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.

IMG_0178
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. ❤

DSC_0185
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.

DSC_0997
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

cropped-flint-elves-3.png

books

SURPRISE!! (new book of poetry)

Hello, my dear readers!

It is very nice to write to you on this bright Wednesday morning at home. In my little neck of the woods I am busy studying for pilot exams and avoiding some bad storms along the way. But how are you guys doing? Please keep me updated, as I love hearing your stories!

A few months, I mentioned that I was working on a, well, a surprise! And I’ve finally finished it, so without further ado…

I’ve written a book of poetry!

burned
Thanks to Miss Givenchy for lending a hand (literally her hand) on this cover!!! ❤

Lose yourself in the imagination, in the world of your dreams… But remember to consider what your reality really is along the way…

This poetry collection is split into five parts: A-Z, 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Heavenly Virtues, College Class Confessions, and Late Night Candle Side. Throughout the collection you will find emotion, question, and reason–and your presence is required to discover more.

Yes, that’s right! I compiled about sixty of my favorite poems I’ve written so far and threw them into a book called burned into a realist. Katie George, a poet? Yes, I am surprised too. As someone who writes primarily fiction, poetry isn’t normally my schtick. However, it was this very blog that introduced me to poetry and how universally, beautifully complex it is for its readers! Over the past year I’ve shared my poems on this blog, and I thought, “Why not put them in a book?”

So that’s what I did!

I’ve split the book into five parts, based on five chapters of poetry: a-z, 7 deadly sins, 7 heavenly virtues, college class confessions, and late night candle side. Each section has a different theme. For example, a-z contains the poems I wrote for a challenge in September, in which each poem starts with a different letter.

Anyway, I know this is not much, but I did think it would be cool to have my poems all in one place. For those of you who’ve all ready read them, well, you’ll be surprised to see I’ve added a bunch of free clipart to the poems to spice things up a bit. The one snag is that the book is only in paperback form. While I spent hours developing an eBook version of “burned into a realist,” I found it nearly impossible to format the clipart with the poetry in an appealing way. So for now it’s only available from Amazon in paperback form.

Well, guys, thank you so much for putting up with me through this journey! If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can purchase it here! And if you don’t want to, my poems are available for free all throughout this blog, so that’s another way to read what I’m producing (if you are interested!).

❤ Much love to all, and I will be posting on Friday… And instead of poetry or nonsense about me, we’re going back to our roots… AKA writing tips! ❤

Thank you guys so much, and until next time,

-Katie Kay

cropped-flint-elves-3.png

 

updates

RIP FLUFF (2014-2020)

IMG_1435A week ago today my beautiful and wonderful Fluffy passed away after a few weeks’ sickness. This guinea pig was not just a silly old guinea pig; she was my first true pet, and she was a good one. Over the years I watched as people screamed at her (thinking she was a rat), held her like a baby (thinking she was the cutest thing alive), and overall saying, time and time again: “How fat is this thing?” The answer to that question… Huge!

We got this sweet pig in the summer of 2014 before my junior year of high school. During my last two years of high school, Fluff was an incredible therapeutic almost-stuffed animal who would squeak as I held her and did my homework. She was incredibly docile in those years, even when my sister and I fought over who would hold her and “exercise” her.

When I went off to college, I missed Fluff a lot (though never as much as friends and family. I’m a proud pet owner, but not a ridiculous pet owner hehe). But she was always there when I came home, squeaking when I entered the room to ask for a veggie snack. While some things feel like they will never change, they do, because now whenever I walk into the house, I’m greeted with silence, although sometimes I swear I can still hear her squeaking for food.

Fluff was a great pet. She taught me responsibility (cleaning a pet’s cage every week is not the best part of being a pig owner) and care. There’s something about holding a pig to your heart every day that turns you into mush, even if you think: “Who would ever have a guinea pig?” Trust me. I was one of those people. (Fluff was supposed to be my sister’s pet. Plot twist…)

But she also taught me a lesson. That just because you think someone will be there forever… Doesn’t mean it will work out that way. Yes, Fluff was only a guinea pig. But after her death, my sister broke by heart when she said: “Katie, if this is what’s it like when we lose Fluff, what’s it going to be like when we lose Mom and Dad?”

We don’t have to worry about that for a long time. But I do want to make it clear that we don’t have forever on this planet. So make sure you hold your loved ones a little longer tonight. If you have a pet, hold him or her a little tighter. ❤

Rest in peace, my little piggy, mi cariña, the pig who was the size of a mountain, my dear Fluffy. You will be missed. ❤

IMG_3798

IMG_2577

IMG_1877.jpeg

blogging

Blogger Recognition Award <3

Hello, my dear readers!

Welcome to a surprise Tuesday post. Much love and gratitude to Tamara Yoncosky, a fantastic blogger and writer, who nominated me for this award. It is moments like these when I remember and cherish each and every one of you who reads this blog. ❤ And in the meantime, please go check out Tamara’s lovely posts at her website here.

It doesn’t seem like this blog started three years ago. I feel like I just started writing, but that’s not exactly true. In 2017 I was a young student on a plane that jetted me from the United States to Argentina. An aunt suggested I write a travel blog to commemorate my time abroad, and so I began this blog as a testament to her good idea. Not only did I fail miserably at keeping up Katie Kay! during this time, but I barely wrote anything at all.

It wasn’t until 2018 when I began to write this blog in earnest, and from there it took off. Since 2018 I have found myself indebted to you all, all over this globe, and that is why I am humbled to receive an award like this. In Tamara’s post recognizing outstanding bloggers, she wrote that my blog is “du coeur,” which translates to of the heart. This instantly uplifted my soul, and I hope and pray that my blog will uplift you as well, even if for a second.

For those of you just started your blog or are in this for the long haul, I want to give you two pieces of advice. Firstly, invest in others’ blogs. Yes, you have a quality voice, one that needs to be heard. But you’re also asking your audience to read your material. So why not return the same favor to others? Please read, comment, and listen to those who also want to share their stories. Secondly, understand that you must invest in your audience. Remember that you are writing to those all around the world, and they want your material to be quality material. They want to read your true opinions, or they wouldn’t take the time to actually read your blog. So write from the heart, but keep in mind that you want to write things that are valuable.

Now, for my my favorite part: Recommending other bloggers for this award!

blogger.jpg


Luna: Pen to Paper

http://lunatheblog.com

Brilliant poet… Everyone should read her materials!


The Eclectic Contrarian

https://theeclecticcontrarian.wordpress.com

Fantastic Christian philosophy, incredible poetry, and an amazing human being. 


The Reluctant Poet

https://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com

Beautiful poetry from various writers, always has a positive spirit. ❤


Miss Givenchy

https://senoritagivenchy.home.blog

What can I say about this blogger? Well, there is too much to write. And she knows what I think about her anyway. MUFON! 🙂


Equipping Site

https://equippingblog.wordpress.com

Quality content from a Christian perspective… And a dear friend!


Ayansola Ibukun

https://ayansola.wordpress.com

Attentive writer who pens his words from the heart.


tarunaswritingworld

https://tarunaswritingworld.wordpress.com

Honest, thoughtful writer with a heart of gold!


JOVIAL

https://amessiah.blog

Dear writer who promotes a positive outlook on life!


To those nominated… Please write a response to each listed below. If you’d like, of course.  🙂

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their bio.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

Thank you all for reading this. Even if I did not “recommend” you in this post, please know I enjoy reading every single one of your blogs, and I think each and every one of you is a fantastic writer with incredible potential and opportunity. Your voice will be heard by many. Just keep writing!

Until next time…

-Katie Kay

cropped-image-2.jpg

 

q&a

Q & A time!

Hello, my dear readers!

It’s a new year, so why not do a new Q & A? (This is my attempt at trying to be cool, but I know it is failing miserably.) On a more serious note, I realized I have not done a Q & A in quite some time, so I thought it would be fun to answer a few nonsensical questions for you guys. And I want you to answer as well!

So, without further ado, let’s commence!

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 9.40.20 PM
Random Route 66 finds. What am I wearing? (Tucumcari, New Mexico // August 2019)

1. Are you a dog person or cat person?

In all reality, I’m a guinea pig person. I’m kind of scared of dogs and cats since I’ve never had them as pets. That being said, I would much rather be around pups!

2. Are you a fan of any sports team?

I used to be a diehard Carolina Panthers fan (NFL football). But now I do not watch sports at all. (Too much time devoted to this blog! 🙂

3. Are you a good cook?

I’m getting there. I do enjoy cooking, but I’m not the biggest fan of trying new things. That being said, my friend and I did make a nice chicken penne pasta dish a few nights ago, and our cooking skills were put to the test. We didn’t burn anything, and we didn’t get sick, so I find those two traits the sign of a slightly average chef in the making.

4. Are you a hoarder?

To a certain extent, yes. What do I mean by this? I hoard books. I’ve got hundreds at this point, so I should probably donate them soon to the local library. But I love walking by all of them and reviewing what I’ve read. (You may relate to this.)

5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Naturally a morning person. I enjoy rising with the sun. During college I was a night owl because everyone else was, but my natural self is a morning gal.

6. Are you close to anyone now that you initially disliked?

Yes! I won’t name names, but yes. Which is a life lesson of… Give people a chance! You never know who will end up being extremely important in your life.

7. Are you high maintenance?

I hope not!

8. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

Avoid, avoid, avoid. I hate conflict. I wish life were always rainbows and unicorns, but that’s not how it goes. When certain lines are crossed, a certain beast in me is unleashed, and I engage it head-on, but that has to be an extremely rare occurrence (such as an attack on friends or family).

9. Are you named after anyone?

Yes! My middle name, Kay, is after my grandmother’s middle name. So whenever someone says Katie Kay, he or she is honoring my grandmother! ❤

10. Are you scared of heights?

Nope. I guess that’s a good quality to have when one is a pilot. 🙂

11. Can you dance?

I’m the worst dancer in the history of mankind. But I do enjoy a good electric slide!

12. Can you do a split?

I’m also the least limber human being in this universe, so the short answer is no.

13. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

What kind of a question is this? Who has a tongue that long?!?! Is that possible?!

14. Can you whistle?

Yes! Finally something I can say yes to.

15. Describe yourself in a single sentence?

Katie Kay is a redonk individual who loves to ask questions, blog, study UFOs, and take quick trips across the sky.

17. Did your mother go to college?

Yes! She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in English Literature.

18. Do you belong to any warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, etc.)?

I do enjoy a nice membership at Costco. There’s something pretty entertaining about getting lost in this warehouse store for a little bit. Normally I hit up the book section and find some cheap keyboards to play.

19. If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be?

Don’t be a creative writing major in college. (More on this to come, I promise!)

20. If you could live forever, would you rather stay one age forever or get older?

Just because I could live forever doesn’t mean I’d choose to. 🙂 Maybe this is a sad outlook, but I don’t want to live forever on this planet. There are better things in store. Plus, it would break my heart if I was on Earth forever while my loved ones were not.

21. If you could save just one, would you rather save Humanity or the Earth?

Another weird question. How would I save humanity without Earth? Whatever, I won’t question too much. Duh, I’d save humanity! While Earth is amazing and a great home, humanity far outweighs Earth.

22. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Pilot!

23. What do you call carbonated drink called?

Soda?

24. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’m pretty lucky with my sleep cycles. It takes me a few minutes to fall asleep, but I always plan out stories with this spare time. But on the rare chance I can’t sleep, I toss and turn or listen to music to calm my brain down.

25. What do you do most when you are bored?

Unfortunately I look up nonsense on my phone. Another favorite is messing with my sister.

26. What do you like about your home?

Family!

59746788256__941F1389-6FBB-46BB-A143-B1A285FE2F66
A perfect description of my life.

THERE YOU GO!

Some random nonsense from me! But seriously I want to see your responses, so don’t be afraid to comment below with your own answers. ❤

Well, for now I’m gonna go, and I’ll probably still be pondering question #21, because how in the world would we have humanity but no Earth? All right. Enough rambling today.

Until next time,

-Katie Kay

cropped-image-2.jpg

poetry

on the dark side (a poem)

on the dark side
of the cold moon
i stand alone
waiting for you

drowned in

your dark shadow,
lost memories,
as your light fades
over centuries


AN EXPLANATION.

While I wish I could provide a definite explanation for this poem, my dear readers, the truth is that I am unsure the true meaning. I always enjoy decoding symbolism behind everything, but this is a poem borne from my stream of consciousness.

Who is the narrator, and why is he or she in the darkness? What kind of cosmic darkness hangs above the narrator’s head? And why is the narrator waiting? Why is the narrator terrorized by the memories he or she experiences from the past (“the light”) that is fading?

I wish I could tell you. Maybe you can tell me.

Stay tuned for Monday’s post! And once again thank you for joining me on this journey. 2020 is still fully ahead of us, so let’s live with both kindness and question of the world around us.

Until next time,

-Katie Kay

cropped-image-2.jpg

 

 

thoughts

2019 REFLECTION

Hello, my dear readers!

Can you all believe 2019 is coming to a close? It seems like every other month I would write something along the lines of: “How are we already in March? How is it already July? And now 2019 is over?” Well, that’s how time flies, I suppose!

In the spirit of last year’s 2018 Reflection, I decided to follow up with a 2019 Reflection as well. As always, I want to hear about your reflections, so do not be afraid to comment or share your own post with me so I can see what you’ve been up to this year. 🙂

2019 has been a year, that’s for sure, and it’s probably been very different for all of us. For some of you, it has been a year of definition, and you’re seeing more clearly as a result. But I bet for others it’s been a tough one, and you’re hoping 2020 will pave the way for a happier season in your life.

I’m in the middle on this one. 2019 was a year of definition, in the sense that I graduated college, furthered my aviation pursuits, and left California behind. But it was also a year in which I found myself doubting things and questioning why I didn’t do things a certain way.

The good thing for us all is that we have a fresh start to a new year coming up very soon. We can create new resolutions, live our lives more deeply, and accept the mysteries of time. But before we come up with any resolutions for 2019, let’s do a little reflecting…

IMG_8463
Beautiful Hawaii (July 2019)

1. Sometimes we do not know why things happen.

Who goes to college to become a better writer, only to end up majoring in Spanish and then finding out she wants to be a pilot her junior year? Well… Eep. Guilty as charged! This truly relates to the fact that sometimes we do not know why things happen the way they do, but we must learn to accept it and move on. Other times we sit and think, “Why hasn’t such and such thing happened yet? Why are things going the way I want them to?” Well, again, it’s time to accept and move on.

I love symbolism and finding out the hidden meaning in things, but 2019 has taught me that it takes time to fully discover anything. And to the unknown moments… Well, there is beauty in those moments as well, even when we want to know more than we do.


2. Fly your own heading.

Okay, I couldn’t not have an aviation-related topic, right? 🙂

This past year has been the most rewarding year in terms of following a journey that should have been begun years ago (which relates to #1). In April I earned my private pilot license. In August I earned my instrument rating. In October I became a ground instructor, and a week ago my dad and I became commercial drone pilots. (Okay, these may seem cool, but some of them are really easy to get, so I promise you can do it too! More on this to come in future posts, I promise.)

In the next month or so I will complete my commercial pilot certification, which will allow me to (finally) get paid for flying instead of paying to fly. Shortly after this I plan to become a CFI (certified flight instructor), which I am really excited to do! There is so much learning in teaching, and I will be very humbled to be able to train young pilots who want to pursue this route.

As for the past few months, I have flown constantly while maintaining a rigorous course load. Somehow I was able to overpower my initial time goal (in regards to flight hours) and found myself enamored with a certain airport in Paso Robles, California. (It became a running joke that I was always flying from Camarillo, CA, to Paso Robles.) When I wasn’t flying to Paso, I visited other haunts such as Monterey and almost-Sacramento in the north; San Diego to the south; and Sedona, Arizona, to the east. (I promise I will write on this soon!)


3. Cut out what distracts you.

For a while my friend and I were doing great with our limited technology mission. What I mean by this is that we both agreed we were spending too much time on our phones and made it our goal to stay off them. During this period I felt rejuvenated at all the things around me. Suddenly I had so much more time to do things away from the screen.

Unfortunately, I’ve gotten pretty bad at being on my phone again. So while this goal of 2019 really did help me for a while, I’ve been off-kilter with it recently. Therefore, I hope that in 2020 I will continue this mission and stay off my phone more.

IMG_6487
Blurry Los Angeles

4. Listen to your intuition.

Sometimes you have to listen to those unsubtle cues in your brain that are telling you to do something. I hope this doesn’t sound too pseudoscientific, but there is power in the mystery that hangs around us every day, and your intuition can be a powerful tool to help you in certain situations. To be honest, this point has guided me for the past few years now, not just in 2019. However, I still like to reflect on how intuition can certainly shape decisions and outcomes as well.


5. Personality types…

This may be the corniest thing on the list, but it’s something I want to reflect on. When I was in high school, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. For those of you who aren’t goofballs like me, the MBTI is a personality test that splits you into four major facets: Extraversion/Introversion; Sensing/Intuition; Thinking/Feeling; and Judging/Perceiving.

For years I was an INFP according to this personality test, which means I considered myself a hippie-type who only thought about peace, happiness, and listening to others’ problems (love doctor, anyone?). While this is an extreme stereotype of this personality type, I really did think myself an INFP.

So when I took the test two months ago, I was shook (as the youth say these days) to discover I am actually an INFJ. More on this to come, but I am still reflecting on this personality change.

*Is it actually a personality change, though?* MYSTERY!

IMG_6812
A dork unleashed in the middle of the West (April 2019)

6. Care for others.

This should be an unspoken for us all, but due to our selfish nature we do not realize how important this should be in our lives. Consider Christmas, if you will. Does it feel better when you open a present, or does it feel better when your loved one opens the gift you intentionally made/bought for him/her? When you see his/her eyes light up and a smile flash? Hopefully it is the second option.

2019 has reminded me to care for others. This should be an every year reflection moment for us all… Because this world isn’t just about you. It’s about everyone you know,  and everyone you don’t.


YOUR REFLECTION.

So, my dear readers, now it’s your turn to reflect. What was the best part of your year? What was the worst? What do you want to change for next year? You have a few days to make resolutions, but just know that making a list of resolutions won’t change anything. Instead, your heart has to be in the right place. ❤

Thank you guys so much for joining me on this journey, and I'm excited to hear what you have to share!

Until next time,

-Katie Kay. ❤

cropped-image-2.jpg

thoughts

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Hello, my dear readers!

Long time, no see. I am officially back to the blogging world, and I’m very excited for the new year ahead. I’ve got some ideas that I can’t wait to share here, and at the same time I am just as excited to read what you all have to share with me. ❤

In the meantime, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are happy, safe, and with those you love. It is holidays like these that remind of us of our blessings, and it is so crucial that we do take a moment to thank God for what He has given us.

Some of you probably aren’t the biggest fans of Christmas and the holiday season, but I urge you to consider what the season is all about. While society has made a big deal of the materialistic aspect of gifts, gifts, gifts, there is a deeper point to Christmas and why it applies to all of humanity. So… Without further ado, let’s look at some of the most important takeaways of Christmas.


1. GIFTS ARE TO BE GIVEN

It is no secret that you, me, all of humanity–we like getting gifts. We all want things. Some of us are hoping for a shiny engagement ring this Christmas; others hope for something as simple as a new pair of shoes. But in the midst of all this desire for things, we must remember that gifts are to be given.

Huh? What does this mean? Aren’t you supposed to give gifts so that you get what you want?

Well, not exactly. It is better to give gifts than to receive them. Why? Because you’re doing something for another person. You’re ignoring your own wants to provide the wants of another. And trust me, there’s nothing better than seeing your loved one (or a stranger, I might add) open a gift and smile bigger than Texas.


2. LOVE ON DISPLAY

The holiday season is about love. Without getting too soppy, I’ll say that the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a good one to listen to. In these weeks of celebration, family is hugely important. Whether your family is blood, or your family is your friends (or maybe a pet LOL), you must be with them. Why do I require it? Because we don’t know how many Christmases we get on this planet, and it’s important that we savor family time while we have the chance.

And this is the perfect time to love on people, even if you want to slap them or disappear due to the family drama. And another thing, we’re not just supposed to love those we know. We’re called to love those we don’t know, and we must be kind to all we meet. That is what I love about the holidays: That, despite the manic tone in the air, there is also a feeling that… Maybe, just maybe… We can slow down and take the time to show kindness to those around us.


3. THE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOR

Some people don’t celebrate Christmas for this reason, but I’ll tell you that to me it is the most important. Christmas, which I like to think of as “More Christ” (Christ + más, which is “more” in Spanish), is the day in which we celebrate the birth of a particularly lovable baby named Jesus Christ, the very baby who would one day grow up and save the world. Sounds like a story, right?

True stories are the best kind.

No one really knows when Christ was born, but we take December 25 as an opportunity to commemorate the birth that would change everything in human history. Some speculate that his birth was actually in the springtime, but I’m going to be tart and say: I don’t really care when he was born. I care that he was born, and that he lives!

This is the true reason for the season, as they say. And even if you don’t believe, I ask you to read Luke 1:1-20 and Matthew 1 & 2:1-11. What does it hurt to read about a baby that was born to be the savior of the world? Even if you don’t think it’s true, you can’t not say it isn’t a compelling story. ❤


IMG_0101.jpeg
I also like Christmas because of the crazy lights like this pink tree! (Memphis, TN / December 2019)

Merry Christmas, everyone! Again I am so glad to be back on this blog and posting content for you guys. But this is also an opportunity for me to get to know you all better, so keep writing and recommending things to me. I love hearing from you!! ❤

Until next time (which will be soon),

-Katie Kay

cropped-image-2.jpg

writing

SHADOW (a short story)

SHE DID NOT know where she was going. She had no idea if she was headed north or south, although she could probably take a glance up into the night sky to follow the stars. What she did know was that her hands were glued to the steering wheel of this nondescript car, and the car kept straddling the lanes, unsure where she was going too.

“Where am I, where am I, where am I?” she hissed to herself, lungs quaking with fear. No one responded. Who would respond?

Momentarily she was blinded by the hot sting of her tears, and the pain inside her was enough to blind her forever. But her eyes stayed open, and she saw through the blurriness the straight-shot arrow of the pine-fenced road. The darkness was almost quaint, if she’d take a moment and soak it in, but now it felt dead and gloomy, an invitation to a sepulcher.

“Okay. Enough,” she muttered to herself, certain that her teeth would snap out of her head from her frayed nerves. She needed to keep it together—or at least act like she could. Of course, that was easier said than done. She needed a memory, an image, a vision, anything, to remind her that she knew who she was. She had to fight through it.

But in this darkness all she could think of was… Well, nothing good. What she remembered was suffocation, a kind of suffocation that terrified her more than the blackness outside. A suffocation from despair, a suffocation from nothing going to according to plan, a suffocation from the person she supposedly loved most in the world, and…

She whistled between her teeth and bit down hard. Her jaw ached, but she had to distract herself, and this slight pain drew her eyes down to the wedding ring, where her promise for forever was chained to her finger, her body. Maybe she shouldn’t go back into those dark memories that would swallow her up, those memories that would force her to relive the pain over and over again, each time in a slightly different way. Instead her gaze darted to the dashboard. Sixty miles per hour. Pretty fast for a hair-thin road, especially when there seemed to be some fog rolling in. She pushed her foot against the brakes.

Nothing.

Though the car wouldn’t brake, it felt like her heart had bounced out of its cavity and smashed straight into her bones. She gulped down bile and pressed her heel down once more.

Nothing.

She slammed on the brakes.

Nothing.

She floored the gas pedal, and the car galloped to seventy.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” she screamed, punching the wheel, her knuckles bruising.

Realizing it wouldn’t do her any good to wound herself further, she concentrated on keeping the violence down, and considered some possibilities. Maybe she was dreaming, and this was some terrible, acidic nightmare that she’d laugh at in the morning, try to interpret with the Internet’s help; maybe this was her brain’s way of compensating for some traumatic event (and there were plenty of those to pick from), and she needed a good night’s rest; maybe she was just being silly, and needed to try the brakes one more time.

If there was a time to pray, it was now.

She did. Nothing happened.

Which meant that there was one more possibility, one that she refused to accept just yet: This was real. The car was moving all on its own.

Her hands unclenched from the wheel, and the car steered itself. It went perfectly with the road, as if it was a train on the tracks. And she knew the car wasn’t controlling her body, but it felt like it. Her chest hurt, and she gripped her collarbone, aching to breathe properly again—needing to breathe properly again. The bruises were nothing new, but they ached more and more with each passing mile, as she escaped farther and farther away, as she entered the unknown more and more. Her eyes bubbled with tears again, and she was certain she was losing it. This had to be a nightmare. It had to be.

But why did everything feel so real?

Something flashed nearby, a light sparking to life. The bright glow belonged to her cell phone that had fallen onto the floor of the passenger’s seat.

“At least the car is driving itself,” she hissed, and stretched herself to fish the phone from the darkness. She scooped it up and was ensnared by the simple text message that had made its way through, a remnant of her true life. The life she had abandoned in favor of this mysterious bolt from everything she had ever known.

Her collarbone ached.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

The slow drag under. She felt like she was in a pool, and someone was taking her by the back of the head, pulling her deeper.

WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME?

Why had she brought the phone? She should have left it elsewhere, tossed it out the window, so there would be no trace. So there would be no ability to fall for any more of his traps. He loved to set them, just for her. And when she’d realized how many of them waited for her, it was too late. Her misery was something she could change, but it would cost her everything she had: mental, physical, emotional. She just had to escape. She had to get out of there, even if it was the middle of the night, even if it was to nowhere at all. Nowhere was better than where she’d been before.

SARAH, I’M SORRY. JUST PLEASE ANSWER ME, OKAY?

She lifted her eyes again and caught the glimpse of the rearview mirror. The person she expected to see was not there, and in her stead was a morphed version of herself, an image of horror and grief. There were spots all over her face, violet and ugly. While she was revolted at the sight of herself, she barely moved, unable to believe the image she saw. How could she believe it, even when the proof of her pain was as clear as this? But suddenly… Something didn’t seem right. She knew she was hypersensitive—she had to be—but this was different. She scrutinized the mirror and felt her blood boil when, in the empty backseat, something shifted in the pitch black.

She screamed, slammed on the brakes again, and the car flew off the side of the road, crash landing in a nearby ditch.

A few seconds passed. Silent seconds, until there was a slight dripping noise. The stink of oil and blood rose through the air, and Sarah realized that a few drops of scarlet had fallen from her nose onto her wrists. Something sharp cut into her neck, a silver cross necklace. She then noticed that she was hanging upside down, her dark hair tumbled below her.

This night is never going to end, she thought to herself.

Everything seemed hazy, surreal, as if gravity itself did not work properly here. As if time did not work properly here. As if certain moments sped up like a bullet, and others slowed to a trot.

A car crash. She’d just been in a car crash. Her body was buzzing from the pain, but she gritted her teeth and managed to unbuckle herself. Before she knew it she was falling to the ground. She collected herself like a wounded animal and crawled through the broken window, surprised at the ease it took her to get out of the mangled car. Sarah pushed herself up from the wet, muddy earth and stood, analyzing the sight of the mess before her. She was really lucky, she decided, to have survived. Maybe it was more than luck. Luck didn’t seem to fit the bill when it came to how crushed the car was. A little ounce of hope dawned over her. It had to be a good thing she survived this, right? It had to mean something. She had been a survivor all her life, especially in these past few weeks, when his hands had sucked each breath out of her lungs.

As the thoughts flickered away, Sarah’s neck burned. She pushed her hand against a thin trickle of blood from where her necklace had cut her, and she repositioned it so the cross hung properly against her neck. Her fingers grazed against the silver.

Sarah walked along the back of the car. The license plate seemed to be the only thing still in one piece, tags from Georgia. How had she made it out of this? The sight before her was brutal. She kneeled down and examined the broken window she’d climbed through. She had to be careful, as she didn’t want to pierce her skin amidst the endless shards of glass, but her curiosity was killing her. She’d been stupid not to check the car when she had the chance. Yes, she’d been overwhelmed by the fact that the car was practically driving itself; in fact, it wasdriving itself, and she’d only been able to stop it when…

Her heart fell into her chest.

Sarah gulped and fell back, the shards of glass piercing her. Her body twisted from her awkward fall, and in the process she caught a glimpse of a dark figure emerging from the broken window. She bounced away as fast as she could, but she knew she was too slow.

She ran out onto the road, her throat raw from shrieking. There was no one out tonight, no one at all, and she felt the hope dissipate when she considered that she hadn’t seen a single car in what felt like months. Why couldn’t there be another car? Why did she ache to escape into the maddening darkness instead of a big city? He’d try to find her no matter where she went. It was her fault she craved isolation.

Isolation. The thing that had propelled her here. How she ached for it, and now she was here in this horrible nightmare. That thing in her backseat was the whole reason she’d crashed anyway, she remembered now: Ithad been there, an obscure shifting thing. She’d seen it in the rearview window, and it had terrified her so much that she’d driven straight off the road.

Sarah was definitely crazy. At least she knew that now. A woman who’d hopped into a black car in the middle of the night to escape her violent husband? Believable. But a woman who’d imagined a dark figure in her backseat? Who’d envisioned a car that wouldn’t brake or drive like she’d wanted it to? Maybe she was on drugs. Had she taken any drugs? Had she beendrugged?

She had to have made it up. She’d been running for a while now, and she was so tired, and her body hurt so much. All she had to do was take a peek over her shoulder, see if she was still being followed, but it was very possible that nothing would be there, that it had all been in her head. She’d been told that for months now, that she didn’t really know anything at all. So how was this any different?

Sarah was scared, but she paused in her tracks and turned around. At first, there was only the road again. Out in the distance was the glimmer of the totaled car, but there was nothing on the road. No psychotic masked ogre following her with a hatchet. No, there were only peaceful pines that seemed to blow back and forth in the gentle night breeze. And that creepy fog that seemed to inch closer and closer to her as time bled on.

Peaceful.

Almost.

As she rolled her eyes at how stupid she’d been, how crazy she must be, the hairs on the back of her neck rose, and her hands shook. She looked down at them and remembered the shards. In the moonlight her skin appeared normal. Normal for her. The bruises on her arms still glowed, imprints of man’s violence toward her. But where there should have been blood from the car crash, there was none. In fact, her entire body seemed to float, though she was tethered to the ground by fear.

The breeze pounded into her, and then there was a whistle, shrill and fierce. A garbled voice whispered into her ear: “Move.”

Sarah froze.

It said again, more forcefully this time: “Move!”

It had to be right there. It had to be, and before she lost her nerve, she needed to twist around to confront the dark figure. The thing that had been in her backseat. But before she could, the road lit up with the high beams of an approaching minivan.

A force slammed into her. Sarah was unsure what propelled her out of its way in time, but she fell to the shoulder of the road as the van whizzed by. As she stared down the street, the haze coming closer and closer, the van suddenly screeched to a halt. The entire image seemed vague, out of focus, as she pushed herself up and raced back to the scene of the crash. Sarah screamed as loud as she could, hating the sound of her voice, but she needed this driver to acknowledge her. He’d take her to the hospital, save her from this black hell, and she’d never go outside again. She’d never step foot in a car again, either. No, she’d walk everywhere from here on out, and that way no dark figure would appear in her backseat ever again. No dark figure would strike out against her ever again, whether that be a person she loved or a shadow in the blackness. She would make sure of that.

When she neared the van, she felt relief and hurried up to the driver. He was a middle-aged man, clean-cut. A woman appeared beside him seconds later, and she must have been his wife, because her wedding and engagement rings glinted in the light. She yelled at someone in the back of the van. Must be their kid. A beautiful, happy family. A family brought into her horror, she realized guiltily.

Sarah shouted, “It was me! I need your help! This is my car!”

But the man seemed to care less. He was stepping closer to the wreck, a pained look on his face. Why wasn’t he listening? Sarah was screaming so loud, but he refused to acknowledge her. She moved up to him, patting him on the shoulder, but he didn’t budge.

“Scott,” said the wife, tears in her eyes, “we should call the cops. Call someone to get out here. Let them handle it. Don’t go over there.”

The fog came closer.

Her husband shook his head. “What if somebody’s in there? Someone was obviously driving it.”

“Me! I’m right here!”

The woman’s lip quivered. “Do you really think you’re going to find anybody in there?”

“Call the cops,” said Scott. “Don’t come near it, okay?”

Sarah felt like her heart would rip right out of her. Why couldn’t they hear her? They didn’t need to go to the car, not when she was right here. She was right here. “Why can’t you hear me? I’m okay, I’m alive!”

“Make sure the kids don’t see anything, okay?” Scott added, a thousand lines cutting across his forehead. He couldn’t have been older than thirty, but he seemed to have aged ten years in two minutes.

“All right,” agreed his wife, pulling out her cell phone.

Sarah’s bones hurt again. She screamed, terrorized by the fact that this couple didn’t seem to see her. Did anyone ever really see her? She trailed the man named Scott to the mangled car, and she heard him cough in disgust. She felt his terror when he stumbled back from the car, a grown man who’d seen too much, and she saw him vomit and recoil, hurrying away from what he’d seen.

“Why can’t you hear me?” she yelled at him. Why did this keep happening? She wanted some control back. She wanted her choice, her freedom. It had been gone so long. “Why won’t you listen? Why won’t anyone ever listen? What did you see?”

The stillness seemed to spin. Things were misting up again, as if she was experiencing severe vertigo. She tried to keep herself up, but when she heard Scott’s cries she shut her eyes and imagined herself a world away. Somewhere with a sunny sky, a tropical beach, her hand unmarked by the curse of a wedding ring. The thought woke her back to life, a place where suffocation would swallow her up. She’d never forget what had happened. It was her curse to bear. It wasn’t fair; it never was. But it was still here, just the same, even as she hurled her wedding ring into the crushed car. She should have tossed it into the darkness long ago.

The mist was sweeping over the trees now, sweetly devouring everything in its path. With visibility diminishing faster and faster, Sarah watched as the man named Scott rushed to his boring but practical little minivan. He wrapped his arms around his wife, tears dropping down his skin. Oh, how he would never let go. Oh, how his wife wouldn’t either. And, oh, how Sarah would always understand the feeling, the feeling that no one would ever let go, since the memories would stay with her forever, even when her own body did not.

Time sped up again, a mental mist hanging over like a veil. She was there, but she knew she wasn’t. Not really, or they’d be able to hear. They’d try to hear. And suddenly then there were cops and EMTs and passersby and the minivan and the darkness and the fear and the mist, a collection of souls who should not have been there to assess the wreckage. But it was their job to do so. She stood in the midst of them all, as they collected her physical body from the wreckage and they said things they didn’t think she could hear:

Oh, how sad it is.

Wonder if she was drinking.

Such a beautiful girl.

Not so much anymore.

Not so much anymore.

She listened to those who would never listen to her back. The fog came closer.

At some point, something caught her eye. A flash of moonlight spilled down onto the shiny, broken metal of the car like a spotlight. A shapeless black figure stood at the spot where she’d died. The thing was unimaginable, but it was there just the same. Maybe it too listened to those who would never listen to it back.

Sarah breathed the rich pine-scented air all around her. At least she could breathe again. “What do you want?” she asked.

“Move,” it said.

Somehow she understood what this meant. It was giving her a choice. She bit her lip. Her collarbone ached. Some scars never go away. If she followed the shadow, she was unsure where she’d go. But if she didn’t follow the shadow, she’d be stuck here, rooted in place, unsure where she’d go but alone.

The figure seemed to accept her resistance, and then it glided beyond the car. It passed by the men in uniform. It hovered over one man’s shoulder in particular, as if sensing something for future reference. But then it turned back around, and it continued on its path, slowly and quickly approaching the flash of a beautiful black car on the road. Shiny and new it gleamed.

As Sarah followed, she became aware that the fog hung all around the car, eventually closing up any connection to the realm where she’d once lived, and once died. It was a dismal fresh start, but it was an opportunity, and so she followed. Her blood boiled with nerves, but she’d made her choice. Sarah pinched the cross on her neck. It was the only thing she’d kept of herself.

The car door was already open for her. She took a seat, things feeling eerily familiar, eerily normal. There was a dull throb in her body which she was sure would never go away, as certain suffocations remain with us even after we’re dead. The door closed, she buckled her seatbelt tight against her abdomen, and she checked the rearview mirror, finding her shadow snug in the backseat.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened, is it?” she asked, not expecting a response.

“Move,” said the shadow.

She hit the gas pedal. The fog lifted, and the car blasted off down the road.