Katie Darden is a Business and Career coach, Trainer, Speaker and Internet Marketer with over 20 years experience in Human Resources, including Personnel as well as Training and Development. She’s held several different roles in government and private industry across a broad range of organizations, from small business start-up through City, County, State and Federal governments.
Her vast experience includes working as a consultant for businesses such as Microsoft, Intel, Continental Airlines, Alcoa, Johnson and Johnson, Applied Materials, MCI, British Telecom, Glaxo, Hewlett Packard, Honda, Ontario Hydro (Canada), Syncrude Canada, US West, Department of Veteran’s Affairs and several California State Agencies.
Katie has built and managed several small businesses since the 1970s, enjoying all the benefits of being a serial entrepreneur. She loves working with creative people and small start-ups. For several years she focused on working with women entrepreneurs, winning awards for website design and managing local and national business networking groups. In 1999 she received National recognition when she designed and managed the first online virtual network for the National Association for Female Executives.
She is a 1997 graduate of Coach U, a founding member of Coachville and the Graduate School of Coaching, a certified Handwriting Expert, a registered and certified hypnotherapist and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Katie is an artist in her “spare” time, designing and creating award-winning fused glass jewelry and painted fabric items for her etsy stores.
She considers herself fortunate to live on the far Northern Redwood Coast of California and to spend the rainiest 4 months every year in San Felipe, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez.
Katie believes that we can only be happy when we are using our unique, natural gifts in ways that fully express who we are. Her role is to create opportunities for people to discover and express their natural talents.
You can find out more about Katie at her website http://careerlifeinstitute.com/about/katie-darden/
What inspires you to write?
I am a life long learner. Having worked with hundreds of small business owners I have seen many patterns of success – as well as those of self-sabotage.
I truly believe that without each of us bringing forth the best we have to offer, the world at large is diminished – and not just for a few days!
My role as a Creative Catalyst(tm) is to create opportunities for others to find their own light and then shine it for the rest of us. The success of each inspires and leads the way for all of us.
From as far back as I can remember I have been compelled to share what I’ve learned – and to help others see that they have more available to them than they may have thought. Many of us never get close to reaching our full potential. But I’m here to help that process as much as possible.
Tell us about your writing process
I can’t help but share what I’ve learned. It’s just NOT in my nature LOL. So trying to stop that process just doesn’t work.
Most of my materials come from my coaching and training programs. When I put together something that I see can help others, then it goes into the “share this with the world” pile.
Some of my books and programs came from the answers I shared to questions my clients had. In the process of responding to a specific question, I recognized that the information had a larger value and that others could benefit from it. Other books evolved from classes I’ve given over the years.
Most of what I share is a result of direct personal experience, or of direct observation of cause and effect. I do research various mind-body issues and have a fascination with how the mind works to “protect” us.
As a techno-nerd, and a long time trainer, I start with the end result in mind – the same thing I advocate in my goal setting books. Then I ask, “What needs to happen to get the desired result?” I usually work backwards, understanding also where the starting point has to be. In a sense I work in both directions, often meeting somewhere in the middle.
As a nonfiction writer, I must have an outline. But the outline often comes after mindmapping out the pieces, and then placing them into a logical order.
As a new fiction writer, I attempted the 2012 NaNoWriMo (see NaNoWriMo.org) with just a story idea. Because I decided to join the challenge only days before it started, I did not have time to do much planning other than a general story idea and several key players.
What I discovered at the end of the month, with 50,605 (mostly not-yet edited) words, is that I am not a pantser! Without structure, my story goes off in too many directions. Since the end of November I have spent time creating a better storyline and structure, and I’m about to go back to actually editing and finishing the story.
What the experience gave me, however, was a discipline of writing on a regular basis.
It also inspired my first published novella (21k words) which I wrote in two weeks and featured characters from my NaNo novel. Because I was familiar with the characters and the setting, I used an idea I had had for a sequel, and instead I made it a prequel to the NaNo novel.
I outlined the basic storyline and then wrote the story. With the help of two critique partners I was able to tighten up the storyline and published it 3 weeks after I started it. It was only possible because I had been immersed in the world of my characters and I had disciplined myself to writing nearly every day.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’ve noticed that after a short time, my characters take on a life of their own. I’ve even had dreams about them! That doesn’t happen often, but it’s fascinating when it does.
I also find I have a fondness for my characters – as if they were real people in my life. Because I tend to write from personal and personally observed experiences, there is a strong connection between me and my characters, like they are a kind of alter-ego expressing parts of me (or others) that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day.
In general, I tend to put myself “in their shoes” and let them take over my keyboard.
I also use Dragon Naturally Speaking, and I find it is amazing for helping with dialogue and if I want to simply “talk out” a scene. I often end up with something much richer than if I had simply written it out.
And finally, I find my crit partners indispensable. they point out when my characters are doing something uncharacteristic, where there are holes that I’ve overlooked, and where there’s not enough information to understand what’s going on.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve given hundreds of workshops and training classes over the years – perhaps more than a thousand. After the internet became easily accessible, I provided teleclasses and eventually webinars in addition to my live sessions.
In the past decade I’d created digital information products out of the training materials, including ebooks, membership programs and software. But there’s still always the marketing aspect in addition to the creation. I had tried Clickbank, but it became crowded with very questionable products, and the promoters were looking more for profits than for valuable content.
When Kindle became available, I finally woke up to the idea of being able to put my information directly into the hands of readers who would value what I had to offer. As I began to close down other parts of my internet marketing and coaching businesses, I was able to devote the time needed to re-purpose and reformat my materials into books.
I have at least 3 other nonfiction series I am working on in the Career and Business fields, in addition to my fiction. Eventually the nonfiction will all be finished and published, and I suspect at that time I will focus my energies on my fiction and illustrated children’s books. I recently came across some illustrations I did for a book proposal many years ago that would still make a great children’s book.
There is still the marketing aspect, but with social marketing and the built in advertising on book sites, it’s much easier to reach the readers who appreciate what I have to offer.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I like the freedom that self-publishing offers. And I love the “success” that some indie publishers are having in being offered contracts with the legacy publishing houses.
At the same time, I remember several of my friends who recounted how they had to struggle to get the rights back on their books that had been published by the big houses, only to languish because the publishers did next to no marketing or promotion. When the authors recovered their publishing rights, they were able to promote their book properly to gain readership (and royalties).
If it had been this easy back in the 1980s, that children’s book would have been published then, instead of languishing because we couldn’t find a publisher and self-publishing was so difficult and expensive. But then, perhaps I’d have devoted myself to illustration instead of writing. Who knows?
I think there will always be a place for physical books – I prefer them for my reference books. I like the feel of a book in my hands. And I love the smell of an old book.
But I do love the ease of self-publishing – and the fact that I can carry many books on such a small device as my Kindle or my iPad (and even my iPhone!!).
What do you use?
What genres do you write:: Nonfiction (self-help/success/goals); children’s books; romance & mystery (pen name)
What formats are your books in: Both eBook and Print