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

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.

Boring But…Slightly Thrilling?

Raise your hand if you missed another week posting.

*raises hand*

Raise your hand if you had a GREAT post and then just…didn’t…write it.

*raises hand*

Raise your hand if you had a RIVETTING, GREAT post about almost dying in a car accident but then life got crazy and the weekend flew and you passed out on the couch from wine and forgot to write it.

*raises all the hands*

Well, it’s true. Batman and I almost died. But at least we were together (aawwww). Wouldn’t have been as cute if we were pancaked like the universe suggested, but some deity took the wheel and Nascar’d me to safety out there. I don’t know how we survived, honestly, as a car to the left was about to smash into my side WHILST another car was coming from the right, about to smash in Batman (due to me swerving from the lady on the left). It was a hard veer to the right, followed by an ever harder veer to the left, up over the curb, into the plastic construction work sign, and back down on the street, miraculously missing OTHER CARS AND THE LIGHT POLE.

Magic, it was. Or Guardian angels. Or a combination if they’re even different. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t me, so I don’t take any credit.

Other than my brush with danger, I’ve been well. Yes, I missed last weeks post (boo!) but that’s because I’m lazy and don’t have an excuse. But thank goodness I care enough not to miss two weeks in a row. Hurray for having at least some set of standards!

Life is going well. Job is okay. Actually not sucking at it, so I’m feeling pretty good! I’m on the sales report I want to be on at work, so now it’s just about upping my numbers. And I shall, my friends *cracks fingers with confidence* I shall. Still writing every day, and I know one of them will grant me the title for the book I’ve been writing for over a year.

Any day now…

But I’m not complaining. Every day I write more, clean up stuff, and generally make the story better, so I’m fine calling it Untitled for now. The title will reveal itself when it’s ready. Guess you can’t force these kinds of things, but I’m ready whenever you are, Muse…

Wish I had more to report, but a near-car accident, maintaining employment status, and getting a lot of writing done is all I’ve got for you this week. Boring but…slightly thrilling?

Whichever way you want to go, enjoy the week.

Make it badass.

~ Lady Caitlin

Making It Better #IWSG

There is a chance—a good chance—that I missed the last post for IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group). I don’t want to ring my own shame bell, but I’d be lying if I said I’d had perfect attendance all year, and I definitely haven’t, so, let’s forget my shortcomings and just jump into the optional question:

How long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Excellent question! Mostly due to the appropriate timing since I’m a chapter and a half away (one week?) from being done with this FIRST draft of a COMPLETE re-write. So, the question is pretty much when do I swing back to the top with edits and re-writes and ways to improve the thing?

Right frigging away.

I don’t give myself a week away to get “fresh eyes” like lots of authors do. It’s never been my thing, and I think it’s because I’ll get beyond antsy if I don’t work on something. I mean—sure—I could find another small project to keep the creative juices flowing, but my heart knows I’m just writing fodder, and that none of it matters. What REALLY matters is going back through that completed draft and making it better.

So, why wait?

I certainly don’t. And I don’t plan on it with this story either. And, like all the other ones, the first draft is already weighing in at *quite* the length. Still have the remaining part of this chapter to write, plus another one, and I’m sitting at over a hundred thousand words. But it’s all good. I’ll edit the thing down to its rightful length, and if he’s still a chunky monster at the end, so be it. I’ve written my fair share of chunky monster books. Must be my thing.

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.

Think that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll touch base again next Wednesday, sound good?

Have a badass week!

~ Lady Caitlin

Magic Comes to You

Well, here I am, midweek in my first week being on my own. That’s right—I get to choose when to take lunch AND don’t have to worry about making sure I’m doing something correct for someone else. It’s all me, baby. All what I put into it. It actually makes me feel like an adult. Of course, I’m talking to you Day One. Let’s see how I feel Day One Hundred. Might want to be a kid again or have a kid job. I don’t know. But, I’ve tried a lot of other things and they didn’t work out…so…let’s see how I do with this.

Remember, getting good at this job might help me with the salesy part of writing that I DETEST, and so, this isn’t just the next job—it’s the next challenge to make me a better version of me.

(Again, ask me on Day One Hundred how it’s going…)

But I’m optimistic.

I have to be. The alternative is just too depressing, and I’m sorry, I just spent a year dealing with Covid bullshit, so no need to look for darkness when you can anticipate, hope for, and focus on the light.

Truth time: I was getting down on myself for a while because I wasn’t writing a lot. In fact, I was writing very little—the bare minimum I would force myself to write to still feel like I “worked.” For a few nights it was only a handful of sentences. Other nights, barely a few paragraphs. I crept along at turtle-speed, feeling like a creative failure. I was looking for darkness and found it. (Not recommended). Then I did something crazy. I forgave myself. Instead of berating myself for only getting a few sentences in, I applauded myself for inching my work that much more because if I hadn’t forced myself to sit down and focus for even a little bit of time, I wouldn’t have made the progress. I wouldn’t have advanced the story. I would have been just as far from the ending as before, so any work, even the *tiniest* amount counts. I know this—I’ve known this—but we tend to forget. So, when the epiphany sparked, I relaxed and let the darkness go. And then the craziest thing happened: I went in with the mindset of only writing a few sentences but after I reached what I expected would be the limit, I kept going. Kept writing. I wasn’t finished. Not only did I want to write more than a few sentences—I had to. Story was pouring out.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It IS like magic. And look, I’m not saying it’s because I’m a Hogwarts Alumni or anything, but sometimes you submit yourself to the light and the magic comes to you. I’m going with this because statistically, it’s worked for me in the past.

Actual book update? Still no title. I’m past the Black Moment now and working on the denouement, the part of the story where things get explained and everything wraps up. Not a thousand percent sure how it’s actually going to end, but, I’ve pansted my way through this whole thing so why should the ending be any different?

On a final note, spent the weekend in Orlando with the family and had an awesome time! We went to Universal Studios on Sunday and I loved showing my nephew the Gringotts Bank ride in the new Harry Potter section. (Also: the ride is awesome. You should go if you haven’t. If you have, you should go again.) Now that the Orlando trip is behind us, it’s time to start setting my sights on summer.

I’m smelling a lot of barbecues in my future…

Have a badass week 😊

~ Lady Caitlin