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.

Who Cares? It Exists

GUYS.

I did it. I finished writing the climactic scene of RTD.

(insert a million smiley faces and a bunch of iconic dance gifs)

I have no idea what I wrote, I’m sure it’s littered with grammatical and spelling errors, but who tf cares at this point? It’s down. It’s written. It’s there to be edited and made better but the fact remains that it exists. The scene I’ve had in my head since …2011… is finally typed up. I could’ve written it at any point, but I wanted to write the series first. I felt it would’ve been cheating if I got to write the last main scene before writing all the other scenes that led up to it.

And I finally did.

*heavy sigh of relief*

I have the whole next section to write—the dénouement, if you will. And that will be another…what, two to three chapters? And then that will be it. The first draft for RTD (Started in November 2018…) will be officially done! My, how the draft creeps by. Now I’ll have to go back and edit it five to six times (my average) and then *maybe* I’ll actually be able to keep that promise about releasing it at some point next year. Writing/editing-wise, yes, I think I can do it.

Marketing-wise…probably not.

I’ve had this idea to go big or go home when it comes to advertising the fifth and final book in the series, because who cares about the FIFTH book release when you’ve never read the first one? Nobody, right? That’s why I was going to do this big thing—release lots of short side stories (which I’d still have to write) and maybe have more interaction on my Patreon (more stuff to come up with and write) but all that would be a distraction from actually finishing the book. So, part of me thinks…meh. Don’t worry about the advertising. Just write it so the three people who do want to read it can.

I don’t know. It’s still early quarantine-April, so I’ve got some time. I think what we should focus on—what we should ALL focus on, and I’m looking at you, entire world—is that I wrote the climactic scene for RTD. It’s been in my head for years, so I’m more than happy that it’s on the page. First draft, but who cares? It exists.

That’s my good news for this week. Actually, I’ve got loads of others (I’m still employed, Batman’s still employed, everyone I know is healthy…) but we’ll spotlight the writing for today.

How are you guys? Getting anything cool done? And hey, laundry counts. We all do better when we smell better.