IWSG Feeling Insecure

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

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

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

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

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

IWSG – Sexy Side Piece

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

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

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

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

Onto the IWSG Option Question:

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

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

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

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

Me and My Promises

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

But I did. I procrastinated.

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

Writing:

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

Other life stuff:

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

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

How’s your week going?

The Ability to Say Fuck It

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go With It

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

In a week.

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

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

*shrugs*

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

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

IWSG – I Can’t Shut Up The Voices

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

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

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

Onto the May IWSG optional question:

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

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

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

Maybe I Can

Writing:

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

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

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

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

Reading:

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

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

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

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

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.

#IWSG – We’ll Get Out of This Okay

I have no idea what day it is. I’m pretty sure it’s Monday because I’m writing this for Wednesday since last Wednesday I totally spaced because I thought it was Tuesday because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DAY IT IS. Oh yeah, pandemics are *super* fun.

I’ve been working from home for a week now…and it’s definitely…something. I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to balance the daycare/workload, but my 5-year-old GSP makes it interesting with whining and requested games of fetch twice an hour. Half the time I ignore him, half the time I give in because there are natural breaks in the day at the office, and if I were to bring Appa with me, it’s probably what I would be doing in lieu of using the restroom or chatting with a coworker. Appa is very demanding.

Since I’ve been (we’ve all been) ordered to remain inside, I’m surprisingly getting a LOT of writing done. It’s surprising because many authors and artists have mentioned their distraction with COVID-19, along with having kids home and unusual schedules which have clogged their creativity. I’m definitely keeping up with the end of times, and yeah, it’s looking pretty doom and gloom out there, but I’m really enjoying this 2-3 hour block I have to write in the morning curtesy of my job cutting my hours. It sucks, but what can you do? You find the silver lining and make the most out of it. Am I excited to be getting this smaller paycheck (and possibly more) during the year of my wedding? Bitch, please. Am I excited that this draft that I started in NOVEMBER 2018 is finally almost over? Heck yeah! I’ve got another 2-3 chapters to write but if we keep going at this pace, I’ll finish by the end of April 😊

Things are changing every day, so it’s hard to look ahead to what the landscape of this year will look like. I’m still remaining positive. Everyone I love is healthy and accounted for, and although there is a rotten stench of depression and loneliness wafting, I think we’ll get out of this okay. More time spent with families reestablishing friendships and relationships and creating art. Sure, we’ll all be broke ass poor at the end of it, but when has that stopped us before?

IWSG April Question:

The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. In this time, when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?

Please see above. Also, I found toilet paper! And not just the one-ply-crap Walmart was rationing. It was the good stuff: Cottonelle. See, there is a silver lining 😊

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.

Seriously Though – Man in The High Castle

…I’ve been slacking.

I blame Man in the High Castle. If it wasn’t cocaine-addictive like every other show I mention, then maybe—MAYBE—I would’ve gotten a bunch more writing down over the last *cough* week or two *cough* instead of the –maybe—one to two pages I’ve written.

I also blame the wedding.

Wait.

That was a little much. Let me rephrase:

The best day ever is requiring a lot of my creative attention and Pintrest is a thing, so I shouldn’t wonder where all my time has been going.

Still. Even though I usually write at least a little every day (although I’ve been giving myself a day off here and there) I feel like I haven’t moved the story along as much as I should’ve, or wanted to. In my defense, there have been A LOT of battle scenes which take FOREVER to write, but that’s not my fault. Every time we get past a fight sequence, I hope my characters will calm down and give me some dialogue or something. They do, but then someone else attacks or a new enemy arrives and it’s back to the scenes that take FOREVER. It’s really my character’s fault. That’s what I’m getting at. I’m only the vessel, and I work better when they’re not in the middle of a shit storm. But this is the final book, and the whole thing is a unified attack/invasion on one planet—I should’ve expected the shit storm.

Anyway, just wanted all my excuses listed so I don’t feel as bad about my lazy work ethic. But that’s how it goes. Sometimes you work a lot; sometimes it’s a little. As long as some work gets done, I won’t feel like complete crap about myself and my (non-existent) writing career.

Seriously though—Man in the High Castle. Go watch. Please. And let’s discuss how shitty the world would be if we lost WWII. I could barely get through French. Don’t think I’d make it if I had to speak German or Japanese. And according to MITHC, that will just not fly.

And also: Joe Blake is really cute 😊