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Guest Post: Pursuing Dreams

Posted by on February 23, 2015

Today, I have the privilege of welcoming Kathrese McKee to my little hubbub of cyberspace. I met Kathrese through an online MasterMind group last year, and she is one of the first online writer peeps that I finally got to meet in person. It was great! I’ve been excited about her upcoming work, Mardan’s Mark. It’s got the makings of a great adventure. Pirates, princesses, and betrayal. And she’s even offering to giveaway a Kindle copy. But more about that later. Please join me in welcoming, Kathrese McKee!

Pursing Dreams in the Edges of Life

How do you accomplish that dream-of-a-lifetime, the thing you’ve always thought just might be possible, if only you had time? In my case, the dream is to write novels for a living.

Drawback of the Writing Dream

KathreseGPFew writers make a living from writing right from the first. They support themselves with some other work and write in their off hours. How do you turn that idea for a great story into a novel? How do you buy time to write that book when you’re working full time?

No Time Surplus Store

Here’s the secret: you don’t buy time. No. We all get the same number of hours in each day; there’s no time surplus store. You can’t make time or borrow it. All you can do is choose how you use the time you have.

The secret to accomplishing dreams, especially the ones that seem too big to handle and beyond your reach, is to pursue them in the edges of life.

Many people ask me how I made time to write my debut novel. I wrote the first draft of my fantasy series in spiral notebooks while I was working full time and raising four kids. I did it in the dead time, the fringe time, the waiting rooms, the commutes, on road trips, and while I watched the children play in the front yard. I wrote at my classroom desk during lunch while I waited for the next class to start.

Re-purpose Time

I didn’t make time, but I did re-purpose it. I was intentional. I made sacrifices and continue to do so. Thankfully, my family is willing to make sacrifices too. My house is far from spotless; sometimes, it’s a wreck. I told my kids that the maid quit. I let the beds go unmade and stopped matching socks. And the kids learned to make enough meals so they wouldn’t starve.

Most people think spare moments like these are too short to get anything done. Like pennies adding up to dollars, minutes add up to hours and days and weeks.

You can think of it as stealing time if you like, but it’s working in the edges. It’s giving up television and long shopping trips to do the work of making, of preparing, of learning. More accurately, pursuing dreams in the edges is prioritizing what you choose to do and squeezing the spare moments you find to wring from them their greatest worth.

Books aren’t written…

If you have a dream, especially a dream of writing a book, you have to pursue it whenever and wherever you can, with single-minded determination. And you can’t quit once the first draft is completed because writing a book is a multi-step process.

Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it. — Michael Crichton

Don’t give up on your dreams. They are worth the struggles. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “The credit belongs to the man [or woman]… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Among novel writers, I’m anything but novel. (Sorry folks, I simply can’t resist a pun.) Many authors share similar stories of waking up early to write and going to bed late, after everyone else is asleep.

The other side of the equation is being prepared when the moment arrives, to have the notebook and pen ever ready, to carry the tablet everywhere. People have even written entire books on their smart phones!

Re-purpose, be intentional, prioritize, and be ready. Never give up! Pursue your dreams in the edges of life.

About the Author

Kathrese McKee (427x640)Kathrese McKee Texas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.

Mardan’s Mark is the award-winning first book in the Mardan’s Mark series.

Once upon a time, Kathrese worked as a systems engineer for EDS and various oil and gas companies. Then, she taught Reading and ESL at the middle school level. These days, she writes fantasy novels, edits fiction, home schools her children, and turns a blind eye to the feral dust bunnies lurking beneath her desk.

Connect with Kathrese at

Book Links:



Book & Giveaway!

Mardan Mark Sml (427x640)

Srilani is second in line to the throne, and she’s always known what is expected of a princess — bring honor to her family and marry well. Aldan has been a pirate’s slave for as long as he can remember, and all he wants is to be free. After pirates abduct Srilani and her siblings, they are stranded behind enemy lines. Srilani convinces Aldan and his two fellow slaves to help her bring her father’s heir home. These unlikely allies – seven young captives – must survive a perilous journey and escape pirates, soldiers, and priests before war breaks out.

Available on Amazon.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 Responses to Guest Post: Pursuing Dreams

  1. DJ Edwardson

    Great post, Kathrese. You’re right, there really isn’t any other way around building your career than ink equity. An awful lot of it has to flow, both red and black, for a novel to get written.

    All the best to you with your writing.

  2. sparksofember

    Excellent words of advice! I’ve been struggling to find time myself and I know from experience often the biggest hurdle is just getting started. I’m working on a plan with a friend to hold each other accountable. We’re discussing realistic goals/deadlines (in small increments) and then we’ll be starting. I’m hoping that’ll be the last bit of motivation I need. 🙂

    Oh, and I’ve never heard it before but I love that quote by Teddy Roosevelt. That’s how I feel when I tackle DIY struggles at home. Whether it’s the computer frozen with viruses and me spending 2 weeks figuring out how to save all our data before wiping; or the dryer heating element quitting, researching how to fix it and then accomplishing the repair – I enjoy the triumph of the achievement. 🙂

    My dreams are writing and ministering with internationals. My writing tends to go in spurts so I’m working on being more consistent. This past year we took small steps toward the second dream by becoming a friendship family with ISI (International Students Inc).

  3. Kathrese McKee

    Hi, sparksofember! The speech is entitled, “Citizenship in a Republic.” He made his presentation at the Sorbonne in Paris, France in 1910. It’s sort of like the speech JFK gave at Rice Stadium in Houston — inspirational, challenging, and memorable. If you want the complete text, see this link:

    I taught ESL and Reading for four years, right here in Houston, Texas. You will find working with international students to be very rewarding.

    The main thing is to start with a goal you can’t miss until it becomes a habit, like: I will write for ten minutes every day. Do it first thing. Put a ritual around it, like getting a cup of coffee or tea and sitting in one special spot. (It helps if you get up before anyone else.) Pretty soon that will be your “on” switch. And give yourself permission to write anything you can think of, no matter how stupid or silly. No judging or editing in those ten minutes.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! It was a pleasure to “talk” to you again.

  4. G

    Helpful post! Thank-you for sharing. 🙂 I have dreams of being a writer, for sure, but also of living sold out for Christ no matter what other dreams come to fruition.

    • Kathrese McKee

      That’s the thing, G. God kept putting that dream of writing in front of me until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. At first, I really thought I was supposed to write Bible studies (and maybe I will), but He kept showing me the sad state of YA fiction. And then he put a strong Christian critique partner into my life (Laura called ME, not the other way around), and she pretty much taught me how to write. And then there was this awesome critique group, and then a Mastermind group (with my hostess, Jennette). And on and on. I get the shivers when I look back and see how God directed my steps, how He planted the dream inside me. So pay attention to the opportunities that come your way and handle those dreams with prayer.

  5. J.L. Mbewe

    Thank you all for stopping by and sharing! And thank you, Kathrese, for such a lovely blog post and the giveaway! 🙂

  6. Kathrese McKee

    Thanks, Jennette, for hosting me on your blog. I love meeting your readers.

  7. Rachel Newman

    Loved the post, Kathrese. Of course I’m exhausted just reading it . . . but that’s probably because I’m so busy snatching my own moments of time to make my dream a reality. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Kathrese McKee

      What I failed to touch on in this post is that there needs to be balance. A writer needs down time too — time for rest, reflection, and especially time to enjoy the kids. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

I love hearing from you!

J.L Mbewe - Author