tips

5 TIPS FOR STRESS

Hello, my dear readers!

It is that time of the week… A blog post from Katie Kay! I wish you all a fantastic Monday (or whatever day it is when you are reading this). Today we’re going to dive into a topic that seems both wildly discussed and kept rather private, and this is the issue of stress. 

Yup, told ya: It is everyone’s favorite topic. But in all reality, stress is something that pertains to every single human being on this planet, and we can all connect together from this peculiar emotion (is it even an emotion?) we experience now and then. There is not a living soul on this planet who doesn’t experience some level of stress on a normal basis, so it is my goal that each of you has a takeaway from this post on five tips for dealing with stress.

This is especially prevalent to me this week, so let me know down below how you all are doing and how you are feeling. ❤ But without further ado, let’s hop into the list!


1. RID YOURSELF OF DISTRACTIONS

Some of these tips may seem simple, but even the most complex issues can be solved from simple deductions. And one thing I have found is that my stress is reduced when I rid myself of certain distractions, so this could be a tool for you to use as well.

What I mean by this is that certain things distract us from what we should be doing. When we are overwhelmed, we must be willing to take a step back and consider what is really stressing us out in the first place. And there’s a good chance there will be little things here and there that only add to your stress… So cut them out!


2. BUT ALSO DISTRACT YOURSELF

Okay, how in the world can I contradict myself faster than a flash of heat lightning? Hear me out!

When you’re worrying about one particular thing, person, or situation, what do you tend to do? There’s a good chance you’re probably thinking so hard that A) you wish you could teleport to a Fijian island, and B) you wish everything would go away and/or calm down.

You need to give your sprinter’s mind a little break, and to do this I encourage you to find a hobby or pastime (for a lot of you, that could be reading or blogging) that tugs you away from your worries and into relaxation.

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Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

3.  PLAN AHEAD

The key to success is a well-executed plan. I really do believe this. I know that when I’m stressed, I compose lists of all I need to get done, and it gives me a little jolt of energy when I complete one of my items and then the whole thing!

Stress can be managed with a plan. So, when you’ve got a big work stresser, sit down and come up with your game plan. Have a time table and rehearse in your head what you need to do. Or, if you’re thinking about a particular person, maybe it’s time to consult #4 on the list… (You’ll see shortly what I mean.)

But planning ahead can be a tool to use. Don’t be afraid to conquer your stress instead of wallowing it. And remember that you’re capable and will get through it, as you’ve done countless times in the past. 🙂


4. TAKE A BREATH (AND PRAY)

And even when we know we have a killer plan, it’s important to take a step back and breathe. And throw in a prayer! (This is my best piece of advice, if I’m being honest.) Why? Because you’re exiting from your worries for a little while, and giving it to God.

As a restless spirit who isn’t content with staying still, I find it impossible at times to relax and pray. But then I’m overcome with the realization that my laziness is coming at me again, and I remember to close my eyes and disappear for a little while.

Manage your stress through relaxation–and tell God how you feel!

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Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

5. BE CONFIDENT. YOU ARE CAPABLE.

And if our plan is the key to success, then the door that blocks us from that success is our lack of confidence. So what can we do to open that door? Yup, here I go with my “redonk” metaphor: Be confident! You are more than capable of plowing ahead through your stressful time. Yes, the going gets rough, but it happens to all of us. And it gives us a chance to see what we can accomplish and what it takes to do so.

So when you strut around town with your confident pose and head held high, people will never even notice you’re stressed. And when we ooze confidence, we realize that we can take on anything that comes our way!


THANK YOU, GUYS!

I hope this post spoke to you in some way or the other. Let me know if you’re stressed and need some help, but I’m sure a lot of you guys write your feelings down all ready. In the meantime, use some of these tips if you need them, and let me know how they work out for you!

On another note, I’m sorry to have been MIA for the past two weeks. I’ve missed the blog but needed to devote myself to other endeavors for a little bit. But now I’m back, and I’m excited to catch up on all your stories!

Let’s live our lives as stress-free as possible this week (and every week)!

-Katie Kay ❤

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tips

WRITING FOR YOUR AUDIENCE

Hello, my dear readers!

I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful Friday, though it’s a little cloudy here. A few days ago we survived a tornado (yes, a tornado in January!) and now it’s back to chilly temperatures here in the Southern United States. Sometimes I really do imagine living on a tropical island with perfect weather, but that probably doesn’t exist. We can all wish, can’t we? 🙂

It has been a while since we’ve done a post on our favorite subject of writing… So let’s get back into it! One of my last posts related to writing advice was titled “5 Tips To Improve Your Writing,” which you can check out here. So in a similar but not-so-similar situation, we’re going to discuss the topic of writing for your audience. 

While writers tend to write for themselves (guilty as charged!), we must remember we are writing for others at the same time. Unless you’re Emily Dickinson, the famous poet whose works were published after her death, you’re probably sharing your materials with people, and this may only be a few trusted individuals, or maybe via a blog (special shoutout to bloggers!). Chances are some of you want to make it big, whether that’s becoming an up-and-coming novelist, poet, screenwriter, or storyteller. And chances are some of you don’t really care; you just want to write to inspire others and spread your words for those to hear.

What is the common denominator here? For a story to be told, there must be someone who receives it. (Even when you’re writing for yourself, you are your audience, so this still applies to the shyer writers out there!) So why don’t we highlight some points of interest when it comes to how to attract your audience and deliver quality material?


1. IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE

For whom are you writing? Are your posts directed to a particular audience? Are your novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays tailored to a specific group of people? Now this may seem a bit exclusive, but I’m going to advise that you write with a particular audience in mind. Wait, why?

When you write something, you’re producing content that will resonate with someone out there. For example John Grisham is the king of the legal thriller. A John Grisham fan is probably going to have some interest in law… And, well, thrills. Someone who is more into chick lit may not have the most interest in a John Grisham book (but I still recommend John Grisham to everyone haha). So while John Grisham books are targeted to the mass market, it is true that not everyone out there is going to enjoy them.

Who is your audience then? When you write, are your stories catered to a particular genre of fiction, or are you floating between genres? And the honest truth is that genre-benders are writing for a particular audience too. What I’m trying to say is this: If you identify who your audience is, you become more aware of what they want. And when you identify what they want, you’re going to see an increase in views, sales, and interest. Of course you should not do this and lose all value in your own writing, but it is important to remember that if you want to see movement on your materials, you must know your audience and what they desire.


2. PRODUCE RELATABLE CONTENT

Relatable content? Come on, Katie. I’m just writing for fun, having a good time, and living my best life.

Well, dear audience: I applaud this idea, and this is something a writer should always remember. But if you take a step back and see what people enjoy, then you’re setting yourself up for success–and you may find a new love along the way.

When I first started Katie Kay three years ago (or was it two? I don’t even remember anymore!), I wrote nonsensical articles, posts that never saw the light of day. In my first year of blogging I saw less than fifty views. The next year, when I finally put effort into my audience and engaging with you all (more on this to follow), I saw a sharp increase in both viewership and legitimate interest in what I had to say. And one big thing that greeted me during this process was a newfound joy in poetry.

Before I started this blog, I hated poetry. But when I started to see the poet community on WordPress, things changed. Poems seemed to do really well on others’ sites, so I decided to challenge myself to a new method of writing. And guess what? I realized I love a good poem!

Now this blog is filled with poetry, and as a result I have come across tens (maybe even hundreds at this point!) of talented, humble poets who are challenging the status quo. No longer does one feel uncomfortable displaying their writing online. Nope! These poets have been fearless in sharing their thoughts.

So the moral of the story: When you produce relatable content, you may just receive relatable content in return. It’s a sort of karmic writing magic.

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Rainbow fountain in Tennessee! (December 2019)

3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

So, after you’ve identified your audience and figured out what content you’re going to write for them, it’s time to engage. Consider that you are proposing to that special person who will browse through your work. Do you want to give them a shiny, sparkling diamond of a story, or a dirty, washed out husk? This is a dramatic metaphor, but I’m serious, and it’s true. You’re asking your audience to take a risk on your skills, and they’ve got to be won over. They have to have a reason to give you a resounding, “Yes!”

And one way to do this is engaging with them. Every day, everywhere. This applies to bloggers, who have easy access to their community, and it just as well applies to a novelist in Montana or a screenwriter in Hollywood or a poet in India. When you engage with your audience, you’re learning what works best. You’re honing your skill, and you’re gaining new friends along the way.

In this age of social media and internet and easy access to the world, there are various mediums to accomplish this task of engaging with your audience. Consider starting a website like WordPress (although most of you probably are on here all ready hehe). Expand your website, and make it easy to read. Create social media accounts. If you’re like me and not big into social media, develop camaraderie with other writers (and your readers. Take pride in the fact that you are a writer!) through your website or local library or anywhere that has people interested in literature. You’ll find that it not only makes you a better writer, but you find friends all over the world. ❤

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I’m going to take a risk here… Dog lovers anyone? Here’s a pup chasing me down. Talk about an audience! (Argentina // September 2017)

4. BE TRUE TO YOU

Another thing about writing for your audience is that they’ll tell when you’re writing with heart, or when you’re writing something because you think they’ll like it. Take a moment and think of your favorite book, movie, poem, author, etc. What is it about this author and his or her writing that resonates with you? What did this person write that left you in tears, or overjoyed, or ready to conquer the world?

They wrote for their audience. They wrote for you. But they also wrote from their hearts, from their innermost selves, where emotion and reasoning were unleashed. These writers were true to themselves, because they wrote something that not only came from their hearts–but ended up puncturing yours in the process.

Okay, yes, this may sound corny. I know I sound cheesy most of the time, but I want you to remember to always write from your soul. Write as you would write, because there is no other you out there. And while some may tell you otherwise, it’s the truth that we all need your voice to be heard, because you’re contributing to this world of writers whose passion and purpose in life is to create something from the imagination… And share it with those who are willing to go with you to a made up world. So write for your audience–and also write for yourself.

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This is a terrible angle but this is a truer picture of me than most. Smiling, lost in a purple dreamscape, and exploring Chilean telescopes. (Santiago, Chile // November 2017)

THANK YOU.

The overall point of this post is not to tell you what to write. In fact it’s kind of the opposite. I want you to be who you are, and to do so you must be willing to engage with your audience so that you can learn more about who you really are. For example, as a writer, my romance novels have far outsold my books of other genres. While romance books are not my favorite to write, I’ve found that there is more interest in this type of writing than others when it comes to what I’ve produced. So what does that mean? It means I’m going to write more romance books! Not only am I loving what I’m doing (writing), but I’m sharing with those who love that genre as well.

Maybe this isn’t the best argument for writing for your audience, but I hope you gathered something from it today. And if you didn’t, then take away this main point: Write what you want to write, but just remember to leave a little room for your audience too. 🙂

Until next time,

-Katie Kay

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tips

THE PERFECT GIFT IDEA

It is that time of the year… Christmas!

Here in the United States, it means that we’re surrounded by Christmas music, twinkling lights, decorated trees, hot chocolate, and, for college kids, finals season. Most people really enjoy the holidays, and especially a certain component of December 25…

So, you may be thinking, What in the world should I gift my loved ones? Well, I’ve got a solution for you this year, even though it may not be the most popular gift idea for the population at whole: Why not bring books back into the equation?

Though so many people do not enjoy reading, I truly believe this may be because they just haven’t found the right book. So why not try something new (and typically pretty cost efficient) and gift your loved ones a book?

Over the years, I have found that some of the best gifts have been books. I don’t remember my first book, but I do collect them whenever I can. Here is another life lesson: You never know which book is going to be your favorite. Maybe you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, and your sister gets you a book about the Serengeti. Why not give it a try, and expose yourself to something new? Reading can definitely be that outlet!

So, in today’s post, we’re going to go through some options for you, in case you’re struggling with that perfect book gift idea. 🙂


DAD

What should you get your dad? Well, you could try a book on planes or woodworking or insert whatever your dad happens to be interested in. That being said, my dad isn’t a big reader, so I am aware of that when I’m selecting the right choice for him. Therefore, I’d pick something short, realistic, and believable.

My choice: Bleachers by John Grisham.

The book focuses on whether the famous Eddie Rake, former coach of the Messina High School football team, was loved or hated by his former players.

MOM

Some mothers are into cookbooks (my mom), and others are into chick flicks. Some are into romance, and others legal thrillers. Since everyone is different, there is an endless array of picks for you. That being said, I am aiming this post more toward people I know, and therefore…

If I would give Momma J a book, my choice would probably be: Sanctuary by William Faulkner.

My mom’s favorite author is the incredibly talented Faulkner, who is famous for developing the Southern Gothic genre. Faulkner has had an enormous impact on my own writing, and Sanctuary is one of his best novels, though quite controversial.

Sanctuary is a novel by the American author William Faulkner about the rape and abduction of a well-bred Mississippi college girl, Temple Drake, during the Prohibition era.

SISTER

My sister is only twelve, so our interests in reading are quite different. That being said, I do believe that she is about to hit an age where reading truly matters, because at that point in life, you are beginning to figure out who you are and what you like. Therefore, I’d encourage my sister to pick up a classic that most of you will probably recognize:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

BEST FRIEND

Maggie Givenchy is not a reader. In fact, she’d probably do anything to avoid books if she could, since Christmas Hallmark movies are more her thing. However, I was shocked when I recommended a John Grisham book that inspired her (you will see what it is soon enough) and left her wanting more.

Though I know John Grisham is my go-to answer, I thought it would be more interesting if I picked a different book for her: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty. (And what’s better? It has a 3.69 average on Goodreads.)

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

ROACHES (my college friend group lol)

There is one book that I recommend to anyone and everyone I meet. It has become a sort of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants book for some of my friends, and therefore it has taken a special place in my heart. I bought my paperback copy when I was fifteen, gave it to Maggie, who passed it on to Even, who was supposed to pass it on to Hadley, and so on…

What is the book, you may be asking, that has captivated a bunch of college kids who typically don’t like reading all that much?

The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.

A Washington reporter helps an on-the-run law student who knows too much about a government cover-up.

GRANDMA

My Mamaw always reads these posts, and so I know she’ll be reading this one as well. 🙂 Therefore, though I don’t want to spoil what I will send her for Christmas, I do want to share what the book is for all of you.

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry is an amazing book that everyone should read. It is not the most pleasant read, but the themes of hope and survival are universal. ❤

Two women kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro share the stories of their abductions, captivity, and dramatic escape.

 

GRANDPA

My choice this year for my grandpa is a book I read a few years ago, but it has recently come into my mind again. Louis Zamperini is a true American hero, and his biography by Laura Hillenbrand is an excellent choice to read. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is nothing less than inspiring.

Unbroken is a biography of  World War II hero Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific theatre, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then survived more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in three brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.

YOU GUYS!!!

You guys are an incredible source of positivity for me, and I love checking/updating this blog to see what you guys are up to and what your thoughts are. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to include you in this post. If you’re looking for something great to read, I urge you to check out the following books that have left an imprint on my heart.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García-Márquez.

The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

The novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.


Thank you guys for reading this post! Hopefully you’ve found some ideas for your own Christmas gifts (or your personal reading as well). I wish you guys a blessed holiday season, and I hope that wherever you are in this world of ours, you are happy and safe. ❤

Until next time,

-K.

P.S. A huge shoutout to sweet Maggie Givenchy, who was the one to come up with this blog post. Thank you for always reading my posts and listening to my wild antics. You are the best, chica!!

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Underneath the Christmas tree! Make sure to take care of your loved ones this holiday season. ❤