Tag Archives: Writing

The Wattpad Writing Contest Sucks

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.

One of the my more awkward photos. Obviously. But I should be proud I guess.

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?

Drunken Writing Sucks

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.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Streak Day #34: The End

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.

Shitty cover for the story

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.

It looks amazing in graphical form!

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!

Streak Day #32 Sucks: A Values Checklist

Sunday, the last day of the WordPress week, and what do I write? I’m feeling some pressure now; I need about 25 more views today (in the remaining eight hours…) to have another record week. I don’t think it’ll happen. And if I pull off about 45 or 50 a day I can crack that 1,000 views in a month goal I’ve had. I don’t think that’ll happen either. I didn’t even have much hope for it the past week but the past few days has (once again somehow and I don’t know why) had quite a bit more views than usual, giving me just enough hope to have it totally crushed by Wednesday.

I’m tempted to try to write another “masterpiece” blog post but don’t have it in me. I haven’t made any progress on the Morrowind story this week and finally got around to a rough draft about two hours ago. That must be edited and posted and has priority over any bullshit I want to write here.

So what to write? I don’t know. Let me sit here and think about it. I’ve already talked plenty about this stupid coronavirus and don’t want to do it anymore. Work? Work sucks. I hate being at work but I hate being anywhere else. You trade work for boredom mostly. Any projects at home? Well, I bought a massive 100 Watt solar panel from Amazon that arrived today; not that I can do anything with it because it’s been perpetually cloudy. I think I’ll rig up some extension cords to make the system “plug-and-play” or something like that. I’m just sick of soldering shit, using alligator clips, or whatever else I can conjure up to connect wires. My last panel was a tiny 10 Watt panel; this boi is ten times the power! I can’t wait to get started.

But the Morrowind story hangs over me like these damn clouds in the sky. That’s the goal for today and as much as I want to fuck with this blog, Dark Souls, or my new big boi solar panel, I can’t until that is finished. Or at least finished enough that I can put it together before midnight or before I’m too drunk to edit, whichever comes first. That’s why I’m doing this now, to get it out of the way.

Drinking today means a trip to the store. I need extension cords for my project. I can’t believe I bought a 2 x 4 foot solar panel for $100 so I can charge my phone with solar power. It’s such a simple goal but one that is taking on a life of its own. I’m dreading a trip to the store. Last week was pretty comfy — Meijer was all but deserted — but I’m starting to have anxiety about being around people in public. Who is infected and who isn’t? Has this box of tomatoes been handled by someone with The Disease and by picking up the box I’m going to get myself and my family killed? Every person that drives by or walks by, I wonder if they’re infected or not. Everyone is a hazard, every object outside of the house is a hazard, and if you let yourself think too much about it in a careless way it’s nearly impossible not to feel frightened by the world. Remember I think I’m doing well with the COVID anxiety too. How is everyone else doing if I’m becoming this way?

I suppose there is that paper the therapist gave me from Thursday, something about discovering your values that I haven’t even looked at yet, so maybe I can check that out. Fuck, let’s do it together. I’ll type it out here and if that takes too much effort I’ll take a picture of it.

Exercise: A Values Checklist

Below are some common values. (They are not ‘the right one’; merely common ones.) Please read through the list and write a letter next to each value based on how important it is to you. Of course, some values will be more important in one area of life (e.g. parenting) than in another area (e.g. work) — so this is just to get a general sense of the values that tend to matter to you the most.

  • Acceptance/self-acceptance: to be accepting of myself, others, life, etc.
  • Adventure: to be adventurous; to actively explore novel or stimulating experiences
  • Assertiveness: to respectfully stand up for my rights and request what I want
  • Authenticity: to be authentic, genuine, and real; to be true to myself
  • Caring/self-care: to be caring towards myself, others, the environment, etc.
  • Compassion/self-compassion: to act kindly toward myself and others in pain
  • Connection: to engage fully in whatever I’m doing and be fully present with others
  • Contribution and generosity: to contribute, give, help, assist, or share
  • Cooperation: to be cooperative and collaborative with others
  • Courage: to be courageous or brave; to persist in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty
  • Creativity: to be creative or innovative
  • Curiosity: to be curious, open-minded, and interested; to explore and discover

Okay well this list is forty items long, so I’ll just put the values and omit the explanation. If you need them defined: Google them.

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Fairness and justice
  • Fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom and independence
  • Friendliness
  • Forgiveness/self-forgiveness
  • Fun and humor
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Industry
  • Intimacy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Mindfulness
  • Order
  • Persistence
  • Respect/self-respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety and protection
  • Sexuality
  • Skillfulness
  • Supportiveness
  • Trust
  • Other:________
  • Other:________

Apparently the list is from Russ Harris at this website right here. So I didn’t steal it, okay?

Hopefully you guys got something out of that. It sure does seem like something you really need to sit down and think about that’s for sure.

So as I was typing that, I realized all sound really good and I think I hold nearly everything as a value somewhat. There aren’t any that I noped away from: everything sounds great! Maybe fairness and justice can get the axe: life simply isn’t fair. I think we should strive for fairness but claiming something is unfair doesn’t mean shit. Anyways, this only complicates the matter. I think it’d be easier to ask what values you don’t hold than to ask what values you do hold. Trim the paper until you’re left with a shape that is actually you, in a way.

Basically on Thursday the therapist said that maybe if I had a clear value system it might be easier to define my actions, to uphold my values in a way that gives my life some integrity and meaning. Not that I don’t have integrity or am a total heathen, I’m just lost and confused to where I’m aimless. She said to give myself some goals to give myself direction, and when asking about what goals I should set because I don’t know what the fuck I want to do she said to figure out my values. What I hold dear in life. The shit that I think is important. So basically values -> goals -> direction, something like that. More layers to the onion, I suppose.

Now my issue is I’m not sure how to live according to values exactly. An obvious one I have is curiosity; I’m always surprised that some people, maybe most people, simply don’t seem to give a shit about anything around them. Is anyone curious? Given the COVID-19 example you’d think maybe a large chunk of the population are reading about viruses, immunity, ventilators, exponential growth, RNA sequences, the flu, or vaccines, but most are probably reading questionable articles from Facebook (and spam-sharing them) about how maybe shoving some herbal supplements up your ass might make you immune to the disease. I don’t know this for a fact — luckily most of my friends don’t seem to be raging dumbfucks — but in the 2020 post-information/disinformation age curiosity and critical thinking in general appear to not be a huge priority to people.

Rant aside, how do I live according to having curiosity as a value? Just be curious? That’s it? I think another value I have is “helping people” or “spreading knowledge” but how the fuck do you help people be curious if they aren’t already? How do I leave by example? And even if I figure this out, how does it apply to a life goal? What job can I get that values curiosity and teaching people? A teacher? Is that what I’m supposed to do? What about that minor dream of being a flight instructor? Well, shit, maybe all of this therapy bullshit does make some sense if you think about it enough.

And that’s enough thinking about it for now. Onto the store, a six/twelve-pack of Claws, and editing that damn Morrowind story. Maybe perseverance is one of my values as well…

Streak Day #22 Sucks (and some stuff about…?)

I don’t even know what streak day it is anymore. I do know it’s the 19th and I have another paltry 45 minutes to get this damn thing published. Yikes. This project is starting to wear on me and I’m positive that once I complete a month (or until the end of March, I have no plans set yet) I’m taking a damn break from this blog. I’m sure it won’t be long — when you post everyday for a month any break more than a few days feels forever — but I’m taking a break.

Everything has pros and cons to it. Pro? I’m keeping a routine and raking in views. Con? It’s taking all my motivation to do so. I’m trying not to stress out about it though. I have a project and I’m going to keep the project going until it’s finished. Just another week or two, no big deal.

I’m constantly thinking if creative juices are finite or infinite. It seems to be a little bit of both which sounds like a paradox. Like you can’t sit around and wait for motivation all the time, but you also can’t force yourself to plow through and make any real progress if you have nothing to work with. This is how I feel about the streak thingy I’m on: it’s working great but I don’t have any other motivation left to channel into other creative areas. Do I have any idea what to write with my other stories? No. Hell no. I have no idea. I can’t even brainstorm new chapters because there is nothing there to think about. Luckily the Morrowind story is limping along just fine; it seems to have a seperate wellspring of motivation that isn’t related to creative writing or blogging. Morrowind story inspiration is also flowing from my reading of The Wheel of Time series. Maybe it’s also because I have an easy schedule to keep up with? Who knows.

One thing the therapist told me about these antidepressants was something like, “It makes the lows not so low, but also makes the highs not as joyful. As a creative person, this might backfire if you draw inspiration from the highs and lows.” I think this also spooked me to a degree where I think it might be happening, but as always I don’t know if it’s in my head or if it’s a real effect of the drug. It’s strange to elaborate on. My mood does seem better but nothing “dramatic” happens to where I feel the need to write about it. I don’t want to say things seem “blah” because it sounds lifeless and unenjoyable, but everything does have a “blah” undercurrent to it. It’s one thing that has frightened me about antidepressants; will they change me in a way that takes away the twisted gifts I actually have? Do I need my mood to be chaotic and miserable to have something to write about?

Usually I write about my day in a Google Doc I have but nothing has been written in a few weeks, maybe even a month. Do I blame my blogging streak for leaving me exhausted and unmotivated or the antidepressants for making my life “blah” even if my mood has greatly improved? Can I blame the feeling of “being in between” or “waiting on something” for my blahness? Sometimes I think you need to give life time to catalyze into real change or insight.

The moods are still there, just leveled out a bit. When I feel a depressed mood coming on it doesn’t seem as “dangerous” as it used to. It doesn’t feel like a crisis anymore. It’s just something to deal with and work through now. The same is true for my good moods; I roll with them and don’t seem to “grasp to hold onto them” as much anymore. When they do pass I don’t have the usual bittersweet feeling of loss that I seem to recall having in the past. Just another thing to deal with and work through. Drama, but not like drama used to be.

Now I’m getting slightly depressed again. Fuck. But soon I’ll have this posted and can read and my mood will pass. Within me I still feel the usual inspiration just waiting to be channeled, and even if my moods do seem “leveled out” they’re still there. I can still tap into them I’m sure if I just sit my ass down and introspect a bit.

Sorry if all I seem to write about is antidepressants and writing/blogging lately. They’re constantly at the front of my mind.

Streak Day #14 Sucks (and some stuff about writing and The Wheel of Time)

Two weeks. Two weeks I’ve been at this shit and I’m almost starting to regret it. Things are great if you have something to write, but I’ve been in a funk the past few days. The writer’s block is getting especially bad and while I can still churn out a daily post I can’t for the life of me think of anything to write regarding any of those fictional stories I’m supposedly working on.

One thing to note: I’ve started reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I was weary to begin because apparently it’s a massive thirteen-book series, so had only purchased the first two books months ago. The first one is like 700 pages long too. By starting on a fucking thirteen-book series each with a conservate 500 pages means I could be committing myself to reading a massive 6,500 pages at least. Did I really want to get myself into this project? It’ll take like a year.

People say that creativity comes from branching out and trying new things. Reading Hunter S. Thompson nonstop sure helps get the honest, no bullsit, and vulgar tone down in your writings, but it doesn’t help you branch out very much. I hope by delving into some high fantasy stuff that I’m not used to maybe the creative juices will start flowing again. But I don’t know.

The problem with what I write is it shirks the entire idea of high fantasy and stories in general. I think it’s my bleak mindset on life shining through. If I believe that life is not a big and grand adventure and that we’re all looking for some big grand adventure to add meaning to life this is certain to leak into my stories. What I seem to write about is the pointlessness of everyday life, as bleak as that sounds. I don’t even want this to sound edgy or anything; this is what I seem to write about. Strangely I notice I also write about those magical moments in life where things do make perfect sense and everything is wonderful. Little bursts of light here and there in the total bleakness of the grand story (which doesn’t exist) itself.

I read 100 pages of the first book last night. It was great. I was absorbed into the world and the plot, while slow for the first two chapters, quickly took off. I was hooked. The tension that the plot was about to devolve into a shitstorm was palpable. As one chapter ended I found myself eager to start the next chapter, just waiting for some mild break in the story to finally quit and finally fall asleep. I think I finally passed out around 5:30 a.m. Holy hell.

One thing I despise about reading intense fiction stories is the shock that I receive when I stop reading and come back to the bleakness of the Real World. It’s shocking and I’ve noticed this feeling before while watching movies. I clearly remember seeing Apollo 13 in the theater as a kid and the shock I felt walking back to the car on a bright and sunny day realizing that, yes, it was just a movie and I was back in Reality was terrible. I’d have to go to school later and I’d have to do homework and I’d have to grow up and I’d have to get a job and I’d have to grow old. Consider the harrowing adventure Jim Lovell and crew had to contend with over a few weeks as they whipped around the moon not sure if they’d survive in the dark inhospitable environment of space. It’s a fucking Adventure. And it was engrossing and exhilarating and it was a shock walking into the parking lot and realizing that in a way it was all a dream to you.

The same thing happened yesterday when I stopped reading The Wheel of Time. Mind totally blown and fixed on the greater themes in the story. The Light. The Wheel of Time. The impossibility of stopping past events from repeating themselves in the future. The grand battle against The Dark One. The promise that every character in the book has a purpose, some key role they’re going to play in the Grand Tale. I put the book down, blew out the candle, and walked upstairs to eat peanut butter on crackers along with a glass of milk. Only wearing my underwear. I looked out the window and the sky was turning a dull greyish color. Thanks Daylight Savings Time. I slept until 1 p.m., dragged myself out of the bed, and made some coffee. Now I’m writing a blog post. This is my Grand Adventure. Yay.

Not that the characters are on grand adventures all the time. I’m sure they had to deal with the same mundane bullshit I have to deal with, but this doesn’t bother them in the story. It isn’t even discussed really and only appears in vague ways. Wanting to leave the comfy town in order to “see the world” or to “go on an adventure.” But they seem happy enough and you can’t help but feel bad for the everyday person being caught up in the shitstorm. Tam, one character in the story, can’t wait to get back to his farm and tend to his sheep, even if things are going to hell around him. He likes the quiet life. If they are like me though, maybe the want the world to fall apart in some huge crisis between Light and Dark just so they have some reason to break away from the pointlessness of everything else. To be a part of something greater than themselves.

Sometimes I do think I’m on the brink of my own Great Adventure, kinda waiting around to the world or myself to totally snap in some way to set me out on it. Maybe I am a future best-selling author? Maybe these stupid posts are all the hard work I need to do to get to that point? I doubt it. This fragment of hope exists as a tiny and miniscule glow tucked deep in the back of my mind. I’m not writing because I think it’s a step on the path to greatness, no. I’m writing because there isn’t jackshit else to do and I need to kill another hour before I sulk my way to work. Another day in my fourteen-year career at UPS. Another post in my fourteen-day streak on WordPress. Jesus Christ.

I really think these tiny glimmer of hopes for a better future are what keeps people from going insane. The tiny glow of possible being an author is what keeps the darkness at bay. I know it’s likely bullshit, but if I really gave up hope, what else would I do? I think if everyone gave up hope there’d be no other choice but to string a rope from the ceiling and end it all.

Streak Day #12 Sucks (and some stuff about WordPress email notifications)

It’s still Sunday. At least when I started writing this. One nice thing that a writing streak does to you is it keeps you on your toes. Knowing I’m going to force myself to plop out something tomorrow I’m inclined to start on it as soon as possible. Even if I don’t actually start writing anything, I’ve noticed I’ll at least start to think about what I want to write about. I’m a horrible procrastinator but this impromptu project is forcing me into the correct direction.

Today is my drinking day. I stayed productive nearly all day long, taking care of all the random shit that I need to take care of on the weekends. I have no reason to be in a terrible mood but for some reason I am. Keeping busy only keeps your mind off of things; once you stop being busy your mind reverts back to all the old demons that always seem to haunt it and yourself. I built some shitty solar phone charger this weekend, posted the Morrowind chapter, posted a blog post, and even did my taxes (while drunk, which is always a good idea…) and now that it’s all over, well, hello internal monologue. I can’t wait for work tomorrow just to keep my mind fixated on tasks and to keep it distracted.

Anyways, what I really wanted to write about was my emails. Yes. Emails. It’s the stupidest topic to complain about but I have a serious problem with my email. Let me explain.

I receive email notifications from WordPress (this blog, the other blogs) on my personal email. Hell, I’ll link to it: write me an interesting message if you want, I’d love to read some random ramblings from people. I was even thinking of changing the stock “Contact” page on this blog to only show my email address; no one uses the contact page anyways so maybe an email address would actually provide feedback. Anyways, the way it’s currently set up (and I have no motivation to change the settings) is that anytime someone likes/comments/subscribes to my blog or one of its posts I get an email. It does keep me on my toes especially with comments. Anytime I see a comment in my email I make sure to leave it as a reminder to actually reply within the next day or four.

The problem is everything else. I’m a terribly fragile and insecure person who appreciates any and every like/comment/subscribe to this blog. This leads me to hoarding emails because I want to check in with every person who interacts with the blog. I want to scour their own blogs, read them, and see if I’m interested in subscribing. I’m serious: every email gets a big analysis project. Some are easy: people who like my blog that don’t have anything posted themselves get deleted instantly. It’s an easy filter to apply. But this only accounts for like 5% of all the notification emails I get. And the rest? I never get around to it! I can’t delete them because I haven’t given them due diligence yet, but they keep piling up. I constantly have a backlog of emails from readers in the form of notifications that I just can’t seem to sit down and sort through.

And it’s not like I have a wildly successful blog or anything. There aren’t mountains of notification emails pouring in day after day that I’m unable to keep up with. No, in the end I’m just a slacker to the worst degree. It’s mentally taxing to read someone’s blog and decide if I want to subscribe or not. Many blogs are okay but not great — like they have potential — and these always cause me the most grief. Blogs that have a multitude of spelling errors get nixed right away, as well as blogs that are about business or cooking or any topic that is really specific. If all someone writes about is traveling it’s easy to not subscribe; I’m way too poor to give traveling any sort of room in my head to fester.

It’s a stupid problem to have, but I think it’s good in a way. I’m not just deleting people who read and like my stuff — I actually care about their own projects — I’m just a total slacker. It is a constant source of stress for me though. Anytime I randomly click the Gmail app on my phone I have this terrible sense of dread and of being a failure. There are all of those emails I still haven’t scoured through and they’re only emails. Why can’t I sit down and just get it over with?

I guess the upside here to any readers: yes, if you ever like/comment/subscribe to anything I’ve written I seriously dig through your own project, whatever it is, and give it time in my head. I like to think of myself as a “genuine” person who isn’t reading your blog to “network” or to do any other service to myself. This topic does seem it could naturally turn into my thoughts about “networking,” something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, but you know what? That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Streak Day #7 Sucks (and some stuff about New Year’s Resolutions)

Seven days?! Really? Wow. I’m proud of myself, but at the same time realize that it wasn’t really that hard. All you need to do is plop your ass down for an hour each day and force something out. I was skeptical about these posting streak proponents but now I realize they’re probably onto something. While I don’t think these posts are “typical” Everything Sucks posts like everything else is, I think they still fit the tone of the blog. Instead of bitching about big, grand, and ‘complex’ topics I find myself complaining about smaller mundane and bothersome things that I encounter during the day. Being sick (but not too sick), depression, and in this post, my failed New Year’s Resolutions.

A friend at work said she wasn’t going to commit to any resolutions this year because most of them fail. Fine, I thought, she wasn’t wrong. Somehow I think I’m an idealist or something; I love the idea of things and to hell if they’re practical or not. Go big or go home, I suppose.

Referencing this post right here for my list of resolutions. If you check it out, you’ll see the post (for once) is overflowing with optimism for 2020. Sadly, it only took a few weeks into the year for everything in the world to go off the rails. The stock market has fucking died, coronavirus is terrifying everyone, and we almost went to war with Iran. I’m sure there are other fucked up incidents in the year that I’ve forgotten over the past six two months, but with me having so much optimism for 2020 it sure was depressing to see things go to shit so quickly. And the same was true with those damn resolutions of mine.

The first to go was the “compliment a person daily” resolution. That was always the hardest one to pull off, me being a raging pessimist that never sees the good in anything. At first I was surprised at how complimenting people daily actually got me to see the good in people, but that didn’t last. What happened was depression. Anyone who has struggled with depression knows that it puts you into a very basic and lowly mode of survival. It’s like a haze of limping along blind hour after hour with no overarching goal in life but to survive to the next moment. At least for me, I found myself sleeping all the time, feeling tired and unmotivated, antisocial, and eating just enough food where the starvation didn’t make me feel worse. Naturally, complimenting someone in one of these moods is a no-go and that’s exactly what happened. One bout of depression into the new year and the compliments stopped. First I missed a day, then got back to it, then missed a few more days, got back to it, and then I don’t think I’d given a compliment purposefully for my resolution in at least a month. Not that I never give compliments; they’re just not part of my daily routine anymore. Resolution #1: DEAD.

And let’s go back to depression real quick: it makes you exhausted and tired all the time. One of my resolutions was to wake up at 10 a.m. everyday and that was great for a few weeks (maybe a month) until depression kicked the fuck out of that goal too. What’s funny is I still wake up around 9:45 a.m. naturally for some reason, like my body knows it needs to wake up. Maybe I trained myself well. But I wake up after having went to sleep around 4 a.m. and feel like utter shit; I then roll over and go back to sleep until noon, 1, or 2 p.m. depending on how shitty I feel about the day. Resolution #2: DEAD.

What about only drinking on Sunday? Moderate success there so far. I do have an exception to the rule: something like “special occasion drinking” whatever that means. Social events, unusual events, etc. The past few weekends have been hell. We had to drive to Chicago two weeks ago and finally got back home around 11 p.m. That meant my day was totally and utterly fucked and what better way to cap off the shitty day than with a six-pack of cheap beer? Last weekend my sister and I went rock climbing — same deal — gone all day, physically exhausted from climbing up walls and riding in a car, and what better way to relax than to pound a six-pack down? Luckily, drinking on the weekday is still a major no-no because that’s where the real cliff edge is. Once you start that it’s a full-send into fully-fledged alcoholism. Hopefully this weekend is uneventful and I can wallow in depression/boredom without needed a six-pack on Saturday. Resolution #3: MILD SUCCESS.

Resolution #4: Publish two Kindle ebooks. Yeah, I’m working on it.

Resolution #5: Write and post my Morrowind fanfic on Wattpad every Sunday. I’m going strong on this one. At first it started off really rough; I was struggling every Sunday to finish and post, but now I think I have a flow. It’s still a chore, but I make progress during the week now. I usually start working on the next chapter on Monday or Tuesday, really tidy it up Wednesday-Saturday, and edit the damn thing on Sunday. It’s great. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is how much having a routine you stick to helps the project actually progress.

Which leads me back to resolution #4: the ebooks. I really think I need to force a chapter out, like the Morrowind story, weekly. Doing this almost guarantees 50 finished chapters in a year making the book probably complete. Even if the chapters aren’t as inspired, at least they’ll fucking exist. I haven’t written anything for these stories in at least a month and it’s depressing. But somehow the Morrowind story keeps trucking along because I have a schedule hold myself accountable.

Lastly, and to wrap this post up in a nice and tidy bowtie: reach 1,000 monthly views on this blog. This one has suffered in the past two months: December had record viewers and each month since the viewer count has went down.

But for March? Fuck. I really think I’m on track. Like with the Morrowind story, having a routine is awesome and really helps productivity. This impromptu posting streak really seems to be bringing people here. It makes perfect sense too: the more you post the more people have to look at. Duh. But so far this month I’ve had 102 views in only 4 days. Doing a little math and assuming the same rate of views per day puts my monthly views on track to reach around 800. This is still 200 short but would be a record month in terms of views at least. I’m still debating if I want to keep this streak going — I really think I’ll burn out — but the idea of going for the major goal of having 1,000 monthly views is tempting.

Streak Day Five Sucks (and some stuff about therapy apparently)

When I published my last post I was surprised to see a notification from the WordPress app on my phone. Truthfully I never use the damn thing to do actual writing/posting and only use it to constantly and obsessively check my daily views which probably isn’t productive or healthy. Anyways, what this app told me was something along the lines of, “Congratulations! You posted four days in a row!” I did? Wow, okay. And thinking back to the past half-week made me realize that, yeah, I did post four days in a row. Somehow.

It was a total accident though. I didn’t plan a four-day streak. The stars aligned and…I don’t even recall what I had written about. Oh yeah, I bitched about the Android Keyboard — post #1. Then I somehow had a magical burst of inspiration on this post, which I honestly think is one of the best things I have ever written. I’m really proud of it. And on the third day I finally posted my vaping post; that one had been completed about a week earlier and only required touching up. And finally, the rock climbing post. It was the day after we went climbing and I was so excited to talk about it that the post basically wrote itself. Four days, four posts. Maybe it isn’t that hard after all?

I see other bloggers do these “streaks” where they try to post a single thing everyday for like a week or a month or whatever. I’ve always been weary of actually trying it though for fear of burning out. I know it’s an unfounded fear, but when you naturally churn out maybe two or three posts max during a week the idea of posting every day is terrifying. I usually struggle through my regular posts so what the hell would I find to write about everyday?

And I still have no idea what I’m supposed to write about here, but the temptation of a five day streak is too great to pass up.

People always recommended that any aspiring writer writes something at least once a day. I try to do that, but hell is it hard when you have nothing to say. I think the problem is that you think you have nothing to say but upon writing you discover that, hey, you do have stuff to say. I don’t know if it’ll happen here, but once again writing every day is supposed to be good according to like everyone I ever talk to.

Antidepressants? Therapy?

I met with a psychiatrist (Maybe? I don’t know what her degree is. Let me look it up; I want to be accurate. Oh. She’s a ‘certified nurse practitioner’ apparently.) with the sole purpose of evaluating me and seeing if I need to be plopped on drugs for my issues. Somewhat reassuringly, she didn’t seem to think I needed them. I was terrified I’d walk into the office and leave with about five fucking prescriptions. Maybe something for depression, anxiety, to help me sleep, etc. but nope, nothing.

The thing that really threw me off were the options offered to me. She seemed to think an SSRI drug (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor: an antidepressant) might be worth a shot, but left me the choice to either hop on it right away or give therapy a few more sessions and then see how I was doing. I was totally indecisive, as I usually am, and was surprised that it was up to me to decide. One thing that is both wonderful and upsetting is how these mental health practitioners leave it up to you to make choices. Once again, think of a similar situation going to a regular doctor. You walk in, they say you’re sick, and toss some antibiotics at you. You don’t have to make a damn decision really. They say, “Here’s your problem, here’s how you fix it. Goodbye!” and take your money. Mental health practitioners, since they deal with sometimes vague, difficult-to-define personal issues aren’t able to do this. They can have an idea of what’s wrong with you, but the fix is never as easy or as obvious as prescribing an antibiotic or pain pill. And it seems any mental health fixes have to come from within yourself as well. It’s a messy field and I’m glad I’m not in it.

So I didn’t know what the hell to say. Part of me wanted to have faith in myself and remain “strong” telling myself that maybe I can work through my issues without drugs to assist me. Another part, the eager “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it and get it over with” part, wanted to hop on them immediately to see what would happen. But no. Right as I was about to YOLO myself into some antidepressants, Courtney, the NP-C, finally made the decision for my indecisive ass and suggested a few more appointments with the therapist and see how that went. I left with the offer that if I did want to hop on them for me to just call them and they can put the order in. It’s been about two weeks and I think I might call them tomorrow.

I have this impending sense of doom upon me and I really think I’ll need all the help I can get in the next few months. People have called me “intuitive” occasionally and I don’t think I am, but if I think about my ability to not think and actually realize things I actually think I might be able to catch onto certain unobvious things about people. Somehow when playing music at work I can pick up on a “vibe” and know what type of music to play. If everyone is depressed and withdrawn you probably don’t want to play upbeat pop music. If everyone is in a good mood you don’t want to drop Radiohead on them. Anyways, if I allow myself to feel “intuitive” I realize I’m picking up very bad vibes from the future. It’s like I’m driving towards a brick wall of shit and there’s no way to avoid it.

Maybe my tip-off here was that at my last therapy appointment I wasn’t totally honest with her. I avoided certain topics because I wasn’t ready to deal with them yet. They’re there, I’m aware of them, but just another week or two of avoiding them won’t hurt, right? As a friend had said, the most productive appointments are apparently where you’re crying, eating fast-food in a parking lot, feeling totally ripped open and confused about everything. The last appointment was really comfy, nothing was really said, and I left feeling like I had just wasted an hour.

It feels like you’re selling everyone short too. One of the key self-esteem pillars was to be honest with yourself. If you push down feelings it means you don’t value them enough, and yourself because they’re your fucking feelings, to acknowledge them. It’s lying to yourself because you don’t have enough self-worth to be honest to even yourself. If that makes sense. And not sure if I’d written it here or somewhere else or in my journal .doc, but I never understood why anyone would lie to a therapist. The entire reason for being there is to open up and make progress on your issues — and you’re paying them to do so — so be honest. Don’t waste their time. Don’t give them free money. It’s like if you paid for food at McDonald’s but not wanting to actually eat the food just tossed it in the trash. Bad analogy but we’ve been here before with analogies.

So while drunk yesterday I realized that, yes, it’s probably time to face some real shit. The past month or so I’ve been in an amazing period of self-realization and growth, which is nice, but once you feel comfortable with yourself you need to look outwards into the world. You can’t make any real changes until you realize who you even are in the first place. It seems like step one was making some progress in knowing myself, and now that I do, the next step is to figure out what this means for me as a person in the world. Life is a big string of “Now What?s” and I’m asking myself that now. Okay, now what?

Sorry if all of this is rather cryptic. I don’t want to write anything down that might not be truthful. I don’t want to spill too much if I’m not even sure what I’m feeling. My plan going forward is this: wait until next Saturday and get everything out to the therapist. She’s a professional and might be able to tell me if I’m just being insane, or tell me that I’m on the right track.

That post wasn’t too bad, eh? Apparently “just write” means I needed to bitch about therapy some more. Once again, not having anything to write might mean that you don’t think you have anything to write about when you really do.

The Android Keyboard Sucks

So I’ve been sitting around the past few days making miniscule progress in other areas of writing besides this blog, totally stricken by writer’s block, just wondering what to do next here at Everything Sucks. It just hit me right now: I have been fucking furious about a certain something for the four days and I’m surprised it took me this long to realize it would make a perfect blog post.

As I’ve mentioned before (probably), I love Google Docs. I know it isn’t the most robust piece of software around, but since it’s for writing you don’t really need anything too complex. In case you’re a troglodyte: Google Docs is a word pressor program/app (like a free version of Microsoft Word because fuck paying to type stuff) that syncs all of your work across whatever you have Google Docs installed on. This is super handy for writing because you can access whatever you’re working on nearly everywhere. If you’re bored at the dentist’s office you can open Google Docs and write a fiery blog post about it. If you drunkenly wrote some stuff on your phone 4 a.m. you can open it later and properly edit the mess on a computer. Have some notes you need to jot down for later? Google fucking Docs! It’s great. You can also share your writings with others and even have them edit your work but obviously I haven’t made use of this functionality yet.

Nearly everyone is proficient with phone touchscreen keyboards. It’s a consequence of the world we live in; you send text messages, shitpost on social media, check your bank accounts, etc. Even the old and the technologically-ignorant can learn to rapidly fire off a text message with time, repetition, and practice. While I think I’m much more proficient than the average person due to all the actual writing I do on my phone, I think everyone is comfortable enough that they don’t even realize how intuitively they know their keyboard. No one usually looks exactly at what button they need to hit or anything; it’s all muscle memory.

I never really thought about this until about four days ago. I started writing whatever it was that I was writing be it a story or some proto-blog post, and I noticed something very strange and frustrating kept occuring. As my mind naturally flew along driven by The Process and my thumbs desperately tried to keep up, I realized for some reason I kept typing hyphens when I meant to type commas. So I’d have sentences- while grammatically correct- had hyphens instead of commas! What the hell was going on? There has been times before where by brain had shut off — I clearly remember one night where I couldn’t for the life of me remember my computer password — but there was no way I could accidentally type hyphens instead of commas constantly.

I have an idea but don’t know how to prove it. What I’m 95% sure happened is this: my phone recently had a software update and for some reason someone somewhere with way too much power and influence for their own good decided that replacing the comma — located on a dedicated button next to the spacebar — with the hyphen was a great fucking idea. And through years of typing on my phone and forming muscle memory to where I didn’t need to think about typing anymore I found my world turned upside down. I know the comma isn’t there anymore, but I can’t stop myself in the heat of the typing moment to not hit the goddamn hyphen anyways. This breaks the artistic flow; you need to backspace the hyphen and put the actual comma in. Adding insult to injury, the comma itself is now on the fucking long-press ‘n’ key. Yes, you heard that right. One of the most common forms of punctuation in the english language, the one used to break up sentences and ideas, one that I’m very fond of using, is a long-press character for who-the-fuck-knows what reason. Look, I understand the colon or semicolon being long-press characters, but the goddamn comma?! It’s second in importance only to the period!

The best hypothesis I have is perhaps the devs thought that a hyphen is used more frequently on a phone with typing in internet addresses or something. Hyphens are all over the place. So, maybe? It’s still a shitty reason though.

A random good idea? Customizable keyboards. Gimme a drag-and-drop keyboard where I can rearrange it myself, kinda like the tool menu at the top of Android screens. That sounds fun, right?

Making this even more frustrating is the fact that I don’t even know who to direct my hatred and blame towards. Who is in charge of phone updates? Verizon? Samsung? Android? Google? I have no idea. I only know there is this shadowy figure lurking somewhere in corporate America who has totally fucked my week over in the most evil, diabolical, and subtle way possible. Total chaotic neutral/evil alignment. I don’t even think I can complain about this to anyone else; someone ranting about an updated phone keyboard and commas/hyphens would come off and unhinged over nothing. But to me this is a really big deal and a huge inconvenience.

Look, I don’t give a fuck if people do stupid stuff; all I ask for is that they have a reason for the stupid stuff. I can forgive stupid actions if mistakes are admitted to and it’s okay to say you’re wrong. But for the mysterious individual responsible for fucking up my beloved Android keyboard? I have no idea who they are or if they even understand their egregious mistake. I sure hope someday they become aware of the utter atrocity they committed against Android and Google Doc users in general. I know I can’t be the only one with this problem.