so what are your goals for 2018?

Every year I read a million articles about how New Year’s resolutions don’t matter, they never work, a certain day to start doesn’t matter…all that stuff. But I like it. I like that January 1st feels like a reset button, a “new [year] with no mistakes in it,” to paraphrase Anne Shirley. And I’ve got a lot to look forward to this year! I have four confirmed shows so far, a new role in my career at Disney, and maybe even an engagement ring coming my way (Shane says that’s his goal for the year and he asked to see my Pinterest boards, so you know it’s real.) So here are my goals this year!

Make changes for my health. “Lose weight” is always the most ubiquitous New Year’s resolution, but I don’t want to just lose weight. I mean, yeah, obviously I want to lose weight. But I’m terrible at food. I make tremendously poor choices, and I need to change that. And I’m so out of shape. Working at Great Movie Ride kept me active, but I was still not doing anything to benefit my body, and at Safaris I’m practically sedentary. I’m nowhere near as flexible as I used to be, and I need to be in better shape to dance in shows. And if I lose 60 pounds? That would be awesome. I know 60 isn’t necessarily realistic for one year’s time, but I’m aiming for at least 30 pounds down, as well as bringing down my measurements.

Blog and vlog regularly. I have a tendency to post a lot of posts at once, and then disappear. Oops. I’d like to make daily posting a thing, and I really want to post more videos. I am trying to save up money for a real camera (I’m currently using my old iPhone 5 with the shattered screen for all my filming) but I also want to develop my filming and editing skills. Daily posting is a lot, yes, but I think the consistency is good.

Write! I used to write all the time. I wrote copious amounts of fan fiction in high school and college, and at one point I even wrote a novel (that I promptly stuck in a drawer). I miss writing, and I have some ideas that I’d really like to work on. Even one sentence a day is still progress!

Improve my living space. My current apartment no longer suits my needs. I do enough alterations and sewing jobs that I need more space to work and meet with clients, so I want to transfer to a new apartment in the same complex that has a little more space. I also want my place to feel more homey and more like me, rather than a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture and random plastic bins for temporary storage that somehow became permanent. It’s a lot of hoops to jump through but I really want to move!

So those are my big goals for 2018! Comment below with your goals; let’s keep each other motivated!

Wednesday Writing

I think I’ve finally hit upon a way to motivate myself to write more!

I sat down and wrote myself out a list of rewards. For every five pages I write, I give myself some kind of little prize. Most of them are inexpensive or free things- driving to the closest park to take a walk, taking a bubble bath, getting a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But every so often I give myself a bigger prize, starting out with smaller ones like a new OPI polish and building up to getting a new dress from Forever 21 or Modcloth. When I finally finish my book, I want to celebrate by going on a weekend trip to Chattanooga!

I’m determined to finish this book! Maybe the reward system will motivate me to work harder.

And then I have to get ready for National Novel Writing Month in November.

Caitlin…how do you outline an original book? Because I have lots ofideas, but when I try to start out writing them, it’s just like…wheredo I go from here? So I guess I’m asking for steps in outlining andstuff. Like how in-depth you go. Sorry if this is bothersome.

It really depends!! When I write fanfiction, I usually do just bullet points- one point for each major scene. With my last book, I did a similar kind of outline, although each bullet point (1 per chapter) was fleshed out to a paragraph.

With the book I’m currently working on, I’m trying to write a pretty in-depth outline, so I can figure out my plotholes and weak points before I reach them and get stuck. It’s all trial-and-error at this point, I guess!!

what I want: a contest entry and a bunch of word vomit

I recently discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s blog and I, um, accidentally read it all.

I didn’t mean to. My plan was just to skim through and read the highlights of her writing advice. But somehow I ended up planting my butt on the couch and reading all the way back to her very first blog entry.

I really love Shiver. It’s the only book of hers I’ve gotten to read yet (although that will soon change, thank you Kindle Fire) but I loved it. And even that was an accident- I ordered the book for a gift, but accidentally got a well-loved used copy. Well, I couldn’t give that as a present, and so I kept it…and I read it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I discovered her blog, it was fantastic to actually, you know, know who I was reading about as opposed from a random author’s blog stumbled upon on Google.

It made me a little embarrassed to realize how jealous I was. When I think about what I want to do when I grow up, I want to be like her. Writing and getting paid for it, traveling with friends to promote the book, having a family, being able to blog about silly things and writing things and all sorts of things. I’m a little green around the edges.

Of course, I would never be able to do tell her that. I mean, how mortifying would it be to run up to her all like “HELLO MAGGIE STIEFVATER (I’M SORRY I BUTCHERED THE PRONUNCIATION OF YOUR LAST NAME) BUT I REALLY WANT TO BE YOU WHEN I GROW UP.”

Now, if that doesn’t scream please, I’d love a restraining order I don’t know what does.

So I’ll just camp out back here and idolize in secret.

But in any case, one particular blog post of hers (found here) stood out to me. Her newest book, Scorpio Races, was just published, and while all I know for sure is that she wrote it, it’s in Ireland, there are water horses, and cake is involved, I know it’s going to end up on my Kindle in short order. Because Ireland, and horses, and cake…this is a tangent. Anyways.

She blogged about how she wrote the book she always wanted to read, and how it took several iterations before it was the right book. And that just made me think, painfully, of my book. My sad little book, locked away in a binder in my closet, above the shoes and to the left of the purses.

All I’ve wanted to do is write. I know, I know, everyone says that. But I really do love to write. My first stories, as a wee little second-grader were about a beautiful girl named Christiana who had coal-black hair and blue eyes and a massive wardrobe, and twin boys named Matthew and Michael were always fighting over her. Unfortunately, all I ever really wrote about was her lavish outfit collection.

Later my stories veered into talking-animal tales with a heavyhanded Christian moral (hey, when you grow up in the Bible belt and spend six days a week in church, these things happen) and then into overdramatic soap opera-y fairy tales filled with gory battles, fainting lovers, and heroic girls in armor. It was fantastic. Then I had the obligatory “I am going to be a poet!” phase in high school. I’m pretty sure I burned those.

I also discovered the magical world of fanfiction when I was in the eighth grade. And I still haven’t left. But that’s another story.

But at some point…I lost my spark. I just couldn’t write stories of my own anymore. I couldn’t do it. Everything fell flat. The last thing I wrote was in ninth grade, when I wrote a third of a novel and pitched it when I realized it was a Tamora Pierce/Rurouni Kenshin hybrid and it just wasn’t my story.

It wasn’t until I read the long-awaited last book in one of my favorite series a few years later and was sorely disappointed in the ending. I remember clearly looking at myself in the mirror (shut up everyone reads in the bathroom) and thinking I can do this.
It took three years and five failed attempts before I finished my book. It had everything I wanted to read about- snappy banter, ruinous old boarding schools, angst-ridden orphans, odd magical abilities, pet weasels, funny names. I finished writing it (by hand) in June of 2008. I typed it up, did some editing…

…and left it.

It’s almost four years since I finished it. Almost seven since I started. And while I daydream about holding my book in my hands, I haven’t done anything about it. A dozen people have read pieces of it. Three have read it completely. All of them (even the snooty English department girl) agreed it’s not perfect, but that the story is good. It’s enjoyable. It’s readable. P says he can envision it on shelves. They have been nagging at me for years just try to get it published, please, just try.
And yet the poor little binder sits on my shelf still, unread and unloved.
When I read the entry about how long it took Maggie Stiefvater to shape Scorpio Races into the right book, at the right time, it made my stomach do little unhappy flipflops. I did that with Beatrice, shaping and reshaping and cutting characters and trimming scenes and starting over again and again. It needs work (especially in the last half) but I still think there’s something there.

And I think I have more books in me. For the longest time, while I’ve let my book languish, I’ve thought I was done, I’m all booked out, that I can’t do it. That I shouldn’t even try to get it published.

Well, maybe I can. Maybe this year I can finally finish editing Beatrice and send off a query letter or two (or twelve). Maybe I can write more books, different books, writing all the books I always wanted to read but could never find on shelves.

And in the meantime, I’m going to read Scorpio Races, give myself a nice post-book coma that all good books give, and hope that someday I can do that to someone else.

Currently listening to: “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars



I’m revamping my original novel again (the one I was supposed to write for NaNoWriMo…) and combining with an idea that popped into my head the first time I saw Deathly Hallows Part II, plus repeated viewings of Once Upon a Time and The Tenth Kingdom.

So, recap on the influences for this book:

Pan’s Labyrinth, Human Croquet, Once Upon a Time, The Tenth Kingdom, Deathly Hallows Part II, a Tumblr post about Disney characters becoming Hogwarts professors.

This should be interesting.

Ugh, this is what always happens to me. I come up with an original idea, start developing it…and then I hate it and give up.

I’ll never write a real book. 😦


I’m revamping my original novel again (the one I was supposed to write for NaNoWriMo…) and combining with an idea that popped into my head the first time I saw Deathly Hallows Part II, plus repeated viewings of Once Upon a Time and The Tenth Kingdom.

So, recap on the influences for this book:

Pan’s Labyrinth, Human Croquet, Once Upon a Time, The Tenth Kingdom, Deathly Hallows Part II, a Tumblr post about Disney characters becoming Hogwarts professors.

This should be interesting.