Back to basics

Well, hello! Happy Spring! Once again, it’s been so long—exactly four months—since I’ve dropped anything here. I’m determined to get back into the swing of things, starting with this post—which is why I’ve called it ‘Nuts and Bolts;’ it’s all about getting back down to basics and fundamentals, but with that comes a few stumbling blocks and things to work around.

Back in February of 2022, I lamented here that perhaps JAFF was not the genre for me, for various reasons. But I’ve decided that for now, I’m sticking with the familiar. Well, the sort of familiar; I’m writing a JA variation, but it’s not based on Pride & Prejudice. Instead, I’ve begun work on a contemporary Persuasion variation. As much as I love Darcy and Elizabeth, I was ready for change, ready for something/someone different, and since Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel, I’m going to spend a little time with Frederick and Anne. Soon, I hope to get a page started here that will feature tidbits about the new story—tentatively titled Once, Always.

My original goal was to have a book ready to release later this year, but I realized I was putting a little too much pressure on myself. Sometimes the pressure works and gets me moving, but I think my self-imposed deadline was a little too far-fetched, especially since my writing time is limited. Once I get further into it, I’ll have a better idea of what I’m looking at for a release date, and I’ll be sure to let you know.

So back to the nuts and bolts… As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, I suffer from a healthy dose of imposter syndrome. Along with that, I’ve come to realize I’m also dealing with some anxiety related to writing. I was hesitant to say anything about it here, because I thought, who wants to read about that? Who cares? But then I realized there are so many of us who struggle with anxiety on some level. Why not write about it? I’m not an anxious/nervous person at baseline, except in this one specific area of my life. It could be cathartic to acknowledge it and put it out there.

Most of it stems from the fact that I haven’t written anything new in years. It’s not really writer’s block—I have the story about 80% mapped out in my head and on paper. It’s more like I’ve forgotten how to write, and what my writing routine is. Because of this, I have an avoidance of actually sitting down and starting the writing. Just thinking about it is stressful. But instead of focusing on the anxiety and how it can cause me to freeze up—which happens a lot, and leads to serious procrastination—I’ve put some energy into finding ways to work around it, and get back to the nuts and bolts.

First, I’ve given myself permission to write badly, because it’s better than staring at a blank page. Doing so will help me to rediscover the creative flow and the joy that I felt when I started writing Dance the Tide all those years ago, with no intention to publish it or even put it online. I was writing because it was fun. What I write can be messy and imperfect—it certainly was back then! It only needs to be my best effort in the moment. Second, I need to focus on the things I do well—because I know there are certain things about writing at which I excel—and not on my weaknesses. Third, instead of sitting down at my laptop with the thought that I’ll write an entire chapter or thousands of words, I need to focus on smaller goals: getting an important scene written, or some key dialogue, or some descriptive bits. But small things add up to big things, right?

Lastly, having support is important, whether it comes from my friends and family outside of my ‘author world,’ or from readers or fellow authors. I have a writing buddy, which I love! She’s a good friend and fellow author who will check on me to make sure I’m being productive, and I’ll do the same for her. And of course, I need to remember that there are readers out there who enjoy my writing. I know they’re cheering me on and are looking forward to a new story from me. That keeps me motivated as well.

On to more interesting things! Something new you’ll see from me on social media:

Libraries. Lots and lots of libraries. It used to be that I was always at the library, sometimes to do work, other times just to browse or relax with a book, and then to visit with my kids all the time. I don’t have as much time to get there now, but I still love the atmosphere, the feeling of calmness and the quiet spaces. I’ll be regularly posting pictures of libraries from around the world and will share some information about each one. If you want to see one featured, let me know! Links to my social media can be found at the bottom of the home page.

I’ve also been participating in #FridayKiss on an author Facebook page (you may have seen a few posts), and will continue to share clips from Sanctuary, An Unexpected Harvest, and Dance the Tide when I can find a scene that fits the ‘word of the week.’ And as my writing progresses, I hope to share scenes from my new story.

Speaking of Once, Always…I’m finishing up some research, and hope to regularly post (on Instagram and Facebook) pictures of the setting for the story. It takes place primarily in Maine—I’m a fan of New England locations, as you know!—but there will also be some scenes from the West Coast. My next blog post will delve a bit more into the background of the story…the premise, the locations, and the songs that have given me inspiration this time around.

Thanks for visiting! Your patience and support is greatly appreciated!

Cheers and happy reading!


8 thoughts on “Back to basics

  1. I’m assuming this will be another modern story (the reference to Maine gave it away!) No Darcy or Elizabeth! 😢 oh well I’m sure I’ll cope! I’ve read a couple of stories based on Persuasion so I look forward to this one.
    I do hope you can overcome any anxiety and get on with your writing and I do look forward to your photos. I love the ‘Friday kiss’ quotes. Happy writing ✍️😄✍️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Glynis! Yes, this will be a contemporary story. I’m not quite ready to dive into Regency – that will introduce a whole new level of anxiety! lol Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Please don’t let that anxiety get you down. Your books are so wonderful that I own them in ebook and in real books. They even have their own special shelf 😉 I have lost count of how many times I have read them again. Darcy and Elizabeth will always be my favorite but Persuasion is a close second place. Looking forward to the new story. Keep writing and sharing your fun quotes and pictures please 🙏. Best Wishes, Michelle David

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t wait to read your modern take on Persuasion. I know I’ll already love the location. Anxiety certainly does strike us all at one point in life or another, so you’re definitely not alone. I hope this blog has, in fact, been cathartic for you. I hate to see anyone stressing, especially with something they love. You have a great audience who loves your body of work, and I have no doubt we’ll all love ‘Once, Always’ too. I do love that title. It really fits Persuasion. Only the best to you, Cat. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your ideas about “anxiety free” writing – write what comes easy to you, write little bits and pieces, and don’t worry if it’s not your best writing. You can always polish it later. And you know what? I might even apply your principles to other areas of my life.
    I don’t usually read fan fiction that’s not based on P&P, but knowing your skill I’m beginning to feel excited at the thought of a new story by you, no matter what it’s based on! Who knows, you might even turn me into a Persuasion lover 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mariana! I’m glad my ideas made sense. I just have to focus on small goals, I think. And about Persuasion…I’ll convert you yet! And you know you have a standing invitation for beta/advance reading. Always! Thanks for stopping by, hope you are well.


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