So, I’m being told to write my first blog about my journey from teacher to author and a general introduction of myself, and… I might go f@#%ing puke instead. I’m so nervous and feel utterly clueless — like no joke, I Googled, “What’s a blog” — because the problem is, although I know what a blog is, the teacher in me is screaming her head off. How do I write it? How long should it be? And most importantly, how do I do it well?!

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Right? Did your mom teach you that? Mine sure as heck did, and generally, I live by that rule. But I can tell you that this whole crazy writing process forced me to break that rule… at least at first. Because there came a time, at least initially, I had to let that go. If I didn’t — guess what happened?


That’s right, nothing. In my case, that meant it was followed by self-loathing and a general feeling of angst for weeks, then months, then years. Let me back up just a bit…

About ten years ago, I became a mom, and around that time, simple rhyming books started popping into my head, and soon, the idea of writing picture books took hold. Over time, I became a mother for a second time and slowly started taking online courses to learn everything I could about writing children’s books, then eventually, novels. I gobbled down info about plot/character/world building and publication in general. Then, nearly five years ago, cuddled on the ground with my boys reading the book, I Used to be a Fish by Tom Sullivan, the thought of humans evolving into an all-female race popped into my head. The idea of writing a kick-ass YA book was planted. A few days later, I opened a document and just jotted down the idea…

I knew I had something. I knew I wanted to try. I knew I didn’t want to be ninety years old and riddled with regret. But for the life of me, I could not get an outline — nowhere near an outline! The teacher in me desperately needed one because that’s how I’d always taught the writing process. But it wouldn’t come, and tick, tick, tick, time continued by until about two years ago (February 2021), and the frustration and disappointment were enough to crush my soul. So, I asked myself, what would happen if I just tried? Just for one week, seven days? My curiosity grew. I told one person, “my person,” if you will, what my plan was and asked if she’d hold me accountable.

Then, I jumped.

All alone, at 5 am and coffee filling the morning air, I opened a Word document knowing nothing but the end of the first chapter. I didn’t even know my main character’s name and was nearly frozen by fear when I ran upstairs and cracked open The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I reread her first few paragraphs and managed to get my first sentence down. To this day, that trilogy remains my inspiration. Thank you, Suzanne, for your brilliant mind and creativity. You changed lives in ways you probably couldn’t imagine, and I look forward to sharing more on that another day.

Anyway, my whole point is that I had to let go of the idea of writing well, of having all the pieces I thought I needed. And I was right! Since then, I’ve read many professional authors — even wildly successful authors talk about their rough drafts being sh*t. In my case, total and utter sh*t (the first three chapters were nearly useless and rewritten in my first round of editing), but I’m thankful I just sat there and squirmed in the unknown. That I allowed that horrific crap to come out on the page in the first place.

I had to give myself the grace to be a beginner. I had to find ways to keep going. I had to learn how others did it but figure out how to apply it to my own crazy life. Eventually, I had to share what I was doing with others and allow them to support me. And here I am, with a finished and polished manuscript, ready to submit to literary agents.

Yet, here I sit, writhing in trepidation because my brilliant web designer & media consultant, Rachel Theron, is forcing me to write a blog and put myself out into the world. I’m entirely f#$%ing terrified — but yet again, I’m just going to jump. I have to. I still don’t want to be on my deathbed someday, knowing I was so close but too afraid to follow it through. So… I’m giving myself to the grace to be a beginner again. I have to be brave because this is the next step in this dream of mine. That — and maybe, just maybe, I have something to give or teach to those of you who also have a goal you’re striving for. Or will just witnessing my failures and general chaos help you feel better? I’ve happily played that role in my mom-life; I’ll go ahead and play it in my author-life, too.

At the very least, I can promise you honesty. If we’re lucky, a smidge of entertainment and insight.

I’m Janie M. Kurtz, and this is my journey. You’re welcome, worldwide web…


Despite being tone-deaf, music is a huge part of my daily life. I’m including just a few of my current jams… These are songs that I LIKE. Something about the beat, rhythm, or melody just makes me play it on repeat over and OVER, louder and LOUDER. I’m not making any type of statement by choosing these; in fact, I didn’t really choose them—they just grabbed me. They make me MOVE, connect with my creativity, or just make me sing at the top of my off-key lungs!! And I’m sharing them with you for no other purpose than that—sharing a piece of myself. Enjoy 🙂

•Memory Lane by Angara
•Taar by Victor Pilava
•Lost on You by LP
•Run Away to Mars by TALK
•Love Brand New by Bob Moses
•Bones by Imagine Dragons
•Jolene by Dolly Parton


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