It’s Been Fun

I’m feeling better this week. I am also coming off a three-day weekend, so that might have something to do with it.

Batman and I attended a small fourth of July gathering, and I was the only one not wearing something American/Patriot related. It didn’t even occur to me. We even added red, white, and blue sprinkles to the Oreo balls we brought, and my little brain still decided to put on green because *shrugs* I like green. One day I’ll wake up from this fog and be smart. Or, I won’t. And that’ll be fine too.

I’m going to keep this short because not a lot has happened in the past week. The world is still on fire, but now I’m required to wear a mask any time I leave my cubicle at work. So, it’s been like moving from one prison to another, which I didn’t realize could even be possible at a 9-5. I forget to wear the mask most of the time, and end up sticking my nose in my shirt on the way to and from the breakroom or bathroom. It’s been fun.

The only other thing of interest is that the wedding invitations have been mailed – yay! Yes, it’s 2020—the year we’re collectively playing the live-action version of Jumanji—probably the worst year to get married, but we’re doing it. Batman and I are rolling the dice, hoping to get as close to our ideal November wedding as possible, because, who knows where the country will be at that point? Will we all be infected? Will there be no travel? What? PLUS, we are literally getting married the Saturday after the election. THE SAME WEEK GUYS. No one will be emotionally or politically charged. Nope. Not at all.

I’m not panicking.

*rolls back and forth*

Everything’s fine.

*rolls back and forth faster*

Short post, remember? I’m going to go distract myself with something. Probably Netflix or writing no-name story. I really need to come up with a title for that thing…

Enjoy your week!

IWSG Feeling Insecure

Last week brought a lot of tears, and when I’m ugly-sobbing, my brain’s creative functions turn off. It’s like a door slammed shut into the writing/art world, and it’s probably good I don’t visit, because it’s all overcast and murky, and anytime I Chuck Norris the door and *force* myself to go in when I’m not ready, I produce crap. Not first-draft crap. Just nonsensical nonsense, and I end up feeling worse. So, Batman and I binged through a healthy combo of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon instead. I feel a little better.

There were a lot of wedding discussions, and I think I’m going to make that a separate post…at some point when I feel up to writing it. Besides, this is not only the first day of the month, but also IWSG day, so, I’m going to boomerang back to writing.

Obviously, again, last week, I didn’t get a lot done. I wanted to write a post, but the Chuck Norris in me couldn’t kick down the door to personal writing, and I’m surprised I was able to sneak past it to work on my no-name story as much as I did (which was very little). At this point, I’m convinced it’s just for me because it still doesn’t feel…special. Which is fine, because I don’t feel special as a writer. I guess I’m feeling a little insecure ☹

This year is throwing me all over the place, so I’m not even thinking of writing in the long-term, business-way, like I should be. Right now, it’s just cathartic. I’m writing because I want to. Because it’s makes me happy and lets me breathe again, even if it never sees the light of day, or brings any amount of money (like most of my published writing), it’s a soul-necessity. This is obviously something I’ll have to move past, but for right now, it’s the pace I’m going – and I’m good with that.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Adulting in the Middle of a Pandemic

I missed last Wednesday’s post.

I’m sorry ☹

I actually had a lot to say, but my brain (and heart) felt overwhelmed about a lot of things, and I couldn’t write any of it. I kept thinking I would get around to it on Sunday, and then Monday, and even Tuesday, but it’s like I had a cloud blocking me. I wouldn’t call it writers block, because I still worked on my no-name story, but writing about myself/life seemed more challenging than usual.

Appa had surgery. Maybe that was part of it. He’s fine, but his health and the finances weighed on me. Also, the craziness of the world right now. So much to feel, and as an empath, it’s like being constantly drowned. I can’t think too heavily on it, because I’ll sink into that place we don’t talk about. If I did, I’ll stare into the nothingness, and unlike the Never Ending Story, Sebastian won’t save the day by calling my name at the end. I’ll be gone.

I’ve felt like I’ve writing about this before, and maybe when I’m older, I’ll have the courage to talk about the nothingness/the blackness/the mist/the goo (all names I use in my head) but for now, I’m going to just reference it. It exists, and it slithers back time and time again, which is why I take a mental break when I need to. I encourage everyone to do the same. I’m feeling better this week, hence the blog post, but my mind is still kind of all over the place. I’m writing no-name story (I NEED TO COME UP WITH A TITLE) and it’s coming along nicely, so I’ll focus on that. Also, I ordered my wedding invitations! Look at me adulting in the middle of a pandemic while the world is on fire.

Not sure if I mentioned any of these shows, but Batman and I have been binging lately, and we highly recommend and *quote* the following:

Community (Hulu)

Space Force (Netflix)

Upload (Prime)

Laughter really is the best medicine, so I try to engage with the stuff as often as possible. As the furthest thing from a doctor, I’d *highly* recommend a healthy dose of it daily, if not hourly. It’s the good stuff, and it’s legal, so why not partake? Hope you all are doing well, staying safe, and helping each other out. We need to.

IWSG – Sexy Side Piece

The good news is I’ve been writing. The bad news is it’s not RTD. I know; I’m disappointing my handful of fans everywhere, but when I sit down to write, my new, no-name story is the document I pull up first. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been writing RTD for well over a year and I need a break, but I feel guilty for cheating on it with this sexy side piece. And it is sexy. It’s a contemporary romance, and now that I’m on my second draft, and I added a backstory and goal to my protagonist, because she had neither on the first go-round. Which means this story is gaining some serious substance.

I think it was all the battle scenes from RTD. I *hate* writing battle scenes. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know this about me. I hate them. I hate them, I hate them, I HATE THEM, but they’re littered in my Arizal Wars series because it’s a sci-fi adventure, and the last book is literally an ongoing invasion. They’re kind of unavoidable. I’m told I write battle scenes well, but unlike dialogue—which is my favorite thing to write in case you’re keeping score—I have to go over every paragraph like a *thousand* times because there is so much movement that needs to happen simultaneously. That’s the issue. You’re not just painting one picture. You’re painting multiple pictures at the same time, and keeping them separate but interwoven so the reader has a clear image while you’re losing your ever-loving mind trying to remember what the hell your characters are doing. This is why writers drink. Or partake in whatever mind-numbing substance helps them get through this. Sometimes it’s chocolate. Most times it’s wine. All the time, it’s something.

So, I’ve taken a small break from RTD to write some witty, flirtatious banter because honestly, I’ve missed it. I did the same thing between books 4 and 5 when I wrote my Better Than This series. I just need a friggin break from guns and whips and darts and death so I can write a little romance, which is pretty much done in the Arizal Wars series (spoiler alert!). Also, I watched some stuff on Netflix and read a Jennifer Armentrout book, so God/the Universe was pointing me in this direction. I just feel a bit guilty.

BUT writing is writing. Work is still getting done, so I can’t beat myself up too much. There. Confession over.

Onto the IWSG Option Question:

Writers have secrets. What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Hmm…I feel like this is a trick question. I can’t even think of any secrets I have, honestly, writing or otherwise. But, if it’s something that my handful of readers would never know about me based on my writing, I guess it’s that I’m not as brave as my characters? I like throwing them into situations I could never handle myself, or handle with any amount of dignity. But I think a lot of writers do that—put their characters face to face with their own inner demons as a way to work through them? I can’t really imagine what else my readers would never know about me having read my work. Maybe that I was super bad dresser growing up? Let’s go with that one, because all my heroines are dressed way cuter than I ever was. Even now.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. And on a personal side note, my heart goes out to everyone right now – everyone suffering, but fighting to make this world a better place. We need you. We love you. We stand with you.

Me and My Promises

I had all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to write this week’s post—guess who’s writing it the night before? Don’t take this as a reflection of my time in high-school. I didn’t work full time then, or have a house to keep semi-clean, or a dog that rivals the energy of the Tasmanian Devil.

But I did. I procrastinated.

After pushing it off until Monday, I sat down to work on this post, and realized the couch and all its pillows and blankets—and the available streaming services from the giant LG box across from it—appealed *slightly* more than writing. My brain agreed not to exercise, but to be as lazy as my body. So that’s what I did. And that’s why this is now a “night before” post which is better than no post, in my opinion.

Writing:

I (sort of) finished no-name project. It clocked in at around 52K words, which means if we’re adding meat and muscle on to the skeleton, it’ll probably be more of a 60K-65K story. Maybe. Still not sure what I’m doing with it. It’s remarkably ordinary, with no special hook, which is why I’m thinking it won’t be anything I share because it’ll take a huge revamp to turn it into something special, and I still need to finish (ahem, continue working on…) RTD, since I already promised to publish it next year. Me and my promises.

Other life stuff:

I got my engagement ring re-sized, but it’s still too big. I went from a 7 to a 6 ½ but it’s still easy to slip over my knuckle, which I’m told it shouldn’t be. I could’ve gone to a 6, but I’ve always had size 8 fingers. I know this because I used to try on the fake gaudy ones in the department stores when I was planning which ring to make Batman buy me (design type). So, I’ve been rocking size 8 fingers pretty much my entire life—unless you want to count my fat-fat years and I try not to—so I’m a little nervous going all the way to a 6. I know rings can be made larger, and I know about the ring guard, but it’d be cool if it was made of a material that would just go with my random weight changes. Granted, I’ll probably stay on the thinner side since Batman and I are doing a lifestyle change (hence the weight loss) but what if I balloon up again? I know, don’t worry about it until Oreos and ice-cream are suddenly free, but I’m hesitant.

That’s it for me this week because again, writing this the night before. I hope it’s not too filled with grammatical errors or boringness. But these posts are free so there you go.

How’s your week going?

The Ability to Say Fuck It

The best thing about writing a first draft is the ability to say fuck it.

It took me a while to get here because like so many aspiring writers, we all want to believe our first draft is magic. It’s not. No one’s is. Not mine. Not yours. Not Henry David Thoreau’s. The first draft is usually shitty, because you’re only telling the story to know what it’s about. Whether you’re a plotter or a panster (woop!), you can have the entire thing or nothing in your head when you sit down to write, but it’s going to be the first attempt, which means you’re not going to get it right. Not the entire thing, not the dialogue, not the grammar, not the secondary story lines. It’s the first draft which means stuff is going to change; it’s going to get better.

Now that I’ve crossed the bridge to this understanding, it makes writing a first draft *so* much easier, because now I just say fuck it. I’m not hard on myself; I’m proud of myself for committing to the work, even when I get stumped. Even when I know what I’m writing probably won’t make it to the end, it’s getting me through the story to the end. That’s the importance.

I’m admitting all this because I’m—gasp! —almost done with the first draft of that strange story that fell into my head and that I’ve been writing for over two weeks. I’ve got maybe another few scenes and that’s it. First draft done. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I’m going to flesh it out. I probably will because the writer in me wants to know more, and a lot of those details are found in the second, third, and fourth drafts. So maybe I’ll write this one for me. Based on the shitty first draft (we all agreed they’re shitty, remember?), this thing isn’t spectacular. There’s nothing super defining about my characters (right now) other than their witty banter and the way they met. And that just won’t do. Because just like every agent and reader wants to know before diving into your book: what makes it special?

At this point… nothing. But that’s what editing is for.

P.S. I do need to get back to RTD, but this may be the break I need to return to that beast with fresh eyes. It took over a year to write that monster (…and I still have the rest of the final scene to write…) but diving right back in wouldn’t do me/my editing eyes any good. I think “new story” is a gift from the writing Gods. And again, even if it never gets published, and is for my eyes alone, it was a lot of fun to write.

Go With It

Recap: I started Project No Name last Sunday when I needed a break from RTD and I’m still writing it. As of today, I’m sixty pages in…about 33K words.

In a week.

That’s good, right? Honestly, I’m not one of those writers who keeps track of word count. I tried to, but ended up getting disappointed with myself if I didn’t meet the same number every night. I didn’t like it, especially if I wrote two pages of crap and one paragraph of genius because I’d still feel bad that I didn’t write more. So, I don’t look at numbers. I look at the effort (something I learned from the great Richard Bausch) and ask myself: did I work? Did I write today? And if so, then I get a gold star.

So, I’m not sure what 33K words means in a little over a week. But I’m still going. Maybe this will be a two-three week side project that will reset my reader/writer vision for RTD, and when I’m done with that, I can come back to this. Maybe. I really have no idea what I’m going to do; I simply go with it and hope something gets published at some point.

*shrugs*

The wedding is in less than six months. SIX MONTHS until Batman becomes the happiest man alive (he already is, but it’ll be officially recognized by the government.) I’m still in my breezy mindset because I have six whole months to do all the little things I was putting off until this year. I’m surprised I’m not panicking more, but I think it’s because we’re in a good place. We planned early and did this thing smart (I think?) other than waiting thirteen years to get married in the year of the pandemic.

That’s it for me this week. What about you? How’re you creative/non-creative goals coming? Any big or small events you’re looking forward to?

IWSG – I Can’t Shut Up The Voices

You know how I’m supposed to be writing the end of the first draft of RTD? Well…I took a break. I am currently writing *something else*, something totally random and I have no idea if I’m ever going to let anyone else read it ever. Why am I mentioning it? Well, it’s IWSG day, and this is pretty major for me in terms of writing. I literally only have maybe a few more pages to write for RTD. That’s it. Just a few more pages and the first draft that’s taken me FOREVER to write will now be finished.

But I can’t bring myself to finish it. Or, to write the last few pages. Maybe it’s because I’m past the ending point in that story, and just haven’t faced it? Or realized it? Or maybe I’m too emotionally tied to RTD that I don’t want to finish it? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And then, suddenly, this other story popped in my head and was like bitch, you need to write me now.

So, I have been. I put RTD to the side and started on this—whatever this side thing is—because it’s pouring out of me and I can’t shut the voices up and I’m soooo into it. Not going to tell you what it’s about because again, not even sure I’ll ever let anyone read it… but it’s got to mean something, right? I think so. (And yes, I promise to get back to RTD. Can’t let all my fan down.)

Onto the May IWSG optional question:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into ‘the zone’?

I was going to say that I didn’t. That I just sit down and write, but that’s not entirely true. The one—and only—trick I have to get into ‘the zone’ is rereading the last few paragraphs. I need to get the feel of the story…of the words. It’s kind of like a relay race where I’m picking up where the last Caitlin passed off the baton. 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Maybe I Can

Writing:

I still haven’t finished the first draft of RTD.

After writing the climax last week (two weeks ago? Like everyone, I’ve lost track of time) I knew I’d have three more “finishing up” chapters I’d need to write for everything to come together at the end. All the loose story lines need to be wrapped up because not only is this the end of the book; it’s the end of the series, so, like Lord of the Rings, this has to have 3-4 subsequent endings. Just so we all know what happened with every character at the very, very end.

I’m almost finished writing the first of the last three chapters. But. It. Is. DRAGGING. I’ve spent the last few days on it, but I think that’s okay because I’m typing and then stopping to think a lot. It’s not the best way to get words on the paper/screen, but it’s important work. Every time I’m stopping to think, I’m visualizing what happens next. I’m not a planner, so I don’t have a detailed outline of what goes where and happens when; I only have the few paragraphs I keep at the end of my word doc, along with any previous ideas still bopping around in my head. So, stopping to think is my way of “following the characters.” I’ve been writing a little, thinking, and writing a little more. It definitely makes getting through this a bit slower, but at least the picture is coming together.

After this chapter, I’ll have two more. TWO MORE and then the first draft will be done! Finito! Completely written! Of course, it will be on to the dreaded second draft after that…but still. Getting closer, guys. I’ll drink some wedding wine to that! 😊

Reading:

I just finished Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout. It was good, but I texted my reading-buddy early on that it felt *extremely* similar to the background of my story, Rozmarie & Josiah, which I’ve had online since 2015. The entire plot is different, so no, she didn’t steal it in any way…but I was super convinced for a while that there was some tie to mine (again, there isn’t) but it kind of boosted me a little. It made me feel like, okay…yeah… this author that I dig is writing very close-ish to what I write, and she’s got a solid fan-base and like, an actual career. We are leaps and bounds away from each other in certain ways, but it’s  still kind of cool. It kind of makes me feel like yeah…maybe I can do this some day.

And that gives me more incentive to keep going with RTD. It’s a win-win-win.

How are you doing during this pandemic? Getting stuff done? Reading any? Following any of your hopes and dreams?

P.S. The book was actually pretty good! I would recommend it if for any paranormal romance fans who like a lot of action.

Hence All the Drinking

I’ve been drinking through the wedding wine.

This is what isolation does. Forces you to realize that making one of your *favorite* wines one of the *official* wedding wines, and then being *super* proactive and stocking up on said wine was *maybe* not the best decision. But how was I to know we were all going to be thrown into some weird parallel version of reality this year? I plan for normal years, not ones that feel like someone started a Jumanji game.

Still. I need to cut back on this wine drinking. This is for my GUESTS who I will be INVITING should the world CONTINUE to turn in the normal, un-Twilight-Zone fashion that we’ve suddenly found ourselves in. But who knows what’s going to happen by the end of this year? This country could have a completely different social and economic face by November, and I, a super planner (except when it comes to writing. Crazy, right?!)  have no way of planning for that. Hence all the drinking.

Batman has already scolded me many times. It’s nice to know I can throw heart disease and antioxidants at him as actual defenses. I need the wine to keep my heart healthy and keep my youth—two things he’ll need if his laundry service continues. And I mean, he’s not *really* scolding me. He’s more like, “Babe—we bought that for the wedding. What’re you doing?” (I think the word is catch. He’s catching me drinking, which just means I need to be more stealthy about it. Note to self – learn to be stealthy)

But then I give him the spiel about my genetics and youth and it’s okay again and until he sees me dive into the next mini bottle. Except now, he really can’t give me any grief because of this:

It looked way worse but Batman was trying to cover his tracks

Not sure if you can see it, but I’ve got a busted lip. No—he didn’t hit me. OBVIOUSLY. Batman has only hurt me one time, and that was when his dumb butt broke up with me back in college (worse mistake of his life). No, we were watching movie clips on my phone and doing it the smartest way possible: laying on our backs and holding the phone up above our heads. You know, testing gravity. And then he laughed at something Matt Damon said and he lost his grip on my Android and it CRASHED LANDED ON MY LIP.

Blood instantly.

Lots, and lots of blood.

Oh, yeah. I’ve got another one in my back pocket now. Like that that time I tickled him and on reflex, he kneed me in the head. Or the time he dropped his printer on my foot and checked the printer first to see if it broke. Oh yeah. Phone-bleeding-lip will now be a story I can use to get me out of things. Like…oh…I don’t know…busting open another bottle of wedding wine whilst in isolation? I need the swelling to go down, guys. I’m getting married in seven months.

Unless 2020 takes us in a new direction with zombies or vampires or techno-advanced super-genius yetis looking for retribution. Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.