I Spent The Entire Day In A Good Mood

Every so often, as I have my massive, “every song I’ve genuinely enjoyed for the last two years” playlist shuffling through the 600+ tracks during my morning communte, a song will come on that will get me feeling energized and at least a little positive. On a rare occasion, that one song will be followed by several that all hit just right as I’m driving to work in the morning and I wind up striding into the office full of motivation to get to work on my goals. It’s a nice feeling, to be in a good mood for no reason other than positive, enjoyable music, and I do my best to take note of it every time it happens. Good moods are few and far between for me these days, so I try to appreciate them when they happen.

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The Words May be Broken, but My Streak Sure Isn’t

Today is the day. This is post 365. One year of writing every day and posting to my blog every day ends today. What a fucking journey it has been. The best part is I get a nice little bookending thing with it because I’m completely re-doing the story I wrote for last year’s National Novel Writing Month project for this year’s NaNoWriMo project. I’ll be able to see how I’ve changed and grown by reflecting on how the story has changed. It’ll be a good time! That being said, there’s still plenty of growth I can see immediately!

In the last year, for this blog alone, I have written 349,403 words (including today’s post). Those words were used to create 79 musing posts, 30 posts about mental health, 43 posts about tabletop games or gaming, 40 posts about video games, 42 reviews, 3 descriptive exercises, 55 poems, 39 flash fiction works, 30 posts about National Novel Writing Month, 36 chapters (including the introduction) of a science fiction story, and 3 short stories. If you did the math, that totals up to 400 exactly, but that’s because some of the posts had more than one category (including today’s), which is what I’ve been listing here.

As a result of all of this writing, I’ve grown as a writer. I no longer make the same mistakes my editor would catch when I first started out. She only does the serial story and poetry, which is why I tend to have so many typos in my other blog entries, but they all improved as result of her work and constant patience with my inability to actually get things done along the timelines I lay out for myself. I send her a chapter of Coldheart and Iron for review and she gets it back to me within twenty-four hours, which is great because I’ve probably sent her half the chapters on the day I’m supposed to post them. Same for the poems. She’s a saint, really. I also really hope she reads today’s post so she knows how grateful I am for her constant help. I thank her constantly and do my best to let her know how much I appreciate her help all the time, but that still never feels like enough. She’s helped me grow as a writer just as much as my college creative writing professor did. In a different way, but just as much.

Ideally, I’d like to have a space to thank everyone that got me through this year of posts, but people do stuff for me so constantly and often without drawing attention to it so I’m worried I’d miss out on someone import. So I’m going to do my best. My roommate was a huge help when it came to guns, military stuff, and medical references since he’s an air force medic studying to become a doctor. I have a whole raft of friends who view my blog, but none as regularly as my French friend and I can always tell when she does because she’s my only reader in France, so thanks for reading me more consistently than anyone else! I’d like to thank my Twitter friends, specifically the ones who do Bad Book Idea Duels, Edward Van Winkle and A.M. Hounchell, for making one of the largest time-sucks on the Internet actually fun for me. They’re both incredibly friendly, creative, and wonderful people. Their books are on my review list and I’ll do my best to get to them once National Novel Writing Month is over. I’d like to thank Andrew Bird, though I don’t know if he’ll ever see this post (I sincerely doubt it) since he’s an actually famous musician I’ve never met, because his clever lyrics are a delight to listen to and the way he weaves the vocals and instrumentation together in his music makes me want to sit and just listen to him sing instead of have him on in the background. I also want to just generally thank my friends for not telling me to shut up about my writing or blog. I talk about it constantly and I’m just glad you all are the kind of people who don’t make a habit of being discouraging. I’d also like to issue a special thanks the fiance of one of my friends, who I would now qualify as also being my friend since I finally got to meet her this year, for helping me contextualize social media and marketing myself online when I went semi-viral after asking Writing Twitter for books to review (I SWEAR I’m still working on processing all of those suggestions–here are just so many and I’ve been so busy). I’d also like to thank my boss for letting me take a week off out of the blue when I realized I’d forgotten what it was like to be in a good mood and that I was too burned out to continue how things were going. This isn’t super recent, but I also really want to thank my creative writing teacher from college because I would have given up on writing a long time ago without her help, guidance, and support. She was the first person who convinced me that I was worth believing in and she believed in me enough that I started to as well. She helped me build the foundation on which I’ve since built everything else, so I cannot stress enough how thankful I am. I don’t talk to her much, but I kinda hope she see’s this some day. Or she buys whatever book I first publish because she’ll be named on the dedication page. Whichever, really. I’m not picky.

I probably missed some people, but life is about moving forward so I’m going to try to make sure I recognize what people do for me as they do it and express gratitude immediately. And I’m going to keep writing! I haven’t missed a day in a year, so now let’s see how long I can keep this streak going! New goal is two years of daily writing and blog posts! And this time I’ll also get a proper amount of exercise every day I am physically capable of doing so. I can’t just repeat a challenge, I’ve got to step it up! There’s no point in just doing the same challenge over and over again. There’s no growth! There’s no forward movement! This will still probably be easier than my National Novel Writing Month challenge of writing 50,000 words, a terrible romance novel, and still updating my blog with NaNoWriMo posts and weekly Coldheart and Iron posts. I mean, that’s 90,000-120,000 words in a single freaking month. My current record is 80,000-ish, from last year when I updated my blog every day on top of writing 50,000 words. It feels pretty impossible from where I’m sitting right now. Which means it’s going to feel super kick-ass when I actually do it! Nothing held back! No reservations! All in!

I meant to review my own blog for today’s post. It was going to be witty, poke fun at some of my bad habits that make it into blog posts (such as saying everything with as many words as possible because I just love to slap them all together), and cleverly weaving in my gratitude to the review by mentioning how reliant the author was on his editor at first but how much he has grown since then. I also realized it was going to be as long as a recent Coldheart and Iron post and that is a LOT to ask of random strangers on the internet. I mean, not a lot of people writing 3000-4000 word blog posts. They’re usually quite a bit shorter than that if they’re frequent or about the length of this post if they’re not. Even my love of using all of the words I can couldn’t convince me that it was a good idea. So you get this. A plain, unadorned thank you with some interesting numbers and the knowledge that I’m grateful to you, whoever you are, for reading this post and participating in my journey to grow as a writer. This year has been all about me but I’m greatful I got to share it with you.

Also, shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter account–and the man himself, of course–because getting his unbelievably uplifting “Gmorning and Gnight” tweets has made my days better. You should check them out or buy his book.


Fire and Peace

Here sit I, wrapped and stoic
In somber silence insoluble,
Painting prosaic pictures
On a dirty page so voluble
That it has become volatile.

My keyboard cries “calamity!”
Rocketing its reedy racket
Through thin and thankless seconds
Captured in a minute packet
And covered in an hour jacket.

Such soothing salacious sounds
Bring back bitter unbegotten barbs
That jibber, jabber, and jibe
uselessly against my wards
and all my other mental guards.

Plentiful and powerful peace
Is found and ferociously fenced
In the nearest nebulous neighborhood
To be kept as protection against
The encroaching ruin that is sensed.

Words fly like fast-falling fire
On volatile pages that, exploding, shatter
Rancorous raucous reality
And I leave in glorious clatter
Everything that’s supposed to matter.

Here sit I, wrapped and stoic
In fire and peace together,
The nascent nagging of necessity
Is felt like the prick of a feather
As I finally release my tether
And float in fictional felicity
Where I will not care whether
This makes me idiotic or heroic.

I’ll Never Forget

Writing serial fiction is much harder than I anticipated and this particular story is giving me trouble. Since I don’t have that to post yet, have a bright poem about smiles to counteract the miserable winter weather I’m experiencing.

A brief little flash, a proudly-worn curve,
A tentative quirk, a break of reserve:
A twist of the skin caused by a nerve
Is all that I need to blithely observe
The mark of spirit that’s always in style,
That which we so simply call a smile.

I remember much, at least as of yet.
Though places and names, reasons I’m upset,
My first loves, injuries, and childhood regret,
Are all things that I will likely forget;
I will never lose, no matter the while,
The sight of a face creased in a smile.

How am I Supposed to be Optimistic About This?

I spent Monday playing Overwatch today, enjoyed myself immensely, and wound up feeling like I wasted the day. It is always difficult to allow myself to have fun when I’ve got a lot of anxiety about my job, about my future, and about my life in general because I’m constantly sending myself on a guilt trip for not putting my time to what my asshole-side calls “good use.” Gaming? Not a good use of my time. Reading? Better, but still not a great use of my time. Watching a show I love? The worst possible use of my time.

I know this voice in my head is not the authority on what is actually a good use of my time and its sole job is to just make me as miserable as possible because it doesn’t think I deserve to be happy. Which is BS. I’m always telling people that they deserve to be happy. Most people do deserve to be happy, so long as their happiness isn’t contingent on the misery of others. So why would I be any different? I’m not a horrible person. I don’t kick puppies or drown kittens or anything like that. I may not be super fit or super attractive, but I’m good to people, I work hard, and I try to be empathetic. So why shouldn’t I be happy?

That seems to be the million dollar question, though. Part of my is convinced I don’t deserve to be happy and the rest of me seems to have had little success convincing myself otherwise. Which is why I’m trying to take a step back from everything and more consciously focus on how full of shit that little voice in my head is. I DO deserve to be happy. While spending a huge amount of time playing Overwatch didn’t do much to advance my goals or my passions, it was a hell of a lot of fun and I got to spend a bunch of time hanging out with some online friends.

Sure, I have to go back to work most days, where I have to deal with the difficulty of a new boss, the dumb expectations of corporate employment, and my nigh-constant money issues (even if I’m not constantly broke, I sure live like it so I can pay down my loans more quickly), but I know exactly what it is I need to do to succeed. I have a plan. I know the path forward. I just need to keep my eyes focused on each footstep forward and watch out for all the potholes.

I know the path to what I would consider success and I know that I can walk it. All I need to do is constantly remind myself that I know where each foot is going and that taking an evening to play video games is nothing but a small rest stop, perhaps a seat on a park bench at a conveniently scenic location, along my path.

It’s not a particularly nice thought or feeling, but it’s probably the best that I’ve got for now.