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Your Authentic YOU

March 9, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

Over the last few months, I’ve been getting a ton of coaching and encouragement from Jennifer Lee and all my new friends in the Right-Brain Business Plan mentorship program. We’ve learned so much, but the two things that have hit me hardest are:

  • Fail fast and often if you must, but JUST DO IT
  • Be your authentic self and it will lead to success
Both of them have a bit of the “scary” in the proposed action! 
I am one who tends not to try something rather than risk failing at it. At least I used to be that person. Recently, I’ve jumped into some things that I had been waiting on before, waiting for when I had more time or more money or more knowledge. I started a newsletter. I made a video. I promised to teach a class this summer called “Restart” that only exists in my head so far.
But the second piece that bit me hard and won’t let go is this idea of being your authentic self. I’ve been very slowly working in that direction since I graduated from high school. I wasn’t a big fan of “me” at the time. I figured when I went away to college, no one would know who I was so I could create a new and improved “me.” I’d guess this is pretty common for young people. 🙂
I’m pretty happy with myself in general now, but I’m still a “good girl.” I mostly stick to the rules, I look for ways to help others, even at my own expense, and I try to keep a lid on the things people say they don’t want to know about. 
But that isn’t completely authentic, is it? I’ve compartmentalized myself to a degree, and I don’t always like it. For one thing, it’s hard to remember what I allow myself to say when I’m with this group of people versus that group. Some of that holding back is good because I prefer not to offend my friends. 🙂 Other times, I’m not sure there is any benefit to following the crowd.
This past week I made a decision to stop trying to keep the spiritual side of myself out of my business, out of my web site, out of my social media presence. I’d been trying my best to follow the “don’t talk about religion or politics” rule in my business (writing), but it wasn’t working that well anyway. It was like telling me I can talk about any part of my body except my left foot. It’s a part of me, necessary for normal living, and great for having fun (dancing, skipping, foot massages).
I followed that rule partly because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I don’t want my friends to think I’m a Jesus freak, afraid that I might try to baptize them when they aren’t looking. Neither do I want them to think I’m just playing at being a Christian, that it’s not real to me because I use bad language sometimes, and have sex and violence in some of my books.
For the last fifteen years, I’ve not entirely fit into the romance writers world, where I’m probably seen as a bit of a prude, nor the Christian fiction market, where I’m probably seen as too worldly and a bit shocking. The answer to why my books haven’t sold to traditional publishing houses lies here. I’ve spent these years overcoming my worry that my writing is too diluted for any market. It’s true that I don’t have enough sex and steaminess for most of the popular romance lines and subgenres. And I don’t have the right storytelling mix for the Christian market either.
But there is a market for my books. I’m just calling them Kitty books now. 🙂 They are about women like me who live lives similar to mine, who worry about the things I worry about, and care about the things I care about. 
On Monday, I posted to my blog that I am going to start being my real, authentic, whole self. The last part of me that has felt like it has to stay partly hidden is my spiritual side. So I’m going to stop trying to keep God out of the public side of my business life just because I don’t want to offend anyone. I know my books will offend some of my Christian friends and some of my non-Christian friends. But I’m going to be real now, more so than I’ve ever been. 
I’m not a shock-jock; I won’t try to offend people just to make an impact. But I’m not going to be afraid to say, “I love Jesus! He rocks!” or “I love sex! It’s the best thing God ever made!” (Well, I might still be nervous about it, but I’m going to do it anyway if I feel like it!) I’m going to be wholly me for a change.
And like the characters in my books, “me” will definitely change and grow with time. But I think the changes and growth are going to be more wonderful than they ever could’ve been before I made this decision. I’m a little scared of what mean things people will say (because we all know that happens). I’m a little nervous that I’ll lose my nerve. But mostly I’m getting more excited every day! 
The comments on my blog post are so encouraging and come from so many different kinds of people that I can’t help but want to reach out and encourage others to take a step toward being their most authentic self. If you aren’t yet the person you want to be, if you’re holding something back, consider letting go! Integrate all the parts of yourself. Be real.
Be your authentic YOU!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novel, Unexpected Superhero, will be released March 28, followed by Love at the Fluff and Fold this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.

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What Does Love Mean? by Kitty Bucholtz

February 9, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I won’t be with my husband, I’ll be on a writing trip with friends. I’m not too worried about it though. I mostly think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday.

That being said, I don’t think you can say “I love you” too much. You never know when it will be the last time, but more than that, expressing to someone that you love them forms and shapes and repairs the foundation of your relationship.

But what does it mean?

This year, the day before Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian faith. Lent is a time of repentance, turning from the wrongs of the past, and pressing closer to God. It’s a reminder that God loves us so much that he’d be willing to take a bullet to keep us safe.

That’s the kind of love many romance writers weave into their stories every day. It’s most obvious in romantic suspense where one person can literally take a bullet for the other. But it’s in all the other stories where someone says, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, and the other person says, I forgive you because I love you. And then they grow closer than ever.

I love those stories!

Some people theorize that the reason people respond to stories of love and sacrifice and forgiveness and happily ever after is because we are wired that way. Our enjoyment of such stories opens our hearts to the possibility that those tales represent the Truth of why we are here. We are loved, we made mistakes, a sacrifice was made on our behalf so that we wouldn’t be lost forever, forgiveness was offered, and happily ever after is ours for eternity.

That’s a pretty amazing love story. Loved forever. I want that.

Much as I can’t wait for my writing trip, I’m going to miss my husband. I’ll miss waking up beside him every morning, trying to be the first one to say “I love you.” I’ll miss how much he makes me laugh. And as much as I’ll try to deny it, I’ll miss how much he teases me to the point of losing my mind.

Because somewhere in the layers of all of those things, I’ve found a taste of what love is all about – someone who sacrifices to make my life better, who always forgives me, who wants to be with me forever, no matter what.

Love is the answer to why I am here. It’s the answer to why I write about love.

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Time For a Do-Over by Kitty Bucholtz

January 10, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

j0178553One of my favorite things about January is getting a whole new year’s worth of do-overs. I loved do-overs as a kid, and I love them even more now. This past year has easily been my worst – three family members died, and over a dozen of my friends’ family members died. And that was just one part of how my year went badly.
Lena, the heroine of “Rescue at Loon Lake”, my story in the anthology Moonlit Encounters, found it difficult to get past her husband’s death while living in the same city. She decides to move to a new town for her do-over. Sometimes that works, but for most people it doesn’t.
A few years ago, I came up with a method that works for me: hitting the restart button. Any of us can hit the restart button at any time of the day, any day of the year. We just need to remember that the button exists.
Restart Your Attitude
The most important tool in your toolbox is your attitude because your attitude affects everything else. It is also one of your most vulnerable tools. When you catch your attitude taking a dive, stop for a mental moment and hit the restart button.
When you’re careful to keep your attitude positive, the parts of your life that are going well will go even smoother. And when life gets rough, a healthy attitude will keep you from getting totally beat up. It’s not always easy, but you can hit that restart button as many times as you need to. A few weeks after my mom’s death, I was hitting it a couple times an hour. It’s part of what kept me from getting caught in a riptide of grief.
Restart Your Actions
Everything you spend your time doing builds who you are. Your actions build your intellect, your career, your character. What you don’t do also shapes who you become. Getting caught up in the thousands of possibilities of 21st century life can derail even our best intentions. Derailment happens to me regularly – unless I remember to hit the restart button.
Over time, I’ve accumulated and shared all the time management and goal-setting information I’ve tried. Every January, I teach an online class to help other writers find the methods of “getting things done” that work for them. When you try something new and it doesn’t work, hit restart. When you keep doing what you know doesn’t work, hit restart. The button never wears out, no matter how often you find yourself using it.
Restart Your Commitment
Your attitude and your actions are important, but you also need to keep yourself committed to your goals and plans. It’s fine to change your mind, but if you change it over and over again, you won’t make any real progress in a given direction.
Feel like giving up? Hit the restart button. What is one tiny thing you can do today that keeps you committed to your purpose? What are the top three things? Don’t let yourself be intimidated by your multi-page To Do list (I know I’m not the only one), just take a deep breath and remind yourself why you decided this is the path you want to be on (whatever that path is).
It’s going to be January for three more weeks. Lots of time to work on a few do-overs in your life. But remember this for the rest of the year – every morning is also a new start. It’s never too late to work on becoming the person you were always meant to be.

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novels, Love at the Fluff and Fold and Unexpected Superhero, will be released in 2013. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook format.

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Win Free Ebooks Today

December 8, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,
Today is the day that my book Little Miss Lovesick is featured on Lex’s 30 Days of Christmas. Yay! This is very exciting for me because I’ve never had a book featured on someone else’s site. 🙂
My OCC RWA friend Lex Valentine is hosting a whole month of giveaways for romance books of every kind. Today my other OCC RWA friends, Jacqueline Diamond and Linda Carroll-Bradd, join me at Lex’s site. One lucky commenter will win a book from all three of us!
Pop over to Lex’s 30 Days of Christmas today and leave a comment. You could be the winner of three ebooks! Lex will announce today’s winner at the top of tomorrow’s post.

Now that Little Miss Lovesick is finished, I’m working on the notes I just received this week from my editor for Unexpected Superhero. I started reading the notes on Tuesday – ouch. Then on Thursday I looked them over again – not as much of a sting. Today I woke up and thought, “Oh, I know what I want to do!” Now I can hardly wait to get started on the revision. Ahh, the life of a working writer. 🙂

I’m also getting kind of excited about marketing for the first time. It doesn’t seem so daunting to ask other blog owners if I can write a guest post for them. I’ve got some fun ideas, too. (Hint: one is about chocolate.) I’ll let you know when I start leaving my comfort zone and getting out there more.

Happy Reading, today!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novels, Love at the Fluff and Fold and Unexpected Superhero, will be released in 2013.

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Gazelle Intensity

November 9, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as ,

I almost can’t believe it, but I met four deadlines last month! I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my writing life. Maybe the only time I’ve accomplished so much in such a short space of time is for school/college. But the point is – I did it.
What I learned from that experience is that I can do more than I think I can. Past experience may tell me that I can’t – until I make an experience that tells me I can. What I have to be careful of is thinking I can always get this much work done. It would be foolish of me to think I can work 10-16 hours a day, six days a week, for an infinite amount of time. For one thing, there is no time for friends or family, little time for exercise or healthy habits, and almost no time for fun.
However, last month I reminded myself that I can work very intensely and accomplish a lot in short bursts. Life is a marathon, and the writing life is a marathon, but sprints are useful and appropriate. (In my half marathon training, I use short sprints in training.)
John and I are participating in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a money management course designed to get you out of debt and keep you out forever. In one of the lessons, Dave shows a video of a leopard chasing a gazelle. Even though the leopard can run faster than the gazelle, the gazelle got away! Why? Because the gazelle could make quick leaps out of the leopard’s path faster than he could move to intercept. The gazelle only has to keep this up for a short intense period until the leopard gives up and looks for easier prey.
Dave suggests we use this method to get out of debt. A short, intense burst of effort to pay off everything from credit cards to student loans to the balance on your mortgage. I listen to his radio podcast and people call in saying they’ve just paid off their last debt. Dave asks them how much they paid off and how long it took, then they give their debt free scream. It’s very inspiring! People are getting out of debt to the tune of $20,000 to $158,000 (that I’ve heard) in 12-48 months. John and I will be right in that range, and it’s exciting to know it can be done.
That’s what I learned last month with my writing deadlines. I focused like I have rarely focused before on one project, then another, then another, then another. And I got them all done, on time. I had hoped that on November 2, I would be able to sleep in, read a little, take a deep breath, and go back to a more relaxed lifestyle. But I still have four more time-sensitive projects to finish. At first, that made me feel super tired just thinking about it. Then I remembered the gazelle intensity speech.
I can’t keep up this pace forever, but I can do it for four more weeks. As one friend reminded me on November 2 when I was trying to figure out if I could do all this, I can’t “catch up” on everything that didn’t get done over the last year. But I can pick the most important things to finish now, and re-schedule my other goals for 2013.
National Novel Writing Month is about gazelle intensity. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are finding it can work for their writing life. But it works in every area of life. What do you really need to get done? Not just urgent things, but important things. Piles of paperwork? Haphazard, overcrowded home? Behind in something you could finish if you just really applied yourself for a few weeks?
Think about it and decide what you’re going to do about it. In the end, you’ll not only have accomplished something wonderful, and maybe done something about those monkeys on your back, but you’ll find pleasure in your own personal growth as self-discipline blooms in your life.
I’m nervous about failure, about exhaustion, about missing out on fun things other people are doing, but last month I proved that it can be done! So I’m going to keep it up for another month. See you at the finish line!
[Note: If you want more encouragement and direction in planning your goals for 2013, join me for my online class Going the Distance: Goal Setting and Time Management for the Writer. Here’s to a fabulous and productive new year!]

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, was released in September 2011 as an ebook and will be available soon in print format. Kitty has also written magazine articles, devotionals, and worked as a magazine editor. She is the co-founder of Routines for Writers where she blogs every Monday. Her next novel, Love at the Fluff N Fold, will be released in late 2012.
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