Friday, February 12, 2016

Before We Go

I watched one of the most fantastic movies ever recently. Great characters, great cinematography, AMAZING writing.

Easily reaches my top ten. 


The ending isn't for everyone, but that's one of the things I liked most about it. 

It was honest.



And there is hope.

There's always hope.

The human experience in 




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On Being an Impostor

I still suffer (very much) from Impostor Syndrome--the idea that I'm a fraud and that one day you will all figure out the truth and crucify me like I deserve.

The thing is, I've been working on projects outside of the name Katie Klein, mostly because I'm an "academic" (see those quotation marks? FRAUD. I don't feel like an academic. At all.) who needs annual publishing credits. 

Every year in my review: Publish! Publish! Publish!

It's been worse the last two and a half years (see: new baby/now toddler in the house).

I've had nothing new to add to my resume.


I'm surviving. So there's that.

But not quite what the department heads and deans are looking for.

When I hit a fiction writing lull this fall, I started writing poetry. (I think the last poem I wrote was as an undergrad.) I worked on a dozen pieces for a few weeks, did a lot of editing and revising and reading out loud, and then picked some journals to submit them to. Just to see.

I don't think rejection ever stops hurting, by the way. It stings. Hard.

It's in our nature to take it personally.

You don't love my work? 
(You don't love me?)

You don't want my work? 
(You don't want me?) 

My work isn't good enough?
(I'm not good enough?)

But sometimes even being accepted doesn't feel that great, because doubts are quick to follow.

You want to publish my poem? Why? The so and so literary journal literally JUST rejected this same piece last week. You didn't say you loved it, just that you were going to use it. Does that mean it's mediocre? You responded way too fast. You must be desperate for submissions.

My goal is to have five poems published this calendar year. As of this post, I have two forthcoming.

I thought that if I reached five, I might feel legitimate. A "sometimes-poet," maybe.

But I don't think so. 

I think I'll still feel like an impostor. 

A fluke.

I'll happily add the credits to my vita, but still feel too nervous to post links or share with friends and family.

A fraud.

It's hard, sharing your work with the world. Really, really hard.

And I'm learning it's difficult to celebrate a "win," even, because there's the voice in our heads that says we don't deserve this. We didn't earn it. It's not real.

Why is that? I wonder. And does it ever go away?


Friday, February 5, 2016

Random Thought: On Ancestry

My daughter and I have been researching our (her) heritage. It's interesting that my entire family--all the way back to the late 1700s--grew up in the same part of the state I live in now.

They were also farmers.

All of them.

Now, I tend toward the belief that we carry our ancestors with us (in both DNA and spirit).

So why do I kill Every. Plant. I've. Ever. Owned?

Do you know what would happen if I had to rely on farming to pay the bills?

I'd DIE.

ALL of civilization would die.

So thank you, farmers. 

And thank you, ancestors. For the Grit. Determination. Can't really explain how I managed to kill a CACTUS that one time, but whatever. 


P.S. My daughter grew daisies on the porch last summer. They were beautiful. I wasn't allowed to touch them. :D 

P.P.S. We came from Scotland, by the way. But I'm mostly just North Carolinian. ;)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Poem

I thought I wrote the quote down somewhere, but I can't find it. I think Elizabeth Gilbert said it. She preaches it, anyway, about sharing the things we create and being proud of them.

So here you go.

I created this thing, and I'd like to share it with you.

I hope you're sharing your creations, too. :)

If not, we discussed this.


Friday, January 29, 2016

For the Indie Author

I know I don't talk about Indie publishing as much as I used to. The truth is I fell out of the game when I got pregnant with kid number two back in 2013. I just couldn't keep up, and the landscape changed SO MUCH after this.
Things were hectic, so I've really just focused on writing. 

However, it's not lost on me that:

1) self-published authors can still build an audience and make good money, and

2) more traditionally published authors are going "hybrid" and self publishing some of their works.

I've said it before and I still believe this: it's a great time to be a writer.

Because of this, some encouragement I've posted here before deserves repeating:

First, ebooks are forever.

Second, you never know which ebook you publish will take off.
 Keep writing them. Lots of them.

Third, you never know when an ebook will 
come back around and surprise you.

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Throwback: On Writer's Block

This post originally appeared on the blog in Nov. 2014

It was like I woke up one morning and it was GONE.

It came out of nowhere--this not knowing.

Where this story was heading.

The words I needed to tell it.

All. Gone.

And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find them. The words I did find I couldn't make work.

It went beyond "spewing crap," which I encourage every writer to do, even when it's hard: just get something on paper.

I couldn't even spew crap, and it was one of the worst feelings ever, because I AM writing, and writing is ME: we are not one without the other. And at the time I honestly didn't think I would ever get past this block.

Writer's Block

I've been blocked before--sure. I'm a writer. It comes with the territory. But being pregnant with my second kid brought more than just a block. Before, whenever I was stuck, I could do what all good writers suggest and it would work:

Take a break. Read a book. Take a nap. Work on another project. Go for a walk. Movie binge. Go back to the last place everything "worked" and take a different route. . . .

All sound advice.

But what do you do when you're pregnant and puking your guts out every morning, on vitamins and Unisom to make it through the day, and you Just Can't Write?

I knew I needed to get as much written as possible before the baby came, because I would be worthless the first few months after he was born (at the very least), but every time I tried the session would end in anger and frustration and tears. I would write for "hours" with only a few sentences or a paragraph to show for it. 

So I gave up. I put the laptop away. I quit.

I felt like such a failure.

I worried I would be forgotten--that, by the time I was able to publish again people would have moved on. 

I felt incomplete.

So I started drawing--something I've always enjoyed, but never really made time for. And it helped. The block, it seems, only divided the "word" part of my brain from my fingers. Everything else seemed to work just fine.

Drawing became my outlet. My release. It kept me centered. Sane.

Until the baby was born and I was too exhausted to even care about making up stories. Until the holidays passed. Until I started to feel more like myself--still sleep-deprived, but more able to deal with it all. Until one day I picked up my laptop and opened the file. . . .

Here, I confirmed rather quickly that yes--everything I'd tried to add to my story while pregnant was utter crap.

And I fixed it. I removed and reworded.

I was back.

And now I'm here to remind you that this, too, shall pass--whatever it is you're dealing with right now. Whatever is keeping you from giving 100% to your writing or your passion: the block doesn't last forever. 

There are unfortunate realities--realities we have no control over. It's better to just admit that they exist and move on from there. We can't change the reality, but we can choose our attitude--how we deal with it. 

Fact: I had to stop writing for a while. 

It was upsetting, yes, but I began to see it as an opportunity to focus my attention elsewhere. I had to realize that "failing" at writing for all those months didn't make me a failure as a person. 

What's most important is that I learned from the experience and returned at the appointed time. 

And you will, too.

That is all.  :D


Friday, January 22, 2016

A Conversation

Mr. Klein: What are you doing?

Me: (typing maniacally) Writing.

Mr. Klein: But I thought you said you quit. You were crying. You said it's over, that you give up.

Me: Never.

See Also: On Quitting :D