Write Your Story in 2023 with Me | #59

Doors are OPEN for the Working Title writing incubator. A year long, supportive community for you to embrace your identity as a writer and bring that incredible idea out of your mind and into the world. Listen in to learn all about what this offer includes – coaching, writing workshops and peer reviews, co-working, mindset training, and a lifelong approach to setting and achieving goals like never before. 

Visit WorkingTitleStudio.com for more info. We start November 1. 


[00:00:00] Happy Friday, hellions. Today I’m not bringing on a guest. I am sharing with you some mid-season epiphanies and updates and goings on from my brain and things I’ve been struggling with. Honestly, I struggle with selling. I struggle with telling you that I have cool things for sale, and you can correct me if that’s not your perception, but I think that I talk about my stuff for sale a lot. But people tell me that I don’t quite talk about it as much as I think I do.

[00:00:48] So this episode is, I’m gonna be telling you about something that is for sale and something that I think is fucking phenomenal. And it’s all about writing. It’s about writing a book. It’s about writing a book that you wish existed and that you want to see in the world, and that I am telling you right now, you can be the author of. You can write a book.

[00:01:21] I wrote a book. I was just a normal person. I was literally just an everyday person. And I wrote a blog post because I had an idea, and that idea resonated with over a million people. And my blog post went viral and that blog post was about millennials and how society has gas lit us into sticking with the status quo and the way that things have always been, even though it doesn’t make any fucking sense anymore, the world is not the same as it was 50 years ago, the world is not the same as it was when our parents were our age, and I had a lot of emotion around that. I had a lot of passion around that, and I put it on my blog and wow, it exploded.

[00:02:27] It exploded. Over a million views of that blog post. Huffington Post wanted to run it. But they don’t pay people. So I said No. Maybe they pay people now. I don’t think so. And a book agent reached out to me and said, This is a book proposal. You have the beginnings of a book proposal here. This could be a book and people would wanna read it. I was terrified. I was scared. I didn’t believe him, or I kind of believed him, but I thought it was too indulgent and I thought it was silly.

[00:03:08] I guess not silly, but it didn’t, I don’t know. It didn’t feel like the universe saying, Hey, you’re meant to write a book, but at the same time, it did. You know, like the Twitter verse opened up and just plopped this agent into my inbox and he helped me make a book proposal and that took me a year to write.

[00:03:36] I got really in my head about it. And I was like, What are all these chapters gonna be and what do I wanna talk about? And at first I wanted to fill it with like statistics. I wanted to do sort of like a by the numbers look at baby boomers and Gen X and millennials and talk about how we were different and similar, like statistically.

[00:03:56] and then I was like, I don’t wanna do that . That’s not what I wanna write. I just want to write it sort of in the style of my blog. I want to address myths and assumptions, and I want to share my thoughts. And so I did, and I think I revised what the book was gonna look like, two or three different times.

[00:04:20] I revised the title for a minute. I wanted to call it Millennials Are Killing It and my agent was like, No, you really have something with the Gaslighting of the millennial generation. And I was like, Alright, I’m gonna trust you cuz you sell books . And that just goes to show the power of listening to people who have done this before. You know, everybody’s new at something when they start it, but there’s so much opportunity to surround yourself with people who have done the thing before.

[00:04:54] People who know stuff about what you’re doing, about writing books and about writing book proposals and pitching publishers and negotiating contracts and what royalties are and all this stuff. So I’m like a little baby in book writing world and he, this agent, was an agent of the universe, honestly. He showed up and he guided me through the process of writing this book.

[00:05:31] First, just the proposal, right? Like the proposal took me a year. And a book proposal is essentially like a pitch for your book. If you’re writing non-fiction, you can get a book deal with just a proposal. If you’re writing fiction, you need a complete manuscript. That is something that I’ve learned from Twitter.

[00:05:51] You can learn so much stuff about writing and publishing and all this stuff from all over the internet, and Twitter’s actually a great place for the writing community and like help is literally all around you. This, it’s 2022. You can figure out how to do anything. You can figure out how to install tile.

[00:06:19] You can figure out how to build stuff. Like YouTube has everything. I learned how to outline a novel on with a YouTube video. It’s great. I love it. It’s very helpful, because now I’m writing novels like, Ooh, ooh, a pivot . And I just wanna point out that sometimes the universe opens up and says, That idea that you have is good and you should write it, and I’m here right now to tell you that I think the idea that you have for a book is good, and I think that you should write it and I can help you write it.

[00:06:59] That’s what I’m offering right now. That’s, that’s the new thing. That is the epiphany that I have had is that I let myself decide that I work with writers.

[00:07:15] And of course I love the general creative thing. I’m not gonna stop talking about creativity in general and passion in general. Passion Pacers is not going anywhere. That is still a way to work with me on more general creative stuff and just sort of getting immersed in your passion and your hobbies, but, When I told myself, when I let myself say, when I got really quiet and listened to my intuition, which I’m teaching you to do all the time, my intuition brought me back to writing.

[00:07:57] And writing is something that I have done my entire life. My first creative projects as a human being were written. When I was very young, I remember making a newspaper in the basement of my childhood home on notebook paper with a blue crayon. And I drew the outline of our county shape because we had– it’s Medina County, if you wanna look that up, it just looks like a little like set of three stairs. It’s very easy to draw. And I was like, That’s Medina County.

[00:08:34] And so I made a little newspaper and I don’t remember what I wrote. I was just like, Here’s the weather today, blah, blah, blah. I was bringing a message somewhere and that was fun for me. And I still have all these books from childhood that I wrote or narrated to my mom and she wrote where I cut out pictures from magazines or you know, told a story about my family and my school. Things like that. I always loved writing.

[00:09:08] I always excelled in English and language arts classes and like I loved learning about all the different essays. Do you remember that in school when we, you could write a persuasive essay or a compare and contrast essay or a research paper, I loved that there were so many different ways to write.

[00:09:34] and there’s creative writing and there’s nonfiction writing, or there’s historical fiction where you take something that really happened, but you put a creative packaging on it. You know, you tell it in a narrative way. There’s memoir and, and it took me a while to even think that I would like to write a memoir, but that’s been pressing on me as well, is that I’m gonna be working on a memoir.

[00:10:10] And for the longest time I was like, Well, I’m not important. How can I write a memoir? Memoirs are for people who are important, like a politician writes a memoir, or a famous actress writes a memoir, right? Caitlin Fisher, person who wrote one viral blog one time, Do I get to write a memoir? And then I think about the books that I’ve read. And I really like memoirs. I love just reading little pieces of someone’s life. And there’s a really creative approach to memoir as well where you get to decide which parts of your life fit together to tell a story.

[00:11:04] Because a memoir is not like, Just a biography where you’re like, I was born then I did some stuff and here’s, here’s early childhood and middle childhood, and here’s puberty. And then I was a teenager and here’s my marriage and then I had a baby and blah, blah, blah. My career and all this stuff. It doesn’t have to go in any kind of order. Memoirs are really creative and juicy. My memoir is called Fat Like Grandma, and it is about my relationship with my body and the ways that that was shaped by my mother and her beliefs about body image that came from her mother.

[00:11:53] And so it’s gonna talk, it’s gonna be about my life, but it’s also gonna talk about generational trauma and it’s gonna talk about being a daughter, and it’s gonna talk about knowing objectively that my mom obviously had a traumatic childhood. So I know that my grandma was not probably the best mother, but reconciling that with the fact that she was a really good grandmother.

[00:12:22] And what does that mean? Because my mom would never talk about her childhood, so I have to speculate.

[00:12:31] And all those same themes are in my novels that I’m writing. I’m working on a sci-fi trilogy about someone who invents time travel to go back and change her own childhood, and she accepts the fact that it might mean that if she heals her mother’s trauma, she might never be born. And so she goes back in time and she’s interacting with her mother’s younger self, and she’s falling in love with someone who’s, out of her time and she’s, she’s confused and she doesn’t know if she’s gonna go back to her regular time or if she should stay on her mission, and all sorts of shit is coming up. And it’s so much fun because I’m taking something very real to me, the fact that I had a bad traumatic childhood full of neglect and emotional abuse and fat shaming, like I had a bad childhood.

[00:13:42] And I’m, It’s like a ball at clay, right? It’s a big lump of clay, and I’m spinning it and I’m moving it. And I love videos of people making pottery, by the way, because I love the way that like with barely any touch to that clay on the wheel, you can change so much of it. Like just give it like a little bit of pressure and it can go from a tall vase to a shallow bowl.

[00:14:15] And stories are like that. Writing is like that for me. How do you wanna tell this story? Do you wanna tell it in a narrative way, beginning, middle, end, or do you wanna start in the middle and then do a flashback? How much fiction, do you wanna put in it? Do you want to take your real world pain and put it into a dragon and a knight and a princess?

[00:14:41] And all of this is coming around to say that I think that storytelling is hugely powerful for healing, for expression. For getting to know yourself on a totally new level, and there’s a sense of stewardship that comes with this story too. You have it. It’s in your hands, it’s in your heart.

[00:15:13] This story lives in your spirit. How are you gonna get it out? Does it wanna come out? Does it wanna come out in certain ways? And then how you bring that story out is a craft. It’s an art form. It’s gorgeous, and every single person listening to this has a story. Something resonates within you when I’m talking about these stories.

[00:15:47] and you might not trust it , but if it’s very small and kind of whispering to you, that’s your intuition. And if you have been having dreams or your day dreams kind of have you drift to a certain memory lately, that’s your intuition. Something is pushing on you just a little to bring that story into reality, and that’s what I’m offering you is I’m offering you a place to bring that story out of you, out of your mind, your spirit, out of the deep parts of you where you don’t have to think about it.

[00:16:40] And we’re gonna yank that thing out. Sometimes gently. We don’t always have to yank, It’s not like a lawnmower, but sometimes, sometimes we might have to pull a little harder. And so I’m gonna describe what this experience, this container that we are going to be in together is going to look like.

[00:17:02] So it’s called Working Title, and first of all, I need to just give a shout out to my friend Nell, who came up with that name because I had been struggling to name it, and publicly so. I was just posting about it and calling it the writing thing or the writer thing because I knew it was incredible and I knew it was something that was gonna change a lot of people’s lives. And I know, I absolutely know that this experience is going to get more books into bookstores. This is gonna make books, we’re gonna make books in this place, and it’s… I’m gonna cry about it. We’re making books, y’all. We’re writing books and we’re stewarding stories and we are doing really important, important stuff.

[00:17:59] So what this is gonna look like is you’re gonna join working title this month in October, 2022. Once we get about, I think our first 10 people in the doors, we’re gonna start the community aspect of it. And it’s a group program. So there will be other people alongside you who are also working on their books, their stories.

[00:18:28] Now when I say book, it doesn’t have to be like a traditional book. Maybe you wanna write an ebook, maybe you want to make a graphic novel. Maybe it’s just in, in some other container, but I’m gonna call it a book or a story. So we’re gonna kick off when we get our first 10 founding members in this container, in this experience together.

[00:18:52] And initially I wanted to hit the ground running and start like, Yeah, we’re gonna write, we’re gonna write these books like right away. But I, I don’t think that’s right. I think we need a bit of a slow build, and this is 12 months long because it is a restful, easeful space. It is a place where your book has time to incubate, and it is not a bootcamp.

[00:19:26] It is not getting a decade’s worth of effort out of you in one year. I don’t like programs like that because that’s not how our brains work, especially neuro divergent brains.

[00:19:40] Time doesn’t always work in a linear way in a neurodiverse brain. So I wanted to make sure that this, this container, this community, this group project that we are in, has the elasticity for rest full times and for focused times. So when we kick off, Which is a very actiony word. It’s gonna be more of like a, a gentle sway.

[00:20:13] Like we’re all gonna get in some cozy hammocks, and we’re just gonna talk together for a little while. We’re just going to join together and talk about the stories that we want to bring into the world and what we’d like them to look like. We’re gonna explore why they’re important. And we’re also gonna spend some time reading because like if I wanna write a memoir, I wanna read a few memoirs that are maybe comparable to what I’m doing and get a feel for different ways that a memoir can be written and decide how I want mine to look.

[00:20:54] Because like I said, there’s no one way to bring a story into the world. They are so malleable and just, you can’t see me, but I’m making like clay hands. I’m back on that Clay wheel. Stories are alive, I think. I think they’re alive and I think giving them the space to breathe.

[00:21:19] You know, like, let’s pretend they’re a bottle of wine. We’re decorking them. When you join in October and we are letting them sort of aerate, we’re sniffing the bouquet of the story.

[00:21:37] And honestly, because November to…. Let’s say mid-November to like January 1st is stressed out holiday time. I’m not gonna show up and be like, Great. Write a book. Write a book in the middle of Christmas .

[00:21:52] So the actual focused writing part where we like get down to brass tacks and set some goals and stay accountable to those goals and all that cool stuff that’s gonna happen in January. For several reasons, because that is the place, that is the time of year where we are used to taking a big deep breath and setting a big goal.

[00:22:22] And what’s gonna be different this year is that you are in a container, a group, an experience, a journey, a guided process. That you’re not gonna be able to forget about in two weeks. Okay? This isn’t going to the gym on January 1st. This is real accountability and real space for you to sculpt your self concept as a writer.

[00:22:53] If you are still listening to this episode, it’s because you want to write a book. If you have zero interest in writing, you have turned this off by now because I am just talking to the writers. We’re like 23 minutes in, I’m talking to a writer and it’s nice to meet you. I’m also a writer, and so you’re here because you’re a kindred fucking spirit and you have a story to tell.

[00:23:21] So in January, we are going to kick off the first of two 15 week sessions within our year together where we’re gonna have trainings. So there’s a training component where I will be teaching you a skill. and that skill could look like habit building, could look like time management, could look like recognizing negative thoughts.

[00:23:50] But we’re gonna be skill building. And this, this skills component has different phases. So the 15 weeks: in our first week, we’re just gonna be planning. So we’re gonna talk about how to make a plan for 90 day action steps. And that’s week one. Week two, three, and four is your habit building phase because it takes 21 days to establish a habit that is 50/ 50 with your preexisting habit.

[00:24:28] So it’s not all the way there yet, but you have at least committed to it so that your body and brain recognize that habit. You still have to actively choose it, but we spend three weeks creating a writing habit. Then we have four weeks of self concepting, because in those three weeks when you’re building your writing habit, you’re gonna be having a bunch of thoughts.

[00:24:54] And this is why this container works, because this program as a coaching program with me as your coach, catches you when you would normally freak out and quit. Okay? This program, if you show up, is freak out and quit proof.

[00:25:16] So for four weeks, we’re doing self concepting where all those little self sabotage thoughts like, Oh, I shouldn’t write this. I’m a bad writer. Who am I to even do this? My favorite when I was writing a book was, Who let me write a book? Hilarious. A publisher let me write a book because they wanted to sell the book. That’s pretty cool. I’m letting you write a book. So if you ever ask me who let me write a book, it’s gonna be Caitlin. Caitlin let me write a book and I’m okay with that.

[00:25:51] So after our four weeks of self concepting, where we are coaching through those negative thoughts, all those shitty little things, that imposter syndrome is whispering in your ear. Then we go into my favorite phase, which is five weeks of the ass kicking phase.

[00:26:08] This is where we continue to build an unshakable self concept in yourself as a writer. So if you are still with me here, if you’re still listening and you’re like, I don’t think of myself as a writer, that will not be true anymore because you will think of yourself as a writer because we’re gonna identify the parts of you that are throwing up all of these weird qualifications for what it means to be a writer in that self-concept phase. And in this ass kicking phase, the ass kicking phase is also where we’re gonna really hone in on those habits. And it’s sort of like the last stretch, five weeks, and then we have two weeks of evaluation.

[00:26:54] And evaluation doesn’t just look like I achieved my goal or I didn’t achieve my goal. This is where we’re going to actually evaluate the whole process. From the planning phase all the way through. So what was really great about your plan? Did you stay on plan? What obstacles came up and how did you deal with them, et cetera. The cool thing about this evaluation phase is that it’s gonna help you the next time we go through this 15 week focused period, because there’s two of them in your year long experience.

[00:27:31] So right, you’re gonna join in October. We’re gonna start spending some time together. We’re going to start reading things in our genre. We’re gonna start just talking about the stories, giving them room to breathe and come out in play, and be in a safe space while we get to know each other and build trust.

[00:27:53] Another great thing for writing accountability is having peer review. So people who are there doing it with you and who you trust to read or hear your material and give you honest feedback and critique to make it better. And that is why there’s going to be a workshop component where depending on how many people we have, we’re going to split into small groups where you will be able to send out your writing and/ or read your writing in this group and receive feedback, and that workshop component is going to uplevel your writing.

[00:28:35] The coaching components are going to uplevel your self concepting, and the workshops are going to up level your writing. Cool. So we have training and teacher teaching. We have the workshop. There is a community group. It will be held on Facebook for now because that is the place where most of my clients are happy staying. You can ask questions in there, use your memes about books, like anything, and it’s a community. It’s a place where we hang out and the vibe is very chill and it’s awesome in there.

[00:29:15] So we have teaching, we have workshop, we have community. There’s also co-working. So this is a designated time where there will be a hosted Zoom call where you can drop in and work on your writing project. It’s, there’s no time that you have to be there. It’s not like we start at this time on the dot, There’s not really much talking.

[00:29:36] We might just say hi at the beginning, but it’s drop in and work and the act of having other people on the call with you. This is called body doubling. If you are familiar with that from an ADHD or neuro divergent perspective, just having someone sort of doing parallel play or parallel work to you can help keep you on task.

[00:29:57] And so with those co-working sessions, you will have some pre designated time to drop in and work on your project because designated time and time management around that habit building is really key. And finally, there will be coaching. in addition to workshop time, which is going to be mostly based around your peers and their feedback.

[00:30:17] Coaching is time to ask me questions about writing, about self-concept as a writer, about imposter syndrome and obstacles and roadblocks and all this stuff. So those coaching calls are going to be a time where you have access to me to get coached through your writing questions, concerns, issues, anything.

[00:30:41] This program is gonna be incredible. It has developed from the 90 day goal glow up that I ran earlier this year. So this 15 week system is the 90 day goal glow up. It’s just getting its own glow up and has breathed into a year long container. So it’s 52 weeks in a year. I’m gonna give myself two weeks off coaching because vacation time is important.

[00:31:14] So there’s gonna be 50 weeks of coaching. I think the workshops will be monthly, possibly twice a month. The co-working is weekly, the coaching is weekly. The group is there constantly. And then so of those 50 weeks, 30 of them will have this guided training curriculum process where we go through that 15 week program together.

[00:31:50] And then the rest of the time is sort of that breathing room time, That time where you will be integrating what you have learned, planning for your next 15 week focus. and it’s just going to be such a supportive and nurturing environment for a book to come to life. And what I love about it is that it’s not hustle, it’s not bootcamp.

[00:32:18] It is a really comfortable pace that you can dial up or down depending on your needs. And because I’m autistic and I have ADHD and mental illness, and I’m disabled, it’s low spoons friendly, so you don’t have to show up a hundred percent. You just have to try. You have to come and learn and do as much as you can, and some weeks you’re not gonna be all the way there. And that’s fine because we’re human being.

[00:32:53] So you are hearing this episode on October 7th, and the doors are open. You can go to WorkingTitleStudio.com to learn more about it, to see examples of what other people have done. Actually, fuck that. I’m gonna tell you what other people have done. So the first time I’ve run this was the 90 day goal glow up.

[00:33:20] We had three people, I’m gonna be honest, we had three people, and that sounds very small, but it was very helpful and supportive to run that as sort of a beta testing experience to make sure that this approach and program worked and it did. So of those three people, two of them, were able to show up and use the trainings and coachings consistently.

[00:33:51] The other one had some life circumstances, so I am hopeful that they will be able to join us and get back to the project that they were working on because it sounded very, very cool . So, hey, if you’re listening, I will see you in working title.

[00:34:08] So one person was writing an online course. And they wrote it. They created an entire online course in this 90 day span. And what’s fun about that is that we actually used to do one-on-one coach work. So I used to coach this person individually and they came up with the idea for this course about six months before launching it. and then they had a bunch of life shit happen.

[00:34:37] Like they sold a house, they bought a house, they moved across the country, all this stuff. So like, life was kind of chaotic. And then during the Glow Up program, they really honed in on it and were like, All right, we’re gonna get this done. I’m gonna make it in 90 days. And life continued to, to just throw them shit storm after shit storm, like honestly.

[00:35:01] I’m sure that they will tell you about it. It’s Ash. So when you join, Ask Ash for the story. The cool thing is though, that they did it. They wrote the whole course. They launched the course, and they would not have been able to do it if it wasn’t for the accountability and the regular check-ins and time spent together that this container provided. 100%.

[00:35:32] It would just be a great idea that they had, and that’s why this program is so beneficial, because you have a great idea. You do. I know that you do. It’s been over half an hour and you’re still here. You have a great idea and you want to write it down and you’re scared.

[00:35:54] I will make you not scared of it or at the very least, I will help you to do it scared cuz I wrote a book scared and I did not die. Did not die. Can confirm I’m alive.

[00:36:09] Our other participant in Glow Up started out wanting to work on a memoir, which is actually why my brain has been so memoir. Because I’ve been thinking about this person a lot and she wanted to write about some really heavy topics from her own childhood trauma, and she found as she was working on them, That they, you know, first she started noticing which topics were a little too heavy and needed more time and healing and therapy before she could write about them.

[00:36:47] So she was sort of sorting them into two piles and working on the pile of stories that felt comfortable. But after spending some time with them, even those stories were too heavy right now. Just too much. And that’s okay. And that’s why I teach that goals are adjustable. And that’s why within these 15 week focused sessions, there’s a 30, 60, 90 day check in.

[00:37:13] If at 30 days you’re like, This is too much. I need to change my goal. That’s what the 30 day check in is for. It’s not there to shame you for not being done. It’s there to give you an opportunity to acknowledge what’s going. and what’s not going right, and it didn’t feel comfortable and safe to her to be working on these stories.

[00:37:35] And so she was able to pivot and work on something else instead, and that felt better. But the win here is that she didn’t beat herself up over it. Normally this would’ve caused a spiral, a panic, a, why did I think I could try and do this? A, my stories don’t matter. I’m broken. All these terrible things that you can believe about yourself.

[00:38:04] And if you’re listening, no, you’re not. You’re not broken. Those were hyperbolic examples.

[00:38:13] but she shifted her focus and felt empowered in that because the important thing that you get from this mindset coaching and self-concept coaching is that you don’t have to feel shame about basically anything, and you get to make decisions from a place of power instead of fear and panic.

[00:38:42] I have been a writer all my life. I’m a published author. I’ve maintained my own blog for 10 years. I’m a freelance writer. I’m a journalist for a queer publication, and they continue to pay me to write articles. I’m a writer. And if you are a writer or you want to be, but don’t believe that you are yet working title is the supportive place where you will come into that identity and self-concept.

[00:39:26] Without a doubt, I’m here to support you every step of the way, and I can’t wait to see you. So go to working title studio.com to learn more and to sign up this month so that we can have an awesome party and hang out and get to know everybody before we kick off. Let’s call it November 1st. Do we wanna call it November 1st?

[00:39:55] What day of the week is that? So Tuesday, That sounds great. Tuesday, November 1st, we’re fucking starting. So go buy this because you want it or you would not still be listening to this.

Published by Caitlin

Caitlin writes and coaches about trauma recovery, relationships, motivation and confidence, self-love, queer identity, and social justice. They are the author of The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation. Find their work at caitlinlizfisher.com

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