Tag: Kitty Bucholtz

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News You Can Use – A Mashup

February 9, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as ,

This month, I decided to share with you some of the interesting things I’ve been finding on the Internet lately. Some of this, you may already know. Some of it may be new and interesting to you.
You know that we have a cool class coming up next week here at OCC. Linda O. Johnston is teaching a class on writing cozy mysteries. I am totally signed up! 
Another writer friend told me about this class, More than Word: Getting the Most from Scrivener for Mac. My friend took it last year and she just raved about it. I’m signing up for this one, too! And if you’re a Windows user, it says that you can sign up, with instructor approval. 
If you missed our November class on talking back to your brain, the instructors wrote a great blog post about it at Writers in the Storm. Trust me, you need to read this article if you haven’t yet. 
I personally love learning about how the brain works, and my husband sent me this link about how storytellers and their listeners begin to sync their brains.  Even though this is a study with a verbal storyteller, I bet there is something to the rhythms in our writing that could be studied in a similar way.
Speaking of writing, I found this checklist for your scenes interesting. 
If you prefer questions to ask yourself about your writing, or if you like writing prompts, the Donald Maass Agency has this list on their web site. It’s on the page that says, “what we’re looking for this month.” Nothing is listed there right now, but if you want to know what agent Nicole Resciniti is looking for right now, here is an interview with her on Honestly YA
You probably already heard about Harlequin buying the Heartsong Presents line from Barbour Books. I read about it on Steve Laube’s blog. Even though I know Steve, I’ve never gotten around to reading his blog before. (Sorry Steve!) But I noticed there is all kinds of great stuff on it, including a series on creativity by author and former agent Karen Ball
You’ve probably also heard the rumors about Amazon opening a bricks and mortar store. Here is an article confirming a store opening in Seattle later this year
And finally, the most fun item comes from my friend Shonna at Routines for Writers. Here is a blog post with a whole list of fun writer gifts! I totally want a bag with my book cover on it! LOL!
I hope you find one or more of these topics of interest to you. Enjoy!
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 Spring 2012.

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Conversations with Barb and Jann

February 2, 2012 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , , ,

by Barb DeLong and Jann Audiss

Jann:  Well, Barb, how are you doing in Kitty’s on-line Time Management class?

Barb:  Not so well.  Can’t seem to find the time to get assignments done.

Jann:  I know what you mean.  I did my first two assignments and posted every day what I loved about my writing, then fell off the wagon on Sunday.

Barb:  We’ll get back on track.  What’ll help is when we get down to the nitty gritty and mark up our calendars. 

Jann:  Calendars?  Last night I counted five: my Smart Phone, my Franklin, my day planner, my pocket planner and the cutest Mary Engelbreit calendar, if I could only find it.  I want to settle on only one because it’s driving me crazy.  I might miss a hair appointment if I’m not careful.

Barb:  And we can’t have that.  I’m afraid after I fill out the calendar or calendars with all my appointments, working full time, yada yada, there won’t be enough time to write.

Jann:  That’s what we’re taking this class for, Barb.  Where are your priorities?  Is writing even among them?

Barb:  Okay, mom.  I am getting some writing done, but there’s only so many quality pages one can do in the bathtub.

Jann:  Thanks for that picture.  Seriously, it’s all in how you figure out your goals and prioritize them.  You’ve got to take a hard look, decide what you really want.

Barb:  Well, baths take a long time.  I could cut them out, but showers will get my paper wet.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  I’m following the class.  I’m working on Lecture Four.

Jann:  Hate to tell you, but Kitty has just posted Lecture Five.

Barb:  Oh, crap.     
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Reading Just Might Be My Favorite Routine

September 9, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

We’ve talked about a lot of routines at Routines for Writers in the last few years. Things to routinely do, things to routinely avoid, things that break up your routines. But I don’t know that we’ve talked much about a routine many writers say they have no time for – reading!

Available for your reading pleasure end of September. 

I am amazed by the number of times I hear writers say they don’t have time to read. But I also understand the dilemma. There are only so many hours in a day, a week, a year. Many of us complain that we don’t have enough time. Many of us worry we aren’t using our time wisely. How does the value of one hour of reading compare with one hour of writing, or sleeping, or time with family?

When taken out of context, it’s difficult to compare these things. But I think most things in life fall into cycles. For me, that cycle is most notably one day. I do certain things at certain times of the day and, when it comes to reading, I can almost always count on having 15-60 minutes at night.

I find I sleep better if my mind relaxes around a story, something I don’t have to think about but can just float on. When I read non-fiction at night, I usually dream about the topic – not great for a good night’s sleep, but I used to solve math problems this way in college!
Like my own target audience, I am a reader who sometimes craves an escape from my everyday life. When I’m really stressed out, I need to read romances. In fact, high stress situations are almost the only thing that make me return to a book more than once. When I’m calm and relaxed and nothing interesting is happening in my life, I crave excitement and danger in my reading life.

But I’m finding those reading cycles incredibly helpful to my writing. Because I read at least a little of so many genres, and because it might take me a year or more (or as little as a month) to cycle through romance, YA, suspense, fantasy, and more, my story brain is constantly being fed new and different ideas. Those all combine like eggs and flour and cocoa make brownies – to help me create some sweet treats of my own!

I love reading and my guess is you do, too. I encourage you to make – and keep – reading one of your writing routines. When you need a break from life, from work, from writer’s block, or you just have a few minutes to relax, reading is the perfect routine.

Kitty Bucholtz is a writer and speaker, and a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia. She co-founded Routines for Writers, a web site dedicated to helping writers write more, and she recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing. You can follow Kitty on her web site or on Twitter at @KittyBucholtz.

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It’s a Matter of Degree

June 9, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as ,

 by Kitty Bucholtz

By the time you read this, I’ll be done with all of my homework and on my way to my final class. I’ll have my master’s degree! Yay!!

But right at this moment, it feels miles away. Not millions of miles away, but not just a few steps either. I’ve gone to the last session of one class and turned in my last assignment there. I have everything done for my Thursday class, literally the last session of school I’ll have before I’m gone for good. But in less than eight hours I have to turn in my last – as yet unfinished – homework assignment. The important one. My “professional project.”

It’s been a hard class for me and I’ve complained way too much about it. But it would be the same problem for anyone who went to a writer’s group or got a critique from a friend who just doesn’t read your kind of writing. They don’t know they’re not helping you, even maybe making you want to give up. They’re being really nice and sometimes they have something very insightful to say that actually makes sense to you.

But in the end, you have to find a new group, people who understand your genre enough to know how to critique it in terms of what publishers are buying. You may have to go through a few more hard times until you find the right bunch.

The morning after my last class I fly to LA and then New York. I’ll go to my old Romance Writers of America chapter and I’ll love on all my old friends, but I’ll have to keep in mind that few of them write the kind of non-sex non-romance somewhat humorous urban fantasy I’m writing right now. Then I’ll go to my favorite writer’s retreat, a whole bunch of Christian writers who are my family. They’re sooo supportive but don’t really write much or read much like what I’m writing.

Then I’ll fly to New York for the big Romance Writers of America National Conference. Though the title implies all things romance, there are a lot of writers in that 10,000+ member organization who write other things, including work similar to mine. That’s the super awesome part! The flip side is that I don’t know very many of them, so I have to seek them out. Luckily, I just joined the Young Adult RWA group. I think those people will “get me” in a way many of my academic friends don’t. (Though I’ve had some really encouraging feedback from some of my school friends!)

So when it comes down to it, it’s all a matter of degree. When I need to talk to friends about why I write what I write and how I can be encouraged and work harder and find joy, I seek out my Christian writer friends. When I want to discuss the publishing industry and talk shop about how to write better characters or add suspense, my RWA friends are the bomb. For networking and improving my professional presence, the RWA National Conference gets the job done every time.

When it comes to my academic colleagues – teachers and students – they are passionate about their work, just as I am. We haven’t always understood each other’s work, but we all knew we were on the same page when it comes to wanting to stretch and grow as writers. It’ll take more time to figure out and understand what exactly I learned over the last sixteen months. Time and distance will help me to see more clearly.

And that’s what I have to remember today. For the next few hours, I have to do the best I can as fast as I can. But once school is over, I’ll be able to take a breath, refocus my work on the market instead of the academic requirements, and get back into it with joy and energy. I expect that day to be Monday! LOL! I’m as curious as you are as to what I’ll write here next week. Where will I be in my headspace then? Surely less stressed out than I am right now.  🙂  See you then!

 Kitty Bucholtz is a writer and speaker, and a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia. She co-founded Routines for Writers (http://www.routinesforwriters.com/) a web site dedicated to helping writers write more. In 2011, Kitty will receive her Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree from University of Technology, Sydney. 

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Satisfaction Guaranteed by Kitty Bucholtz

June 9, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as ,

It’s the beginning of the end. (Thank you, God!)

Last night was the first of my final classes in semester one of my master in creative writing degree. I turned in my final paper for my Professional Editing class, wrote a sample back cover blurb for the manuscript we’d done a structural edit on, and then most of us went to the pub to celebrate with a drink and some potato wedges. Woo-hoo!

Now I need to do it again tonight. And tomorrow night. I finished tomorrow’s final paper only this morning. Talk about cutting it close! Last Sunday I woke up and did the math – I had four projects to complete in eight days. (They’d all been started.) That’s two days per project. Eek! I finished the first two projects in four days – totally on time according to my self-inflicted schedule. Then the third project took the next four days. Yikes! So I had only a few hours over the next two mornings to finish the last project – thankfully, the one for the last class.

By last week, I was already questioning my expectations about what I wanted to do – finish four A-quality projects in the time I had – versus what I thought I might have to do – finish as best I can. I even asked a few friends what they thought because I was seriously stressing out – tight shoulders, headache, sleeplessness. One friend told me I needed to lower my expectations to what I could really do at this point. Another friend said I shouldn’t try for anything less than an A, no matter what it took. (After all, it was only one week.) Well, kind of them to try to help but… I still had to try to decide what *I* was going to do.

In the end, it’s no surprise that I decided to put everything I had into it to get the closest I could to an A on every project. It’ll be a month or more before I know my grades, but at this point I’ll have no regrets. My expectations of myself were fairly high throughout the semester, and I’m pretty content with my work. But last night, I started asking my friends and fellow students if my expectations of the graduate program were off.

I’ve been more than a little irritated some days when I’m in class listening to an instructor cover an incredibly basic point – like properly formatting a manuscript. I’ve been writing and publishing since 1997 and started grad school to bring my skills to the next level, the novel-publishing level. But some of my fellow students have said in class that this is the first time they have ever written any fiction of any kind! It makes me want to scream!

Hence my question after class last night – are my expectations off?

I am so glad I asked. Turns out there are three writing programs – the master of arts that I’m in, a diploma program, and a certificate program. And many of us are taking the same classes. That’s why there is such a wide range of writers in each class – a few people like me who have had books get to the “almost” stage at a publisher, a few people at the other end who have never written anything, and everyone else in the middle.

Now I know my expectations were off. I need to think of my classes as more like high-level critique groups filled with all levels of writers. Then I can be willing to be helpful to others without feeling like some people are holding me back. Because I’ve chosen to change my expectations, I’m finding myself already calming down, de-stressing, and thinking about how I can just focus on improving my writing. Period.

Stress comes from expectations not meeting reality. When reality is less than what you expected, you experience distress and dissatisfaction. When reality is better than you expected, you experience eustress and satisfaction. It’s not always about raising or lowering your standards, but changing them as needed to accommodate changes in the situation or the available information. (Remember last week when I was trying to decide if my expectations of my work habits were off?) I’m not going to lower my expectations of myself, but I am going to modify my expectations of my classmates and my future classes. I’ll keep the pressure on myself to do what *I* need to do while allowing my teachers and fellow students to do what they need to do.

In the end, I think it will be more satisfying for all of us.

Kitty Bucholtz is the co-founder of Routines for Writers, a web site dedicated to helping writers write more. She writes romance novels, light urban fantasy novels for adults and young adults, and magazine articles. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney.

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