The Painful Truth of Being a Writer

I am a writer.

I have been making that declaration for almost a decade. There have been times when I have been an income producing writer and there have been times when I wished I could produce more of that green stuff.

Being part of #WriteTalk allows me to weekly review my writing journey with more intensity than I might want. This week I had a painful revelation that I may be declaring that I am a writer but I am not acting like what I am declaring.

Being a writer has to be more than just a wish or something I do when I feel like it. I have to be willing to get serious about my writing if I want to see my writing dreams come to life.

Taking on challenges has always been a way for me to push to that next level. I joined in #NaNoWriMo – that is the National Novel Writing Month challenge – several years ago because I thought I should. It was not the best reason, but it got me involved. It took me one step closer to being a writer like I wanted to be.

Now I participate in Nano and other challenges because I know that I need to push myself if I am going to get to where I desire. It does NOT mean I always have to like what I uncover during the process.

Everything that I choose to do needs to grow me a little – and it will, if I choose to see the growth potential.

Growing Up My Writing with #NaNoWriMo

    1. Stop editing when writing. The editing process comes after the writing has been completed. It slows down the word flow. It keeps things from being free and creative.

    2. Write like crazy. Set a timer and write as many words as possible. Make speed your friend. The faster you writer the closer you get to a story that you want to read.

    3. Tackle the words in small attacks. Writing in increments makes it possible to fit a lot of words into even a busy schedule.

I can wish. I can hope. But ultimately, being a writer means I have to invest in writing.

About Kathryn C Lang

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Hopesmith – Author – and Encourager Extraordinaire – Kathryn offers a phrase of hope in order to shine the Light on the moment. She works through her columns, articles, books and workshops. Her personal hope is that every person who encounters her words will feel as if those words were written (or spoken) just for her or him. Contact Kathryn today to speak or teach at your next event.

Katharine Grubb and Kathryn Lang share tips, thoughts, and struggles for developing a habit of writing and winning challenges like #NaNoWriMo

#WriteChat Twitter Chat Transcript for 10-31-15

Traditional Publishing is NOT Normal

The traditional path to publishing is not the normal path – it is just one of many ways that authors can pursue in today’s environment.

[tweetthis]The only NORMAL path to #publishing is the path you take[/tweetthis]

Entrepreneurs are bold innovators that want to beat their own path. People admire these great leaders and foragers . . . unless the path they want to beat is the one that drives their own writing products.

Self-published authors are vain, arrogant and superficial. Self-published books are cheaper, less-professional, and just thrown together so that someone can say they are published. Self-published authors are not entrepreneurs, but are merely self-indulgent individuals.

When I was in elementary school, I hired several of the neighborhood kids to help me with a lemonade empire. We would sell you a sample of our lemonade for a penny or we would deliver a full cup right to where you were working (it helped that a construction company was building across the street). We made the local paper AND onto a segment of “The Rest of the Story.”

That was my first taste of being an entrepreneur. Not once did someone accuse us of being self-indulgent. We were “go getters.” We are praised and commended. We were held up as examples of having a good business head.

[tweetthis]Investing your resources shows that you have faith in the product – how are your investing in your #writing?[/tweetthis]

Several years ago, I began reviewing the publishing industry. The number of copies a “successful” book sold had plummeted to the low thousands and an author could only expect to get a small portion of what the publisher considered the profits of that book. Using that same brain that created a neighborhood lemonade conglomerate, I began looking into the independent publishing path.

My husband and I talked about the options. I listened to the teaching and professionals at the writing conferences. I continued to dig in and learn more.

I then made the CHOICE to invest in my own, unique publishing path. I found professional editors to work with my manuscript. I found professional designers to help with the covers. I found professional marketers to help with the publicity.

The independent path is not the NORMAL path – but it is one of the paths that a writer can choose to take. The key is not to find the “one size fits all” answer to publishing. The key is to find your size.

No matter what direction you take, you will need to invest resources into the editing, design, and publicity. It is your book and there will never be anyone that cares for your book the way that you do.

Top Ten Easy Edit Ideas

Edit Your Writing to Prepare for the Editor

The most important thing you can do is write the project all the way to the end. Once you are finished with the writing, the hard word begins. Editing can be more of a challenge than writing – but you should never start editing until you have finished writing.

Line upon line and precept upon precept – in other words, write your heart out and then edit the wrinkles out of what you wrote.

This editing – or you may want to call it a rewrite if it makes you feel better or if your editing skills are like mine (where you have to consult your nine year old to be sure you are spelling the words correctly) – is only the second step in the process. There are more steps that will lead you down the path to the best manuscript you can put together.

For now, the focus is on self-editing.

The Top Ten Ways to Self-Edit Your Writing

    1. Print out the manuscript. Reading something in print instead of on the screen will translate to your mind in a different way. Arm yourself with a red pen or pencil and get to work.

    2. Read the manuscript out loud. Hearing the words will let you feel the flow and also make some mistakes stand out.

    3. Have someone else read the manuscript aloud. This will let you focus on hearing the words.

    4. Read it backwards. Although this works best for shorter manuscripts but can be the best way to catch words that are misspelled.

    [tweetthis]Read your writing backwards to catch mis-spelled words when you edit your work #writingtips[/tweetthis]

    5. Hand write the first draft. When you transpose the words to the computer then you will get your first chance at editing.

    6. Invest in software that will run grammar and spelling checks. Even the basic programs can help with the big problems and will also give you a chance to check for any words or phrases that may have been over-used.

    7. Set it aside. Walk away from the work for a few days or a few weeks. Let the story get a little out of your head so that you can come back at it with a clear view.

    8. Change the formatting and print it out again. Change the font and the line spacing. This will help you see the words with a new perspective.

    9. Take it in sections. Go at your editing in little bits – a chapter or a page at a time – instead of trying to do it all at once. A little bit will let you focus on each section with more detail.

    [tweetthis]Know your filler words so you can cut them or change them in the process of editing your writing[/tweetthis]

    10. Know your crutch words and cut them or change them when possible (confession time: my characters smile a LOT so I try to go back through an change the body language to cut back on the use of the word without cutting out the action).

Once you go through these steps, you are ready for the next investment of alpha readers – those readers that you trust with your unfinished manuscript (because it is unfinished until it has been polished by the professional editors). These alpha readers can help you find additional mistakes in grammar or spelling, but are most valued for their help in the story.

Producing a strong manuscript begins with the words, but writing the story is only the beginning of the journey.

Why I Write – Discovering the Power in Purpose

I am Kathryn Lang – and some of you may already know me – but even those that know me may not realize that I am a free-lance writer that produces content for companies around the globe. You may not realize that I am a radio personality syndicated around the United States and in South Africa. You may not realize that I am an author of two novels, one tourism novel, six gift books, three non-fictions books, and four eBooks.

All of these things that I do involve one common element – well two, actually – words and hope. I have always been a positive person, so I stick to things that have a positive spin. But I have also always loved words.

[tweetthis]Never give THEY the power to dictate your path – #choose the road less traveled and make your own way[/tweetthis]

My problem is that I ran into THEY early on – they told me I was good at math so I should be an engineer. THEY told me that I was good at helping people so I should be a counselor. THEY told me that I would have to get a real job.

I listened to THEY for a long time. It has only been in the last decade that I began to block out what THEY had to say and I began pursuing my heart’s desire. Once I found words again, I discovered that working with words was not a job but a joy.

I discovered my why – my purpose – my uniqueness – and unlocking that power gave me the courage to walk down that path less traveled.

Listen to Write Talk – with Katharine Grubb and Kathryn Lang

Why I Write

    1. I write because I have a story to share – sometimes it is a true life story, sometimes it is a made up story, sometimes it is a story with a deeper meaning, and sometimes it is a story for fun.

    2. I write because I want to share hope – because I know that in my own walk a word of hope at the right moment has made the difference.

    3. I write because I love words – I love playing with sounds and sentence structure to catch the attention and imagination of those that read the words.

I am a writer.

why I write - making the choice of purpose

As a non-fiction author, I seek to share words of hope and encouragement.
As a content freelance writer, I provide words that inform.
As a fiction author, I work to weave tales that capture the hearts of readers by sharing a piece of mine.”

I write to a woman that is trying to walk the tightrope of family, work and God – and keep them all in the right balance. She has a sense of humor, enjoys a little snark now and then, and references movies and songs in her every day speech. She plays with words and enjoys being around others that can keep up. She has a solid relationship with God, but hungers to go deeper. She is not afraid of faith in her own life or in the lives of those she encounters. She lives a life reaching for the rainbow.

You have something like that in your right now. You have a uniqueness that makes you stand out from all those around you. Recognizing that uniqueness will begin moving you down the path to joy instead of a job.

It is not complicated – although I know I have worked hard on many days to make it look and feel that way.

It is not difficult – although I have come up with plenty of reasons and excuses to make it look and feel that way.

Why do you write?

About Kathryn C Lang

Kathryn Lang offers a phrase of hope through her columns, articles, books and workshops to shine the Light on the moment. Her personal hope is that every person who encounters her words will feel as if those words were written (or spoken) just for her. She speaks at women’s conferences, professional organizations and schools on finding purpose, being encouraged and growing relationships. Learn more about Kathryn by visiting or email her at

Are you looking for more tips on finding your uniqueness? Kathryn Lang is the author of “Place in Purpose” – the four questions you can answer to begin discovering your place and making a plan to pursue it with boldness.

Download the Place in Purpose eBook today for only $5.00.

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Words from a Freelancer to Help Build an Online Presence

Each freelancer must forge his or her own path

The words that I share as a freelancer have helped grow up my opportunities. The words that I have created as a freelancer have provided me with income. The words that I am currently developing as a freelancer are guiding me to that next level of online presence.

It starts with connections – because creating anything begins with connections. I then have to invest in the connections to grow up relationships. Relationships are the foundation of all that I desire.

Every time I meet one of the social media “gurus” or experts, I ask about building my online presence. I listen to the words of wisdom with the hope and expectation that this time there will be a secret ingredient included.

[tweetthis]The only secret ingredient to my #writing success is to find my own unique path – it is up to me[/tweetthis]
So far, no matter if I am talking to social media, technology, or business focused individuals, the ideas are the same that were put forth by Napoleon Hill and the lot.

Top Words of Wisdom Shared by a Freelancer

    – Be authentic if you want people to believe what you have to say. The truth WILL come out, especially in this electronic age. If you are authentic about who you are and what you believe then people will begin to listen to what you have to say.

    – Always offer up more than is expected. This can be tough in an age that cries “what have you done for me lately.” Beat the deadline. Do a little more. Give without expectation of return.

    – Be SPECIFIC goal oriented. “I want more readers” is not a goal but a declaration of desire. Declarations will live on for infinity. “I want 5000 unique readers a day” is a specific goal that can be achieved.

    – Take regular measurements. See how the actions and investments you are making are moving you towards your goal. If they are not, then turn your attention to a different direction.

    – Give the audience what they need not what you want. An authentic relationship is all about the other person. Know your audience so that you can meet their needs.

    – Comment on other sites where your target market frequents. Ask questions. Offer responses. Engage, connect, and grow.

    – Reveal your heart. If you are willing to reveal your heart then you will be in a position to connect to the heart of another. Hearts connected will grow up strong relationships.

The biggest thing that the top dogs never shared was that I would never be able to reach my success the same way that they reached theirs. My journey must be my own because my journey is unique from everyone else.

I learn from others. I take that learning. I invest that learning into my own unique path.

Each of these words and ideas shared above come from a freelancer that is pursuing success every day and learning every day a new key or step that will bring me closer to that success.

How are you building your online presence and growing up your writing success?

For more ideas about growing up a writing career, invest in “Building Blocks to Writing Success.” Building writing success can be simple – it is just not always easy.

Developing a writing career can take a toll on the spirit and heart of the writer. Experts, pundits and professionals all seem to point in different directions when it comes to creating a path to writing success.

No two people are the same and no two journeys will be, either. Discover the fundamentals for building your writing career and then begin to craft your own way to success. Download today for just $4.00.

building blocks to writing success

10 Writing Tips for Developing a Habit of Success

Developing a writing career begins with words – because without the words there is not avenue for success. You have to write to be a writer.

But life gets in the way or people get in the way or sometimes it is just me getting in the way of my own success. Whatever the “it” may be, there is always in “it” that works against my desire to write.

[tweetthis]I have to make a choice to make the words a priority if I am going to build a successful writing career.[/tweetthis]

The choice will always be mine.

10 Tips to Develop a Habit of #Writing

    1. Write first thing in the morning. It can be for just five minutes – thoughts for the day or ideas for new articles. Make words a morning ritual.

    2. Write before you take a break. After a long day of work you want to wind down and relax. Put the words before the relaxing. Invest just a few minutes to that current WIP.

    3. Write before you go to sleep. Keep note cards or a small notepad by the bed and write down the thoughts or ideas you have for upcoming segments of your latest project.

    4. Set a word target. You can plan on writing a certain number of words each day or aim for a number of days in a row.

    5. Keep a record of what you have written. There are some great downloadable tools to help you hold yourself accountable to the words or you can just write them down at the end of the day.

    6. Join a writing challenge. The 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group has a 365K challenge. The National Novel Writing Month (each November) calls for 50,000 words in one month. Having an aggressive challenge (combined with others that are cheering you on) will help you move words to a place of priority.

    7. Stop thinking about yesterday. It matters not if you produced a lot of words, a few words, or no words at all. Let yesterday go because it will always distract you from the moment.

    8. Write right now if you want to build a habit of writing success. Your writing has to be about right now.

    9. Keep writing. Once you finish the story, the article, or the book. Move on to the next project. A writing career relies on the constant development of words.

    10. Connect with others. Encouragement from those that are on a similar path can be vital to taking the next step.

Writing is not just a career, it is a journey. Building success requires that I invest in the words each and every day. The more I make the words a priority the more I develop a habit for writing and move closer to the success I desire.

Get more basic tips on building a writing career. Purchase the eBook – Building Blocks to Writing Success today for only $4.00.

building blocks to writing success

Be Unique to Grow Your Writing Platform

Building a writing platform is hard work. It takes more than words on the screen. It requires more investment than comments on social media. The experts will tell you what you have to do, but each expert will have different steps, different orders, or sometimes different directions altogether. You have to find YOUR way because your way is unique.

Top Secrets to Grow YOUR Writing Platform

Mike - unique

    – Remember that social media is first, and foremost, SOCIAL. Find an outlet that works for you and then utilize that outlet in a way that works for you. It is not just about the social media design but about how you work the social media.

    – Be younique. Take in all the advice and all the suggestions and then create a plan that suits your lifestyle, your personality, and your focus. You are different from everyone else so embrace that different.

    – Take unexpected steps. It can be interesting to look at what everyone else is doing and then try something that nobody else is doing just to see the results. And sometimes, through those unexpected tests you discover the gem that elevates your platform to unexpected levels.

    – Excel at what you are doing now before you move on. There are new social media and software popping up all the time (and you can even create your own social opportunities and apps) but that does not mean you need to do it all. Choose one and master it before moving on.

    – It is ALL about building relationships. Whatever you are doing or wherever you are going, relationships are the foundation. Invest in others to grow up the relationships that are going to hold up the walls of your writing platform.

It is not about the pattern that others followed or even the path that others took. It is all about finding the way that works for you. You are unique therefore you need to build your writing platform in a way that fits within and around your uniqueness.

Writing Challenge Grows Up Writing Abilities

A good Writing challenge pushes me to look beyond what I am doing. It stretches my word usage and focus. It builds up and hones my skills.

I LOVE challenges.

I have been involved with groups that had weekly challenges that focused on fiction – because they were fiction writing groups. I have used some of my challenge results to launch novel series. You never know where the words will go once you release them.

I also understand the value of writing outside your traditional genre. Nobody likes getting locked in a box, especially the creative minds of writers. Taking on challenges that are not part of your wheelhouse will keep the boxes at bay.

This week – the challenge is about your own journey. Where are you in your writing path or where do you want to be.

Writing challenge:

Choose one of these images. Let the place lead your story, end your essay, or start your story – that is up to you. Include the word path, journey, and focus. Keep it under 800 words.

If you post your story on your page, be sure to come back here and leave a link. If you decide to keep the words to yourself, that is okay as well. Come back and share any insights or ideas that may have been born in the exercise.

The more that I stretch my writing abilities, the more I have room to grow up my writing dreams. If I want more from my writing then I have to be willing to invest more in that writing.

Taking on writing challenges will not only provide me with new insight or opportunities, but it will give my words the freedom to roam through the unexpected.

Walk Write Challenge for Getting More Out of May

Katharine Grubb – author of The 10 Minute Novelist and fearless leader of the Facebook group with the same name – recently challenged me to a 5K day. Basically, I am to write 5000 words in a day AND complete a 5K on that same day.


Believe me, that was my first cry as well. “Come on. Is it not enough that you have challenged me to write 365K throughout the year?”

Someone else in the group pointed out that a 5K was only 3.1 miles. That changed things for me. I live in the woods and we have carved out a nice little walking trail. It is right at one mile. I could complete a 5K with just three laps around my yard.


I decided to “train” for the big day by walking a lap a day until the big day. I timed my lap, and even at a leisurely stroll, it only took thirty minutes.


Writers get a bad rap for not being more active – mainly because writers sit a lot . . . so that we can write. I have been struggling to find a way to boost my energy for the second half of the day and Katharine’s challenged sparked a plan.

Each afternoon, I will take a lap around the yard. For one whole month, I will complete 1/1000. I will walk one mile and I will write 1000 words.

For the next month, I will complete 2/2000. I will walk two miles a day and write 2000 words a day.

My ultimate goal will be to work up to 5/5000. I have always loved hiking, but over the years the accumulation of inactivity stole that love. It is more of a labor than anything else. Working up to a five mile daily walk will make that love a possibility again – plus it will get a LOT of words down on paper.

Challenges can be the perfect route to accountability and accountability can drive your writing career. Will you join me in the 1/1000 Walk/Write Challenge for May?

Exposing the Truth about the Myths for Writers

I stood in front of the group to share the importance of building relationships for creating a successful writing career. The lady introducing me explained that she brought me to speak because writers are notoriously loners, hidden away in our writing dungeons.

My husband – and faithful roadie at these events – had stepped away from the seat next to me. I could see him across the room, laughing.

I am not a loner.
I do not hide away and write.
I am not drinking while staring at a blank screen.

And I do not believe for a moment that most writers are this way. I think “being a loner” is one of many myths piled on top of an already challenging career.

Top Ten Myths about Being a Writer

    Myth #1 – All writers are loners. Writers are just like every other group of people. There are writers that like to write alone. There are writers that prefer the crowd of the local coffee shop. There are writers that love to speak and teach. There are writers that love to research. In other words, writers come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Most of us prefer NOT to get in a box.

    Mith #2 – All writers are good spellers. “You must have done great in English.” I get this comment a LOT when people find out I am a professional writer. I sometimes confess that I have a degree in Leisure Services, but it depends on how much time I have (because I then have to explain what a degree in Leisure Services does). Smart writers find great editors and software programs to help them with their struggles.

    Myth #3 – All writers just want to tell a good story. Some writers want to find ways to make money with the words they write. Some writers want to expose a hidden truth. Some writers just like seeing their words on paper. Again, the reasons writers write can be as diverse (or even more diverse) than the writers.

    Myth #4 – Successful writers make a lot of money.

    (Sorry – laughing too hard to respond).

    Myth #5 – All writers want a contract with a major publisher. Some writers prefer to maintain control of their creations. Indie publishing gives writers the power to direct the path of their story that is given up with signing with a publisher.

    Myth #6 – All writers are natural wordsmiths. Every skilled craftsman understands the importance of growing and expanding the skill. Most writers attend classes, workshops, and conferences to continue to understand words and how wield them with the most power.

    Myth #7 – All writers sit around all day writing. We wish! Writers have families. Many writers have second jobs. Most writers love words so much that the create time to put words to paper.

    Myth #8 – All writers hit the wall of writer’s block. Writer’s block never existed. The term refers to the writer’s creative ability to procrastinate and dodge the responsibility to putting down the words.

    Myth #9 – All writers are controlled by the muse. (See Myth #8) Writers that are actively pursuing words will find a way to make that muse dance.

    Myth #10 – All writers must write what they know. Writers should be writing their heart and their experiences, but they should also be writing their interests, their learning, and their growing. Besides, you and I can walk through the exact same path and experience two different journeys.

The next time you see a writer, look deeper for the person. All writers work with words, but the similarities stop there.