Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category:




Frantic. That’s how I used to feel all the time. Like there was no room to breathe. Anyone who’s known me for years will tell you that balance was a struggle for me. Sometimes it still is. I’ve searched hard for equilibrium, and I’m still a work in progress, but I do feel a lot more peaceful these days.

One thing that has helped me is the work of Michael Hyatt, with whom I am now an affiliate. I just took his Lifescore Assessment and it was really eye-opening.

I was not surprised to see that “Finances” are an area I need to zero in on, but I was surprised that one of my low areas is “Avocation.” Writing’s not a hobby for me, and I give it plenty of time. But singing? Playing the violin? I miss those things, so I’m going to have a look at that.

For a limited time, the Lifescore Assessment is available for free.

Why don’t you give it a try and then leave a comment about what you discovered?

It takes less than 10 minutes (it took me 3-5)

All you do is quickly rate yourself in each of
life’s major domains.

You read a series of statements that describe
specific situations and pick the one that most
closely aligns with where you perceive yourself to
be. Then you give yourself a numeric score.

The tool then calculates your score in each
domain, adds them together, and gives you an
overall LifeScore.™

P.S. Go take the assessment now while it’s still
free.  You’ll appreciate the clarity you get

P.P.S Don’t forget to leave a comment!


I remember the day my friend, Tina Chen showed us the cover of her gorgeous new novel: a lush, moving story written by a generous soul. Her success (and the book was award-winning) was well-deserved. And I was JEALOUS.

Jealousy’s not a regular thing for me. Usually my friends’ successes give me hope. So this unwelcome green-eyed monster growled a question: Jealous of what? I knew I could publish. But I had given up on publishing a novel; I didn’t think I could finish. What Tina had that I believed I didn’t was follow-through. When she set a goal–even a complex one–she accomplished it.

Not long after, I DID finish my first novel. (Good thing I explored that jealousy.) And while I was learning promotion, I discovered former publishing CEO Michael Hyatt, who now trains leaders. I’ve been using his work ever since, and it has helped me immeasurably with organization, focus, goal-setting–all of that stuff I thought Tina could do, but I couldn’t. (Turns out I can!)

Now I get to be one of Michael’s affiliate partners. This is new for me, and I’m genuinely excited. (I mean really genuinely, not just ad-copy genuinely.) I want to share this FREEBIE with you, because 2017 is sneaking up on me, and maybe on you, too.

I love this (free!) PDF download. I was taking notes on it last night and sticking them in my calendar–until I realized I was basically copying the whole book:

In it, 30+ well known influencers all share the most
important thing they do to launch a banner year.

It’s a who’s who of successful people — Tony Robbins,
John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Chalene Johnson, and Andy
Andrews, plus more than 20 leaders.

Check it out (at no cost) here:


P.S. This free PDF is a wealth of wisdom to kickstart 2017. If you’ve felt stuck for a while–or your successful friends are making you jealous–don’t miss it:


The Violin Diet

Katherine violinWith the Full-Bodied Novelist Retreat coming up this weekend, I’ve been playing the violin again. There is a connection, so stay with me here.

I usually let months go by without my music. I play only to prepare for performance, thinking I need an “excuse” to play. But lately I have played for the sheer joy of playing with no audience but the Universe. I work on a piece that is hard for me, but attainable, or I just make something up. I let the music come up from my feet; I close my eyes and listen to the strings, letting my fingers find their way. It makes my neck hurt, using these muscles I haven’t used in a long time—but the muscles remember how to cradle the instrument, how to make it sing.

After I play, I sit down to write, and I’m open enough for the wind of word and emotion to blow through me. I’ve needed that. I’ve also found that I don’t eat as much on days when I play. I’ve satisfied some deeper hunger.

What do you do that is physical? That takes your entire concentration? It might be running or gardening or painting. Do it. A little every day. Even if you’ve let it go for a long time, find that thing you used to do that you are longing for and give yourself to it until you are back in your body. Then write.

It’s not too late to register for the retreat! Use the discount code FBNRETREAT75 to save $75. The retreat cost includes lodging, meals, classes, a massage, and a one-on-one consultation on your manuscript.

Meet our massage therapist, Rene Pinkham on the retreat page, just below the event description.

Overcoming Bored Writer Syndrome

Bored AuthorWhen I first began writing fiction it felt like all of the characters were me. Of course, all characters come from someplace deep in our psyche, but when I had a character who sounded, acted, talked and believed like me, I was BORED. I have great self-esteem and lots of people love me, but really I am BORING. At least to myself. And a character exactly like me doesn’t intrigue me enough to sustain a whole novel, hence–for a long time–many, many unfinished novels.

I’ve had to find a way to go deeper–to unpack why a character may think and act the way they do, and then write that character from the INSIDE. Ironically, this has led to a lot of self-discovery, as I get into the mind of the character the way an actor would.

Are you are suffering from Bored Writer Syndrome? Ready to think hard? Here’s a place you might start.

What is Your Character’s Philosophy? What are their underlying beliefs about life? Are they hopeful about life or pessimistic? Do unforeseen events have a purpose or are they just random? Do they believe in revenge? Forgiveness? Do they want to champion the rights of others? Do they have a religious or political ideal that guides their life? How close are their ideals to those of their family and/or friends? If they are quite different, why?

What is Your Character’s Self-Perception? How do they see themself? Do they have a source of power? Do they see themself as a victim? Do they believe they are worthy or unworthy? What are they afraid of? What topic would they rather not touch? What do they see as their role in the family? Among their friends? In the community? In the universe?

We’ll explore more about characters with things like character interviews, story journaling, talking to our characters on the page, and unpacking how other authors develop their characters in Cultivating Complex Characters. Come join us!

Other classes include The Plot Thickens and Writing the Hidden Story.

A Word on Risk


“You built some dandy walls

That held back the fire

And the barbs

But also the heat

And the fruit

That make it worth the suffering

The wind will blow through the remains

Of your fortress

And that mournful noise

Will be all the eulogy you are entitled”

©2014 Shane Guthrie

(excerpt from a longer set, which I will post later.)

“Geek Fiction” and Other Writing Classes this Spring at Bellevue College

Art by GriffintheUndertaker

Art by GriffintheUndertaker

You’ll have Doctor Who for homework!!!

Here’s what I’m offering at Bellevue College in the Spring  (Registration probably begins in March):

Geek Fiction Writing
This course analyzes popular sci-fi, fantasy, superhero and dystopian screen favorites to discover what makes them tick. Then we use these tools of excellent storytelling in our own original fiction. This is a step beyond fanfic, as you’ll create characters and worlds that are wholly your own. Fandoms might include Middle Earth, Doctor Who, Spider-Man and The Hunger Games. High School students welcome.
Capacity: 15
Times: 6:00PM – 8:00PM Room: North Campus, TBA
Dates: 04/15/2014 – 06/03/2014 Tuition: Fee 169.00
Days of Week: 8 Sessions T

Teenage Novelist: Creating Fiction Using Ingredients You Already Have in Your Own Brain
Is your cat really an alien collecting information to beam back to his ship? Are you actually famous, but you’re living in disguise so you can defeat the enemy before she destroys the planet? You may be a writer. Take heart, you are not alone! Some people even get paid to do this. In this workshop, we’ll use hands-on exercises to capture stories before they get away. You’ll learn basic storytelling techniques, finding ways to gather plot ideas, create unique and believable characters, and find hidden details that will bring your scenes to life. You’ll create scenes based on what you’ve learned and (if you like) share your work.
Capacity: 15
Times: 10:00AM – 2:00PM Room: North Campus, TBA
Dates: 04/19/2014 – 04/19/2014 Tuition: Fee 59.00
Days of Week: 1 Sessions S

Teenage Novelist: Talking To Your Characters
Marvin Whickpucket refuses to behave. When you want him to defeat the evil Onchnu, he won’t. Instead, he sits on the couch, surfs cable and eats potato skins. “This is boring!” you tell him. “Why are you acting this way?” “I miss Ilandra,” he says. “We had a fight. She said we were through.” “Why didn’t you TELL me?” you say, incredulous. Marvin shrugs. “You never asked.” Learn how to deepen your story by listening to your characters. Each class allows for hands-on exercises based on your work-in-progress and time for group critique.
Capacity: 15
Times: 10:00AM – 2:00PM Room: North Campus, TBA
Dates: 05/17/2014 – 05/17/2014 Tuition: Fee 59.00
Days of Week: 1 Sessions S

Teenage Novelist: Plotting and Scheming
Marvin Whickpucket and Ilandra have been eating waffles and jumping through space-time portals for 12 chapters, but nothing seems to be happening. The evil warlord Onchnu is breathing dire threats, but you don’t know whether the Kleeg attack should happen in chapter 13 or should have been back in chapter 4. This course focuses on the structuring of the novel – often the most challenging part of novel-writing. Discover the three words that drive your entire story. Find out how to avoid mid-novel sag and how to keep your reader turning pages all the way to the end. This class will focus on completing an outline of your novel, and a synopsis – “the story of the story.”
Capacity: 15
Times: 10:00AM – 2:00PM Room: North Campus, TBA
Dates: 06/07/2014 – 06/07/2014 Tuition: Fee 59.00
Days of Week: 1 Sessions S

Poetry In Character
Have you ever thought Spiderman might be bored with his job? Or that Gretel may have lost Hansel in the woods and still be searching? In this class, taught by poet and novelist Katherine Grace Bond, we’ll take characters from literature and pop culture and write poems from the characters’ perspective. We’ll discover a wealth of character poems from a variety of poets. And we’ll create our own characters for poems. These could even be the beginning of a novel-in-verse.
Capacity: 15
Times: 6:00PM – 8:00PM Room: North Campus, TBA
Dates: 04/17/2014 – 06/05/2014 Tuition: Fee 169.00
Days of Week: 8 Sessions Th


If You’re Driven by Anxiety, Hire a New Chauffeur


I owe a lot to Anxiety: a degree, income, several books, resistance to credit cards. Anxiety has taken me places I may not otherwise have gone. Driven by work Anxiety, I have raced all night to meet deadlines. Financial Anxiety has carried me to jobs and business ventures that brought new friends, skills, and opportunities. Parental Anxiety has steered me to wise advisors.

But Anxiety is a zealous driver and riding with her is a little like being duct taped to the backseat of a ’78 Pinto. It’s hard to breathe and I keep wondering if the gas tank is about to explode. From the front seat, she points out, with a black-gloved hand, the scenes of my previous failures: the house I gave back to the bank, the job I lost in college. “You don’t want to go there again,” she says reprovingly.

Because we both know I Don’t Want to Go There, she capitalizes on this by favoring safe, predictable routes. “We don’t like accidents, do we?” she says, adjusting her peaked hat. Once I shockingly suggested traveling to France—I hadn’t been in decades. “We’ll rent a car,” I told her. “But I promise to let you drive.”

She paused from polishing her boots. “France.” She frowned. “You don’t even remember the subjunctive, nor which Louis was beheaded. Everyone will think you’re a half-wit. Besides,” she said, tugging at her jodhpurs, “we’re out of gas. And the accelerator has been sticking.”

The fact that we weren’t going anywhere didn’t mean she left me alone, though. She seems to want company regardless of my plans, and frequently pops in “just to chat” while I’m making dinner. I end up inviting her to stay, and I hate to say it, but Anxiety eats a lot, and my family doesn’t like her very much.   

Despite her penchant for avoiding risk, we’ve ended up crashing several times. Once she pulled suddenly into an alley to dodge a reviewer who didn’t like my book. We hit a wall and it was months before I could write again.  

Another time we collided with a Ford Escape when I was trying to finish a bunch of errands I’d promised to people. Anxiety was going a hundred miles an hour, so even if she says she’s committed to keeping me safe—she’s lying. In fact, the whole time we were screaming down the highway, she was listing all the people who’d be hurt or disappointed if I didn’t keep every single promise.

There’s no way to sleep when Anxiety is driving, either,  even on long trips–especially on long trips, because she talks all night to keep herself awake.

I’ve been giving some thought to letting her go, but she’s been so loyal that I feel badly for considering it. “I’m indispensable,” she often pronounces. “Who’d drive you if it wasn’t for me?”

She’s asking a very good question.

This is the first of a series on overcoming anxiety. Stay posted for the next installment.

3 Ways to Coax Secrets out of Your Characters


Marvin Whickpucket refuses to behave. When you want him to defeat the evil Onchnu, he won’t. Instead, he sits on the couch, surfs cable and eats potato skins.

Sad Marvin (147x200)

“This is boring!” you tell him. “Why are you acting this way?”

“I miss Ilandra,” he says. “We had a fight. She said we were through.”

“Why didn’t you TELL me?” you say, incredulous.

Marvin shrugs. “You never asked.”


For nine years of Teenage Novelist classes, Marvin Whickpucket has been a sort of poster boy. (If you’ve attended, you understand references to the evil Onchnu.) And if you’re a TEENWriter, you are accustomed to talking to your characters, even if your family doesn’t quite understand.

Here are a few ways to get Marvin to talk back:

1)  Text him. He may be snarky with his initial replies, but let the conversation roll and he’ll be more forthcoming.

Marvin, what was the fight about?

Never mind.

I’m asking because I care.

Sure, you do.

Cross my heart.

It’s stupid.

I won’t tell.

Isn’t that what you do? Tell people every blessed thing I say?

Come on. It’ll help to talk about it.

Fine. Ilandra hates my waffles. Waffles are what brought us together, but it turns out she hates the ones I make.

You got your feelings hurt?

Yes. Okay? After jumping through space-time portals for 150 years, we broke up over a waffle.

Wow. That’s…really sad, Marvin.

Pathetic. I don’t know what to do.

…and so on.

2) Ask him to write you a letter that begins, “I have never told you, but…”

Dear Katherine,

I have never told you, but Ilandra is not what you think. 152 years ago, when I first encountered the Kleeg battalions, I faced a young, beautiful general. Yes, it’s true. Ilandra is a Kleeg. Her father destroyed my planet. But once she offered me waffles, I couldn’t resist her charms…

3) Become Marvin. He must have a favorite shirt. A hat. A Tri-Millenium-412 blaster. Put these things on. Find fellow writers who are willing to bring to life characters from their own books. Gather in your backyard or in a park or at EpicWrite, and create a story together. Then, go out for waffles.

4) Join us in Snohomish July 29-August 2 for “Talking to Your Characters.” Learn how to deepen your story by listening to your characters.  Each class allows for hands-on exercises based on your work-in-progress and time for group critique.

The Importance of “Off-Stage” Writing: 5 Ways to Use a Secret Journal

You’ve just taken Pamela Protagonista, rebel goth girl, through the perils of cheerleader camp where she has scored a victory over Amanda Antagonistella, who was not as good at karaoke as she thought. The Final Showdown is twenty chapters away and you have no idea why Pamela would go to Kennebunkport nor how she will score a train ticket without Reginald finding out. You’ve made lists and charted character arcs and rechecked the color of Reginald’s eyes, but nothing gives. You are stuck. Hopelessly.

It’s time to take your writing off the “stage” of your manuscript and do some secret journal writing–writing that no one will ever see. At least, that’s what you need to tell yourself. Your story journal will have more in it than charts and lists. It’s a kind of conversation. I use mine to do the following things:

1) Rant. “The writing is going SO badly and there are so many bills and why won’t those women at the next table TALK MORE QUIETLY? Is it all the wine they’ve had? Why do I do this? Should I be a writer at all? Maybe I should have gone into real estate.”

2) Plan. “Today I need to not only tackle chapter four, but thread Amanda’s poodle through chapters one through three. Let’s see if I can hit a word count of 2k.”

3) Play What-If. “What if Pamela hates Reginald? What if he is the cause of her isolation? What if she really wants to be a Broadway actress, but her father forbids her to take acting classes? What if she and Amanda were originally best friends?”

4) Play Why-Maybe. “Why would Pamela hate Reginald? Maybe he humiliated her.  Maybe he thought he was doing something nice, but it backfired and he’s too embarrassed to tell her. Maybe this happened at prom. Maybe he invited her and didn’t show. Why would he do that?”

5) Write fake scenes. Tell yourself these are practice scenes and you’re not really going to use them. Then you can write whatever you want as horribly as you want. Often these scenes will stay in the journal forever. But sometimes you’ll find something the book needs–something you’d never have written “on stage.”

Want support and accountability in your writing? YA Novel Writing: Captivating the Teen Reader begins April 8 at Bellevue College. To register, go to the Bellevue College Continuing Ed website.


What I Learned by "Winning" NaNoWriMo Through Cheating and Trickery

…and yes, I am going to buy the tee-shirt.



The task? Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Usually, Iuse NationalNovel Writing Month to get as much word count aspossible on my work-in-progress. This is already cheating—but since I’ve nevercome close to winning, I haven’t felt guilty about it.


But three days before the start of this year’s NaNo, myeditor says, “Katherine, we need to start thinking about 2013.” Now,this does not constitute a book contract, but it does constitute a challenge. Idecide to begin a new novel on November 1 and that this year I will”win” NaNoWriMo.



Day 1: Brainstorm—characters, ideas, suggestions from Facebookfriends, (Hula Hoops, a camel, a zeppelin and “copious amounts ofdefenestration.”) I write all this sort of thing into what Janet LeeCarey calls a “story journal.” At The Lyons’ Den in Bothell, I try to write the opening scene, but a man at the nexttable is determined to attract my attention. I turn him into an eleven-year-oldgirl with black fingernail polish and add him to my word count. My goal is2,000 words a day. I’m going to finish early!


Day 2: Teaching day. Spend the entire day on lessons, and theentire evening hosting the Duvall 1st Wednesday Poetry Reading at Match Coffee and Wine Bar in Duvall, But, it’s only Day 2, right?


Day 3: Up to 1710 words. I’ll catch up.


Day 4: Paesano’s Coffee in Monroe. Lots of story journaling. A hunky, shirtless guy on a dirtbike has appeared and called my heroine Principessa.All in all, not a bad writing day.


Day 5: My son takes the SAT, so I hole up at Caffé Ladro in Edmonds and write. I hear an NPRinterview on Joan of Arc and decide she’ll have to go into thebook—somehow.


Day 8: My protagonist nearly drowns, so I spent many hoursresearching water safety on Mario Vittone’s blog. Then I teach a teen poetry workshop for RASP.


Days 9-14:Hunky guy doesn’t want protagonistto know he saved her life. Girl with black fingernail polish followsprotagonist everywhere. Up to 12,769 words. Still behind, but I have lots oftime.


Day 15: Wee hours of the morning. I watch a live feed of theeviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zucotti Park. Suddenly my screen freezes.When I reboot, my entire D drive is gone. Restore takes all day.


Day 16: Teaching day. D drive disappears again overnight.


Day 17: Restore.


Days18-19: TEENWriteBecause I’ve put TEENWrite into thebook, I come as my protagonist’s character, an elf.


Days20–26: School break. When I’ve had a goodwriting day, I get to watch Dr. Who.Make it to 17,963. 32k to go, which is somewhat alarming. Make plan for writing8k per day which is, frankly, impossible. Paste the story I wrote at TEENWrite into the book for another 857words. This is not really cheating.


Day 27: My daughter, Sarah walks by my office and says innocently,“Why don’t you include your story journal in your word count? It IS part ofwriting your novel.” Word count jumps suddenly by 7k.


Day 28: My friend, MollyBlaisdell dares me to write over 8k in a day.She uses Muppet Movie tickets as bait. (Molly’s picture book THE BIG FUZZY COAT is a contender on theMeeGenius Author Challenge) I add 8265words, including Psalm69, which I cut and paste in its entirety. (One of the characters prays alot.)


Day 29: One of my characters says, “Do you want me to tell you whatHindus believe?” Bing “What do Hindus Believe?”Seconds later I have 160 more words. Realize that one of my characters is a CatStevens fan, and paste the lyrics to “TheWind,” “I Wish, I Wish” and “How Can I Tell You?” into my story journal (nowpart of my word count). I go to The Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle, where I write like crazy with a bunch of otherWrimos.


Day 30: Teaching day. Have not slept since yesterday. Phone meetingwith publicist in the morning. Get son from clarinet lesson. Grade stuff. Conversewith a student about leprechauns. Teach in an even more crazed fashion thanusual. Go home. I have seven hours to finish this book. 7775 words to go. Hunkyguy in book writes a very nice song. Characters sneak into the Lan SuChinese Garden. By 11:15 PM, I have 47k… There isNO WAY I will write 3,000 words in 45 minutes! I wrack my brains. And this iswhere the real cheating begins: My “secret blog” contains words. And myprotagonist and I muse about similar things… I paste in two blog posts. Notenough. I write more on the Lan Su scene. Still not enough. It is 11:52. Didn’tI start another book with that one character who’s in this book? I paste in theopening of that book And…I WIN!!!!!


So, now Ihave learned my lesson: It doesn’t matterwhether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game? No. It matters thatyou win.


1) In 30 days, I have writtenapproximately 150 manuscript pages. I have a full outline and 19 characters. Ifpressed, I could probably write a synopsis tomorrow. (Note to Leah—please don’tpress. The one I send later will be better.)


2) This manuscript contains huge gaps,but the writing is actually pretty good—maybe even better than writing I’ddeliberated over.


3) When there’s no time to figure outall the whys and whens, write “the heart of the scene.” Like the heart of the TARDIS, that’swhere all the power is, anyway.


4) DIALOGUE is the backbone of a novel.


5) Get a little help from your friends:When I was ready to give up, my friends were there with cheers and challenges.And, I got great tips from the Nanowrimoforums, which I’d never thought I had time for.


6) Even though I am a NaNoWriMoRebel I still feel giddy with success. Hitting that 50k, even with “illegal”content, gives me the confidence that I needto turn a viable book into a publishable book.