I’m Curious to Know—Katie Murphy
To expand this space for continual growth and contribute to the experience of individuals living in inspiration, I’ve started a new interview series, I'm Curious to Know.
I’ve always loved reading other people’s stories of growth and creativity, so by showcasing creative people who have followed their curiosity to more enjoyable pursuits, I want to also help you discover the joy in pursuing your own curiosity in life.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Katie Murphy, passionate storyteller with a deep desire for writing fiction inspired by her dreamy, creative soul. More than a writer, she is a dear friend who I can spend hours upon hours chatting about life with.
What was the ONE thing that called you to pursue this venture, and where, if physically, did you feel this calling?
I know exactly where I was. I was in Kindergarten and we were tasked to write a story about our family. When it was done, we picked out our book cover and were taken to the printer room. It was a green room with cherry wood trim. In there, was a binding machine. I watched my teacher bind my book. When she handed it to me, I remember thinking, "This is the coolest thing I have ever seen." I still think that today.
Is there a connection of this curiosity to your childhood, or is this something you discovered later in life? Please describe.
Absolutely. I loved to read. I learned to read early. That's what happens when you have older brothers, they tease you and that motivates you. They used to chant "Katie can't read. Katie can't read." because they knew how upset I got when they could do something I couldn't. Then, one late afternoon, laying on my parent's green shag carpet, the black type morphed into words. It was like putting on a pair of glasses. Everything fell into focus and I could read "The Little Red Hen". It was amazing. I think I told everyone. I was 4 and I have loved all types of story telling since.
What was your greatest fear in pursuing writing, and do you feel you've overcome that fear?
As a kid, you tell people your dream without any reservations. "I'm going to be an author!" And all the grown ups are encouraging. They say, "Great! Follow your dreams." and pat you on the head. But, as you get older, when you tell those same adults that you are taking a creative writing course in middle school because you want to be an author, they start, "The writing industry is very competitive." and "Only the best ones actually make any money." And thus it began, the feeling of inadequacy. The feeling that only the best of the best will surmount to anything.
I do not stand up well in a competitive environment. When confronted with strong competition, I quickly am turned off by it and simply decide to let the other person win because I don't find it fun anymore. It obviously means more to them, I say and justify my actions. For me, I thrive in an environment when everyone is on the same team, working hard, and trying to reach the same goals.
So, off I went into the working world and started my 9 - 5 shift. The voices of self-doubt were all around me. I could say that I didn't want to taint my beloved writing with the ugliness of competition. But, in reality I was too afraid of my flaws as a writer to compete. I knew I wasn't the best of the best. There were other writers that were far better in my middle school, and then high school and then again in college. I was a hard worker, but I wasn't to their level of talented.
Therefore, if I try to reach for my dream, it will be a huge public failing. Everyone I know, all of my loved ones, will buy my book, get to Chapter 5, and then put it down. Unable to continue despite their loyalty to me. Then, they will look at me with lies in their eyes as they sing me praise. The awkward failed book attempt will be something never mentioned to my face again. And the world moves on.However, as I became more and more swallowed by Corporate America and the comfort that it brings, the dream of writing for a living did not lessen, but grew. I always felt out of place at the office. I just don't fit the mold. It was as if even fate knew to push me towards my dream. I started to realize that I don't have to be the best of the best. And I can write a decent story with hard work. Others might have the talent, but I have the determination. The last piece was to find a solid team who wants to work with me to make it happen. That part happened when I signed with Waldorf Publishing.
What is your ULTIMATE vivid vision for your venture—or your life—if you dare to share it with us?
For a long time, I felt I had to be Stephen King, J. K. Rowling or Nora Roberts to be complete as an author. After all, Ms. Roberts made $15 million last year. Who wouldn't want that. There is a part of me that still would love that to be my ULTIMATE future. I could provide for my family. My dad could retire. My brother could retire. Or at least relax some and just focus on building a nest egg for his family because his house is paid in full. My husband would become my manager. He and my daughter would have fun traveling the world with me. That all would be wonderful, but to be honest my true ULTIMATE vision is that within 5 years, I will make enough money as a novelist to live comfortably. I want to spend my mornings lost in my characters and plot twists. I want to spend my afternoons with my daughter after kindergarten at the beach running in the sand with a puppy dog. I want to cook a tasty dinner for my husband when he comes home from work and I want to spend the evenings cuddling on the couch watching a movie or enjoying our backyard swimming pool playing "Horse".
What is one thing you would advise others who are interested in pursuing their curiosity to new ventures?
This will sound cliche. BUT listen to your heart. Yes, listen to those who feel obliged to tell you the obstacles and challenges you will face. You need to know what is ahead of you so you can plan your "attack". But, follow the advice from your heart. Life is precious. It can't be lived again. And it can end so quickly. Listen to what your heart wants to do and then chase after it with everything you have.
What brings you the greatest joy during difficult moments?
The ocean. I find sanctuary there. My soul does not understand plain English. It only seems to understand the language spoken by the roaring ocean. It can hear the advice that each crashing wave provides much more clearly than it can from any friend. After 20 minutes of toes being teased by the tides and breathing salty air, my head is cleared. My heart is a little more healed. I'm ready to handle my challenge.
To stay up-to-date with Katie’s first book and when you can pre-order it, visit her website, www.katie-murphy.com.
Thank you, Katie, for being so open with your story and dreams. I’m left inspired to keep on dreaming—and accomplishing—my goals, too!
Now, I ask you, what does your heart/intuition/gut tell you to do? Please, share a tiny bit—or a lot—in the comments below. I’m curious to know!
With much love and gratitude,
*All photos provided by Katie Murphy.