31 Years Ago Today I Met My Hero

Image of the word LIKEHe thinks it’s so silly that I count the years since the day we met, but I like to think that deep inside he thinks it’s cute. 😀  Haha! I like to say my excuse is that I was in accounting and finance for over fifteen years so that’s why I can’t help but count things.

In any case, today is the 31st anniversary of the day I met John! 😀

It was before social media existed in it’s current form – mostly only blogs and websites back then – so I think it’s safe to say that John is my first “like” – haha!!

I Feel Like a Kid Going Back to School

Big smile emoticonIt’s Sunday evening here, and I have just finished getting ready for tomorrow. Normally, that means I’ve thought a little about what I’m going to do tomorrow, maybe set out a couple things – papers or notebooks usually – to remind me of things I have to do. This whole “getting ready for Monday” process generally takes me less than five minutes.

Today – not so! Tomorrow <drum roll, please> I START A NEW JOB! Woohooo!!! 😀

It’s been thirteen years since I worked for someone else. (I know, right?!) But when I talked to the people at Massive Entertainment and they explained what they were looking for, I couldn’t believe how awesome it sounded! I had to have this job! By the end of the last interview, I literally said to the HR person, “I can’t believe you’re going to pay me to do this!” 😀

Thankfully, they didn’t offer to lower my pay. Hahaha!!

So tonight, I went through my entire closet trying to decide what to wear – especially since I’ll have my picture taken for my badge and that will last forever. Then I pulled out the brand new Wonder Woman backpack John bought for me as a Congratulations present, and tried to think of what I might need at work. I added a couple protein bars, a pack of tissues, and a bottle of water (I always carry water everywhere, or at least a bottle I can constantly refill). The backpack is still open as I try to figure out what else should go in it.

After thirteen years, it is weird to have to be someplace else at a time someone else has decided doing what someone else says in the way they want to do it. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been trying not to stress about. Honestly, this company is totally cool. If I’m understanding this right from John – yup, we’ll be working at the same company! – I have some leeway in what time I want to start/end my day, so I can still make going to the gym part of my normal day. Plus, everyone in Sweden is telling me that working for a Swedish company is so laid-back that I might actually find the pace too slow until I start doing my work on my own. That’s another thing that made me feel more relaxed about this big change – it’s probably not going to adversely affect my goal and new habits to get over the burnout I had in 2018. 😀

So here I am, mostly ready for my first day at an outside job in well over a decade and the only thing I think will be an issue is being tired tomorrow. I think I’m getting too excited to sleep! 😀

Looking Forward to a Fresh Start

Happy New Year, Everyone! 😀

Kitty before haircut Jan 2019

Before my haircut and color today!

I went through some difficult things in 2018, burnout being the hardest hitting. But I’m looking forward to a calmer, healthier 2019! 🙂 One of the new things I’m going to try is – to stop trying so hard. I have spent several years learning all the best techniques for running and marketing an online business. Not all of it works for a writing business, but the biggest problem is that it’s difficult to do anything consistently when you move a lot.

But it looks like we won’t be moving for the foreseeable future! YAY!! So while I’m going to ease back into trying to rebuild my business, I’m also going to make some changes that may not only take the pressure off me but also help me to truly connect with YOU better! 😀

One of those changes is to stop worrying about blogging “correctly” – taking time to come up with a catchy headline, working out the SEO in the post and the headline, getting a good image or two on every post, etc. As you can see from the last year, choosing to only blog “correctly” or not at all made me choose not to blog much at all. That’s not a very friendly thing to do! Haha!

So I’m going to try using the blog to actually communicate with you! What a concept! Haha!!

The posts may be short or long, five days a week or one (but I’m aiming for more shorter posts rather than fewer longer ones), with or without pictures, maybe sometimes they’ll even be video posts instead of written posts! They’ll probably have lots of exclamation points and smiley faces!! 😀  (Neither of which is professional, but they are ME!)

And hopefully we’ll actually get to know each other better. 🙂

Where did this idea come from? I listened to the audiobook of Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking a couple weeks ago, and it really made me rethink how I communicate with my readers and fans. Not everyone will like my new approach. It’s going to be way too much information for some people, and that’s understandable.

But the people who really get me and my writing will probably love it – and if that’s YOU, YOU are why I’m doing this! 😀 I want us to get to know each other better, and I want to help you understand where my ideas come from and why I write the way I do. Some people think what I write is weird – too many Christian characters for some, too many swear words for others. But if you know where I’m coming from, it may make a lot more sense to you.

Sunny outside our apartment

The view from our balcony at 10:30 in January in Sweden – sunrise was only 2 hours ago!

I’m also going to sometimes post about things that don’t matter AT ALL in the big picture. For instance, today I am so excited because IT’S SUNNY OUT and I have a hair appointment!! LOL! Why post this? Because this is what friends talk about – things that are making them happy in the moment. 😀

Okay, gotta run. I have some things I have to finish (or START – like my next book!) before I get my hair cut today. I’ll talk to you more again soon!

Love and hugs! 😀

Happy Endings and New Beginnings

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on getting over the burnout I found myself in. Articles that I read about burnout seemed to be only partially helpful for me, so I’ve spent time trying to listen to my body and my mind and see if I can find some tactics that improve my situation.

And it’s working!Excited smile emoticon

I started by reducing my podcast workload by two-thirds for July and August, going from three episodes a week to one. It’s shocking how much that helped! I also had to force myself to choose not to feel guilty for doing fun things like watching Netflix or playing cards or coloring in one of those swirls-and-flowers designs with my new colored pencils.

There are other things I added to my life – with this new time I had – that I have wanted to do more of and that are kind of good for my career. I’m reading a lot more! Yay!! And because I am submitting Love at the Fluff and Fold to Hallmark Publishing (did you know Hallmark just started a publishing arm?! Learn more here), I have spent dozens of hours watching Hallmark movies and TV shows.

And that has had an unexpected double-benefit – all of that feel-good, happy ending, no swearing or violence or negativity intake has helped me get back to my feel-good happy Kitty personality! 😀 So in addition to soaking up the vibe that Hallmark likes to create – and that I love anyway – I’m feeling better and better about my life.

As I feel myself healing from the burnout, the most wonderful – and, honestly, unexpected – thing has happened. I want to write! I have all kinds of ideas for writing, more than I’ve had in months or more! It would appear that while I’ve been praying for God to guide me wherever He wants me to be, He’s been guiding me right back to where I was. Wow! Yay! Thank you, God!

I started working on a ghost chick lit novel that I dreamed up in traffic a year or more ago. And it’s time to finally get book 2 of the Strays of Loon Lake series written, Love at the Clip and Curl. Plus, I’ve been thinking about my superhero books and looking for ways to get that series back on my production schedule. Not to mention getting my first nonfiction how-to book for writers published soon.

Now I just have to figure out how to have a happy, healthy, productive life with healthy and productive writing routines. No more burnout! But I do have to figure out how to earn a living. So…one step at a time. Right now, I’m just kind of amazed that I finally started blogging again. Haha!

I hope your end of summer (or end of winter in the Southern Hemisphere) has come together with as much of a happy ending as mine. 😀 And I pray the next season – be it spring or autumn or a new phase in your life – has a beautiful new beginning to give you hope and anticipation.

Lots of love and hugs to you!

Follow the Cheerios!

young woman in coat with green fence

Uhh…where was I going again?

I apologize that it’s been ages since I wrote here in my blog. I’ve really been struggling the last few months to understand where I am in my career and in my life. We have moved so many times over the last twelve years, in and out of other countries, back into the United States and then away again, that I feel like a child who’s been spinning around – laughing at first and loving the dizziness, and then eventually falling down, nauseous and in tears.

Even though I’ve been a full-time writer since the beginning of 2006 – meaning, I didn’t have an additional/outside job – I’ve only published eight titles. Of that, only three are full-length (75,000, 85,000, and 100,000 words). Three are 10,000-15,000 word “short stories,” one is a 45,000-word short novel, and one is a boxed set. I tend to be quite good at not comparing myself to others – except when I find myself sitting on the floor, nauseous and in tears.

I was super excited to move to Sweden eight weeks ago, so I’m not feeling sad because I didn’t want to move here. But I haven’t had the energy or emotional stamina to do anything. The last couple weeks I’ve decided to apply all my energies to figuring out the problem and fixing it. Eventually it occurred to me to Google “burnout” and see if that was at all close to how I was feeling. It wasn’t close.

It was spot on. (See this article from Psychology Today.)

So now my energies are directed toward healing and recovery. It’s interesting to me how emotional burnout is. I thought it was just something that made you feel drained in the area of your work, and that made you physically tired and needing a rest. I hadn’t realized it could make you feel emotionally empty.

Now that I’ve been able to narrow down the problem, I’ve read all kinds of things that I think might help. Some articles are directed toward rest and light exercise, some are about nutrition, some focus more on the depression aspect and how to get past that, some are on healing the spiritual and so finding the other areas healed as you move forward. (Here’s a followup article from Psychology Today on overcoming burnout.)

But what do I do as I’m pursuing healing, before I’ve actually found it? I got an idea a few days ago from one of my all-time favorite films.

Monsters, Inc.

Near the beginning, when Sully and Mike are hiding Boo and trying to figure out how to get her back to her own world without getting caught, they are all in Sully’s apartment with Boo coloring on the floor. She starts doing that toddler thing, rubbing her eyes, trying to stay awake, eyes drooping. And Sully gets her to follow him to his room by laying down a trail of Cheerios.

This always makes me laugh! He treats her like a puppy, making a food trail for her to follow and then making a pile of newspapers in the corner for her to sleep on.

And Boo follows him, eating one Cheerio at a time on the path. All goes well until she sees Sully’s big, comfortable bed. Then she leaves the Cheerios trail and climbs up under the covers.

Apparently, Cheerios are the modern-day bread crumbs. 😉

Watching this scene again – I found it and embedded the video here – made me feel like that was something I could do right now. Follow the Cheerios path. One Cheerio at a time. At least until the trail gets to a place where I finally feel like I see something I want.

Right now, I honestly feel like I have no idea what I want or what I like, let alone what I love and want to do for the next ten or twenty years. Am I still a writer? Do I still love it? Or even like it? I don’t know. Apparently, this is how burnout feels.

I don’t have any answers to my problems and challenges yet, but at least I can laugh about the one thing I can do right now: look for Cheerios.

I found a Cheerio when one of my readers told me not to give up on my writing. I got another one when a friend repeated the sentiment. Another Cheerio came in the form of a new friend who loves my new chick lit series idea. Interesting how all the Cheerios I’ve found so far are leading me along the writing path. 😉

What about you? What do you need direction in? Where can you look for Cheerios, for someone cheering you on in one direction or another? Or have you had a negative reaction to something – “Oh, I don’t like that” or “I definitely don’t want to do that”? Those could be Cheerios leading you away from the path that is not going to work for you right now. Only you can know, and it might take you some time and some contemplation. Take the time. It’s worth it.

Follow the Cheerios! 😀

Little Miss Lovesick Goodreads Giveaway (A Romantic Comedy)

Hello, my friends! I’m happy to tell you that my chick lit/romantic comedy, Little Miss Lovesick, has a Goodreads Giveaway running now through February 28, 2018. Yay!

There are 100 – yes, ONE HUNDRED – Kindle ebook copies to be won! (I’m sorry to say, the giveaway is only for those in the United States. I hope Goodreads changes that soon!) With that many books available, your chances of winning one are pretty good!

Here is the link to go sign up. And please, tell your friends! 😀  Thanks!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Little Miss Lovesick by Kitty Bucholtz

Little Miss Lovesick

by Kitty Bucholtz

Giveaway ends February 28, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Where Have I Been and Where Are We Going?

Write Now Workshop Podcast logoI can’t believe it’s been two months since I posted here! Life has been so crazy busy! I’ve been training to run the Carlsbad Half Marathon THIS SUNDAY, I’m getting ready to teach my annual time management class for writers, and about the time I stopped blogging here I’d decided to work on my goal of launching my new podcast before the end of the year!

Wow! LOL! 😀

Now that I have another place to post interesting tidbits about writing, I want to focus more on my fiction here. I’ll announce next week a new little (huge!) challenge I’m going to take part in, and the results of my first-ever reader’s survey! (Click here to take it if you haven’t already. Keep in mind, members of my mailing list can win free books for doing stuff like this, so sign up on the right or in the pop-up box to join us!)

I’ll also update you on My Public Display of Dieting. I’ve been pretty stable, with some ups and downs around the holidays, so nothing particularly interesting to share. But since the half marathon – my 5th! – is on Sunday, next week will be a good time to catch you up as I race toward my goals. Haha!

That’s it for now. Have to go record a podcast for Sunday – because I’ll be running Sunday! Woohoo!!

Transcription ROCKS! Over 1100 Words in Under 9 Minutes – NaNo Day 7

Wow! I did some transcription today because I had an assignment in a class I’m taking and I was feeling way too lazy to type. I was kind of disappointed that the 4-ish minutes per assignment seemed to take forever for me to get my thoughts out and I was expecting the word count to be minimal.

But between the two recordings, less than nine minutes altogether, I got just over 1100 words down!! I almost never get that much IN AN HOUR of typing when I’m writing fiction!! Transcription is AMAZING!!

Transcription is Twice as Fast as Typing – NaNo Day 3

In today’s video blog, I tell you about my transcription experience from Day 1 and whine about losing all the italics in the print version of Love at the Fluff and Fold. Yes, it’s been an up and down kind of day. :-/

First Ever Video Blog – NaNo Day 1

Hello, my friends! I’ve never done a video blog before, but today it just seemed like the perfect thing to do. 😀

I’ll try to capture as much of NaNoWriMo and other interesting things here in video form. You just have to tell me if you like these or not. Today, I’m talking about entering the RITA awards for the first time, learning to dictate a book this month, and starting a new podcast.

Enjoy!