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

I Have a Working Title

The reason I missed the last two weeks (besides being lame) is because I’ve been writing so much of The Coyote and the Claw. That’s right. You just read a title, folks.

The Coyote and the Claw

Now, imagine it in gold script against a blue or black background. Looks good, huh? I mean, in my brain, it rocks. But anything rocks compared to a year of Untitled, so even if I change it again, at least I’ve got something. A base.

(Also: breaking my three-word title trend here. All the books in my Arizal Wars series (Escape from Harrizel, Plague of Mybyncia, Discovery at Nerwolix, and Crusade Across Worlds) and my Better Than Now series (Better than Now, Better Than You, Better Than This) all have three-word titles. How did I do this? Was it subconsciously done? Literally no clue. But, this newest project has FIVE words, and I’m stoked. Just stoked.)

So, what’s the Coyote and the Claw, right? Or, should I say whom? My crime-fighting main characters who each have their own voice sections/chapters. Not going to give anything away, especially since I’m still *technically* writing the first draft of this version, but yes, this is a superhero story. Well, about two superheroes who fall in love. But there’s action, so it’s actually interesting this time.

When I think of all the words I’ve written, and scenes I’ve loved from previous drafts that I won’t share with anyone, I get sad. Then, I think of the newest project and everything I’ve written since, and get excited again. It only took about four drafts of other stories to carve away and manipulate this story into what it’s finally become—somewhat readable.

Hurray!

I’m about—eh—fifty or so pages (four or five chapters?) away from being done. With this first draft. And then, we start from the beginning again, combing through each chapter, making it better. I do that another half a dozen times before I ask anyone to read it. And that, my friends, is the life of an indie-author. It’s also where I to get stuck in the whole process. The part when I’m ready to share it. To publish the thing, after a round of professional editing, obviously. Because once it’s in the world, I literally don’t know what to do after that. Other than start writing the second book, which is what usually what happens.

Ah, the eye-twitching indie-author cycle continues.

I need to be more involved. I know this. I’m so not doing what I should in terms of participating with the writing community, readers, keeping up with new tools and platforms, ect. It’s my own fault, but I can’t seem to break the habit. I can’t seem to get into it the way other authors do. The only thing I really consistently keep up with is the actual writing and this blog. Mostly. And you see how often I’m lame and miss a week. So, any social media P.A. wizards out there looking to score some pro-bono points for a *future* bestseller—I’ll have a sign-up sheet shortly.

I guess I need help, which is fine. We all do. But, before I even go down that path for this book, I need to finish it first. And I’m getting there, guys. I’m definitely getting closer now that I have a working title.

I’ll take the win.

~ Lady Caitlin

A Popular Thing # IWSG

So, I missed last week…because I was dead.

Mostly dead. I had Covid, which pretty much equates to being dead.

Have you had it? Then you know. Haven’t had it? Congratulations on keeping two solid weeks of your life intact because I don’t know where mine went. Oh, wait, yes, I do—to the couch. I practically lived there all day because I would wake up between 8 and 9 am—mind you I’m up naturally by 6:45—and I would slump my way to my side of the couch, grab my pillow, extend the recliner, and go back to sleep. I just slept. All day. I never thought I would need so much sleep, but apparently I did, because my body was fighting its own war, and all I could do was nothing.

When I wasn’t napping on the couch, I was hating all of our streaming services for making my eyes bleed and my head spin for having to click through everything. All the categories: Trending. Previously watched. What’s recommended based on previous viewings. No. Stop it. There’s too much to choose from, and most of the time, that’s all I was doing. Choosing what to watch instead of actually watching anything, which is incredibly exhausting.

The few times I cracked open the door to outside, I burned alive in the billion-degree heat (because it’s July in Florida), and all because someone just *had* to play fetch, even though I was OBVIOUSLY DEAD, APPA. Burning alive, bleeding eyes, and sleeping all day and night consumed the last two weeks of my life.

I’m telling y’all—I died. Batman right along with me.

But, we’ve emerged from our Covid comas and are (mostly) ready to get back at it! I’m again between jobs because that is my lot in life, but now that the Covid fog has cleared, I’m diving into the NEWEST (and can we say best?) rewrite of still-Untitled story, but I’m *loving* it. There’s actual action and reason pushing the events and characters forward, unlike the randomness I pansted my way through the first three (four?) drafts. This is the winner, baby. I can feel it.

Well, I missed the last IWSG post because of reasons, so no missing this one. If so, I lose my coveted place in line which I’ve been working for since 2014. That’s right. Seven years strong, so can’t fall off the track now. This month’s optional question:

What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

Well, this is embarrassing. I can’t think of a single book on craft I’ve read. I mean, I’m sure, I must have read some in the past at some point (right?) but none are coming to mind. I should note, I am a Creative Writing major and, not that that gets me out of anything, but we did read a lot on craft in all my classes. Maybe I learned all the stuff there? I’ve been meaning to pick up Romancing the Beat since every romance author swears by it. Just haven’t gotten around to it. Oh! I think I read something by Annie Dillard.

*runs to tiny library in adjacent room*

Aha! Here we go: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

And at a bargain!

There were a few other books on craft, most from my FSU days (go Noles!) but I don’t remember much from them. I don’t remember much from this one either except feeling inspired, and realizing I’m not a total looney for wanting to transform all these thoughts in my head into words for someone else to read. It’s, like, a thing. A popular thing, I guess.

Well, anyway, there you go. Not dead anymore, still working on BEST version of untitled story, not losing my place in the IWSG line, newly unemployed, (but been here before), and also waiting on mysterious amounts of inheritance to show up and sweep me into my fulltime writing career where I can tend to my gardens and alpaca farm like Jennifer Armentrout, and continue to enjoy life with Batman and Appa.

One day…

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.

Make it a great week, and survive Covid!

 ~ Lady Caitlin

Monday Was a Day

Y’all—Monday was a day.

Sunday afternoon had me ridiculously lethargic, and no, not just because I was standing around Walmart while Batman was purchasing a firearm. It’s Walmart—I could literally spend hours picking out things I’d buy when I become a millionaire/better paid in general. But I just couldn’t stand. I wanted to sit or lay down, so my energy level was strange. Then I found out a coworker tested positive. Same coworker I chatted with in close quarters end of last week. Also found out I was sitting in another coworker’s chair who was home sick due to the ‘rona. (No office announcement about the cases…)

*sigh*

I stayed home from work on Monday and Batman joined me—if I had it, he’d likely have it, and could spread to his office. So, we went to the only nearby clinic accepting patients for rapid testing. All other places didn’t have any openings for Monday. We checked in at 10:40 and told it was a 2.5 hour wait. Okay. No worries. We went home, took care of Appa, I did some work, and we returned at 1:15. Another hour or so. We went BACK home, ate some lunch, played with Appa (I did more work…) and then we went BACK again at 2:15 and waited for another thirty minutes. Finally, we were called in, and some Slavic-sounding doctor shoved the world’s largest Qtip up both nostrils. She did the same to Batman and less than an hour later, we found out we were negative.

Win!

Win?

Well, what the heck is wrong with me? Because, according to her thermometer, I don’t have a fever, but my eyes feel like they’ve been dipped in acid—the same acid currently residing in my throat every time I swallow. Call me old fashioned, but this sounds like a fever to me.

In my frustration of all the back and forth and work emails pinging (I’M SICK!!) I lost my shit on the kitchen sink faucet because it sprays everywhere, I saw tiny bugs (even though I just cleaned) and the darn faucet thingy kept springing back up, making it difficult to tsunami the bugs away so in a brilliant moment of thought, I hit the metal thing with my right hand. You know, the dominant one—the one I’m currently typing with (ouch by the way). Want proof of my idiocy?

Clearly, I lost the battle. The faucet has no bruises, and came off looking the same. I have an injured finger and injured pride, but no Covid, so that’s good.

I actually intended this post to focus on my first DIY project. I could save it for next week, but who knows what adventures await between now and then? Want to see what I did? Well keep reading if so. If not…I don’t know what to tell you…you should probably stop reading now.

For those who are interested: Batman and I bought this nightstand for $20 in a thrift shop. Not needing a nightstand, the idea to make it a plantstand popped right into my brain. So, that’s what I did. After googling how to paint wood furniture, and having Batman assist with the purchases in Home Depot, I set to work, letting the creativity fly! The result?

Fully finished with fake plants purchased from Michael and Old Time Pottery:

Think it looks not-terrible. And I’ll take not-terrible. It was a fun little renovation project, and I’m inspired for my next! Just hoping my finger and pride are restored by then. Also hoping the acid leaves my eyeballs and throat. Very hopefully over here for a lot of things, and that includes you having a stellar week! The more positivity, smiles, and laughing, the more we can change the world from being a giant dick.

~ Lady Caitlin

P.S. Word of advice – don’t punch inanimate objects when you’re frustrated. They always win. Bastards.

Another Complete Rewrite?

Listen to this crap:

I reached the “end” of Untitled, and it turns out, it’s not the real ending. Like, at all. Unravel it even further, and all of the “things” I started learning along the way, the “things” I wanted to sprinkle into the next draft have already changed the entire story. Again.

DUDE.

I don’t even think this is the same story I started writing the beginning of last year. The original scene that I wanted to write just because (with no intent to share—just for me and yet, it spurred entire book) is NOT EVEN IN THIS NEW VERSION. The way they meet completely changes, so it wouldn’t make sense.

*blink*

*drinks wine*

*drinks more wine*

This is weird. I’m all for following my characters down their freaky little rabbit holes, but these are huge changes. So why make them? BECAUES THEY’RE BETTER THAN WHAT I HAVE. I just reread my first chapter of the rewrite and my God, does it suck. Not just the telly-writing (we can forgive that; it’s first draft) and I could even *maybe* get past the cliché-ness of the cheesy-ass freshman-level formatting (always something to edit later) but it was just BORING. There was no risk. No reason to keep reading, and I knew it was desperately missing something.

So, I dug in, and it didn’t take long. I knew what my characters wanted, but by changing the urgency of the need, it propelled one of my protagonists into a different situation, changing her back story (and, in essence, her current story). *Ahem* Enhancing her back story, which was interesting, but lacked a deeper level I now had thanks to this change.

I really wish I could say more. Explain more. But, I’m still figuring this thing out myself. Because, and I’m afraid to admit it, I’m not sure if the conflict in the previous rewrite now applies to this version. So, what does that mean? Another complete rewrite?

*goes out and buys more bottles of wine*

Do I have the energy for another new rewrite?

I really want to say no, and that what I have is fine—but who just wants fine? We all want the best, and I want the best for this story. This untitled, constantly changing story that won’t even tell me what to call it. Fucking story. But, I do want to keep working on it. I have to admit that before (and, well, kind of now) it’s solidly based on just the romance, and I found myself asking questions about what happened outside the romance. The answer to those questions enhanced the characters (the heroine more than the hero) and again, now the situation has changed.

But it’s okay, guys. I’ll figure it out. Each change digs me closer to a more interesting plot and I’m excited I’m not just at the mercy of the romance. I want excitement in every aspect, which is probably why I was drawn to writing Harrizel, which I need to get back to…

Maybe the impossible has happened: I miss writing fight scenes? Could that be it? And there are some in this new WIP, but maybe it’s the over action I miss? Romance just for romance-sake can get boring. I guess I like a little adventure to go along with it.

Wonder what this one will come out looking like.

At his point, your guess is as good as mine.

~ Lady Caitlin

I’m in a Funk

I’m feeling funky.

Wait. Scratch that. That’s not right.

I’m feeling in a funk. In a mood.

Something’s off.

Did Mercury meet up with Venus in retrograde on the wrong side of the moon? I believe in the all the cosmic stuff but don’t understand any of it. Just like chakras. Sometimes it takes me a while to get something, so I’m sure I’ll learn what it all means eventually, but for right now, I just know I’m in a funk.

Or maybe it’s a metamorphosis? I am seeing 5s and, according to numerology—of which I dabble a bit—5s are the number of change, especially triple 5s (what I’m seeing). Typically, the change signifies a large shift like a marriage, job change, or baby. It’s something significant. Well, I’m married, and I don’t plan on any babies, and I’ve had more jobs than I can count, so I’m not sure. But something is off, and there IS a change coming, and I PRAY TO GOD it’s a good one.

I completely forgot yesterday’s post was the IWSG one, so that sucks. I try not to miss those, but Wednesday was NOT my day. Elsa tried to bring her shit, and I had errands that took me out of work and into the storm, only to go back into work to face a multitude of metaphoric fires. Not fun. I should’ve been proactive and written the post prior but again, there’s this funk. I’m feeling all sorts of weird, and it’s messing with my creativity.

I’m still writing no-name. Actually, I have one more chapter to go to finish this first draft of a complete re-write, and then it’s back to the beginning for draft # two. Currently sitting at 117,000 words, this chunky monster will *for sure* need to be edited down—but there’s so much more I want to add! Ah, the joy of writing and editing and rewriting and reediting and hating yourself because all artists do at some point because the work drives us INSANE.

Least we have vices to help. And it’s nice most of them are legal.

Alright, I’m heading back out into the world with this funk. This mood. Wish me luck and try explaining the cosmos to me if you can. I’ll take all the insight I can get.

~ Lady Caitlin

P.S. The highlight on Wednesday was watching Loki. Have you seen this show? I’ve never been a fan of Loki (the character) or Tom Hiddleston much, but watching the show, I can now say I’m fully invested in both.