Getting Unstuck In Life (and a Book Update!)

I’m all in.

I was going to say, “I’m back!” but that’s not entirely accurate. I was never “gone” from writing, from the self-publishing landscape, or from Kari Hunter.

However, I wasn’t fully present, either. I’ve commented before about how I put too much priority on my day job, though I didn’t go into specifics. The truth is that I was trying to make my day job my number one, two, and three priorities… while trying to shoehorn my writing and my life into the same top spots.

It didn’t work. For the last five years I’ve been straddling a line that’s been diverging more and more as the months rolled on.

And I can’t do the splits.

THE HUMAN BRAIN SUCKS

Late last year I delved into minimalism. At first, I did it because I was desperate for a solution — I wanted family time, personal time… and writing time.

So, I did all the things that a Minimalist is supposed to: I cleaned out my closets. Gave myself more room to be creative. Removed non-essential tasks, clutter, and relationships. Invested in positive relationships. Created more time for all the things that I wanted to do in life. And it worked!

Sorta.

I’d begun to improve in every category except one: writing. Many of the improvements I made went to my day job: the extra energy, the creativity, the positivity, and more. So, after all that work, I still wasn’t giving my writing the time and care that I wanted to give it.

I have a few ideas why this happened, and I’ll probably look back on this in another year and still have new insights. Right now, I think it comes down to two issues:

1. Our brains are programmed to protect us from danger and failure. Although I was never in mortal danger, stress induces the fight or flight response — and our brains try to put us back in a safe zone in any way they can.

Simply put: my brain decided that being a writer was too dangerous.

Bizarre, right? After all, I only want to write, not become a Navy Seal! Writing isn’t exactly dangerous.

But your brain thinks it is, because:

2. Art is hard and it’s scary. Quite frankly, a desk job is safer… Easier. Quicker. More seductive.

Being creative and exposed and having artsy-fartsy goals isn’t safe. And it can feel stupid to tell people that you aspire to be a writer. I’ve spent most of my life reinforcing my brain’s desire for the safer option. When I suddenly wanted a radical change of direction — choosing writing over a day job — my brain started doing what it always does. It switched to fight or flight mode to protect me from danger.

I’ve been running in place at full speed.

STEP ONE: LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND BE HONEST

The first step to righting this ship was to be completely honest with myself about what I truly want: to write. Once that hurdle was out of the way, I removed what was inessential and started over: I left my job to focus on writing.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Whoa, what?

Over the last few years, I’ve read hundreds of articles from people who decided to leave their successful careers behind so they could travel or pursue art or achieve that elusive thing called “happiness.” And I’d always wonder, “Who would actually do that?”

You know, besides super lucky people who can afford it.

Quitting work completely would be too much pressure and it might make my head explode. I’m still working, and I’m even at the same company, I’ve just moved into a different position. It’s just not one of those career-building, ladder-climbing positions. The new job allows for more work-art-life balance, and helps me put more attention into writing.

And now I can get down with my artsy-fartsy goals.

THE STATE OF THE KARI HUNTER UNION

That brings me to some very exciting updates. Almost five years ago, I released The Fourth Channel. You guys came out in spectacular fashion to support the release. The book reached Amazon’s Top 1600 ebooks. There’s no one on the planet who was more surprised by that success than me. If you can’t tell, I’m still in shock.

A long time has passed since then and a lot of things have changed in self-publishing. In the coming year, I’m looking for more ways to connect with all of you, while writing a lot more. Like the next Kari Hunter book. It’s coming!

Actually, the second book is mostly done. It’s in the editing stage now. I still need to choose a title (it’s hard!), get a cover made, and write a book blurb. And you will have it sometime in early 2018.

I’m also working on a novella from the Kari Hunter universe. The story won’t be from Kari’s point of view, but from someone close… This story will be free and available to all my email subscribers. So, if you’ve subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll get an update when that happens.

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Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!

Three Reasons Creatives Should Embrace Minimalism

Over the last six weeks, I’ve made astounding progress on my next book, the sequel to The Fourth Channel. I’ve completely rewritten the second half of the book, made a “punch list” of minor items to fix in the first half, and, at the time of this writing, I have only three chapters left to write.

It’s an incredible feeling.

If you’ve been to this site at all in the last three years, you know that writing has been a struggle for me. Between a demanding day job, my home life, and other commitments, it’s a lot to juggle. If you’re also a creative type and you’re struggling to squeeze it all into a 24-hour day, you know what I’m talking about.

For me, the road to “figuring it all out” has been slow but fulfilling. I’m still working at it, but I want to share what I’ve discovered so far—especially since this latest lesson has been such a game-changer.

I learned about minimalism.

Now you’re imagining that I’m living out of a backpack on a beach somewhere with questionable hygiene, right? That couldn’t be further from the truth! I just mean that I looked at every area of my life and trimmed the fat. I reassessed what was truly important to me and everything else had to be reduced or eliminated. If you’re struggling with juggling, allow me to introduce the idea of minimalism and give you three reasons you should consider minimalism, too. Continue reading “Three Reasons Creatives Should Embrace Minimalism”

Your Last-Minute Guide to Surviving the Holidays… Now with More Star Wars

The holidays are less than a week away, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to see your family. You can now crush this holiday discomfort with one swift stroke. Over the last five years I’ve perfected a holiday regimen that saves everyone from the awkwardness of holidays with family. If you have any sway over the structure of your gathering, I have three tips that will save you from an evening of emotional scarring and a trip to the therapist. Continue reading “Your Last-Minute Guide to Surviving the Holidays… Now with More Star Wars”

Don’t Call It a Comeback

It’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t blogged in a year.

Whoops.

I’ve actually had a few people inform me that they’ve read THE FOURTH CHANNEL more than once, and a surprising number say they read it on a regular basis. They’re blowing my mind a little bit. To all of you who have stuck with me, checking back periodically to see what the status is on the next Kari Hunter book, thank you. I’m stunned. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed. I honestly thought you would have forgotten about me by now. But you’re still here. Emailing me. Messaging me on Twitter. Facebook. Asking me when I show up at the beauty salon. Even the Real Kari Hunter is standing by, patiently waiting for an update on her fictional doppelgänger. Continue reading “Don’t Call It a Comeback”

I Quit

i_quit_by_lovehurt123-d5go0i8I quit.

I mean that in the past tense, of course. I had quit writing the Kari Hunter book for a few months. I thought about my next steps for a long while, and then told my writing group that the Kari Hunter series was dead. That book and I had tortured each other long enough. The story was wrong in many ways. I felt like every time I tried to fix it I somehow made it worse.

Continue reading “I Quit”