Thursday 23 April 2015


Here is the Guest Blog I did for Jen Winters 

Guest blogger: Katya Mills On Mood Manufacturing
by Jen Winters

I am a mood perfectionist, which has put me into business in mood manufacturing. Yes, it is a confession. I cannot often just sit down and write, and not worry about setting my mood just so. I grew up in the eighties, and my parents bought me an original Mac Plus for school. This computer was the coolest. I taught myself how to type. I realized I could open a Word document and stare at a white screen. The ‘tabula rasa’: Latin for ‘blank slate’. Which is what every artist faces, almost every day. I remember staring at the screen and feeling something in my heart which yearned to be expressed, but how to put that in words? The little cursor was blinking, just counting the seconds, endlessly waiting for me.

Self-publishing today is a luxury, just as computers were luxurious back then. My appreciation of both comes from having been born in a world without either. A world without the internet. Thank God for all the hackers in their garages who dreamed of this day, and worked toward their dreams! What a gift. In the eighties you could never reach a wide audience so quickly. Readers in China, Russia, Germany, Romania? Forget about it! I would be lucky to get my next door neighbor interested.

Today everything is in place for the indie authors of the world to succeed. Once you have your story the way you want it, complete and intact, you can follow in the footsteps of successful writers. Cookie-cutter. Only the creative process remains enigmatic. To me, the creative process must trump everything else. Which means I need to find the ideal conditions (for me) to write. A very personal process. It starts with noticing how I interact with my environment.

Now I have written in a boarding house full of noise, on a laptop so beat up I had to tie the screen back with zipties and twists, with a keyboard whose keys I had to superglue back on. I have written in a room with an (ex) boyfriend whose paranoia and jealousy could turn on me in a second. I have written despite real and imagined voices on the other sides of walls. I have written under threat of being momentarily evicted. I have written with the sun in my face and heavy metal in my ears, and no money in my pocket. I have written in a bar, in a car, in the cloud of someone’s cigar.

I came to realize how external conditions never defeated me. My problem was really internal! My moods are like weather patterns in the Jetstream. Unpredictable. So I developed my mood manufacturing industry. I thought I could figure out ways and means to boil my moods down into a mind-state conducive to writing the next bestseller.

I will spare you the details, except to say that this business failed! I struggled and struggled, trying to control my mind. A real turkey shoot! Many suns set without my having pulled the screen up, at all. Today, I am back to the basics. Focusing on the practice of writing. Get to writing, one word at a time.

What I realized in the end, was I gotta let go. Have some faith in the process. Stop trying to control things and manufacture the perfect mood. I gotta surrender. Trust. I have to sit myself down, every day, and do it. I have to be kind and encouraging to myself. I have to remember why I write, and the rewards of the creative life. The self-insight. Getting in touch with my feelings. Expressing myself deeply. Healing.

In the end, I write for my life.

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