I’m on a Journey

Well. It happened. Just as I predicted. The Twitter stalker escalated into real life. I actually got chased down in a car on Friday afternoon by a person who I never had a problem with, used to consider a “friend,” and wrote about quite well considering everything. Sigh. See what I mean about these small town people faking their values, morals, and so-called integrity? Yeah.

As per usual, I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on behind my back. I almost never hear anything true about myself from the rumormill. People just make shit up because they’re bored and they want to hurt other people. I have no respect for people who talk about me behind my back. I have no respect for people who gossip and spread malicious lies about me or ANYONE at all. I have no respect for people who dismiss every single thing I have to say about my own life because they think they know me better than I know me. Like, how dare you you assume to understand my perspective? We aren’t even from the same planet, ya’ll. South Dakota and Washington, D.C. could not be more different. We view the world in different ways. We are not on the same page. We are not on the same planet.

The truth is… whatever they have going on over there isn’t about the book anymore. I took all the right actions and did the things I was supposed to do. I stopped publishing the stories, took them offline several times, took them to workshop, got non-biased feedback from strangers who can be objective, re-published a heavily-edited, condensed version that got better feedback, and took it offline again for more edits. I speak highly of the establishment in conversation with others and often refer back to my own set of nostalgic memories. I’m not using real names. I’m not writing “revenge stories.” I’m not even publishing anything in public anymore.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on Me. I’ve been taking classes in journalism, marketing, advertising, creative writing, business, art, theatre, dance. All the things. I deleted my Facebook account. I work out and stay hydrated. I journal, meditate, and do yoga. I avoid interacting with toxic townies. I travel to exciting places. I work on building a new career. I work on other projects. I try not to drink but I don’t always win that battle every day. I’m trying, but anyone who struggles with drinking will tell you it doesn’t happen overnight. The point is: I’m working on it. I’m doing my thing. I’m highly aware of how many toxic people exist in my immediate vicinity. I do my best to avoid them.

This doesn’t change my memories, my feelings, my thoughts, my stories, my characters. I heard your screeching, ignorant, petty “feedback,” which absolutely does not follow the rules of Constructive Criticism because it’s basically just “StOp BeInG sO cRaZy!” I’m trying to adjust course on my book. Yeah, I have tons of stories about The Rez, and Pierre and Yankton and Sioux Falls and Sioux City and random little tiny towns in Nebraska that no one has ever heard of. I have stories on stories about Mad Dog. I have stories about shitty bars I worked in. I have stories about characters I met in those same shitty bars. I have all sorts of things up my sleeve!

Does anyone care? No! Let’s all pretend I’m the same person I was four years ago because someone else thinks they know me better than me. They acted like assholes and now they’re mad that I’m writing about them as assholes. Don’t like it? Fine. Write your own book. I’d love to see you match the ten years of work I’ve dedicated to my project. Go ahead. Do it. Write your own version of Bloody Mary’s that’s better than mine. Write about how great you are and how everyone loves you and how your shit doesn’t stink. Use it to talk about how much you hate Betsey Horton. And please, use my real name so I can sue you for defamation of character later. I would love that more than anything.

I don’t know what to say to these people anymore. I am a very obvious person. I put myself right the fuck out there. What you see is what you get. People who know me, know me. They believe me. They support me. As far as I can tell, the people in this town don’t support anyone or anything. They just tear each other down constantly like the bucket of crabs they are. Every time I eavesdrop in a public place around here, there is someone going down a list of people and just ripping them a new one. It’s boring. And then they have the nerve to get upset when that gets reflected back at them by an “outsider” who has a different perspective on the town?

It’s true. I am an outsider. I’m not from a small town, or South Dakota, or even the Midwest. This place might as well be a different planet as far as I’m concerned. I observe it from my perspective. I don’t try to pretend otherwise. I am direct and upfront. I do not need to be fake or pretend to be nice to others so I can use whatever they say against them later. That’s what people around here to. I approach my surroundings with genuine curiosity and interest. I am not welcomed, I am not treated with any kind of decency or respect, and yet I am constantly told by the same people treating me like garbage that they are “So nice and friendly and helpful to strangers and have so many morals and values blah blah blah.” Um, okay, so if that’s really the case, why am I not observing that behavior out in the wild? Why do I only ever see and experience backstabbing?

Anyway, so, yeah. I moved on with my life and they didn’t. It is what it is. I’m still going to write my book because I’ve done actual marketing research on it for class and I know there’s an audience. I don’t care if they’re mad. They can keep behaving the exact same way they are behaving. I have no respect for any of them and I don’t take them seriously. That’s how they treat me, so why would I treat them any better? They don’t deserve it, right? They’re asking for it, right? They’re the ones who are crazy. I’m over here in my own world, doing my work, doing the therapies, trying to get my life in order, and they are… *checks notes* making fake twitter accounts to threaten me, taking screenshots of everything I post, chasing me down in cars, and screaming at me to go kill myself in broad daylight.

Yeah, and you wonder why I write these silly little scripts and stories making fun of you? Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

And in the end, they learned nothing. I Leveled Up and became the successful writer I was always destined to be. Small Town Haters stayed Big Mad. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Sad face.

The End.

I’m Right and All of You are Wrong

Yesterday I was sitting in a local establishment having lunch when suddenly, a wild alumnus appeared. He went to school here in the 90’s and started sharing his memories with those of us who happened to be sitting at the bar. I listened for awhile before I began to engage. I asked him what his favorite memory of his time in town was.

“Hands down… THE CAST OF CHARACTERS!”

“Oh? Really? Would you read a book about your beloved cast of characters and all the crazy stories floating around about the town?”

“Without a doubt!”

So there you have it. Quick! Let me just add that person to my ever-growing list of random people I’ve met downtown who don’t care about stupid, local, made-up drama! How many does that make now? Oh, not much. Just a couple hundred. Maybe a couple thousand. Idk. What do my website stats say? That’s what I go off of because everyone knows social media is for spying and data collection.

During this conversation, I found myself telling him the story of how I came to know this Crazy Cast of Characters. I detailed some of the stories I’d discovered about the town and one character in particular (Mad Dog, obviously). As I was telling this story, I realized once again that yes, I really do have something special here. My list of characters is in the hundreds at this point. I’ve got stories on stories on stories, some of which are mostly true. And then it hit me: I’ve invested almost ten years of my life into collecting these stories. I didn’t have to do this. I could’ve left South Dakota behind forever. But I didn’t. I went out and explored it and got to know it. I put in the time, the work, the effort.

Does anyone even stop to consider for one moment that I am literally the only person in the history of ever to acquire an interview with Mad Dog, a person who is literally famous in South Dakota history? No!!!!! No one thinks about any of this!!! They just want their latest target to beat up on because all they care about is DrAmA.

Did this random person mention Bloody Mary’s? OBVIOUSLY! They always do! Always! They always say it was their favorite bar. They say it was SPECIAL! So here we are again with me correctly identifying the significance of this location after many conversations with many former residents from different decades. Turns out, it’s NOT “just another bar.” The only people saying that are the asshole bartenders and their asshole friends who are being manipulated by the asshole owner into hating me. Why?

Because ?????????????

Why ARE they so pissed off, anyway? No one knows! I confronted him right at the start. I told him I was writing this book. I asked him permission to write about Bloody Mary’s specifically. He said he did not care what I wrote as long as I did not use his real name. Okay, no real names! Got it! Then what happens? He decides to turn around and act like this conversation never happened so he and his shitty little friends can play their absolutely insane mind games with me. All of it was a set-up. They set me up to kick me out. They set me up to get arrested. They set me up to run me out of my apartment. They set me up to write some of those nasty stories and social media posts. They set me up to ruin my reputation. I recorded all of it while it was happening in real time. You can’t gaslight me, motherfuckers! I keep multiple diaries!

I just keep wondering to myself…

Why?

Seriously, why?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I just know that I’m dealing with a bunch of alcoholic narcissists who spend their free time collecting screenshots so they can ruin other people’s lives for fun. Don’t believe me? Haha, well, you should see the screenshots I took a few weeks ago when some random troll came out of the woodwork on Twitter to threaten me. They made a fake account, followed a bunch of big publishing houses, the New York Times, and AWP, and then threatened to start posting unflattering screenshots in order to destroy my career. I actually laughed out loud when I saw this.

Really, bro?

Okay, let me explain something to you: No one cares.

Literally.

No one cares!

You are an anonymous troll account set up for the sole purpose of harassing and intimidating someone into silence. That doesn’t make you look good. In fact, it makes you look like a crazy, unhinged stalker. You’ve already lost, bro. Back off.

Oh, and coming after me about my drinking habits? Wow. That is NONE of your business. At all! That’s between me, myself, and my higher power. You do not get to run commentary on that. In fact, doing so makes you look like an even bigger asshole since I’ve regularly tweeted about my struggles with alcohol and have collected some followers because of that specifically.

What else were they talking about? LOL well they admitted to stalking The Publisher. Seriously! They were trying to say whatever about him that isn’t true because……. jealousy, I guess? They’re mad that someone in a position of power is supporting my writing instead of trying to destroy my career, ruin my reputation, and break me down psychologically into nothing? I don’t know!!!!!!

The whole thing was crazy. I literally looked at the account and said to myself, “Wow, whoever this person is is actually crazy. Some totally anonymous person just admitted to me that they have been recording me without my permission, obsessively stalking my social media looking for anything they can use against me, and following me to another town to watch my interactions with other people with the specific intention of harming me! WOW!!!!! Whereas I’m wandering around SD aimlessly looking for interesting stories and characters to write about while actively advertising myself! Yeah! This is right up there with telling me to go kill myself in broad daylight while walking down the sidewalk! That’s CRAZY!!!! The way these people are acting right now is literally unhinged. Like, I literally live at home with my parents. I don’t even have a life for them to ruin anymore!”

Then I reported them and blocked them, obviously. Now I’ve got screenshots to send to my lawyer too! Along with all of the diaries I’ve been keeping this entire time to prove that I am the subject of undeserved, insane levels of harassment. Good luck with whatever your plan is, guys. I have a pretty strong feeling it hasn’t been thought out beyond “ScReEnShOtS!!!! HeRp DeRp DeRp!!!!!!!!!”

The account is gone now, as it should be. Unfortunately, I have no doubt another will come along in its place, which is really sad. I can’t even take this seriously anymore. I’m out there in the world collecting stories and using various marketing tactics to promote said stories and collect data on my potential audience. I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Some people may not see what I do as a job, but I do. Writing is my job, my life, my passion, my everything. True, I haven’t gotten paid for it… yet. But I will. I know that. People want to read my books. My audience is out there, ready and waiting for me to climb out of the hole of depression and self-destructive patterns and release the books!

So there you have it, folks. I’m right and all of these assholes are wrong. They’re wrong. They’re so wrong about everything all the time. They’re wrong about my intentions. They’re wrong about my personality. They’re wrong about my life story. They’re wrong about my blog, my books, my stories, everything. They’re just flat-out wrong. Especially when they say really dumb shit like “Your scripts have ToO mUcH dIaLoGuE!” Yeah, bitch. They’re supposed to be all dialogue. That’s literally what a SCRIPT is. Are you really that fucking stupid? Unfortunately, yes. Yes you are. And then you have the audacity to say, “YoU nEvEr LiStEn To AnYoNe!” Yeah, no. I definitely heard you. I just don’t think you’re aware of how fucking stupid you actually sound right now. No one wants to listen to you, especially not me. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to go chat with real writers, editors, and publishers who actually know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Yet these assholes still have the audacity to come out anonymously online and act entitled to tell my story for me as if they are the real expect because of their carefully-curated collection of ScReEnShOtS. What a bunch of fucking losers. Get a real hobby. Seriously. There is more to life than your stupid small town drama. There is a whole world out there waiting for you! Go explore it and get some perspective! Then maybe you’ll understand what it is I actually do.

I’m so tired of this shit, you guys. So tired. I just want it to stop. I’m sorry you don’t like me. I’m sorry you’ve taken in upon yourselves to try to ruin my life. I’m sorry you live in a world where the highlight of your week is destroying another person’s life with ScReEnShOtS. I feel sorry for you. I really do. I hope against all hope that someday you grow the fuck up and stop acting like you are in high school. I doubt it will happen, but I just want you to know that I’m sending you good vibes. Mostly because I want your money when the books come out. But also because you’re sad and lame and stupid and like, wow. Just wow. You seriously need to find a hobby other than gossiping and spreading rumors. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel about the world once you turn all that energy back on yourself and use it to Level Up.

So this is a fun breakthrough to have! I credit this to the Reiki I had done last week. I’ve been trying to break through this block for over a year. I couldn’t get to it because I was hurting so much from all of the psychological terrorism these people have been using against me for the last few years. It hurts to put myself out there in the world and get attacked repeatedly for it. No, I can’t JuSt GeT oVeR iT. I fell in love with this town, the characters, and the stories. What happened at Bloody Mary’s broke my heart. It did. No one gets to tell me that I’m not allowed to feel that way. No one gets to decide they didn’t hurt me to avoid accountability for their actions. I feel what I fucking feel and I had to go through a lot of healing and therapy to get to the point I’m at right now. You don’t get to say that didn’t happen, Anonymous Twitter Troll. You don’t get to to tell my story for me. I tell my story for me. So back the fuck off!

I just want to write this book. That’s all I want. I just want to whip it into shape and get it into its final form. I want it out in the world making money. I earned it. I deserve it. I went through literal hell to write it. I put in the time, the effort, the work. This is my life and none of these people get to ruin it with their petty bullshit.

I’m over it. I’m right and all of them are wrong. That’s it. That’s The End.

Now go take a bunch of ScReEnShOtS of this post and shove them up your ass.

The Revival

Here I am again, back in Verm. You all know how thrilled I am about that fact. Couldn’t be happier to be surrounded by all these ridiculous people, lol. It’s okay. It doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore. Who are they again? Where the hell are we? Does this place even really exist? I just saw a campaign online to unite the Dakotas as one and give Washington, D.C. statehood. Even East Coasters don’t see South Dakota as a legitimate state. Why the fuck does it matter what any of this small town trash thinks?

Mental Scripts Matter. This is now what goes through my head every time I walk through downtown. Much better than hating myself because a bunch of nobodies are mad that I speak my mind without fear, stand up for myself, and don’t take shit from other people. Oh, and I dress better than all of them combined. So. There is that. I don’t actually have to put up with disrespect from strangers on the street of LiStEn to anyone who just wants to be negative and tear me down. I am free just to be me. And I’m okay with that. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

Just spent another week on the East Coast thanks to my train pass. I was originally going to use it to go down South, but that didn’t work out because of Covid. Instead I used the first half of my pass (10 segments/30 days) to visit family in Cleveland and go to D.C. I used the second half to go to New York City, visit my older sister, and spend an extra night in DC. After 3 weeks on the road, I can honestly saying I am feeling 1000% better than I was in all the months prior to this trip. I like being home, around my family, walking around the city, eating delicious food, shopping, and interacting with people who actually know how to behave in public. Much better than last year, when I was trapped in a house for months on end and wandered a sad, empty, apocalyptic world when I did leave. 2020/21 sucked. 0/10, would not live through another pandemic again. As if I have any control over that at all, lol.

What did I do in NYC? Well, I went to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which is based on my favourite movie of all time. it was Spectacular Spectacular! Amazing. Loved it. I will write about it on my new blog, which I am definitely trying to work on, lol. But yes, exactly the sort of inspiration I was looking for after two years of this miserable pandemic bs. I am so grateful I had the experience to see it. It was just… Spectacular, Spectacular!

I spent a lot of time just wandering around watching people. I do that a lot when I’m in cities. I miss diversity. I miss seeing different people every single day. New looks, new outfits, new vibes, new neighborhoods, new parties, new events, new activities, new, new, always new. I hate being stuck in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where I have to see the same stupid people every day. They never change, they never get better, and they never get over whatever dumb bullshit from ten years ago. They just get progressively nastier as time goes on. It’s… really sad and depressing, to be honest with you. After I finally escape from here, I never want to live in another small town in the middle of nowhere ever again. City life is the life for me.

I collected a lot of stories too, which was good. I didn’t get as much writing done as I’d hoped, but that’s fine. The important thing is that I am feeling happy, refreshed, revived, and finally alive again. As I said in my last post, I hope I can carry this energy through so I can finish my books, start my new blog, and work towards having a steady income again. I want to be productive and happy. I want to work. I want to live my life. I am ready to step out of the haze of my pre-pandemic life and become the person I’m meant to be.

Now, if only I could stop staring at a blank page.

It’s cool. I won’t be too hard on myself. I just spent 3 weeks traveling by train. I’m happy but exhausted. It’s not the end of the world if I go home and take a nap or watch a movie after I finish this blog post. I have laundry to do, a desk to organize, and a bathroom to clean. I also have some sleep to catch up on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that mental health breaks and physical rest are important. It’s okay to take time for me before I go back out into the world.

Nothing else to say for right now. I’m feeling kind of… well… tired, lol. Obviously. Off to go do something else now. Probably eat snacks and watch TV, or sleep. I know, I’m actually really boring IRL. I am nowhere near as exciting as the locals make me out to be with their imaginary delusions of grandeur. Lol, Bloody Mary’s. What a joke. Ha ha ha ha ha. These people are real. Hahahahaha. I can’t even, you guys. Oh well. At least it makes a good story! And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters to me.

It Is What It Is

Here I am again.

Currently sitting in a coffee shop with my “Professional Writing” notebook sitting in front of me. I’ve put a lot of work into it in the last year. It contains notes from the classes I’ve taken, workshops & conferences I’ve attended, and several versions of my business plan. It feels pretty good to look at it. It’s so easy to feel like I accomplished nothing during Covid, but it turns out that’s not true at all. I’m on my way to living up to the name “Writer Extraordinaire.” And you know what? I have to say… there’s nothing quite like the validation from myself of knowing that it’s happening because of me. I did the work. I put in the time. I ignored everything the haters said and did, I stood up for myself, and I will be rewarded with a fabulous career because of it. Feels good!

Are the haters still hating? Of course they are. Someone actually told me to kill myself last week. I just walked by and all of a sudden he was screaming at me to go kill myself. Downtown. In the middle of the sidewalk. In broad daylight. Like, what a freak, amiright, you guys? Who does that? Seriously? Are you some drugged-out transient on the streets of LA? What is even going on here right now?

Yeah, so I’m still putting up with winners like that, in addition to the gossipmongers who are currently trying to make me look bad by talking about something that happened last year. Like I didn’t spend 4 months on the East Coast, take trips to NYC/Boston/Providence/DC/St. Louis/Kansas City and collect stories from the pandemic. Like I haven’t dedicated all of my time and energy to online classes, virtual events, workshops, conferences, and lest we forget the 4 months I spent dancing and mastering the art of walking into an audition like I own the room. Like I haven’t been editing my book, searching for new inspiration, and setting up a new website. Like I haven’t spent every waking minute studying digital marketing even though I hate social media just so I can get a remote job. Like I haven’t been planning trips around Africa, or researching spiritual retreats at yoga ashrams, or thinking about joining the Peace Corps, or keeping up with both my French and Spanish in my free time just in case.

What the hell have these people been doing? I’ll tell you what they’ve been doing: They’ve been sitting at Bloody Mary’s, talking shit about everyone they know because they are totally miserable with their sad, little pathetic lives. Here’s my question for them: when was the last time you even left South Dakota? Was it years ago? What did you do? Go to Las Vegas? Wow, you’re so worldly and cultured! You’re really in a strong position to look down on other people and judge them for being different! No wonder you’re still hung up on shit that happened 5 years ago. It’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever been a part of! Now YOU, yes YOU, YOU are not ready to let it go just quite yet. You love the drama. You can’t get enough. You want more and more, and you don’t care who you hurt to get it. And just think, for all the lies and negativity you spread, you are still nothing. You’re still some nobody from some tiny little podunk town in the middle of fucking nowhere and you know it. Tearing me down can’t change who you are on the inside. You will never be on my level and that’s what makes you so mad.

So anyway, like I was saying, fuck the haters with No Vaseline. Seriously. No one cares about your bullshit anymore. Take the free advertising for what it is and get the hell over it!

No one knows why they’re mad. Really, I don’t. But I’m also extremely focused on myself and my level up journey at this point in my life. I’m not going to be a doormat or a people-pleaser anymore. I’m not going to “listen” to people who are screaming at me about what a terrible person I am while they are dressed like literal slobs. I can’t. I’m very busy and important. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’m turning up the radio, putting Ice Cube on blast, and tuning you the fuck out while I learn how to do my makeup so it brings out the intensity of my eyes. Why? Just because I can. I do it for me because it makes me feel good to leave the house looking like I just walked off the Parisian runway. Maybe if you treated yourself the same way, you wouldn’t need to hurt other people to make yourself feel better.

Hey, yeah, so I actually do feel a lot better after putting this out into the world. I’m just so tired. I’ve spent my entire life being bullied because I’m different. It comes from all sorts of different people, including my family members. I’m so over it! I just want to be me! I don’t want to be screamed at anymore because I’m taking ballet as an adult or walking around a small town in a dress and high heels. Yeah, I’m loud and I’m obnoxious and I’m opinionated and I don’t give a fuck what you think about it. I’m all that, and a kind person… until you piss me off, of course. But hey, that doesn’t really matter so much, does it?

So yeah, after a lifetime of putting up with this, I’m not taking it anymore. I’m standing up and saying, this is me. This is who I am. I like myself and I’m not going to change. If you don’t like it, go fuck yourself with no Vaseline. I don’t want to hear it anymore.

I feel good saying all of this. I do. And you know what else I’m getting out of not giving a fuck? I actually wrote a story last night! A real one! Well, sort of. It was definitely about Andrew, but it’s fine. He asked me to write him a story about him pretending to be a Compliance Officer. It was funny and sweet and cute and very, very sexy. I liked it. I couldn’t help myself. Writing it felt like being on heroin, or at least what I imagine heroin feels like because I’ve definitely never touched that shit in my life. Maybe not heroin. Heroin kinda gives me “Under the Bridge” vibes. Maybe more like… ecstasy or something fun like that. Anyway, I don’t do drugs so I can’t make quality metaphors relating my process to drugs. Let’s just say it was like being on drugs and assume you understand what that means.

The point is… it felt good. Really good. Soooo good. And here is my real question: if it’s so wrong to write about him, then WHY does actually writing about him feel so good? Yep, I gotcha there! Can’t argue with that one! And it doesn’t matter anyway. Andrew has made it very clear that he wants to be my Muse and he’s here to stay. So, I might as well write sexy, cute, fun, romantic, fluffy stories about him, right? Maybe use that inspiration to get that romance novel/screenplay I have outlined written? Maybe even write an entire series of romance novels and make fat stacks of ca$$$h monayyyyy?! Yeah, that’s what I thought. It is what it is. I’m not sorry about it and I don’t have to be.

I really like the story I wrote last night. I don’t feel the need to publish it on here. That will just make them blow up even further and I don’t really need that right now. As you can see from the previous paragraphs, I’m working really hard to get my shit together. I don’t need anyone interfering with that. Therefore, I will keep him to myself… for now. Until it’s ready for the world to see. They just don’t understand our relationship. They don’t understand what it means for an artist to have a Muse. I can’t explain it. It is what it is. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. I don’t have to limit my creative expression because they can’t understand. So when the time is right and the romance novel is written, edited, re-written, re-edited, re-re-written, re-re-edited, re-re-re-written, re-re-re-edited, et cetera x10, then I will show it to the world. But for now… I shall keep my secret sexy snake safe here with me. <3

Wowza, I feel so much better now that I’ve written several things in the last 48 hours. I’ve been bad and writing on Twitter again, which is my absolute WORST habit. I know it. But it’s something. A little bit of something after a long time of nothing is a lot. It really is something. 🙂 So yeah, I’ll take the story about the “Compliance Officer.” Just for fun. Just a little bit of fluff after a year and a half of apocalyptic hellscape. Maybe a little bit of fluff is exactly what everyone needs.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to say for now. I feel so much better about life now. I really do. Everything is going to be okay!

Structural Integrity

Thursday. End of July. Another month gone. Another set of challenges overcome. And so life continues on.

How did my weekend go? Amazingly, of course! The screenwriting workshop was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Three days of intensive lessons on plot structure with loads of charts and examples provided. It built on some of the stuff I learned in Paris in terms of structure and character development, but they really took the time to break it all down. I also had the opportunity to chat with other writers and pitch some of my story ideas. I am continually surprised that I’m getting good feedback on my ideas. People see a lot of potential in my stories about South Dakota. That’s really great to hear, especially since it feels like all anyone in my life ever does is drag me through the mud.

By the third day, I had my Verm manuscript outline and notes out again. I mentioned previously I’ve been taking periodic breaks from it and coming back to work on it. I think I’ve been through about 10 versions of it at this point. I can tell you with full confidence that the post-workshop version I’m working on now feels right. I admit that writing this book hasn’t been the easiest process. I’ve collected SO MANY stories about SD that I am straight-up overwhelmed. Thanks to this class, I’m starting to sort them out. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • The Main Story aka The Life and Men of Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire – Fabulous!
  • Bloody Mary’s and Other Stories from the Bars – Pretty much over it at this point. I thought these people were interesting, but it turns out they’re just a bunch of petty, immature jerks. Boring! Make no mistake, I will be recycling some of those characters, if only because they were involved in major life events. There’s nothing to “just get over” here, people. It’s time for you to accept that this is part of my story and let it go. And here’s the thing… if they didn’t like the way I wrote about them before, they’re definitely not going to like it now. That’s on them. They knew I was writing this and they chose to present themselves poorly. That’s not my problem and I don’t really care how they feel about it.
  • The Island of Lost Guys – Mix of characters from SD and NoVA. Has potential but needs a MAJOR overhaul. On hold until further notice.
  • Andrew — AKA the Completely Unplanned, Unexpected Disaster, parts of which are still available to read on The Secret Menu, but will ultimately never see the light of day as a complete manuscript.
  • Mad Dog’s Life Stories — increasingly of less interest to me since he is a massively ungrateful jerk.
  • Bad Bosses — collected short stories of all of my bad experiences working in the service industry. Highly relevant in this day and age. I just came up with this idea within the last 2 weeks.
  • Travel stories — reserved for new blog project that I’ve been struggling to start due to writer’s block.
  • All of the Native American stuff — difficult to write because I am not Native and thus struggle with anxiety over cultural appropriation, taking away someone else’s opportunity, telling other people’s stories for them, etc.

Whew! That’s a lot! Jeezy Creezy, no wonder I’ve had so much trouble with this thing! I keep trying to smash it all together when it CLEARLY needs to be separated out! Suddenly, it all makes sense!

As a result of the workshop, I was able to extract The Main Story from everything else. Once I cut away all the external factors and focused on her alone, I could see the character’s journey clearly for the first time. The Town and the bars are just the setting. The exes and bartenders at Bloody Mary’s are the antagonizing force. The majority of stuff I initially thought was important isn’t really important at all. There’s a bunch of side stories that aren’t relevant to the main character arc. This woman is on a journey to find herself in an unfamiliar environment full of strange and terrible people, all while struggling with her own mental health. She overcomes many challenges and finally becomes the person she always wanted to be. Spoiler Alert: it’s just my life story with a rigid structure forced onto it. And guess what? It turns out that story has far more universality to it than I thought.

By the time the workshop was over, I had charted out my character arc and the full plot. All in all, I would say the investment I made was 1000% worth it. Not to mention the fact that I got to walk away feeling fantastic about myself because New Califor-kers like my style. That’s pretty much all I care about at this point. We already know how the Vermin feel about it. Guess what? No one cares. The only people whose opinions matter to me live in DC, New York, LA, London, and Paris. It is what it is!

Other important pieces of info to note:

  • It’s normal to go through dozens of drafts and rewrites
  • It’s normal to sit in public places, people watch/eavesdrop, and use it as inspiration for your work
  • It’s normal to write stories based on your real life
  • It’s normal to create strong characters who seemingly have a mind of their own (ie; Andrew)
  • It takes years to write anything good
  • Sometimes the smartest thing you can do as a writer is take a class
  • Networking is not quite as terrifying as it seems
  • Some people are actually pretty cool!
  • Personal attacks/insults are not considered “constructive criticism”
  • Not every piece of feedback you get should be taken seriously
  • If you have to argue with someone in order to get them to see your worth, they are not someone you should be wasting any time on
  • It’s totally fine to tell overly-critical “friends” and “family” members to stay in their own damn lane. Are ANY of these people out here trying to write multiple books, scripts, short stories, and blogs? Are they trying to build a professional career while everyone around them constantly criticizes them? No? That’s what I thought.

So, there you have it. Once again, I have proven that I’m right and all of these ridiculous people who keep coming at me with judgment, criticism, and screaming meltdowns are wrong. They are not professional writers. They are not editors, agents, or publishers. They don’t know shit about shit about shit about shit. From now on, the only people I’m taking writing advice from are other writers. Everyone else can shove it.

And in the end, I realized everything is going to be okay. I am okay. The person I am becoming is okay. There is nothing wrong with me. I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I am right where I am supposed to be. I made the best of a really bad situation. Now I’m using the sour, rotten lemons given to me in a compost heap to grow a beautiful lemon tree.

Speaking of Lemon Tree… I still desperately need a writer’s retreat so I can work on all my stuff in peace. I am so tired of the screaming meltdowns! I got more done this weekend with my horrible mother gone than I’ve gotten done in months. Y’all need to make sure you get vaccinated so this stupid virus goes away and we can live our lives again!

I’m going back to bed now. I have been on and off with sleep the last few nights due to all the stuff going around in my head. Pretty sure I woke up at like 4:30am. I finally got up and went for a walk around the property (we have like 10 acres) around 6ish. I started writing at 7:30am. Now it’s 8:30am and I’m exhausted! I have a lunch date today so I’m going to give myself a break to nap. It’s safe to say I definitely earned it after writing all of this stuff out.

Have a lovely day!

Updated Progress Report

Hello, world. It’s me, Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire. I’m writing to you again because my last post was very sad and I wanted to let you know things are getting better in my world. The sun is out, I’m wearing a mini skirt, and I’m enjoying an iced latte from the comfort of my car, which is parked downtown with the trunk door popped open so I can write and steal wifi at the same time.

Why am I doing this? Because the cafe hasn’t set up their tables and there’s nowhere else downtown to sit outside and watch people. So I made my own set up, away from The Bar That Shall Not Be Named so that they cannot harass me over their delusions of grandeur again. Something tells me they will keep doing it anyway. It’s okay. I just call them the Crazy Cult People now.

But really, it’s actually not okay. At all. Anyway, here’s how my life is going, for anyone who cares:

Novel

I’m not working on this. I mean, I am, but I’m also just not. I’m not very happy with it right now. It’s supposed to be this inspiring story of overcoming obstacles and succeeding in spite of the bullshit. Unfortunately, it’s not that. Other people will not allow it to be that. I’m still very angry and upset over everything that has happened. I’m trending sober at a 90% rate right now, so I have to spend a lot of time sitting with those feelings. It’s not fun!!! But I’m working through them. Some days are worse than others. Some days I feel like I’ll never climb out of the hole. However, I continue to persevere. I will get my happy ending. I will!

Blog

I recently made a life-changing decision and decided to invest in a blogging course advertised to me on Instagram. It was a little bit more money than I would usually spend on a course, but no more than I would pay for a single credit hour at USD. Y’all, it was worth it. I’m not going to talk too much about it yet because I’ve only just completed the first section, BUT I will say that the structure of the course is exactly what I needed to help me take my new blog plan to the next level. My hope is to start out with a travel blog that brings me passive income and eventually grow it into an online magazine. Let’s hope I can make it happen!

Courses

I jumped back into my courses after languishing for some time. Right now I’m working on copywriting and UX writing. As stated in the last post, I find social media and digital marketing somewhat frustrating, so I decided to try something else.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like UX. I use my iPad for everything so I am constantly evaluating app design without really being conscious of it. UX also has a completely different way of integrating human psychology into writing. Marketing is all about selling people shit, even if it’s a lie. I’ve met a lot of super shady marketing people throughout my digital nomad journey and they kind of put me off it. UX isn’t like that. It’s literally just about creating a design that will make using websites and apps a more pleasant experience.

I’m also attracted to UX for other reasons, such as the availability of remote jobs with benefits, the ability to work from a beach on the island of Zanzibar, and an insanely high salary. It’s insane. Literally insane. Look it up if you don’t believe me. I did and I was like, “Wow, I’m never going to have to worry about paying rent or buying groceries ever again.” I can’t even imagine having that much money. Forget bartending! I’m investing in UX!

Right now I’m taking a UX design fundamentals course. I signed up for a portfolio course to help me put together something to use to apply for jobs. I signed up for a webinar specifically for UX Writing next week. I also joined a bunch of groups on Facebook and reddit. Will I finally be forced to use LinkedIn? Probably. It’s not my favourite platform. I’m not going to lie.

Job Search

Speaking of LinkedIn, ugh. Job hunting. It sucks. It’s fine. Everybody hates it. I am not alone.

For me, I feel like I’m completely starting over. I have a degree, a couple internships, and over a decade of service industry experience. I have this website, which I built myself with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from the last two decades of my life. Yet it feels like nothing I have to offer is what I actually need to get a job. It’s probably my anxiety talking. Or it could be LinkedIn, which I hate because I just sit there comparing myself to my peers.

I’ve also been taking time to explore different things instead of just jumping right in to something new. I know that what I want more than anything is a remote job. There’s a limited number of jobs that can be done remotely. I’ve had to carefully sort through my options, take courses to learn new skills, and build onto what I have.

Now that I’m at a place where I can look back on the last 14 months of pandemic life and actually measure the work I’ve done, I’m feeling less anxiety. It definitely feels like all I did was watch movies and TV, but in reality I’ve accomplished a lot. Maybe not as much as I was hoping, but I’ve made a complete turnaround as far as my career is concerned. I’m not throwing away all my time and money at the bars anymore. Instead I’m investing it all back in myself and working towards making a real change.

Networking

As mentioned in the last post, I hit a low point around March Madness, so I decided to go back to doing virtual events. I attended virtual BroadwayCon, the TCM Classic Film Festival, and New Orleans Jazz Fest. I also went to an IRL Kentucky Derby party, where I bet on the right horse to win third place and won $37.

I submitted a photo of myself dressed as Jenna from the hit Broadway musical “Waitress” to BroadwayCon and won a 2-week free trial membership to a virtual dance studio. I started taking Ballet, Jazz, and Musical Theatre Dance classes. I love it!!!!! I subscribed to their service and now I’m taking 4-5 dance classes a week. They also hold “Sharing Sessions” for us to journal and connect. It’s a really great community. I’m so grateful they reached out.

So, not a job, but something! Networking isn’t bad! Networking isn’t scary! It’s not a bad thing to put yourself out there and meet new people! Not everyone hates you and thinks you suck, Betsey! Some people in this world are actually really fucking cool! It’s okay!

Routine

My routine has improved by leaps and bounds since I started taking the dance classes. I already had “Musical Monday” firmly scheduled in my calendar in order to dedicate one full day a week specifically to my love of theatre, dancing, singing, acting, and musicals. Now I take three dance classes on Mondays and watch musicals in between. The jazz classes are on Tuesday and Thursday. I haven’t been great about making Thursdays, but I do have Monday and Tuesday down.

Saturday and Sunday are my “have fun or do nothing” days. Tuesday-Friday is for my blog, courses, and job hunting. I’m trying to force a designated cleaning day into that schedule as well, just because I have a tendency to let my clothes collect in large piles on the floor. It’s a never-ending battle, but I’m working on it.

I did find a new quiet place to work on my courses since the cafe hasn’t been working for me. I was hoping to enjoy the outdoor seating once it opened up, but it’s not here yet. That’s why I’m just chillin’ in my car, stealing the wifi, living my life. I just wanted to sit outside, you guys.

Mental Health

Okay! Last section! I have to finish this really quickly since there’s a storm rolling in. Figures. I finally get to wear a short skirt and it starts raining. Sucks. I need to move somewhere with better weather. I’ve come to understand that the weather has a much bigger effect on my mental health than I previously realized. Thank god for Vitamin D gummies.

I said I was going to get obsessed with eating healthy and exercising. This has been going well. It’s not my first time around this rodeo! Obviously the dance classes came at the perfect time. Eating wise, I haven’t given up meat but I’ve been slowly weaning off my take-out habit and eating salads every day. I need to incorporate more fruit, but I find changing one’s diet tends to be a process that goes better if you focus on slowly eliminating bad things and adding in good things. I try to take that as it comes.

I haven’t resumed yoga yet because I haven’t found a class online that I like. I’m working on that. I would like to include a 10-20 minute session in my morning routine. I’m just not there yet.

I meditate sometimes, but the last few times I’ve gone into my “special room,” Andrew has been there trying to talk to me. He also comes out whenever I try to write. It’s VERY ANNOYING. I don’t know how to get rid of him. I would say that is the second worst situation I’m dealing with mental health-wise, after talking myself down from jumping into the sweet release of death, of course.

Okay, the storm is here now. I need to go. Thanks for supporting me on my journey to become a healthier person and a better writer. I appreciate it more than you know! Have a good one!

Not Another Progress Report

Hello, world. Betsey Horton here. Sorry for leaving you on read. I’m still here, somehow, even though I totally got wasted and tried to pull a Tiger Woods the other night. BTW, am I the only one who thinks this car wreck has “suicide attempt” written all over it, or am I just projecting my own sadness onto a celebrity? Hard to say. Especially when I’m currently in the middle of my “Elle Woods quitting her prestigious internship, dropping out of Harvard Law School, and packing up to go back home to dat Beverly Hills Barbie life” moment in the movie of my life. It’s like I’ve done all this work on my self-improvement journey and yet I’m still failing so hard at life. Yeah, dark night of the soul moment for sure.

Anyway, here’s how life has progressed since my last update (approximately one whole millennium ago):

Novel

As I mentioned in my last entry, I was gearing up to pitch my novel about Verm to an agent for the first time. I was very nervous, so I was completely avoiding any thoughts about it altogether. I did the responsible thing and attended a pre-pitch session at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars conference in order to properly prepare. Once I understood the expectations, I decided to be slightly more realistic about the meeting. My manuscript is very much incomplete. I decided to treat it like practice and then all of my anxiety went away.

The meeting went as well as it could have. I did that thing where I freaked out and held back too much. The agent liked my overall concept, but essentially told me I was guilty of over-summarizing instead of being specific. Fair and also true. What did I learn? Go straight for the jugular. Mad Dog, crazy bar owners, shady underground gambling rings, the works! Suck ’em straight down into the Verm Hole! Also, her agency does not work with my proposed genre, so she gave me a list of agencies that do and wished me luck. I would consider it a “soft” rejection because the future potential is definitely there.

After the meeting, I decided to step away from my manuscript for awhile. I need more perspective. There’s a lot of things that have happened in the last year and a half that I haven’t really properly processed. Mostly because I don’t understand why the people I’m dealing with are so ridiculous, unreasonable, and honestly, just straight-up insane. Ultimately, it all means something in the end. Besides, I am the hero of the book. I’m supposed to overcome whatever adversity presents itself to me. Since that adversity is appearing in the form of misogynists and their loyal army of cool girls, I guess I have permission to just laugh it off and focus on other things. Lol at small towns in the middle of nowhere. What am I going to do, change them? HA HA HA HA HA! That’s a good one. Oh, I crack myself up sometimes.

Blog

Listen, I know what I’ve told you about what I’m planning, but I’m not writing shit. At all. Nothing. It sucks. I know. Especially when I have the most amazing new blog neatly planned out in a notebook! It’s so amazing. It’s so cool. Unfortunately, I am totally not cool. I spend all my time being sad instead of just writing. It’s totally lame.

I also haven’t been able to come up with a new name. I need an actual name for my entire brand/concept/plan. I need it for the url, social media accounts, email, affiliate marketing, ads, everything. Yet I have no name. Content plan? Check! No problem there! A name? Impossible. Thus, I am delayed from making any actual progress until I can come up with one. Sad.

Courses

I signed up for a lot of these, so I’m just taking my time to work my way through them. I spend a lot of time studying other blogs, business, influencer marketing, and social media strategy. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about digital marketing in general the last year. Hopefully this leads to a job.

It’s hard to say since social media companies just change everything up on a whim because they don’t care that people are using their services to run businesses. It’s actually really frustrating. I was trying to learn Pinterest marketing yesterday and the damn site just wouldn’t cooperate. It’s like they decided to take everything useful and functional away from their platform and turn it into a useless lump. I know I’m not alone in this struggle because I joined a bunch of social media marketing groups on Facebook.

Overall, I just have to say I’m having a really good experience with Udemy. Yes, it’s cheap online classes, but it’s not like I need a *degree* to do digital marketing. I just need to learn how social media works beyond just shitposting and arguing with trolls. I think Udemy is perfect for people who want to boost their practical skill sets without going back to school and taking on a fuckton of debt. No need for elitism here, folks. I’ll go get my Masters when the time is right. For now, it’s a fuckton of super practical $12 coding, marketing, and writing classes that supposedly will help me get a job.

Job Search

It is a universally agreed-upon fact that job hunting sucks. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. I’ve joined job hunting groups where people with STEM degrees are talking about not finding anything after sending out 200 applications. It’s scary.

I’m not really sure what to say about this other than that it sucks. It’s draining, demoralizing, and frustrating. The pandemic is making it worse. I used to torture myself with anxiety over it, but since I joined these groups, I’ve just let it go. Yup, it sucks for everyone out there. Sometimes all you can do is turn off the computer and watch Netflix for the rest of the day. Sometimes you spend lots of time applying for jobs and you never hear back from anyone except for the occasional rejection. It happens to literally everyone.

I tried to start a restaurant gig last week and failed. Of course. I tried everything I could think of to motivate myself and hype myself up to get the cash, but I knew it was over when I saw that greasy, disgusting, dirty bar. I can’t do it anymore. I especially couldn’t do it after almost a year of not doing it. Seriously, no more. I’m just torturing myself at this point. It’s a waste of time and energy. I just want to focus on getting a remote job with benefits. Yes, I’ll be broke in the meantime, but I’ll also be a lot saner than I would be if I was waiting tables.

Networking

February and March were really busy for me. I went to lots of online events and conferences. I attended the Paris International Film Festival, the Official(TM) virtual Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, the ASU Piper Center for Creative Writing’s Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference, AWP (one of the largest national writing conferences in the US), a Gatsby-themed virtual murder mystery party, a virtual film industry panel for women, and, of course, March Madness, baby!

I admit that I was doing well until March Madness. Why? Because that’s when the drinking reared its ugly head up again. I usually don’t drink home at alone because that’s just sad. I like to go out and drink at bars, especially during basketball season. This is pretty much always a mistake. I get way too drunk, end up feeling really sad, and then think about death a lot. So, maybe just stick with the virtual events instead of going to the bars for any reason whatsoever.

Unfortunately, the common theme throughout all of these events has been the insane amounts of social anxiety. I don’t know how to get over this. I have skipped every single virtual meet-and-greet event and in-person party I’ve been invited to in the last two months. I am terrified of dealing with other people. I blame all of the shitty, toxic, fake “friends” I’ve entertained throughout life for getting me to this point. I’m legitimately afraid of interacting with other people after what they did to me at Bloody Mary’s.

This is really fucking dumb because I literally went to two WRITING conferences full of WRITERS. I went to a panel with a happy hour for FILMMAKERS. I was hanging out with artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, directors, editors, etc, aka the kind of people I WANT to be around because I have things in common with them. Instead it’s like… “No, scary, bad, run away because everyone will just think you’re annoying and hate you.”

No idea how to get over this at all. Zoom doesn’t help at all. Zoom anxiety is real AF. I hate being on that tiny little screen. It makes me way too self-conscious to watch myself try to interact with other people. I know I cannot possibly be alone in this, but ugh. Wow. It really fucking sucks.

Routine

My routine has changed recently. I’ve been staying at home more and going to the cafe less. I haven’t been productive at the cafe at all. I’m also not productive at home. I’m not really that productive at all. I’m mostly just reading and watching a lot of movies/tv, as I have done for the entirety of the pandemic. Some weeks I’m totally on, getting shit done, cruising through my courses, outlining ideas, hacking away at my business plan, looking for jobs, and submitting resumes. Other weeks I’m still in my pajamas at 3pm and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians for the 80 millionth time. Welcome to the pandemic lifestyles of the perpetually broke and small town famous.

Mental Health

Not so good. Not so healthy. So many ups and downs. Mostly downs. I’ve had a few major downs in the last few months. Struggling a lot right now. Its hard. I feel so alone sometimes. I feel like nothing will ever change in my life. I just feel sad and empty all the time, no matter what I do.

My current attempts to counteract said depression include going vegetarian, drinking more water, buying new activewear, signing up for a Zumba class, and purchasing some Vitamin D supplements.

You know what would probably fix the problem? NOT DRINKING! DUH! So, yeah, still gotta work on that. At least I refuse to work in a bar anymore, so that is progress. Now that basketball season is over, I have no real reason to go downtown to fraternize with people who hate me. You know what happens when I do that? I get really sad. That’s not okay! That’s why I need to cut it out of my life altogether. The drinking, that is. The basketball isn’t going anywhere.

Therefore, I shall go on a fitness kick instead. I will get really into my home dance cardio classes, walks with the dogs, and outdoor yoga/meditation sessions. Spring at last, spring at last.

I know you’re asking yourselves why I don’t go to therapy, right? Well, the truth is that I have already been through extensive amounts of therapy in my life. In my case, it has 100% caused more harm than good. The medications fuck with my brain, no one will work with me to actually make a real therapy plan with an end goal in mind, and the diagnoses are constantly changing into everything aside from anxiety, which is what I actually struggle with the most. Seriously, one Xanax prescription and it would be all over for me. So simple, right?

Wrong! That’s not what Big Phama and Big Psychiatry want! They want to hook you on drugs and self-pity so you’ll keep pouring money into the system forever. Meanwhile, they’re out drinking top shelf booze and eating expensive caviar on the yachts they bought with the kickback money from shelling out poisonous prescription cocktails to children. I’m not here for it. I’m way more into trying alternative therapies. I’ve tried so many, I could write an entire book about it. I should get off my ass and actually do that. I have it all planned out. But nothing. Yay!

—–

So, there you have it, all. That’s my life. Look at me, trying to get her shit together so she will no longer be a glorified mess with amazing taste in shoes. It’s hard. I feel like throwing in the towel most of the time. I want to give up. Luckily for me, many people have reached out to me on social media with positive, encouraging messages. I’ve taken screenshots of all of them. I read through them now when I’m sad and want to give up. It is so important to remember that not everyone is a negative, energy-sucking douchebag. I do have friends and family who love me, want to see me happy, and hope for me to succeed.

So hopefully all of this will work out, even if it seems like nothing is working for me ever. Maybe I’ll update in another millennium, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just be sad forever. Stay tuned to find out!

Professional Progress Report

Just stopping by to update anyone who cares about my progress in becoming a professional writer/digital nomad. Someday I will be financially and location independent. For now, I remain trapped in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Alas.

Novel

Several weeks have passed since I started working on my novel again. Things have progressed well. I’ve been reading through my website archives and pulling out what I need for my narrative. It’s so much easier with the new outline I made. The new outline is allowing me to mercilessly cut out all of the extra crap that has accumulated over time. Killing my darlings has never been so easy.

It’s trucking along well. I’ve been trying to do a little bit every day. Reading my blog from the beginning can be a challenge for me sometimes. It makes me very emotional given everything that has happened since I started. I constantly find myself frustrated by the fact that I established several things up-front (ig: I’m a writer, I’m writing a memoir about my life, I struggle with depression/anxiety, I have a bad history with relationships, and I’m trying to work through my issues), yet so many people refuse to acknowledge any of this. I’m tired of intentionally being misunderstood.

It’s also clear from the early blogs what those people from Bloody Mary’s were trying to do to me. There were clearly coordinated efforts to gaslight me, bait me into reacting, and instigate arguments. It’s really pathetic and sad. It’s also glaring obvious what a sociopath the owner really is.

Ah yes, this character. This character I never planned to write, who snuck up on me out of nowhere, took over the narrative, and used everything I wrote against me. What a snake. It’s depressing to read knowing there is now an unpublishable manuscript dedicated entirely to this character and his sexy ways. It’s crazy. I still can’t believe it. So that’s something I constantly have to deal with. Fun!

The good news is, most of the stuff I wrote about him won’t be making it into the final version. The stuff that does remain doesn’t paint a very nice picture of him, mostly because he is not a very nice person. It is what it is.

I’m super nervous to meet with the agent next week, so I signed up for a pitching workshop at the conference to guide me through the most important ten minutes of my life. No pressure or anything, lol. But seriously, I can’t even think about it or I will totally fucking freak out. I don’t have Xanax to help me with panic attacks, so I’m just avoiding thoughts about it altogether.

Overall, I’m very confident in the current version. I believe in the character arc. I really think the flow of the plot makes sense now and that this character’s journey is relatable to people (mainly women) who struggle with mental health and bad relationships. I’m glad I took time away from it. It really allowed me to see the forest from the trees. Thanks again for everything, Paris Writing Workshop. I never would have made it this far without you!

Blog

As I’ve stated before, I am currently in the process of transforming my blog into a profitable business venture. It’s hard. It’s take a long time. I overthink everything and constantly compare myself to the other bloggers and influencers I’ve been studying. I’ve learned to turn the jealousy into motivation, but it can still be a struggle. The grand vision doesn’t line up with the day-to-day yet.

I’ve been developing content plans, which is good, but I’m still falling short on my posting goals. A lot of it has to do with anxiety and general feelings of worthlessness. It’s pretty common in this world to compare yourself to the false perfection promised by Instagram. I am no different. I fall victim to it every day, especially because I go out of my way to study other blogs and websites.

One thing I remind myself is that I’m just not there… yet. I will be someday, but not yet. It doesn’t happen overnight. A solid, high-quality blog takes time to build. These bloggers didn’t do it overnight either. A lot of them struggled for years and constantly moved in and out of their parents’ houses. It’s part of the journey. I can’t fault myself for generally being on the right track.

Courses & Job Hunting

I’m finally starting to make significant headway on this. There’s a lot to learn. I’m transitioning from gig-hopping in the service industry to full-time digital nomad. There’s a lot to learn in terms of practical skills. I’m exploring a lot of different options, such as digital marketing, copywriting, UX writing, and web development. I want to cover all my bases so I have more options.

I’ve worked may way through quite a few of the courses now. I’m developing more of coherent plan as I go along. I look at remote job boards every day to get some idea of what they’re looking for. My anxiety is still preventing me from actually applying, so I’m focusing all my energy on my courses for now. I think once I round out my skillset and build a solid portfolio, I will feel more confident in myself. As they say on FDS, develop the confidence of a mediocre white man.

I was seriously considering signing up for a TEFL certification course, but it’s financially out-of-reach for me at the moment. It’s always something I can do later on when I’m in a stronger financial position. It’s just not in the cards right now. That’s why I decided to focus my energy on the skills I’m learning from Udemy for $12 a course. The projected salaries for these jobs are also much higher, which is better for my champagne lifestyle.

Networking & Social Life

This is going poorly, as per usual. I tried to put myself out there with the Paris International Film Festival and managed to fall spectacularly on my face. My anxiety is high and my confidence is low. However, it’s not really about me at the end of the day. We are here to watch movies and celebrate up-and-coming filmmakers. In life, you don’t always get to walk the red carpet. Sometimes you’re just in the audience, and that’s okay too. I’m just happy to be here supporting other creatives.

I’m still lurking more than commenting in all of the Facebook groups and reddit subs I’ve joined. Every once in awhile, I pose a question. I always get good, helpful responses, whether it’s about job hunting, traveling, digital nomad life, mental health issues, or “leveling up.” Joining online communities is helping me ease back into a social life, which has been really hard for me to do.

I’ve taken a couple communications courses to help me with this ongoing issue. I’m also seeking out CBT workbooks to aid me in my quest to develop meaningful relationships with other people. I’ve never been the most popular person. After everything that happened with Bloody Mary’s, my trust in most people is gone. I’m struggling to learn how to embrace relationships instead of fear them. The pandemic doesn’t help. Neither does the crap that happened with my cousin. Alas, I remain hopeful that someday this will change for the better and I can finally host the fantastic dinner party of my dreams.

Routine

I’m back in a pretty solid routine. I wake up every day at 8am, come to the cafe, write for a few hours, and then spend the afternoon doing whatever I want. I’ve figured out a nice, comfortable way to work from home. I have a little lap desk I use in bed while wearing sweatpants. Yes, I know, I should set up my home office again and I won’t feel so scatterbrained. I’m not there yet. Besides, it’s the middle of the SD winter. It’s dark and cold and my bed is so soft and warm. I don’t want to leave it.

Mental Health

I’m fighting back against the depression and anxiety pretty hard. It’s ruined my life for so many years now. I’m tired of it. I want to be a different person now. A better person. It’s a lot of hard work. Being in this town really doesn’t help. It seems to drag me back down to where I was before in spite of my best efforts.

I’ve had a couple of minor episodes since I got back. The last few days have been particularly hard. That’s why I’m writing this progress report. I feel like I’m about to jump off a cliff, so I need to spell out everything I’m working on to remind myself that it’s a process and I’m just not there yet. Don’t give up now, Betsey! You’re almost there!

I will get there someday. I’m just not there yet. It’s a process. It takes time. It’s okay. I don’t have to justify it to anyone else. All I can do is live my truth.