I have to leave for work in an hour. And I’m going to sit here and post something, whatever that something is, before I leave because I haven’t done shit here in about three weeks. I’m in one of those severe writer’s block moods where I can’t stand to write. I can only write three or four paragraphs before I’m disgusted by what I’ve written. It’s clunky, it’s nothing special, and I quickly throw it all away through a few quick clicks of the mouse and backspace key. Even now I find myself absolutely limping through this at just a few words at a time. This is painful…
It’s nice that my creativity is dead around the board and isn’t just a writing thing. I also haven’t done shit on YouTube in awhile; I keep wondering what the hell I’m trying to accomplish with it all. Consider it a mild dose of nihilism and no amount of active thinking and positive affirmations have helped. “Just be creative! Give information! Have fun! Do [project] for yourself and no one else!” Well, sadly I need some outside validation and if I could turn that part of myself off like a light switch I would. Fuck viewers, subscribers, comments, etc. and just do what you want to do, BUT I’m fucked and my mind doesn’t quite work that way.
To beat that point some more: I almost had record views on this blog last month! I almost broke the 2,000 mark, but since I didn’t do shit since the 14th or so that didn’t happen. It would’ve been nice but I fell short because I’m a slacker and keeping anything good going for more than a few months at a time is impossible. Man I don’t like being me, but who else can I be? No one. I might as well get used to it but after thirty years I’m not too confident anything will actually change.
(Not important note: You guys ever get WordPress notifications for when your blog ‘goes viral?’ That’s not the terminology used, but it’s similar. A few times last month in the midst of doing jack shit I’d get the notification and find my daily views had skyrocketed from like 20 to 100 for no obvious reason. I’ve always been curious about this. I’m guessing some stranger shares one of your posts or something and, them being fairly popular, people actually read the shared post. I don’t know, maybe something else is going on.)
I almost sat down and wrote a post on Saturday but that didn’t happen. The title: The COVID Vaccine Sucks. It was a great idea for a post to jump back in with because it’s straight-forward and would write itself. I got the vaccine Friday, felt fine for about six hours, and then died. Not literally (obviously) but life was like a walking fever dream. It’s so hard to explain but I just didn’t feel right. Kinda achy but not achy enough to complain about, pretty tired but nothing day breaking, and mentally foggy where it seemed to take effort to form sentences and thoughts. Sluggish, sleepy, and strange. While it would’ve been an easy post to churn out I wasn’t in any state to be productive at all so I let that pass. And now that I feel somewhat normal I don’t care to write about how shitty I felt because it was a few days ago and is just an abstraction now.
I think that’s good enough to start with. I swear taking a three week break from writing seems to erase all progress you’ve made. It feels like I haven’t written anything before and I’m awkwardly trying to create my very first blog post all over again. It fucking sucks. I’m literally sighing at my computer every few minutes at how painfully awkward this is. Feel my frustration people! *SIGH* I think it’s made even worse because I have writer’s block figure out completely: the cure for writer’s block is to write. That’s all there is too it. Just force your way through it. But oh there’s so much more to that simple platitude and you can’t just write because you know it’ll help your block. It’s like telling a depressed person to just not be depressed! Bad analogy, but whatever. You have motivation to find and have to want to get past the writer’s block and it’s much easier just to sit around and be lazy than to do anything about it. Good enough. Time to post.
Let’s start this off like countless other posts of mine: It’s 3:58 a.m. I should be sleeping but I’m not. Why am I awake? Why does my brain continue to run? Why aren’t I normal? Did’ya know most people wake up at like 5, 6, or 7 a.m.? I wake up at 2 p.m. What the hell is wrong with me? Insomnia this, insomnia that, blah blah blah. Yada, yada with a little wave of the hand. We get it. You have trouble sleeping. Carry on now for the love of God.
I’m writing as a continuation of my last post. I’d like to say this, uh, seemingly two part series was subconsciously started by another fellow blogger (I’d link to it, but how does that work? Are you supposed to ask first?). I missed the whole point of his post of it but seemingly got fixated on a tiny part where he says something about knowing your flaws and working through them. The idea kinda snowballed in my head and is now a giant, two-part rambling mess of blog posts. The snowball analogy reminds me of this for some reason:
Last post was about how I finally realized I need a proper workspace to write it. My motivation issues weren’t the only cause of my my awful writing habits (lack of habits really) and, hell, maybe I really just did need a desk to call my own. It sure has been helping the past few weeks. I haven’t written much more than usual, but at least I progress to opening the computer and wandering off to YouTube or WordPress. It’s a step closer to Google Docs at least.
What the hell does this have to do with insomnia? It’s a fucking flaw of mine, just like my need for a damn desk, and it’s one I think I’m finally going to own. Insomnia is me, and maybe it isn’t insomnia; maybe I’m just a natural night owl and I should quit fighting it. Going along with the mantra: I’m flawed and might as well figure out how to work with it.
Lemme say I hate being this way. I want to sleep at midnight and wake up with the birds at the crack of dawn. I want to be the guy eating eggs and toast, drinking coffee at 7 a.m. while everyone is still sleeping just chilling in the quietness of the early morning. Last year I tried to make a resolution to wake up at 9 or 10 a.m. everyday and that was the first one I failed. Do I really want to wake up early or is that some dream that isn’t faithful to my flawed self? Or am I just plain lazy?
I’ve always been a night owl to the dismay of myself. I started working UPS 15 damn years ago pulling 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. shifts; going to sleep at 5 a.m. was my routine for about eight years before I transferred shifts. I now work a 4-9 p.m. shift and, holy hell, I still go to sleep around 4 or 5 a.m.
Come to think of it, I’ve quit 3 jobs in my lifetime and two of these were because they made me wake up early. No fucking joke. Sam’s Club moved me to a 5 or 6 a.m. shift (right after my UPS shift) and I quit about six months later. I couldn’t take it; working the 10 p.m. UPS shift and going to Sam’s until noon fucking killed me. Have you tried sleeping at 2 p.m.? It’s impossible. Your body basically says “Wtf are you doing? Millions of evolutionary years of sleeping when it’s night and you’re trying to override it all? Just like that? With a snap of your fingers? Nice try idiot; it’s daytime and we’re going to stay awake even if you’re tired!” So I quit. No two-week notice, nothing. Jacob from work calls this “The French Exit.”
The other job was Lowes Distribution. This one was even worse if. I still worked the night UPS shift, but this time with a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Lowes. Basically I had a normal sleep schedule (sleep at 5 a.m.) on the weekdays and flipped it on the weekends (sleep at 8 p.m.). Thursday meant staying up all day into Friday, pounding out a 12 hour shift and doing it again the following two days. In short: hell. Soul-crushing, life destroying hell. My friend actually pulled this off for over three years and I don’t know how he did it. I was funding flight lessons with this job and even that couldn’t motivate me to continue. I clearly remember driving home one Sunday after work and thinking, “This isn’t worth it. I don’t care. I can’t do this.” Six months of that fuckery and I was done via another “French Exit.”
And it’s 4:26 a.m. I should probably try to sleep soon. But let’s keep going.
It’s a pretty obvious sign that you’re not a morning person when you quit jobs that make you move to mornings. It’s a pretty obvious sign when you pull a no-call, no-show at the dentist’s office for your 10 a.m. appointment because it’s “too early.” It’s obvious when you schedule college classes no earlier than 4 p.m. because you “need time to wake up” and are the only person bringing three cups worth of coffee to Calc III as the sun is setting. I’m not a fucking morning person. Never have been, never will be, stop lying to myself: this is who I am and I love myself for it.
I’m owning it and I’m writing. What else is there to do at 4:29 a.m. besides stare at premarket GameStop prices? Nothing. Might as well be productive, make something to show for it. Honestly it’s a good time to write anyways. No one is awake, it’s quiet, and my brain is on overdrive. It’s easy to let the thoughts write themselves at the time of night morning.
It’s sad that I’ve written two blog posts with the exact same lesson or whatever you want to call it. I’ll force myself to write the lesson again. Honors English always stressed the importance of conclusions In essays and this is essay-esque enough. Restate the intro. Hmm. It’s 4:34 a.m. I can’t sleep. Why can’t I sleep? Why does my brain continue to run? Why can’t I wake up at whatever a.m.? Insomnia is a thing. Blah, blah. Yadas. Hand waving.
Maybe my first paragraph wasn’t the one I was supposed to restate. Oh well, Goodnight. Or Good Morning. Nah, let’s go with Have A Good Dayand thanks for reading!
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
I haven’t written any creative stories in about six months, maybe longer. Like most people I attributed this to a flaw with myself. I’m lazy, I’m unmotivated, and I’m paralyzed by perfection, unable to even begin at the prospect of making something subpar. Despite knowing all these flaws I still can’t work with myself and actually write. It adds another layer of personal hatred where I’m aware that I’m aware of my severe lack of motivation and why can’t I just sit my ass down and write?
I like to justify my laziness as well. You have a long day at work or your mood is subpar and it’s easy to not write. “Maybe tomorrow,” I’ll tell myself. Repeat day after day and you’re left where tomorrow holds all the promise of productive but where it’s always tomorrow. One more day of being a lazy bastard won’t hurt right?
One way I justified my lack of writing goes something like this: I can’t ever write in a comfortable place. I’m writing this at work on my phone but this isn’t ideal. A pair of thumbs on a phone screen doesn’t work nearly as well as 10 9 of them on a keyboard does (honest question: does anyone use their left thumb for anything?). Where do I write at home? Nowhere. I don’t have a place to write, no comfy desk, no isolated corner, no hole to crawl into and think. My best options were to plop down on a couch (which is terrible for posture) and try my best to ignore all the talking going on around me, the drone of the TV, whatever noise pollution is going on. Sitting on a couch, where do you put your mug of coffee? Where does the vape get placed between sentences and paragraphs? How can you listen to music and not be rude to those watching TV? Where do you plug in the laptop when the battery shits out? How do you use a USB mouse on a couch? How do you get over the anxiety of someone sitting next to you looking at what you’re working on? You don’t, so I don’t write at home as much as I should.
This sounds like a valid justification I suppose, but this is just me being lazy. Authors all over the place can write in more hostile environments than these, so I’m being a little bitch basically. But what if I’m not?
The past few months I’ve had the creeping suspicion that if I had a nice place to work I’d actually be more productive. Sure I’m not motivated to write like ever, but maybe having a nice workspace would be a tiny bit of goodness that can get my ass in gear. The one thing that’ll make the motivation battle much easier to wage.
I told my therapist about this and she suggested I go ahead and get myself a place for myself to work. Hmm. Since I had sobered up I find myself much more willing and able to fix problems as they arise. It’s an easy formula to enact as well; if there’s a problem you fix it. I want to write, I think the problem is a lack of a workspace, so get a workspace! Nothing is ever accomplished by stewing about the problem. Take your life into your own hands because it’s literally the one and only thing you always have. My sober mindset is really helping me be proactive in life and not just some grumpy passenger along for the ride who bitches about everything.
Luckily I didn’t have to solve the problem for myself. For Valentine’s Day my wife surprised me with a cheap and simple desk. My mind was blown away! It’s about the best gift ever: supportive of my hobbies, thoughtful, and practical. She even went through the trouble of moving the furniture around and making a spot for it. I now have a slight “office area” in our living room, tucked up against the south wall. I don’t have to worry about people peeking over my shoulder. I can survey the room. I can be present if I need to be but off in my own world if I see fit to do so. There are a few windows near me so the sun shines in and I can stare at my solar panels when I struggle to write something. Speaking of solar power, my desk is right next to the batteries/inverter so my computer, the thing I’m editing this on right now, is fully powered by the sun!
The desk has three shelves that I can junk up with wires, wire nuts, electrical tape, light bulbs, lithium batteries, vape juice, vape pods, a multimeter, alligator clips, pens, notebooks, and whatever else I decide to put there. It’s delightfully junky, but in a curious tinkerer sort of way; you can tell I’m actually doing work at/near the desk. (Electroboom said something in a recent video like, “You’re not a real engineer unless your desk is messy.”) I bought a tiny Lego set to decorate my desk; it’s a cute electric car with a wind/solar car charger. It even has a little dog with it! I grabbed an old lamp from the basement and booked it into the solar setup and swapped the 60 Watt bulb with a 20W one. Nothing beats that dim, warm light and it looks exactly like you’d expect a light at a writer’s desk to be: candle-like. I also bought two small potted plants to decorate the workspace — a pothos and a Japanese crispy fern — whatever the hell those are.
Basically my desk is awesome. I love it. Thank you Nicki, I love it more than you’re probably aware. But I’m not trying to jerk-off about my desk here; I’m trying to stress the importance of fixing problems and not shitting on yourself too much. It seems a large part of my writing problem was actually the lack of a desk and not just motivation issues or me being lazy even though those are still some big issues. It’s easy to blame yourself but sometimes the world does kinda conspire against you and it’s up to you to fix it. Sure you have flaws, we all do, but you gotta learn how to work with them. I’m apparently a “comfy writer” and need a proper place to sit down and write. I’m a little bitch who wants to be comfy and drink coffee while I deal with motivation issues while staring at a blank Google Doc. I guess that’s how I am. So I played right into it, babied myself, and bought was gifted a desk. “Aww, poor Jeremy needs his own area to write in, a little desk to call his own!” Yes, exactly. That’s exactly what little bitch Jeremy needs to be able to write. And hey, I’m writing something aren’t I?
TL;DR: Be nice to yourself. Be accommodating. Buy a desk. And buy yourself a Lego set and a few potted plants. It’s the key to success and happiness and writing productivity.
Check out my other blog where I sometimes post stories.
It’s over. It’s finished. After a week of subtly torturing myself I can look forward to moving on with my life. Working on myself. Improving. Taking up hobbies. Learning to enjoy being alive. Do thing I enjoy doing. Cherish my existence.
I finished Twilight.
Twilight, in case you’re not aware, is a popular teen book about a girl who falls in love with a vampire writer by Stephenie Meyer. It was stupidly successful in the 2000s and had a whole series of films come out that were also stupidly successful. I saw the first movie years and I don’t remember much. Bella, vampires, love, drama, danger, etc. I have the vague memory of it being okay/decent but also really cringy for some reason.
One of the kids asked for the series for Christmas which I immediately jumped on. Books? Good. Reading? Fantastic. A book series? Even better; anything to promote reading is sometime I get get on board with. Plus books are cheap!
She read the first book and wouldn’t shut the hell up about how amazing Edward, Bella’s vampiric love interest, is. “He’s so sweet! He’s so romantic!” She’d also talk shit about this other dude Jacob for some reason. Since I had finished the Narnia series I was yearning for something to read, anything really, to ward off the drinking urges. She suggested Twilight thinking I would never read it, but fuck it, why not?
I went into it with an open mind. A book this popular can’t be all that bad, right? Sure it might not be exactly what I enjoy reading, but I was expecting to get sucked in against my will and fall in love with the story. But…no. It’s terrible. It’s awful. It’s cringy. It’s poorly written. It’s hilarious at times, but usually not purposefully so. It was a struggle to read and I found that I couldn’t read more than a few chapters at a time. My coworkers even commented on this saying, “You only read for 20 minutes and put the book down. You were plowing through the Narnia books for hours at a time!” To which I said, “The Narnia books are good though. This is fucking torture.”
This post will be a mess because I have so much to complain about and I know it’ll just be a rant about the book. I’ll try to be somewhat coherent.
Literally nothing happens in the first 60 or 70% of the book. Bella meets Edward at school and they talk and fall in love and what not. This is literally the majority of the book. It’s like a case study of falling in love in high school when your hormones are raging and everything is so damn important and dramatic! I have to admit this did give me some painful flashback to my own time in high-school and these weren’t fun at all. You know, feeling that one person, the first person you meet and “fall in love with”, is your world and you can’t survive without them. Naive shit like that that most people grow out of by their early 20s (hopefully).
Not that that stuff is bad by default, it just doesn’t need to take up 60% of the book. We get it: they’re in love. We get it: he’s a vampire. Yes I know he’s tempted to eat her and she’s in danger, but is anything going to happen besides Bella going to school and being swooned from Edward’s presence? Sure. Eventually. If you can hang in there that long.
This probably plays into the ‘boring’ aspect, but the book is also long, way longer than it has any right to be. Twilight is a whopping 498 pages long and I think it could be a good book at half that length. The story itself, the general idea behind it, is good and the last 30-40% (starting around page 375) almost turns into a page-turner in it’s danger and intensity but by that time it’s way to late. If it was cleaned up and condensed down it’d be a hell of a lot better.
Plotholes Like Potholes in Spring…
Let’s not forget the random plotholes too. A few times throughout the book I was confused why the characters would make such stupid choices. Bella finds out Edward is a vampire and, I assume like no one would do in a realistic world, doesn’t question this at all. You’re telling me a seventeen year old girl who likes some boy and discovers he’s a vampire is going to accept it? She’s not going to say, “Haha, good one. There’s no vampires you jackass. So what’s really so strange about you?” Nope, in Twilight she has a hunch he’s a vampire, asks him, he confirms her suspicion, and she’s cool with it. She’s about as blown away at discovering mythical vampires actually exist as you would be to find out your friend is actually Puerto Rican instead of Mexican.
Towards the end Bella is being hunted by a Bad Vampire, and her vampire friends concoct a plan to hide her. Well, Bad Vampire calls saying he has her mom hostage, and that she needs to escape the Good Vampires and give herself up so he can eat her. Now vampires are stupidly fast, powerful, dangerous, and have high-end senses in the world of Twilight, so what does Bella do? She blindly follows along with his plan and abandons her Good Vampire protectors despite how insanely powerful they are. No, Bella, tell your vampire friends, all five of them, what this guy’s plan is and let them protect you and you hostage mom. Also Bella is somehow successful in escaping from the Good Vampires who swore to protect her easily. Like, no way, they’d know exactly what you’re doing and are so fast and strong they’d fucking catch you instantly. Nope. Let’s not forget that one of the vampires can see the future and doesn’t seem to be able to piece together what Bella is up to. The author paints the vampires as these incredible people only to make them seem stupid and gullible during the climax of the book.
Oh yeah, vampires glitter in the sunlight too. Fun little fact. But they all go to the airport at 9 a.m. in Phoenix Arizona of all places without mention to how they stayed out of the sunlight and obviously give themselves up as just a bit strange. I thought maybe this day was cloudy — it wasn’t specified really — but a chapter or two later Bella is running in blinding sunlight reflecting off the pavement. Somehow the vampire clan travel through populated and sunny Phoenix without issue despite their trait of glittering magnificently in the sunlight.
There’s also the whole possibility of turning Bella into a vampire to solve nearly every problem in the book. This isn’t necessarily a plot hole because it delves into the characters and their emotions/motivations, but the book would make a fuckton more sense if they did. Edward wants to eat Bella because she smells so good? Vampire her and you’re fine. Vampire is hunting Bella because she smells so good? Turn her into a vampire and he wont want to eat her. Edward keeps wanting to protect Bella from all the dangers in the world and keep her alive existing? Turn her into a damn vampire! I’m pretty sure later in the series she does become a vampire so her actually being bitten by Bad Vampire and saved by Edward sucking the venom out seems kind of pointless overall.
But The Main Problem…
When I first started reading I didn’t know why I didn’t like it. The first few chapters nothing too egregious happened but the book seemed off for some reason. Before I found all the other obvious glaring problems with this book I had no idea what exactly it was. It took some time to find it, but it’s this: it’s just poorly written and cringy.
The tenses fluctuate around here and there. Not as much as someone writing their first story, but they did change quite a bit. I kept trying to figure out if it was all past-tense or happening as I was reading it. It’s not blatantly obvious but it still throws you off by making the story feel somehow disjointed.
There were countless times I had to hear about how muscular, handsome, and wonderfully beautiful Edward is. Okay, I get it. Once again the author didn’t hold back. At least once per chapter she’d have to mention Edward ‘looking like a Greek God/statue’ or something similar. I swear anytime she compared Edward to Adonis (the god of beauty and desire, of course) I wanted to throw the goddamn book. And it happens multiple times!
Stephen King in On Writingpointed out one thing that really applies to Twilight: he hates adverbs and adjectives, especially in dialogue. I didn’t even know this was a problem or was so awful to witness until I read this book. Here, take a look at this short passage.
“And you still want to know why you can’t see me hunt?” He seemed solemn, but I thought I saw a trace of humor deep in his eyes.
“Well,” I clarified, “I was mostly wondering about your reaction.”
“Did I frighten you?” Yes, there was definitely humor there.
“No,” I lied. He didn’t buy it.
Twilight, page 224.
Seemed solemn. Clarified. There was humor there. He didn’t buy it. It’s exhausting. Meyers needs to remind us after every line how the character sounds or what emotion their displaying. Like King said, we get it, there’s no need to flourish each line with a descriptor.
There’s also this gem which is the low point of the book for me, the part where I knew how terrible the rest of the book would be, where I gazed upon the hell that would haunt me for the next 420 (lol) pages:
When I got home, I decided to make chicken enchiladas for dinner. It was a long process, and it would keep me busy. While I was simmering the onions and chilies, the phone rang. I was almost afraid to answer it, but it might be Charlie or my mom.
Twilight, page 78.
Chicken enchiladas. Bella is cooking chicken enchiladas. When I read this paragraph I stopped, put my head in my hands and groaned a massive groan of disappointment. Do we need to know this? Does it pertain to anything? Is it relevant to the story or the plot at all? Is her dad going to get food poisoning and die or something? The answer is no. It’s just there. It’s especially jarring because it follows a pretty dramatic interaction between Bella and Edward, and after that drama? Chicken fucking enchiladas!
Look, this is fine to do if it serves a purpose. If someone writes about going through a McDonald’s drive through, cool, but they better be writing a stoner buddy comedy or a depressing satire on everyday adult life. Maybe I’m overreacting here on how bad the enchilada paragraph is, or missing the point of it being here (her needing to keep busy?), but it totally broke the flow of reading for me. It was jarring and hilariously pointless to anything regarding the story.
The 498 pages and days of my time weren’t totally wasted; in fact I think this was the most interesting book I read this year (ignoring East of Eden that is). It taught me more than the Narnia series did. The Narnia series and East of Eden shit on me because they were so good: I could never be a writer like those guys, the giants that are Steinbeck and C.S. Lewis. Might as well pack it up and find a 9-5 job and do that until I die. But this book? This book told me “Jeremy, hey, I know you have confidence issues but if this got published, what the fuck are you doing?! Get to writing! You can do better than this!” And I almost want to do better than Twilight because I know for a fact I can if I just get my ass in gear. Twilight was so bad I want to write just to spite it, to prove it wrong, to hold my shitty stories up to the world and say, “Still a better love story than Twilight!” Twilight is the perfect book to show you how not to write and it’s not a book that teaches you numbered lessons or facts; it shows them to you, shoves your face in them, smears your face in shit and makes you hate the flaws so much as to never commit them yourself. Twilight fucking sucked but at least it has some lessons to teach, not that they’re the lessons the author probably wanted to teach you, but lessons none the less.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
Work sucks. It’s boring. There are so many people on my shift and so few airplanes to load/unload. Maybe six flights in/out and 100 people to do the work. I think 50 would be a good number, but 50 is not my current reality: 100 is. I sit. I do nothing. I get antsy. I want to get out and run around because I feel like a hamster trapped in a cage. Untapped energy but a somehow a lack of energy from being so damn bored.
I already wrote about this and don’t want to go over it again, but my boredom is so palpable that I can’t help but stress it one more. This is my hell and it is a hell, let me assure you!
A person at work offered me an Adderall to help get me through these long and sleep-deprived days. I didn’t accept the offer the past few weeks because I know how Adderall affects me. While used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD, Adderall is a powerful stimulant; it’s literally pharmaceutical amphetamine! If you don’t have these actual medical issues it’s meant to treat, you get wired and focused on the most random things. If you can channel the motivation, great, if not you’ll spend hours doing whatever the hell you find yourself doing without explanation. I’ve taken it twice in the past, never for any real purpose, and clearly remember how it affected me. The first time I taught myself piano for four hours straight. The second time I wrote the most elaborate physics paper for my class that I’d ever written. And today is number three…
I wrote my blog post about Christmas and am now writing this. Yes, two drafts in a single day. Because I’m in the zone! Because I have shit to say! Because I’m excited and motivated and feel good and let’s just keep on writing! Because I’ve channeled the energy that Adderall has given me! While it’s sad to know this is only temporary, I might as well make the best use out of my time as the situation allows.
But is it temporary? What if I just take Adderall daily and write? Can I get a prescription because I’m a writer with a severe lack of motivation? I bet if I wrote every day like today I’d have a fucking book done in a month or two. This is surely the best idea I’ve ever had.
No. No it’s not. I wasn’t being serious there. That’s a terrible idea. While I am sad that tomorrow I’ll be the same lazy writer that I always am, I’m aware that that is my natural state and there isn’t a good chemical fix that will magically work.
I’ve learned this through my functional alcoholism. Alcohol used to be my Adderall — drink a few drinks and I couldn’t wait to write — but the key thing to notice is the past-tense in that statement. I drink six beers and could care less about writing. I watch YouTube and play video games. The alcohol somehow doesn’t motivate me like it did a few years ago.
There’s always the urge to use substances to fix a problem (at least for me) and it’s a hell of an urge to fight because they work. There’d be no alcoholics if alcohol didn’t do something to fix you up. The stereotype of drinking heavily after a bad day at work, or after heartbreak, are stereotypes because alcohol works. You wake up the next day still aware of the trouble, but it’s more like a smeared chalk-board image of the problem that you can more easily deal with. Drugs work and that’s why people abuse them.
But substances only sidestep the problem and should only be temporary. This is clear in theory but difficult in practice. If it works, why not use it all the time? The catch is it doesn’t always work. You get a tolerance and the magic, whatever it might be, isn’t quite there anymore. This is especially bad with the physically addictive substances because then you’re hooked without any benefit at all. Cigarette smokers get quite a head rush the first time trying nicotine. It quickly goes away. Vodka mellows you out for quite awhile until you find you need more than before and it doesn’t mellow you out quite like it used to. And Adderall? Luckily I’m not addicted to it and never want to be. It’s the same as anything else. Adderall works until it doesn’t and by that time you’re probably moderately addicted and in a big mess when you try to stop.
Alan Watts said something like, ‘Drugs are a tool and nothing more,’ in one of his books, paraphrased obviously. He likened them to any other tool, like binoculars for example. Binoculars are fantastic for looking at far away objects, but if you think they’re so fucking amazing to use all the time you’re missing the point. If some asshole did walk around with binoculars attached to their face they’d run into some issues in life, just like the use-drugs-as-a-solution person does. The analogy goes pretty deep if you’d like to take it there. Binocular-Man, as we’ll call him, will probably have a rough time adapting, but he can do it. I once read a story about a guy who put a contraption on his head that swapped the images between his eyes where his right eye was seeing from the perspective of his left and vice verse. And guess what? After awhile he adapted and could live life normally. Apparently his brain dealt with the image fuckery and got to work doing what all human brains do: adapt. His vision was swapped, his brain adapted, and he was perfectly fine.
Until he took the damn things off that is. His brain was dealing with more fuckery and despite seeing the normal way his entire life (minus the previous week) he was fucked. The world was fucked. He couldn’t see right. And then eventually his brain realized what was up and adapted back to it’s original state. I shouldn’t have to explain this analogy with reversed-vision-guy and binocular-man because it’s all pretty obvious how this applies here.
That’s my working theory on drug use/abuse. Abusers mistake the tool for the thing that will fix everything about them or their lives, myself included with alcohol. Users are those who can dabble and not become entranced by the drugs. I believe most drugs are useful, even the more esoteric stuff like LSD and DMT for mind and perspective expanding — not to mention painkillers like morphine — but all have limits on their uses. Adderall is great for allowing those with ADHD or narcolepsy to function better, but outside of that it’s also great for (illegally) allowing the sleep-deprived student and the unmotivated writer/blogger at UPS to finally get shit done. It’s really good at this too, let me assure you of that! But with that last example you can see this is quickly getting into the “tool-not-solution” problem from earlier. I have no qualms with the students using this drug to write a paper here and there, but it’s obvious it can go from tool to solution way too easily, once again because it’s so damn effective.
(Note: I talked with a friend about why it’s okay for an ADHD person to use Adderall to solve their issues but not for someone like me, and unmotivated writer, to use Adderall to solve their motivation issues. It seemed to come down to this: what is the best solution possible? ADHD is a brain chemical imbalance so drugs are likely the best way to solve the problem. Me with motivation? No, this isn’t a chemical issue but a ‘mindset issue.’ It’s impossible for the depressed/ADHD/chemically imbalanced person to ‘think their way’ out of their problems, so the only solution is a drug. Sounds like a beautiful explanation doesn’t it?)
To problem with my motivation is, well, a problem with my motivation. It’s a battle against myself. While Adderall is currently fucking kicking my motivation into high gear, it’s not the be-all end-all solution. The Adderall will wear off and I’ll be me, the flawed me, once again as always. The Adderall me can still exist with Adderall or without it. I can write like Stephen King suggests if I drug myself up, or if I just work through my issues with motivation. One is hard, one is easy — both work — but the easy one is dangerously temporary. So what’s the choice? What do I do?
Looks like I’ll sit my ass down tomorrow and try to write something sans-Adderall.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
Despite the previous post I wasn’t completely unproductive last week. I was able to read Stephen King’s On Writing which was one of my Sober September purchases. I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to reading it then. Better late than never, right? Anyways, as the title implies, the book is about writing. Duh. Since Stephen King is a pretty successful writer you’d expect him to have something insightful to say about the craft.
The book isn’t completely about writing as I soon discovered. The first section of the book is a rough autobiography of King’s childhood and early adulthood that shows how much he’s always loved writing and his struggle to get work published. King seems to have taken failure in stride by hanging up his rejected manuscripts on the wall of his room and kept pushing forward. Reading, writing, and submitting stories until his first major success Carrie was published.
The end of the book, like the beginning, isn’t directly about writing and covers King’s near-death from being hit by a car. (He says something like he was hit by a character right out of one of his stories.) At first this section seemed off and ham-fisted, but with his multiple surgeries and recovery he wasn’t able to write at all. King apparently writes for at least a few hours everyday so this whole incident really broke him from his habit. Towards the end of this section he struggles to pick up writing again and feels as awkward as him learning to walk again was. His writing is his joy and his life and the return to writing was another part of his recovery and he soon found himself finding his stride after losing it. It’s a great way to round off the whole arc of the book.
Okay, onto the on writing part of On Writing. It’s a great book and I sailed through it easily, a welcome break from The Wheel of Time series. Curiously King doesn’t give many clear and direct tips to write successfully; his entire philosophy seems to be to “read and write all the damn time” or at least as much as you can. Sure he shits all over adverbs and ‘the passive voice’ (something I’m still trying to work on. “I am writing this blog post,” as opposed to “The blog post is being written by me.”) while stressing good grammar, but these clear and direct tips are pretty sparse. In short he realizes that writing is a creative experience and it’s hard to offer ‘rules’ that successful writers break all the time. Like sure you can break grammar rules or use the passive voice for effect, but you better know damn well what you’re doing before you try it!
King also dunks all over a heavy reliance on plot and feels it’s too rigid to tell a good story. His idea is that stories are living things, and you start with the characters and a situation and see what happens when you let the story play out. It’s writing without an idea of where the story will go. He sees it this way: if you force a conclusion onto characters who don’t operate a certain way it’s obvious (“This character wouldn’t do this!”) and feels clunky. While I generally feel this to be great advice, especially for myself, I can see other writers taking the plot route and having it work out wonderfully for them. Think of Robert Jordan’s 13-book-series The Wheel of Time again. I don’t think he plopped some characters on a page and magically ended up with an entire 13-book-long series. It seems like he’d need to have a general plot lined out before writing such a massive series. But I don’t know that for fact so who knows.
As mentioned, the main takeaway from the book seems to be to read and write often. Make a habit or a chore out of it. Sit down everyday (or as frequently as you can) and fucking write. See what happens. Even if what you write is trash, well, at least you have something to show for it and you’ll only improve over time. Reading is just as important because that’s how you learn how to write better. Reading gives you ideas, styles, and techniques to use in your own writing; I totally stole semicolons from reading a bunch of Alan Watts. Sentence fragments and gut reactions? Thank you Hunter S. Thompson. By reading you discover what works and what doesn’t, especially regarding your own style of writing. You read a long, detailed, and boring description of a room that you hate? Don’t be overly descriptive in your own writings. Read a few pages of amazingly tense dialog? Put some intense dialog in your own stories. Dig in and do what you like to do. But the only way to realize this is to read and learn, write and try, and see if it works in your own writing.
After writing all of that I’m tempted to imposter syndrome myself into thinking I’m not really a writer. I don’t read as often as I should and I definitely don’t write as much or as freely as King says you have to to be a writer. Is this something you can learn or do you need to be a natural reader/writer from the time you’re a kid like King was as a child? Eh, have a little confidence, I was able to write this and it’s something, right?
I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in writing. The book mentions a ton of important things to improve your writing even if it is nebulous and generalized guidelines like WrItE eVeRy DaY! After reading the book I found I was inspired to write, to get over the worry of writing and just sit down and write. To plop out whatever is in my mind and see what the mess looks like on paper. It’s like the entire book of On Writing is Stephen King being a hype-man for writers everywhere. Follow his advice. Read the damn book. And then hole yourself in a room and start writing!
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
Last Sunday I was sitting around trying to force my way through another one of my Morrowind fanfiction chapters. The goal I had this year was to post a single chapter weekly, on Sunday, and at the time I thought there was no downside to it. Sure, there’d be work, but bullshitting a chapter every seven days would be easy. I wouldn’t have to put much effort into creativity — the universe of The Elder Scrolls series is already created — and surely I could rake in hundreds and maybe thousands of views on Wattpad. It’d become accustomed to having a goal, a schedule, and writing without endlessly waiting for ‘inspiration.’ There was no downside to it, and plenty of upside.
I wrote a few paragraphs and the chapter seemed to be off to a good enough start, but after 30 minutes I hit a wall. I wasn’t into it, I wasn’t inspired, and it seemed like a chore. With only a few hours until midnight I’d have to finish it somehow, but shut the computer off to think about what I wanted to write. Ya know, take an hour or so break and plot my next few paragraphs.
I didn’t figure out a damn thing. I gave up, went to bed, and would worry about it later.
I’ve been slacking on the story for quite awhile, maybe posting only a chapter every two or three weeks instead of weekly. It almost feels like I’m trying to keep something alive that is obviously dying. So much effort and worry for almost no progress. Limping along trying to accomplish something worth accomplishing.
Views. As shitty of a metric as it is, it’s the main way you can tell if anyone is reading what you’re pouring effort into. It’s the little reward that tells us writers if anyone actually gives a damn about our projects. I have a journal .doc and write random thoughts to clear my mind, but anything that is published on the internet is meant to be read by others. And if it’s not, what’s the point of even posting?
I currently have 244 total views on the Morrowind story. Sometimes it ranks in the top ten in the Morrowind category out of 110, but if no one reads the category much, who cares? Also consider this has been going on for roughly 35 weeks: 7 views a week. I’ve posted 29 chapters: 8.4 views per chapter. Those are some depressing numbers.
Making this even more depressing is the fact that most of my early chapters have the most views, especially the first chapter. The first chapter alone had 64 views, 25% of the total. The second chapter, 40, and so on as it exponentially declines toward zero. The newest chapters rake in only one or two views. This tells me people might read the first bit of the story and there is nothing to hook them into reading more. It’s boring. It starts slow. And this probably isn’t how you should play the fanfiction game.
I was bored enough to day to plot out my views per chapter in Google Sheets. It’s a nice visual aid to what I am describing.
It’s also interesting to see that I might have four or five actual fans that consistently read what I post. It’s also interesting to see a few peaks here and there where I net about ten views per chapter. I wonder if deactivating my Facebook has anything to do with this? I wonder how many readers came from Facebook?
I started to believe there is no upside to continue the story while there are a ton of downsides. It’s a timesink. It isn’t fun. It isn’t fulfilling. I feel the same dread on the weekends from the story as going to dentist. For what exactly? So three or four people can read it? What is the end goal to all of this? If I finish it in a year or two, what will I have to show for it? Will it benefit me at all? No, probably not. I see almost no way continuing this can get me any closer to my writing goals as nebulous as they are in the first place.
So, yeah, I’m done. Let’s try to make this somewhat positive. Failing. I feel like a failure, naturally. But if you browse the Get Motivated! subreddit, you might be aware that if you don’t fail, you’re not trying (which is apparently a Jillian Michaels quote, huh). No one slips into success on their first attempt. Success means failing over and over and discovering what works and what doesn’t, and one of the real tragedies is hanging out in a failing endeavour wasting time and effort to force success. Like a business owner going deep into debt to make it work despite having no customers or success. We have to realize our finite ability to deal with shit and hold onto one of our most important, and limited, traits: motivation.
Failing isn’t bad. Giving up isn’t bad. As long as you continue to fail upwards towards something better.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
Two weeks ago I recieved a message from the Wattpad staff about some writing contest. Something about writing a short story about “a time where you stood up for the truth” or something. I totally disregarded it. If you’ve read any of my writings over at my other blog you should be well aware that there is no “truth” to anything I write. Everything is foggy, unclear, hidden, and there usually isn’t any sort of plot, theme, or reason behind any of my writings. It seems I channel my useless and directionless feelings into my stories so any idea about me writing about “a time where I stood up for the truth” was a lost cause.
Let’s also gripe about how the contest required a story that’s less than 500 words. This is nothing and with my typical paragraphs of about 100 words meant I’d have to write a story of only five paragraphs. How can you write a story about the truth in five fucking paragraphs?
Anyways, I ignored it for a week and then received another message from Wattpad: the same message about a writing contest. Well, would there be any downside to writing some 500-word drivel just for the fuck of it? There was nothing to lose besides time, and maybe I could churn something out in 30 minutes or so. I thought about it for a few days but didn’t care too much about it.
And then something happened on Thursday while I was sitting at my computer. The thoughts started to flow, the YOLO channeled through me, the idea that there was nothing to lose by bullshitting 500 words about “the truth” taking hold of me or some shit. I set to work carefully crafting a 500 word “story” about losing your mind on drugs, having a crisis, questioning the fabric of everything, and coming to no conclusion whatsoever. If you’d like you can read the final product here: I’d love to have some viewer support in this failed endeavour.
A fun thing happened when I checked the story on Wattpad today. It was ranked #142 in the tagged stories for the contest. Huh? That’s pretty high, isn’t it? Surely thousands and maybe millions of people submitted something so how the fuck was I #142? There was no way that was correct. I clicked the link to view my ranking and the #142 was out of like only 288 stories in total. What?! Shouldn’t there be thousands of thirsty people chasing after the glory of winning a contest? Apparently not.
It reminds me of a few other writing contests I somehow won before really pretending to be a writer, both at my local community college. The first one was about “what college meant to me” or some shit. I bullshitted an essay and won like third place or something. How? Why? I don’t know. I wrote something about college “making me into the person I was meant to be” or something. Once again, I don’t know. And there was another writing contest, one from an organisation called Transform Rockford which was hell-bent on turning our shitty run-down town into something of note here in the midwest. I wrote an essay complaining about the “lack of community” by noting that there’s a lack of grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and anything else to note in my predominantly African-American side of town, while also noting that liquor stores and bars seemed to exist in a greater frequency. Totally shitting all over the positive vibes that Transform Rockford seemed to be going for.
And I won…something. Second place, third place, I don’t recall. I won $50 which was the first cash I ever received for writing something. Even worse, I had to read my essay at the college in front of people. Jesus. That was awful, but luckily I was in speech class and knew that pretending I was a confident badass who had a point to make was just as good as actually being a confident badass who had a point to make. I read my critical essay, got a round of applause, awkwardly shook some hands, and walked back to my seat.
I wondered why I won something in these two contests, once again thinking it surely wasn’t due to talent or skill or anything. And I think I’ve stumbled upon a slight bit of truth to why I won because of this silly Wattpad contest: no one actually submits anything.
The rules of the Wattpad contest are straightforward enough, but also convoluted enough that I assume a bunch of people halfass reading the actual requirements misunderstood it. The message links you to a page that gives the rules of the contest, and this page gives a link to a tag that you must click on to properly tag your story with. Basically, writing a story and manually tagging it doesn’t seem to fulfill the contest requirements. How many people wrote a submission and failed to read the rules and tag it properly? Thousands? I don’t know. Maybe people are just slackers and think they’re failures and don’t even submit anything.
So the chances are improved by people not reading the rules like a lawyer would or being too sheepish to even try. 288 people? That’s all I’m up against? Well, fuck, I might have a shot based on pure chance alone. A 1/288 chance is magnitudes better than the fucking lottery, and any skill you actually have only improves your chances. And simply submitting something and overcoming your natural self-hatred and suspicions that others are miles better than yourself also improves your chances. Maybe everyone thinks they’re shit and how many people are discouraged and never submit anything? I really don’t think I’ll win, but any thought I have about the matter is out of my hands. I got off my ass, wrote something, submitted it (properly too!), and put myself out there. As with the other contests that I somehow placed in, I think the fact that I actually tried was a huge factor in being successful. If you never try, you’ll never win, right?
God, do I hate myself right now. I can’t do a damn thing with writing. My thoughts are a jumbled mess that I just can’t make sense of. I’ve had five beers already and nothing is inspiring to write about, but damn am I determined to get something out. It feels like a strange form of writer’s block which I’m sure I’ve already written about at least a few times in the past year. Like where you have a ton of ideas but no inspiration or motivation to actually put the puzzle pieces together into a coherent blog post. I’m going to write here and see what happens. Maybe it’ll break up the mental jam that I’m suffering through. Say what is in your soul, as I’ve been telling myself.
I drank yesterday. Only eight beers over the course of about six hours which isn’t really bad although I did break my “drink on Sunday” rule again. There is an exception to the rule: long car drives or big adventures. I drove to Davenport, Iowa yesterday to help my sister move out of her wife’s-but-soon-to-be-ex-wife’s home — only a two-hour drive — but once again I realized I hate car drives. Long ones at least. There is something uniquely exhausting about sitting in a chair for hours while driving that doesn’t compare to anything else I’ve experienced. Hell, I’ve been on this couch for the past five hours and don’t feel exhausted at all. Something about the drone of the road, the hum of the engine, and dealing with people that can’t seem to use cruise control on a highway wear you out; I don’t know what it is exactly but something about driving is exhausting. So I treated myself with some beers when I got back home.
I drank and then my mind went into hyperdrive. I came up with about five or six blog post ideas, all in the stream of consciousness where I found myself laying in bed and thinking out the posts with my inner monologue. Boy did they flow wonderfully and I felt there was some magic in the thought process. Something that made me think, “This is it, this is how you write!” but I couldn’t put it down on paper or on a computer. Something held me back from actually sitting down and writing the posts and I was happy to just “mentally write them” or some shit.
Which made me hate myself more than usual. I cannot get my mind in line. I cannot capitalize on the gifts that have been bestowed upon me. It almost feels like an uncontrollable power — all these thoughts tossed at me randomly that I cannot process or contain long enough to do anything with — that I should do something with and use but just can’t get around to it. I went and took a shower and continued to mentally write posts, trying to conjure up some way to contain the lightning of my brain into some sort of bottle. I didn’t find any, obviously. I tried to write something at 4 a.m. but it never pulled itself together into anything coherent. It’s a mess, my brain is a mess, and I can’t seem to do anything with 90% of the shit that randomly enters my head that I feel is a good idea.
I shouldn’t forget that I still need to write my Morrowind story for this week either. The past four weeks has only had two chapters published meaning I’m totally dropping the ball on my goal which leads to more self-hatred. Once you fail it’s so hard to pick yourself back up and get on your goals. I’m determined to write something today, even if it does end up being a mess, and I think it being a mess might make the story better in a way. I think that’s why I’m struggling my way through this post; I want something to show myself to say, “See?! You can do something if you only try hard enough!” I’m constantly telling myself, “You’re a good writer! Have confidence! Just write! Go for it! Say what is in your soul!” but it doesn’t work very well. I’m not depressed, just unmotivated. Wondering what it’s all for. Thinking of my past blog posts about motivation and realizing your goals and being yourself and wondering where the person who wrote that shit actually disappeared to. I know I wrote them, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like myself. It feels like the successful me that actually has things figured out wrote them and I’m not that person anymore. I know I’m still the same and I’m just in a funk, but it’s hard to convince yourself of that fact.
So the struggle to write continues. I suppose there is no need to bitch or whine about it (even though I just did) and the only solution is to get the fuck down to work. When you’re left with nothing else to distract yourself with the only way is forward. Progress because there is nothing else to really do. Another day is over, another blog post finished, and I’m progressing towards some unsatisfying conclusion or goal somewhere in the unclear and foggy future. Here’s to progress friends. Cheers.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
Holy hell I made it. 34 posts in a row. A post on for every single day in March. Something about setting a goal and keeping to it. Something about persistence and dedication and how it’s good or something. Hell if I know though; I’m exhausted.
Did I learn anything? Maybe. I think I’ll appreciate it more with some reflection. Some time to relax and ponder what has changed within me and my writing, if anything. At the very least it seems setting clear goals is a great idea and I think I might apply it to the fictional stories I’m supposedly working on. The only problem is I’m not working on them. The Morrowind story — sorry I mention it alot — keeps moving forward because I’m dedicated to posting a chapter every week. If I didn’t have this goal I doubt I’d ever work on it. You get in the rut of waiting for inspiration or for the perfect idea to come along and nothing ever gets done. I didn’t even have the next chapter written until this last Sunday, the day I had to post it on. Somehow I managed. I sat down as uninspired as ever, wrote it, edited it, and posted it. Every single Sunday (with one exception) this year has had a chapter posted. 13 weeks, 14 chapters. It’s fucking progress because I set a clear goal for myself. Check it out if you’re interested, I’m rather proud of it so far even if it does start off slow.
I’ll stress it again: SET CLEAR, OBTAINABLE GOALS AND HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE! You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Going forward I think I might do a “fictional Friday” on the other blog, maybe forcing myself to write a single story/chapter every week. I’ve said it a lot, but 52 weeks a year would give me 52 chapters, probably a few finished books. If only I had the courage to hold myself to something. Set a goal and keep at it. None of this ‘inspiration’ bullshit. Just write. Just write something and to hell if it’s good. An average story that exists is better than a story that doesn’t exist, a story that resides in your mind as some wonderful and grand story but a dream nonetheless.
So the streak is over. I gave March hell and I’m proud of myself. I didn’t reach the goal of 1,000 monthly views, but 950ish is still pretty good. Once again, close enough to get my hopes up while still falling short of the Grand Goal. I’d also like to point out that earlier in the month I predicted I’d end up with around 950 views; math sure is useful and I’m kinda proud I was as accurate as I was. Oh well, there are nine months left in the year so maybe I’ll do another marathon posting session later, a second sprint towards the goal of 1,000.
In some ways I’m worried that 950 is better than I could’ve done considering everyone is out of work and on lockdown at home. It’s basically the perfect storm for getting blog views and maybe if this was a typical March I’d be nowhere near 950. But this is speculation and might be a way to shit on myself before I end this post. I’m always tempted to believe that any success is due to luck and any failure is due to me. Own the failures and disregard the successes. I’ll link to that self-esteem post again. At least I’m aware I’m doing it which is some sort of progress.
Pat myself on the back. “Good Job Jeremy, you’ve done it.” I’m tired. I’ve earned a break, some respite from this nonstop writing and posting. It’s been fun (“fun”) but it’s over. This is the end. Crossing the finish line after running 13.1 miles, that’s what it kinda feels like. Not that I’m done with this blog, no way. This is my stupid little baby of an ongoing project and I love getting on here to bitch. I’ll be back in a day or two or maybe a week: I have no plans. I really want to do higher quality posts that actually give useful information to my readers. Writing is always a give and take between writer and reader, and sometimes I forget that. This streak has mostly been me randomly talking about my day and I don’t think this is really useful to anyone. If you find these entertaining, cool, great, I appreciate it, but I want to provide something to those who read this stuff. Maybe I’ll work on that. I’ve had an idea for a post on how to cope with depressive thoughts, sort of like me learning from therapy and passing it onto others. That’s a good way to give back, right?
Alright I’m done. Thanks for reading, seriously. I love you guys and gals, good vibes to everyone. See you guys sometime in the nearish future!