ads through December 3, which includes lots of rewards at higher levels.

Mark Dawson has lots of video-based courses on his Self Publishing Formula website on writing craft, production, and marketing.

And then there’s the gift of time. Give your writer friend an hour of time every month to encourage or help them. Get a group of friends together for weekly writing sprints, or join my Finish Your Book Membership Group and join us twice a week (email me for details — kitty at kittybucholtz dot com).

Ask for a two-hour monthly or weekly block from your family and keep it like a doctor’s appointment, no rescheduling, no interruptions. Maybe even give that two-hour block back to them to do something they’ve been wanting to do more of (golfing, hiking, playing a video game together). You can even send the link to this post to people who are wondering what they can give you this year. 😉

Do you have other favorite gift ideas for writers? Share them in the comments!

Whatever you decide to do, for yourself or for a friend, I hope it leads to the joy of creation and, eventually, the even greater joy of having a(nother) published book. Happy Writing!

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Some Encouraging Words by Kitty Bucholtz

September 9, 2021 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , ,

One of the best parts of coaching and podcasting is encouraging the person I’m talking to. It makes me happy to know I’ve given someone some extra energy and enthusiasm to keep going. I know a few people who are not writers who listen to my Encouraging Words episodes on the first Sunday of every month just because they like them. 🙂

In case you haven’t heard any of these episodes, here is the latest one asking a very important question no matter who you are — Are you focusing on the positive or the negative? I hope it gives you food for thought and gets your day and week moving in the direction that will change your life for the better!

Lots of love and hugs to you!

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