Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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April 27, 2015

Making a Difference in the World

Kathryn CraftKathrynCraft

Turning Whine into Gold

You will experience unexpected setbacks and disappointments in your writing career. This is not a guess, or a mere function of my confident writer’s voice—it is a given. And when the stormy seas threaten to sink your spirit, one of the best ways to stay afloat is to remain tethered to the larger world and a greater purpose.

Your inner artist will fight this. All it wants is to lure you deeper into the tunnel of your own mind, consuming your time and energy and spirit until you are fully sequestered. Tricky thing, that tunnel—it may be your imagined route to maximum output, but it can also lead to some pretty dark places.

Especially when you hit an obstacle that throws you for a loop, as happened when my publisher’s ambitious media campaign for The Far End of Happy, my novelization of my first husband’s suicide standoff releasing May 5, fell through.

Expectations for second novels weigh on any author, but this is a project I’ve waited seventeen years to write, It’s important to me. Early on, when I first saw the tight production schedule, I knew I’d have to dump ballast from my schedule to complete it, so I resigned from many of the volunteer activities in the writing community that had given me a deep sense of purpose through my many years of revision and rejection. And it worked—I got my novel done, and let no one down in the process.

Except, perhaps, myself. Defining yourself by only one activity leaves you vulnerable when inevitable problems hit.

I’d poured everything into this book, and when I got the bad PR news I feared all my efforts might turn into a cosmic joke. I’d be peddling “the book no one knew existed,” and my “career” would come to a screeching halt.

“It’s not time to panic yet,” my publicist said.


This book completed such an important emotional arc for me that I couldn’t even envision what life beyond it might look like. I had to make this work. I flew into action in the way that only full-fledged panic can inspire—and my entire team started to think outside the box.

While brainstorming with my agent, something exciting happened: a Twitter campaign, #choosethisday, was born.

On the day my husband chose death over life, “choose this day” became my mantra. Each day, no matter how sad or horrified or frustrated I felt, I chose life—and with this simple daily act, my sense of empowerment grew.

Now that I saw my book through to publication I want to write inspirational messages and cast them into the wild, random Twitterverse. I want people to be more aware of signs of depression and suicidal behavior. I’m not a psychiatrist and won’t play one on the Internet—but I can share resources where people who are truly hurting can find help.

I’m writing this post because it fits my “Turning Whine Into Gold” theme, to be sure. It’s already brought me gold: for the first time in my life, since the suicide, I can envision a project with the potential to last beyond the life of this second novel.

But I’m also writing to do something else it took my husband’s death for me to learn to do: ask for your help.

On May 1, I am asking everyone I know on Twitter to post an empowering, positive message or quote using the #choosethisday hashtag.

Why May 1? Two reasons: because “mayday” is a distress signal, and because “May Day” is an ancient celebration of renewal. Both play into the notion of positivity and suicide awareness that I hope to advance.

I’m hoping, through a massive number of retweets, to keep this going throughout May, and end with a Twitter event after Memorial Day that is still in the planning stages.

Might you add your voice to #choosethisday? It will cost you a little bit of positivity. A favorite inspirational quote. A small confession of what makes you come alive.

If you don’t yet follow me, please do so @kcraftwriter. I’ll follow you back. If you’re not on Twitter you can still play—I’ll happily accept #choosethislife quotes on my Facebook Author Page as well, and look forward to sharing in your inspiration on May Day and beyond!

What activities, non-writing communities, or initiatives keep you tied to a world larger than your stories? What beyond writing gives you a sense of purpose? I’d love to hear your answers.

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About Kathryn

10685420_966056250089360_8232949837407332697_nArt of FallingKathryn Craft is the author of two novels from Sourcebooks: The Art of Falling, and The Far End of Happyout May 5.

Her work as a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, specializing in storytelling structure and writing craft, follows a nineteen-year career as a dance critic. Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania writing scene, she hosts lakeside writing retreats for women in northern New York State, leads workshops, and speaks often about writing.

Kathryn lives with her husband in Bucks County, PA.

Twitter: @kcraftwriter
FB: KathrynCraftAuthor

57 comments on “Making a Difference in the World”

  1. Kathryn ... I left Twitter two years ago and have never gone back. BUT each time I read about your book (and saw our trailer) it pulls me into a dark place of my own past. Your message is important on so many levels and for so many who are trapped in a dark place. If I can figure it out, I will go back to Twitter and reactivate my account 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Florence. What I love about Twitter for this type of initiative is its randomness. You never know who will receive the message!

  2. Just hit the follow button for you! I love that you can promote your book and promote suicide prevention at the same time. I work with a program that provides suicide prevention for high school students and this is an important "May day" message. You never fail to impress me Kathryn.

  3. Kathryn ... thank you so much for this post, especially for the sentence "Defining yourself by only one activity leaves you vulnerable when inevitable problems hit." ... I just love that - it is so true! I hate it when people define me by only one activity and i hate it even more when i start doing that myself. We are such amazing, complicated and complex people that it is a shame to be reduced to just one thing. Thank you so much!

    1. You're welcome Annerose. Without incoming information our worldview narrows and in time our characters and stories are bound to lose relevance, as well. Here's to complexity!

  4. Kathryn, I want to thank you for posting this commentary. I can heavily appreciate it, because 17 years ago, due to depression, I attempted to take my life. Fortunately, that was not the plan of the Cosmos. To date, I am releasing my second book "BRIDGES: One Woman's Journey of Redemption, Inspiration and Love" this summer. The book tells of my journey from a bewildered place to a bridge of contentment. I have been a writer for 35 years, published author for 2. I can also be found on Twitter and http://www.tuesdaymorninglove.com. I will follow you and the May 1st movement.....fabulous! Love & Light

    1. Rochelle I will proudly stand beside you, tweeting away, for the May initiative. On Saturday I listened to a podcast that suggests to someone contemplating suicide: you owe the future you, who has moved past the despair, a chance to truly live. Loved that. #choosethisday, writer-sister. I am glad your precious voice has not been silenced.

  5. Kathryn...I got chills when I read your post. My writing career took a nosedive when I faced the most difficult decision I've yet to make. How to find my writing MoJo with my gut in turmoil over rest-of-my-life decisions.

    I wasn't trapped in a suicidal dark place, but my glee most certainly was.

    I leave MAY FIRST for Pennsylvania for an extended stay. I plan to begin again; spread my wings and fly free for a while. And, I'll write!

    I'll join the Twitter event if I'm not trying to outfox highway patrol officers en route to PA.

    Compelling post, Kathryn.

    1. Gloria!! You need to call me because I can't call you - my last phone fried all contacts. You've been on my mind. (Now I know why!) Call-call-call-call....

  6. Kathryn great story and a great Twitter Campaign. I will be promoting this to my followers. Best of luck to you. You have an awesome outlook. Stay positive. It's not always easy.

    1. Thanks Shawn. We may not be able to control all of our circumstances, but we can control our response. We only have one go at this so might as well #choosethisday!

      1. I agree. If you follow Seumas Gallacher, he accepts guest blogs and reposts things that he likes you might contact him at seumasgallacher at yahoo dot com.

  7. What a fantastic post and I love your Twitter campaign, Kathryn! I am following you on Twitter now and will definitely participate on May 1st. Sometimes one person is all it takes to bring someone out of the darkness and into the light. 🙂 My mantra is to spread the Light and everyone is capable of flooding the world with Light. Some people ask me, "why are you so positive?" I always reply, "the alternative is much worse." Choosing to be happy and choosing how we respond is a daily commitment. Let's #choosethisday to live! 🙂

  8. Kathryn, you already know I love this post. 🙂 I just approved 3 new comments, so you might want to start from the top to catch them. Can't wait to help this Twitter campaign!

  9. I found the post through Shawn's reblog and just wanted to say what a wonderful campaign. You can count me in on May 1st. Thanks for spreading the love 🙂

  10. Kathryn, I hope to join a chorus of other voices on May 1. Almost everyone's lives have been touched by suicide, either among family or friends. I want to participate in remembrance of my sister-in-law, who left two small children behind and many shattered hearts when she ended her life (ironically, in May). Thanks for having the courage to write about this tragic mental health issue. We need more awareness and compassion.

    1. Linda--wow. So very sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I hope the children are doing okay. This May event will be full of meaning for you, I'm sure. Thanks for contributing your voice.

  11. Thanks Linda for this post. And thanks, Kathryn. I will be following on May 1st. The young man my darling daughter lived with for over 5 years took his life. I have a series I am writing that is actually to honor him in a small way. Of Alaska native heritage and Caucasian, he left the earth far too soon. In this series I turn things around with a happy ending to the story. Blessings.

    1. Oh Cherime, what a heartbreaking thing to happen. Story is so incredibly healing--we can find order where it seemed there was only chaos, and light beyond the darkness. Sounds like you are making a fine and meaningful use of your creative spirit. I look forward to your tweets.

  12. I have already left one quote on the hashtag, and will certainly contribute May 1st and anytime thereafter that I find a quote that stirs me. It's a great idea!

  13. What a wonderful idea, Kathryn--I applaud your gumption, and your big heart, too.

  14. Thank you for sharing this information and for kicking off the #choosethisday campaign on Twitter. I have my post written and ready to go. Best wishes for a successful book launch.

  15. Count me in on May 1st....I lost my wonderful son to suicide just over 3 years ago...hopefully this can stop someone taking that final, final, step....following you now....

    1. So sorry to hear about your son, and thrilled to add your voice to the chorus. Feel free to sing as loud and off-key as you want. You've earned the right.

  16. […] This weekend, my friend Kathryn Craft launched her new novel, The Far End of Happy. She also launched an online hashtag campaign #choosethisday, which officially launches May 1st, where we all flood Twitter or Facebook with empowering, positive messages and suicide awareness resources. I love seeing authors weaving a deeper meaning into their book launches by also doing things to make a difference. […]

  17. “Defining yourself by only one activity leaves you vulnerable when inevitable problems hit.” <--- I love this, Kathryn. It speaks to the turmoil I've been dog paddling through lately.

    #choosethisday ... brilliant idea! I'll be there with you.

    1. Thanks for the support you've been drumming up, Orly. I know it doesn't feel good to be "spread too thin" either. As always, always, always, I think it's about balance, and choosing activities that somehow feed both your identity and one another.

  18. Dear Katherine, I lived & wrote in Nepal-Iindia-Thailand-China for 20 years, & the recent earthquakes in Asia reminded me of a narr nonfiction project about Nepal I'd abandoned when I repatriated recently. A horrible dilemma & not a soul to discuss it with: but you. I was ready to stop working on my wip, which I actually like. "Defining yourself by only one activity leaves you vulnerable when inevitable problems hit." I've defined myself by my expat years! I want the next 2 decades to simply be.. a new era. Thank you so much. I'll always be your fan.

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