My Writing Career

I am planning on turning my massive collection of [Writer’s Stuff] blog posts into a free (or 99 cents) ebook. There’s a few things that I need before I do that. Like a Foreword. That’s how this post started. It’s not exactly what will be at the beginning of my writing book. But if I’m a true master, I need to offer my skills to others. Hence the book. And my thoughts reminding me of where I began and where I am now.

Cat Hartliebe Writes

I have been creating stories since I first gained thought. Instead of object permanence that most kids picked up as a toddler, I gave the entire event a story. If I could not see it anymore, it was on an adventure.

Not that my little mind had an idea more complex than visiting with Spot- our dog at the time. I think part of the reason is someone else would make a comment about Spot not being allowed to play with the item or it “accidentally” fell. I had a lot of people around me when I was a baby/toddler. I was the youngest of five, all of which were home at that time, and our three cousins were as well. Plus my parents. A total of ten people in a rather small ranch. Someone was always on top of me.

As I grew older, I realized letters. Not as in I knew my letters, but that creating a string of letters could turn my story into something a person could read over and over. I mean, I had lots of books that were reread. I could never get the story right after the first telling, but they always did.

It was the letters!

So I began writing my stories before I understand letters. I would scribble across the page talking about Spot chasing balls or my brothers. I would write about the ocean and how scary it is. It’s so massive and powerful. Knocked me off my feet. Would’ve dragged me away if Mom wasn’t right there.

No one could read my stories back then.

So I started studying the story books more. I started listening to the letters and picking up on them.

I have dyslexic. It was difficult to pick on up the letters. They’d flip. Words would flip. Things changed before my eyes. It was difficult.

But without the letters, my stories would be one time deals. And that was only if I could manage to speak… which wasn’t desirable by my family, nor was I very good at it.

I needed the letters.

I needed the words.

So I put in a lot of effort. Not that anyone noticed. Because I was the youngest of five. And when I was really little, we also had my three cousins there.

English is hard at it’s core. Because it just picks things up at random and throws it together absentmindedly. So I struggled. With Korean, once I grasped the letters, the rest just falls into place. It makes sense. English is nothing like that.

My nan was the one to push me just a little bit harder. I needed the support and the help. Nan was the reason my first poems were created. What are Daddys Made Of? and What are Mommys Made Of? were created with her help. I was five.


I had started my legit writing career at five.

I would’ve started earlier, but the letters weren’t being nice to me. I tried to start earlier. I just didn’t succeed.

Once I got the letters down, I figured out words. I figured out sentences. The entire world would be my oyster now. I could write out all my stories. I could save them for later. I could reread them over and over.

They could bring me comfort.

They could bring others comfort just like the picture books I was read.

That’s my beginning. How I became a writer. I never picked writing. Not in the normal sense. Writing picked me. Stories picked me. I was just the middle man between the world beyond and the real one around me.

Everyone has a different beginning. Everyone picks up the pen/pencil/crayon/keyboard for a different reason. Few are in my category. Few had the desire so young or a need so great.

That doesn’t mean I had no struggles writing as I grew.

I have several disabilities that affect my writing. My ADHD makes completing a story difficult. It makes plotting a story near impossible. Following a plan is not something I can do as a writer. It took a while to find my flow while having this disability get in my way. I am the type to either complete the novel in ten days, or burn out from it.

I’m still dyslexic. It doesn’t just “go away”. I had to learn to read in every direction and to see sentences as a whole instead of word by word. It improved my reading speed immensely. Because I had to figure out ways to make it possible. I still screw up with writing. One of the technique that has really helped is learning the keyboard placements. I can’t switch the letters when typing [such as b, p, d] because I know the placements on the keyboard. I make mistakes like form and from and won’t notice. This is the main reason my final edit is a read out loud. Word by word. Letter by letter. Because I need to spot when I switched things.

My physical disabilities mess with my ability to work long term. I cannot write by hand anymore. Anything more than a few hundred words or a few minutes writing by hand will cramp my hand to be unusable. I keep gloves with me to help with the problem, but it only works so well. Sitting and being awake for long periods can also be a problem.

I am a walking disaster.

Because of my disabilities, and lack of support [at least they didn’t mind me spending so much of my time writing], I never completed a novel before college. I had a few shorts done, but most of my work before I hit 20 was unfinished. Stories left wide open. Ideas laid aside for some later date. A date that never came.

It was 2010 when I finished my first novel: A Fire Born and Bred. It is not published. It may never be published. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to your work for as long as you like.

I was first approached with publishing thoughts when I was fourteen (2000). I said no. Those teachers would’ve supported me through the concerns. I had no confidence. By then, I already had some wickedly good poems. I already had short stories that were comparable to stuff you found on the book shelves of a bookstore. Fourteen.

Publishing was suggested to me many times over the years. Innumerable times.

I hit mastery with writing before I actually believed them. That my work would be worthy of the public eye. That my work could offer comfort and support to others.

I could be an author. I could be known poet.

The final nail in the coffin that got me on a path to publish was 2012 Nanowrimo. It was my first attempt. I succeeded with days to spare. I had a complete novel that didn’t have a thousand tangents. That had a fully developed plot. Characters defined. Situations that would be quality.

That’s not a normal first draft that’s created in less than a month. What I do is not normal.

But I’ve been creating stories since I was trapped in a high chair. I’ve been writing since I could put a pencil in my hand. I have never stopped.

I reached mastery before I looked into publishing.

In 2013 before I took on my second Nanowrimo, I published Cursed Items. It is a short story I created that year. The original cover sucked. I didn’t fully grasp how to do self publishing. I was clueless. It was still a good story. After Nanowrimo ended, I published my first poem book. Both were just ebooks I made and posted on Smashwords.

I started tackling KDP in 2014. I used Createspace for paperbacks in 2015. Unwanted, my first published novella, was my first paperback. Leagende – Unwanted is book one of Leagende – was my first completed series at six books.

There was something special about publishing my work. A thrill, an excitement. To have other people cheer for me. Tell me I am a master of writing. That my stories are at King’s level.

I deserve superstardom with my work.

But… Marketing isn’t my skill. And I don’t have a support network. To put myself out there to kick start everything… Without a support network? No. I can’t.

So I’ve pulled back so much.

I broke down in Novemeber 2020. Several things collided on top of a pandemic. I removed all my work from the public. I reviewed and revamped and started republishing in 2021.

I still am not marketing well enough.

I’m afraid of fame. I don’t have the support network that’s needed to handle fame. I have no one who actually supports me. My readers – those who love my work – keep me going. But they don’t offer support. Not the support I need.

If I try pushing forward, I will get hurt. And there will be no one to catch me when I fall.

So I’m waiting. For a time that’s undetermined. I offer the support I need to others because I want no one to feel this.

But no matter how often I offer that support, I haven’t received it.

I won’t. This is the loneliness I face right now.

My future is bleak.

Writing has always had my back.

It alone should be able to support me.

And it can’t.

It’s been a long road since I was that kid in a highchair creating stories about the toys and my dog. I was born in 1985. And probably started the stories in ’87. Could’ve been ’86. I was fully taken as a writer by 1990. It has been a long road.

I am not boasting when I call myself a master. That is why I started [Writer’s Stuff]. Because people thought I am being a boast when I am just telling the truth. Anyone with three decades of experience in something will be at or near mastery. I’m not the fool.

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