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Lisa A. Kramer: Woman Wielding Words

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Celebrating Our Unique Powers: The Gift of Inspiring Others by Kate Johnston

By Lisa KramerAugust 24, 201543

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I think I first met Kate at 4am. Literally. I was wandering through a period of insomnia while I struggled to figure out how writing, creativity, and dreams could fit into my life when I finally gave up and sought solace in the world of blogs. That’s when I found my way to 4amWriter. I found in Kate a soul sister of words–someone on her own journey to fitting the dreams of her childhood into a life that doesn’t always honor or respect those dreams. She offers simple words of wisdom and guidance for anyone who ever doubts they can be (and are) a writer, but she also shares the powerful gift of language and storytelling that joins us all together. I am thrilled to be able to support her as she launches her series of Handbooks for Emerging Writers and celebrate her own unique power which has been a gift to me and many others. My own path is shifting again (more on that later this week) but I am glad that I can count Kate as a supportive voice as I figure it all out.

The Gift of Inspiring Others

WU quote for blog

Back in 8th grade, my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Whitbeck, allowed free time to write. My favorite time of the school day. As an awkward, shy, unpopular tween, hanging out in nether worlds while at the horror show known as school was crucial to my survival.

I was a big Nancy Drew fan, so I wrote murder mysteries. One of the nosier kids started reading one of my stories over my shoulder, and saw that I had included a few of my classmates as part of the cast.

“Hey,” he said loudly, “I want to be in your story!”

This drew attention I didn’t want. Before I knew it, everyone in my class asked to be in the story. Some wanted to be the murder victims. Some wanted to be on the PI team. Many wanted to be the killer.

Before long, the story was completed, with all 20 or so kids playing various roles. They wanted me to read it out loud, but I was more than a little reticent. Mrs. Whitbeck, though, encouraged me. I remember to this day what she said: “Kate, do you realize how many of the kids started their own mysteries since you wrote one? Kids who used to goof off instead of write. You showed them that writing can be fun.”

I was stunned. Me, the kid with braces who’d never seen the movies E.T. or Star Wars, actually influenced a group of popular kids who’d rather debate who was a better athlete, Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson.

So, I read it aloud, and something strange happened. Kids came to me for help on their stories. Asking me to read them to see if they were any good. Asking me for ideas, or how to describe characters.

I’d forgotten about this experience until several years ago, when a friend asked me for help on her writing. I hadn’t written professionally yet, but I’d been taking writing workshops and honing my skills. After one afternoon working together, her spirits soared. She was writing with confidence again.

That’s when I realized my passion to write is kinda contagious. I’m so enthusiastic about it that I have the gift of inspiring others to follow their writing dreams.

I love reading what other people write and highlighting the beauty, power, and magic in their words, or guiding writers through the black holes we all encounter in our projects.

I started blogging with this in mind, sharing my love for writing in hopes of motivating others. My Writer . . . Uninterrupted series is an extension of these blog posts, e-books that delve a little deeper into what it means to be a writer, what it takes to be a writer.

Writer ._. Uninterrupted ebook cover

The first book of the series, A Handbook for the Emerging Writer, published in July 2015, helps writers understand the importance of owning their writer identities, the key to unlocking the doors (such as finding time to write) standing between them and their writing goals.

The second book of the series, A Handbook for the Productive Writer, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2015.

For more information about Kate’s Writer . . . Uninterrupted series or if you’re looking for a writing coach, you can contact her at her blog: http://www.4amWriter.com or email her at k.johnston@comcast.net

To purchase Writer . . . Uninterrupted, A Handbook for the Emerging Writer, you can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Writer-Uninterrupted-Handbook-Emerging-ebook/dp/B012D5KX7O

Follow Kate (and she’ll follow you back, but if you have pizza, that could be dangerous):

Blog: https://www.4amWriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4amWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4amwriter

 

43 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Celebrating Our Unique Powers: The Gift of Inspiring Others by Kate Johnston”

  1. Great to meet Kate!!

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    That is a wonderful story. What a confidence booster for a young writer. One those of us older in age could use too!

    I read Kate’s handbook and really enjoyed it. I think all writers can relate to it.

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      It’s amazing what happens when people receive encouragement at any age. I love Kate’s handbook because it is so relatable.

    • At the time, I think I was a bit suspicious at first. Hard to believe that I affected the popular kids in such a positive “cool” way. What did they really want? haha. But in the end, I came around. Because, really, what it meant was that I got to write, and I got to spend extra time helping other kids write — and that meant I didn’t have to do as much math. 😉

      Thanks for swinging by, Carrie!

  3. Jack Remick says:

    Keep going, Kate. You’re plowing new ground with every post.

  4. Sheila says:

    I love the idea of a murder mystery involving certain classmates – that must have been so much fun to write! It’s crazy how easily we can forget that writing should be fun. I guess turning it into a regular job can take some of the fun out of it, so it helps to remember why we started writing in the first place.

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      Life would be so much easier if the work we did for a living could retain the same type of joy as the things we are passionate about. I’m trying to make that happen in my own life.

    • Sheila,

      It was sooo much fun to write. What was even better was that kids didn’t care what role they had, just as long as they were in the story. Their faces lit up at the mention of their names. I also tried to incorporate certain traits of the “real” kid in the fictional character, like the brainiac, the jock, the class clown, etc. They really got a kick out of that.

      You’re so right about losing the fun when we turn writing into a job. I guess that’s an occupational hazard anytime we turn our passions into careers. But I think if we honor those reasons we love to write, or play music, or paint, then we will eventually figure out how to make the best of it on the worst days.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Charissa says:

    Cool story, Kate. You seem to have the gift for helping others in this crazy writing world we jump into and start drowning in. Finding the fun in it definitely helps.

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      Finding fun is important, that’s for sure.

    • Hey Char, I prefer giving than receiving, across the board, so I always felt better with my own writing when I knew I was at least helping someone else. I think it made me feel less selfish when I decided to take a few hours to myself and work on my stuff. The fun in writing comes naturally to me, and I love being able to share that with others. Thanks for commenting!

  6. What a great gift to have Kate, the power of inspiring others has to be one of the most wonderful of all.

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    That’s a fantastic experience from 8th grade, Kate! And even if your conscious mind lost track of it, I’m sure your subconscious didn’t. 🙂 It’s now well over 3 years since we followed each other’s blogs, and I have learned so much from you. Writer … Uninterrupted is a great resource that I highly recommend to new and experienced writers. Someday, when my stories are finally ready, they will owe much to your help and support!

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      I hope you share your stories soon.

    • Hey JM,

      That was probably the only fantastic experience from 8th grade! 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement. I feel the same way about you and your blog. I think that bloggers in this kind of sharing community have a similar gift to what I talk about. We get a lot out of helping each other. We don’t just offer support, but we learn and grow in return. I know that I would never have thought about writing the e-book series if it weren’t for bloggers like you. 🙂

  8. Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A. says:

    Your story just proves that you are on the right path as a writer, a writing teacher, and a writing encourager. I know that last is not a noun but you know what I mean. I bought and read your book and love it. Your voice makes me feel like you’re sitting across the table from me sharing hard-won wisdom about the writing life. It’s both practical and inspirational.

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      I think that’s part of why I love Kate, reading her work feels like sitting down, drinking tea and discussing life with a good friend who believes only the best of you.

    • Hi Jagoda,

      I’m so glad that you found inspiration through my book. That was my goal, and I hope to build on it with the rest of the series. And I’m all about making up words, so I love “encourager.” Don’t be surprised if you see me borrow it sometime!

  9. What a cool story! And what a brilliant teacher! Isn’t it funny how we recognize these moments in our lives that help define who we are and what we love to do after so many years? i guess “they” call that wisdom. 😀 Great post!

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      Sometimes I think it takes years of garnering our own understanding of life to recognize those powerful moments.

    • It is a relief to know that many of our experiences really do matter. Maybe not right away, but at some point. All the more reason to try our best, do what we love, reach for the stars, and make a positive difference in the world. Thanks for swinging by, Jilanne!

  10. D.G.Kaye says:

    Lovely to see Kate here and learn of her journey to writing. Dashing over to check out the book. 🙂

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      Oh I’m glad. Her book is worth the visit.

    • Hey D.G. – It’s funny how our journeys are comprised of moments that are emblazoned on our souls and other moments that get lost in the hustle-bustle of life. When I remembered this experience I was saddened at first, because it really had meant a lot to me then and I couldn’t understand why I forgot about it. But, what’s important is that I have it back now and I know exactly what it means.

      Great to have you swing by and read!

  11. What a great story of how Nancy Drew – and Kate’s own writing – brought her into this writing life now. (By the way, I just returned from a 2-week get away and am eating pizza for breakfast, just to give Kate a little ping of jealousy). Question for Kate – may I post your circled quote (on top of this page) on my Roughwighting Facebook page? I think it may bring more writers to your book!

  12. Mayumi-H says:

    Kate’s story is a great one! I love how it was both her writing – and someone taking the chance on her writing to look over her shoulder – that kickstarted her journey. I think Kate has grown into a more knowledgeable version of that nosy classmate: not so much in a, “Hey, I want to be in your story,” way, but a, “Hey, what you’re doing is cool, and you should do more” kind of way. Kate’s journey has always inspired me to be more critical about my own writing, in a good way. She is also the first writer person I’ve ever met across my thirty-plus years of making up stories who has never incited envy or jealousy in me. When I read Kate’s work, it fills me with joy for the art. I’ve never thought, “God, I wish I were Kate.” I always think, “God, reading Kate’s stuff makes me want to write, too!” That’s the best way I can describe the impact she’s had on me as a writer. I hope more people get to experience that through her new series of books.

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      What a wonderful way of putting it. As I journey more into this world of writing, I know exactly what you mean. I don’t want to feel jealous, I want to feel inspired. Being jealous of other writers makes me stop writing, being inspired by people like Kate makes me keep trying.

  13. You DO inspire others to write, Kate! That’s such a gift, so I’m stoked that you’re bringing this new series into the world.

    I love that story so much from when you were a kiddo. I, too, enjoyed creative writing time in school like none of the other students in my class. When it was time to choose between giving a speech or writing an essay, I always chose essay! 🙂

    • Lisa Kramer says:

      I would have chosen the essay as well. Even now, if I can choose between talking to someone about something or writing them, I write. Thanks for the comment.

  14. What a cool writer power, Kate! 🙂 You definitely are a source of inspiration. Hugs!

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