Insecurity Won’t Hold Me Hostage

It was a confidence thing, guys.

Figured it out.

Just don’t think I’m good enough. Or was good enough. Ever feel like that? Like you’re not good enough for the craft that you want to share with the world because no professional is telling you it’s ready, so your own silly mind comes up with reasons why it isn’t, why it likely will never be, and you end up sitting in a dark corner, shaking and crying? Ah yes, the imposter syndrome. It is quite literally the dream-killer. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m rocking an indelible patch on my skin right next to my Beatles tattoo. Imposter Syndrome. I’m not really a writer, but I like playing one.

THE DEATH OF DREAMS.

Think I’ve been stuck in this mindset for a long time. I’m an imposter at this so there’s no use waving the flag, gathering the attention I’m still uncomfortable with, and making a big deal of myself since I’m just an IMPOSTER. I didn’t want to upset readers with my probable-garbage stories (even though I like them), so it’s fear. Fear I’m putting out subpar work and fear of the reaction regardless. It all boils down to confidence, and feeling like a phony-bologna. But I’m no phony-bologna, I’m telling you. I work at this. Even in my four year indie slumber, I wrote. I wrote everyday (and still do). It’s kind of my vice/addiction/on par with morning coffee: it happens Every. Freaking. Day. And if that’s the case, I have to be at least slightly better than subpar/garbage…right?

RIGHT.

I GOT THIS. I can do this. Even as confusable as I am—I got this. I don’t write garbage. I write masterpieces (this is what I’m telling myself) so the insecurity won’t hold me hostage anymore. I’m getting too old to be tied down by my own bullshit.

First part is realizing the problem. Second part – telling it to f off.

Here we go.

*cracks knuckles*

Lets do this.

~ Lady Caitlin

All the Goals

Apparently, whilst I was in my indie-publishing slumber, there’s been a development of serialized fiction…and it’s popular. What is serialized fiction? Well, instead of paying for the entire book, you pay for each “episode” or chapter, so if you like it, you keep going. If not, you don’t pay for what you don’t want to read. It kind of makes sense. I even remember having this idea a few years ago and thinking, (besides it being an *amazing* idea) that it would be a great thing to do, but there was no platform that offered this (at the time) so I didn’t think of it again.

Guess it’s time to revisit because duuude, are there a lot of platforms. And what’s worse, some of these teenybopper author wannabes are on there making dough. I only call them teenybopper author wannabes because I’ve read some of their stuff and it’s…it’s…it’s not ready. It’s where I was when I was their age, dreaming of figuring out the whole writing thing because WHEN I WAS READY, I’d submit to an agent or try to have it published or whatever. And I still have doubts that I’m not ready, but…but…at least I have some experience under my belt. I’ve written a lot of garbage to get to the less-garbagy stage. I’m not putting out things I thought were great when I was in middle school, like some of these folks are. And THEY’RE MAKING MONEY FROM IT.

*sigh*

I’m not jealous. I’m annoyed. Mostly at myself for being asleep this whole time and not jumping on the passive income bandwagon, because I’ve been on the lookout for that SOB for years.

Can I be honest? I’m still a little scared. I’m on my third draft of TCATC (woot!) and I still think my stuff sounds like crap. But, I’m giving myself some slack. I’ve been working on this story since early last year and it has changed drastically (4 rewrites now?) so in this time frame, I haven’t gone over this version the normal ten times like I would’ve by now. I like this story. I like it so much, but I’m still looking at with goggles from the original draft from last May. Is it good? Is it bad? I can’t tell.

I have at least one beta reader on standby (S- you know who you are) but could use a few more if anyone is interested. If not, totally fine too. I’ve published most of my books with very few eyes on them (other than the editor…obviously) and I think they turned out alright. But I know this is going to be a three-book series of contemporary romance featuring superheroes with the first due next year. Possibly the second as well, but, need to actually write that one first…

I’ve got all the goals. (Hopefully) make some passive income on these serialized fiction apps while focusing on releasing one or *possibly* two books next year. And keeping my confidence through the whole thing. That’s a big one.

Hope everyone has a happy, delicious, and safe week. I wish that for you every week, but especially this one as well. Try not to overload on the turkey or mash potatoes. But if you do, you’ll be the first one asleep and you’ll get out of helping with the dishes.

Win-win.

~ Lady Caitlin

It Did Not Go Well

So, Batman and I went out to a fancy, expensive dinner to celebrate our one-year anniversary. It did not go well.

I’m normally a pretty chill person. I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t like to cause a scene, which is probably why I didn’t respond the way I should’ve when the shift manager came to our table (after being requested) for the second time…since the entire restaurant seemed to have forgotten that we existed.

First, we were sat at the bitch table. You know which one I’m talking about—the “last minute/forgotten/need to squeeze them in” table, even though a reservation was made a week in advance. It was along the wall (where a table shouldn’t be) sandwiched between two larger tables, already making me feel like we weren’t as important. But fine, a table is a table. As long as I’m getting served the same delicious food as everyone else—it’s all good. Except, it wasn’t.

After our (initial?) server came to our table to welcome us, I thought everything would be fine. I explained we were there on our first anniversary, having come a year before on our honeymoon, and she advised we’d be getting a free dessert since we were celebrating something. Very nice. Still very excited. And then she floated away like a petal in the breeze never to be seen from again.

Okay.

Some guy in Glasses asked if we’d like any drinks (never introduced himself). I ordered one glass of red wine, and Batman ordered himself a drink. Glasses left, and we went to the cold salad bar to get some sides and—my personal favorite—the candied bacon station. When we got back to our bitch table, my glass of wine was waiting for me, and we started to eat. Still all good.

Then the clock started ticking. Where was Batman’s drink? And the free little cheese breads? They were good and we were running low, so I wanted more. (This is a fancy place, so if I’m okay asking for more bread at LongHorn, I don’t mind asking for more bread there either. We’re paying for it). Except…there was no one to ask. No one to follow up on Batman’s drink order. No one ever came to our table.

We waited. And waited and waited to the point where we’d finished our sides and already had some of the delicious meat (it’s a Brazilian Steakhouse so people with meat walk around cutting off slices of its amazingness). Like, the meal was more than halfway done and Batman STILL hadn’t gotten his drink while I was working my way toward a second glass of wine. At this point, I decided to flag down the water girl.

After asking if she could send someone to our table, Glasses showed up ANNOYED that we were bothering him since he was clearly working the giant ten-top table behind us. He made me feel like I shouldn’t have bothered him for asking for my second glass of wine and finding out where Batman’s drink was. He disappeared and we NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN.

We waited. And waited and waited to the point where I flagged down the Shift manager (first time) to check on our drinks. I was also wondering where our sides were since our meal included sides (not the cold salad bar) and I completely forgot to ask because by this point, I was extremely disappointed. After cheering myself up with some more candied bacon, I came back to our table and the shift manager brought me my second glass of wine and Batman’s drink. Still no sides.

The giant ten-top table behind us got up, and a team of four employees cleaned the table, reset it, and then sat another table of ten (a bachelor party), Glasses got their drink orders and within that time, NO ONE CAME TO CHECK ON US.

We’d planned on getting dessert (in addition to the complimentary one) and Batman was going to get a second drink. Nope. Not anymore. We wanted to leave. Glasses walked past us like a million times, other parties of two were checked on, some in t-shirts and jeans (Batman and I were dressed up) but no one bothered to come to our table to see how we were doing, if we wanted another drink, dessert, a check, anything.

So, we sat again. Waiting. Batman said we should just leave. Just get up and walk out on the bill because it’s not like they knew were we there anyway. They’d clearly disregarded us, even after telling them we were there for a special occasion. So, after STILL WAITING for ANYONE to come to our table, I ended up flagging down another water girl. Asked to send over the shift manager for the second time—we were ready to leave.

I could’ve gotten ugly. Maybe I should’ve? But when he came over, I told him what happened, how NO ONE ever came to our table and how disappointed we were since we were there celebrating an occasion. He reminded us of our free dessert which we declined because, would we even get it? I said we wanted the check and wanted to go. We didn’t want to spend any more time there. Again, I probably could’ve gotten a little more aggressive with how poorly we were treated but at that point, we just wanted to leave the damn restaurant.

To make up for their poor service, the shift manager comped our meal TEN DOLLARS – the free dessert we would’ve gotten regardless. Oh, and 20% off our next visit. Yeah, like we’ll be returning.

I think about it and I literally don’t have words. I’m truly appalled at our experience, which is sad since it was our first anniversary. We just wanted one night where we could brush off the Poor, but thanks FDC – you made sure that wasn’t the case.

Guess we have to be fancy like Applebee’s going forward. At least they’ll check on us.

~Lady Caitlin

Goals?

There’s a line in Dave Chappelle’s newest special about poor white people shopping at Walmart and I can’t get it out of my head. Not because it’s mean, but because it’s true. It’s unabashedly, unapologetically a true statement. A FACT. I am joined by other poor white people shopping for our cheap, mediocre goods and wares, and yes, if Dave Chapelle ever ended up in a Walmart, his dreams did not work out at planned.

It probably still sounds mean, but I can take a joke. I know where I am in this world, and even though I don’t think of myself as poor, I do shop for mediocre goods and wares at a place where I can find them cheapest. (Side note: I am poor. But I have everything I need and want…so am I really? Existential question over here…) Since I frequent the mega chain on a regular basis, I’ve been thinking more about how much I make, how much it costs to live, and wondering when I’m going to start making some supplemental income with my books, which would be nice, but which also means I should probably up my game. Or start it. Probably should start the game to make the money to buy more mediocre goods.

But guys—I’m working on it. As I told a recent fellow author (hi, Joleene!) I feel like I’ve been asleep for the last 4-5 years because I have, like, no clue what’s going on with the indie publishing world. With my day jobs sucking out all creative and positive energy, and self-publishing being so completely overwhelming and confusing, I didn’t try. I took a nap and shut my eyes to everything, hence me selling a whopping few books each year. But I must change this! I want to buy more mediocre goods and wares at Walmart and I’ll need supplemental income to achieve this. And who knows? Maybe if my dreams really do work out as planned, I’ll end up shopping at Target with the bourgeois.

Goals?

I’m almost finished with the second draft of the fourth rewrite of TCATC, and I’m already mapping out the second book. There will be three books total (I think?) so I feel like I’m already making up ground. The WIP doesn’t suck anymore, and I’m excited for what’s coming next. I’m tentatively planning to publish the first book next year, so if you’ve followed any of this journey, or are in any way curious about this story, just know I plan to release *TCATC – ARPIP in 2022. But if you simply CANNOT WAIT, let me know if you want to be a beta reader. Always looking for those. Currently working on the blurb so stay tuned…

That’s all I got for now. Go watch the special and contemplate your monetary place in life. Or don’t. It all works out regardless.

~Lady Caitlin

P.S. I may have been the one unloading items from the cart, but Batman paid the bill. He did not, however, pay for the Christmas garland I forgot to put on the belt, which makes him a thief. I might be a line-cutter but he stole a twelve dollar, mediocre good. That’s on him.

*The Coyote and the Claw – A Royal Pairing in Perish. In case you missed the post with the title. Now you and the handful of other people know. VIP status.

November Goals

Ever feel really shitty for doing something you didn’t mean to do, and you’re not even sure if you did it? Me too.

I could have SWORN there was no line when I went to my grocer’s self-check-out. We only had a few things, and I didn’t feel like waiting for the aisles with cashiers, so, I spotted an open register and flew toward it (because I have little legs and move quickly, otherwise, I get left behind.) I’m like…*fifty three* percent sure I didn’t notice anyone waiting when I started unloading and scanning. Batman grabbed us two beverages, and when I went to take them from him, I saw the line. The long line and the glares. All shooting at me. All hating me.

Did I…did I just skip a whole bunch of people?

Ooops.

Except, I’m not a *thousand* percent certain they were there before. There were a lot of people in the store and sometimes, magically, we all want to check out at the same time so…there is a possibility they all gathered right after me, and were sending glares of hatred over how impressively beautiful I am, and the very stylish clothes I wear. I can’t rule out these very likely options. But still…

Did I cut everyone? If so, does that make me a bad person? Or am I just an “okay” person because I’m not terribly observant when I’m hungry? Sheesh. First stealing seven dollars from a restaurant and now this. Thieving and line-cutting: that’s what I’ve become. That’s who I am. Sure, unbeknownst to me at the time, but I feel like the points are still deducted. ALTHOUGH I feel massive amounts of anxiety over these kinds of things, so maybe it evens out in the end?

I’m starting November fresh. Well, sort of fresh. It all depends on the garbage guys, who, apparently changed when they come in the morning. They used to come around eight, but God knows what time it is now since I put the trash on the curb at SEVEN, and it was still there when we got home. Awesome. But why didn’t I put it out the night before like most sane, logical people? Because Batman and I live in the murder house which is backed up right to the woods, so we get all the woodland creatures ravaging our trash. The neighbor’s cans are just *slightly* too far to mess with (we have lazy woodland creatures), so they all descend on ours, which means we can’t put it out the night before. But now the garbage guys want to get up at the ass crack of dawn and I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Maybe it’s my penance for stealing and line-cutting. But poor Batman. He didn’t do anything to deserve this. He only married me, but, serves him right. No take-backsies now.

Writing-wise, I’m closing in on the end of the second draft for the fourth (?) rewrite. So, that’s good. I read through the ending of the first draft (fourth rewrite) and yuck. Nope. Think I kind of gave up on it the last little bit there because it had the stink of an original draft all over it. Not good. But I’m working on it, and every time I do, it gets better. Perspective, people.

November goals: no inadvertently stealing or line-cutting, figure out when to take out the trash, and keep writing. Think I can handle it.

We’ll see.

~ Lady Caitlin

I Know I Can Do This

I took a break from writing the last few days, and yesterday, I reread some of what I’d written early last week.

*twitch*

I literally rolled my eyes at myself. One part was so cheesy. I mean, yeah, it’s still an early draft but I thought, dude—why did I even think that was good at the time? Whoa. Like whoa. I hope my perspectives aren’t changing—or maybe I’m super cheesy in my earlier drafts and never noticed? Maybe things I thought were once sweet or romantic aren’t anymore? Normally when I edit, I’m looking at overall story context and how it fits with other parts. I’ll even look at sentence structure, but I literally stopped at one point, reread the exchange, and shook my head at the dopiness of the moment. Like, pure lameness—of something I wrote last week! Maybe I’m growing as an author, able to spot the bullshit even earlier?

So, I keep having the same dream. It’s reoccurred since I graduated from college, and it’s that I actually didn’t graduate—that I’m still enrolled. Still in school. And I’m missing my assignments. This wouldn’t be a big thing to others, but I NEVER missed assignments. They were always complete a day or so after it was assigned, or as soon as possible. So, I keep feeling like I’m messing up or I’m missing something or I’m late (not to be confused with my reoccurring nightmare of driving up the steepest bridge imaginable—nearly vertical—which has impeded my speedy, reckless driving and made me a tad safer. You’re welcome.) I’m pretty sure the college dream correlates to writing. Instead of getting up each morning to sit down and write/do Indie author stuff, I go to some desk job that I never saw myself doing—so maybe it’s an inadequacy thing? Feeling like I’m failing at this endeavor so I’m never graduating in my dream? I’d love to pay a shrink to find out, but that costs money, and the Universe still hasn’t realized that I’m a millionaire, so, you all will have to do in the meantime.

The good thing is we’re not supposed to take on everything at once. It’s a day-by-day life, and I think I can keep up with that. I’ve been making more of an effort to post every Wednesday since I’ve fallen off here recently, except I did lose my place with IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) which I’ve been involved with since 2014. But, I missed two posts and now I’ll have to resign up. It’s my own fault. And once I’m back on track with regularly posting on Wednesdays, I’ll kick my own butt in gear and get going with my NL which is a memory at this point.

I don’t know if it’s the dream or the few author pages I’ve been following that inspire me, but despite all my bitching and writing anxiety, I do want this. I do believe I was meant to write stories (even if they’re cheesy in the first drafts) and I do know I can do this. Just have to figure out how to make it work for me and my lifestyle and my lack of social media skills.

That’s the fun part.

~ Lady Caitlin

We’re Not Bad People

I accidentally stole $7 dollars from a sandwich shop.

Not my intention. In my defense, I fully intended to pay the $13 dollar tab—WITH TIP—but it just didn’t work out that way, partly due to me not paying attention and partly to the fact that I’m not a millionaire yet. HAD I been a millionaire, the debit card offered would’ve been loaded with money and not the measly scraps remaining before the following payday. I meant to use Capital One. I reminded myself. But, out of habit, I reached for my normal card, paid, and then saw the receipt. How could half a sandwich and a drink cost me $26?! Because she’d handed me the wrong receipt…and when I went up to get mine, there was a SEVEN DOLLAR BALANCE DUE that she didn’t notice. Neither did I. I only noticed when I sat down and thought—why do I still owe a balance?

Oh. Ohhhhhh.

Oh crap.

I mean, it’s only $7 dollars. From a (national?) restaurant chain. It’s not like I accidentally stole from a Mom n’ Pops place because then I’d feel awful. But, being the over-thinker and anxiety-ridden human that I am, the entire lunch was spent wondering if I should have them void the transaction and re-run it, or, as my lunch date insisted, enjoy the free half meal. I went with the latter.

Why am I telling you this? One—it makes me feel better. The truth will set you free and all that. Two—just a reminder to the Universe that I’m *still* not a millionaire, and had I been, this wouldn’t have happened. The entire meal would’ve been paid for, tip included. So, really, if we break it down, it’s the Universe’s fault, and not that I’m a creature of habit and forgot to use my Capital One. Think we can all agree to that.

Have you ever accidentally stolen money because you’re poor and forgot which card to use? See—there’s a bunch of us. We’re not bad people. We’re broke, forgetful souls is all. There. I feel better having talked it out.

Thank you guys! You always make me feel better.

~ Lady Caitlin

Fake Stress and Squid Games

I blame Squid Games. And my lack of willpower. (Also, Batman’s. He’s at fault here too). I’d also blame my new job and all the things I’m learning/stress but that would be a LIE and I can’t lie here. It’s like an online diary, and I’m practically the only one who reads this, so if look at this post in a year, I’ll confuse myself. I’ll be like “I don’t remember being super stressed at this new job—maybe I was having a bad week?” Not worth confusing future Caitlin because current Caitlin gets confused enough in general. So, no lying—I missed last week’s post because of laziness and fake stress and Squid games. There, you have it. We can all move on with our lives.

I’m not sure what’s happening—why I’ve taken a step back from keeping up with this blog. I’ve completely FAILED on my NL which I should probably address or work at or something. I’m a bad indie author. Meaning, I write fiction every day, but I’m suuuuper lacking on any kind of news upkeep, marketing (HA! As if!) and I’m just awful at all social media (which is why you can’t find me practically anywhere). So, that pockets me in the “only-writing” writer category which I guess is better than the “non-writing” writer category. Points for that.

Also: it’s getting scary out there. Like, life in general. This baby blog is by no means political, and even trying to tune out all the BS going on, it seeps in and makes me sit back, scratch my head, and be like, okay, so Orwell might’ve been onto something. I addressed this in an earlier post, but the dream of being a famous writer has changed. I don’t want the fame. Just the money so I can sustain a normal, American life—whatever that looks like in the future. Maybe that’s why I’ve taken a step back. Since the picture is changing, I don’t know what an American landscape might look like in five or ten years, so I don’t know what to envision. And with being awful at social media (which is apparently a REQUIRMENT for success) I just feel lost. So, instead of blogging or writing my next NL or working on any kind of marketing materials, I instead just work on my WIP, hang out with Batman, play with Appa and Regis (doggie # 2!!) and binge on unhealthy Netflix shows.

This is life.

But, I’m not failing, even when I tell myself I am. I’m taking my time, going my own route, and doing what feels right. In the moment, at least. I’m ready for someone else to take the professional reigns on this, and let me just write. So, here’s the plan: continue writing amazing stories, find an agent/PA to do all the other businessy stuff that confuses and overwhelms me, and sit back and play with the dogs and llamas. And Batman. He’ll be there too. Probably fixing whatever else breaks in the house, unless my agent/PA can help with that as well (I have high hopes for them).

Does anyone else feel like this? About anything? Love to hear your thoughts. And always… have a badass week!

~Lady Caitlin

Won This Round

I figured I’d miss this week too, but I need to be a better example for myself. (Someone has to).

Fair warning: this is going to be a short post. Mostly because I’m writing it the night before, so who knows what’s going to come out? But, in my defense, it was my birthday recently, so I’ve been busy with all the usual parades and carnivals, and all free writing time has been devoted to TCATC (as it should be).

Flash update:

Birthday was great! Officially circled the sun for 36 years. Batman and family stepped up to make it a truly special celebration. I’m beyond blessed.

I’m still employed—week three!—and so far, so good. Really keeping my fingers crossed for this one.

Watching and loving Ted Lasso. Yes, we added AppleTV, but so worth it.

Writing (and nearing the end of) draft 2 of TCATC. Which is again why this is being written the night before. Sorry-not-sorry.

There. That’s it. My teeny-tiny, itty-bitty post, because the fewer the words, the less typos and mistakes you’re likely to find. But this counts so MUAHAHA two-week-off routine that I’ve fallen into. NOT TODAY. I’ve won this round. We’ll see how next week goes.

~ Lady Caitlin

A Little Credit

Here’s an impossible riddle:

How do I sustain a living from writing without being well-known/famous?

*scratches chin and ponders into the distance*

While I used to want to be famous, and dreamed of sitting on Ellen’s couch discussing all my very popular best-sellers, the image has changed. The dream has changed. I don’t want people to know who I am anymore. If I did, I’d have a podcast, a vlog, a Patreon that I actually work on, in addition to, you know, being regularly active on social media, which I am not.

*continues to scratch chin and ponder*

PLEASE let me know if you’re able to solve this one for me. The only example who comes to mind is Banksy (that’s still a mystery, right?) and while I’m all for sharing my writing anonymously, I’d still like to make some stacks to, you know, pay bills and stuff. So…how to be out there without being out there?

I wish I was better at this. At social media, at advertising, and posting and doing what I should be doing instead of writing about what I should be doing. There are people I can hire to do that for me so I should probably look more into that. Grr. I’m just feeling overwhelmed and insecure and wondering if I even deserve success since the only work I put in is the actual writing part (my favorite part).

In other news, I’m employed again. Woot! Good thing too, because my savings is pretty much non-existent at this point, and I had to reach into my pay-back-loan fund to help with the bills. Meh. Money is money and I can always make more. But since leaving my last position toward the end of July (and after those lovely two weeks of Covid) I rewrote TCATC for the fourth (?) time, and not only is the first draft done, I’m already working through the second draft.

WHAT?!?!

That’s right. I outlined and wrote a whole frigging first new draft (95,500 words) and am onto the second in the interim of jobs. I may suck hard at all business aspects of this, but I’ll pat myself on the back for using EVERY SINGLE DAY to sit at this laptop and type away while only stopping to play with Appa, grab a snack, clean the house (kinda) and look for jobs. No TV. No binging shows or spending hours scrolling on FB. None of that. Pretty much every free moment I had I used to write. So, maybe I should give myself a little more credit. (Not too much though, let’s not get carried away).

SOOO with all that said, I’ll probably be looking for a few beta readers toward the end of the year. I’ll write a short description so you know what you’ll be reading about, should you want to be one of those highly popular VIP betas.

That’s all for me right now. I remembered to post this which is crucial since I missed the last two weeks. Busy writing, you know? And now it’s back to work, so progress will slow a little, but still continue. And even if I never make any money from any of this (kinda like now) I’m still super excited about this story, so I’ve got that going for me. Plus, I’ve got this new job. Look out bill collectors—someone is newly employed and able to pay for services again.

2021, we’re doing okay (except for the whole world burning thing, but let’s not get into that.)

Have a badass week!

~ Lady Caitlin