That’s right, I’m honestly, truly, starting a book. Can you believe it? I sure can, because it’s been the only thing I’ve thought about for the past freakin’ year.
It took me a whole lot of time to just get to this planning stage of writing the book, mostly because the way I talked to myself and others about it was so…negative. I was so afraid to start this book because I didn’t talk myself up enough, didn’t show enough of what I was capable of to those around me, and eventually, started seeing myself as someone who couldn’t actually do it.
But no more! I’m a whole new woman, now! I had to work through a lot of thoughts that said I wasn’t good enough, and I still have those self-doubts, but they’re now a small voice in the background instead of an obstacle in my way.
As some of y’all may have seen, I have been very inspired by magical girls/Sailor Moon lately, so the book I’ll be writing is very much that sort of direction! However, it’ll be a bit more modernized, and it’s going to be deeply queer. I loved the queer aspects of the original Sailor Moon, but I’m going to be adding so many more central queer characters, because listen, it can always be more queer. I’m all about putting the kind of content in the world that I want to see (and that I hope others want to see), so why not write that story full of magical queer people? I think it’s time.
I’ve been doing a world-building questionnaire to help me flesh out the magical concepts in this world, starting character sheets so I can fully understand each character in the story, and will eventually do some sort of loose outline that will help me stay on track for events in the story. I go back and forth between thinking I just need to jump into the novel and go, and knowing that I might need all of these planning materials to stay on track, because the longer I go without actually starting, there’s a less chance of me, y’know, actually starting the damn book. Ultimately, the planning materials are good for me, and have been getting me more excited for starting the book, while helping me explore more concepts to put in it than I originally thought of.
So, yes! Expect me to be getting more neurotic and more over-the-top artsy-fartsy as I dive into the grueling, but rewarding process of starting and finishing a novel! I will still try to work on some shorter pieces while working on the novel, as well as regularly updating y’all on here.
If you’d like to be a little more involved in the novel planning/writing process, I encourage you to check out my Patreon page! There is where I will be posting all of the character sheets, the world-building doc to explain how magic will work, and a slightly more detailed summary of the plot of this book. As I begin the writing process, I will also be sharing excerpts of the book, so this would be the best place to see it unfold as it’s being written. Your support would mean the world to me, and to thank you for this, you’ll get to see so much of the behind-the-scenes work that will go into writing this book! Neat!
I am super pumped to start this journey. I am elated that I’ve finally found the drive to finally start this novel that has been playing out in my head over and over, because it’s a story that I cannot wait to get out into the world. Be ready for more posts about the strenuous and emotional process of writing, Instagram posts of me at various coffee shops to get writing done, and a whole lot more ecstatic talk of magical things! This is essentially my brand, though. So…nothing new, there!
In the summer of 2018, while taking care of my family’s dog during their trip to Canada, I made the decision to finally watch the original Sailor Moon. I had watched the americanized version when it was airing on TV during my grade school years, and I remember falling in love with its magical charm. The love for this show never really died, as I was thrilled when Sailor Moon Crystal made its way to Hulu. However, with how short-lived that reboot was, I felt like I was left hanging in regards to more Sailor Moon content. It had never really occurred to me that the two versions of this show that I had watched weren’t necessarily the full scope of what this universe had to offer, so I went boldly into this magical adventure, ready for my life to be changed.
As I write this, it’s now the beginning of 2019, and I have finished all 200 episodes. And yes, it was worth every minute of my time.
After finishing this show, it was no surprise that it’s been something that’s stuck with me for so long. The transformation sequences and fight scenes are cathartic, the sense of camaraderie with all of the main characters feels like you’re sitting right in the diner drinking a milkshake with them, and the way Usagi Tsukino (aka Sailor Moon) triumphs over evil makes you believe that literally anything is possible. She was the hero I needed when I was younger, and to my surprise, she’s still the hero I look up to, today.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this show had aged so well. If you know me, you know how much I appreciate good quality representation in shows, whether it’s for representation of women, queer identities, people of color, or any other marginalized group. So considering how much I look out for these things in the shows I watch, I was so happy to see that the messages for empowering women can still be applied to today. The main cast is headstrong, determined, and are always willing to fight for what’s right, and though Sailor Moon stumbles and cries through a lot of the tense situations, she ultimately inspires people to make choices based on what you feel is right, not by what others expect of you.
Not only that, but the queer representation in this show is phenomenal. The show handled Haruka and Michiru’s (Sailor Uranus and Neptune) relationship in such a positive way. The two of them were unapologetic in expressing their love and attraction to each other, and definitely didn’t shy away from some heavy sexual innuendos.
I was also surprised to see that they weren’t the only ones, as they introduced the Sailor Starlights in the final arc of the show, a trio of Sailor Guardians who disguised themselves as a male pop band in order to search for their princess. One of the Starlights, Seiya (otherwise known as Sailor Star Fighter), was determined to get Usagi to fall in love with her, and the show definitely showed its growth when Usagi didn’t cringe at the idea of a woman falling for her. Granted, she first assumed he was a man, but didn’t react negatively about it when the Starlights revealed that they were actually women. It may have been subtle, but I think it showed promise.
Of course, the show isn’t without its problematic moments. I mean, it was definitely a product of its time as a 90’s show. As I began watching it this past summer, I was wondering just how how often I would cringe and wish I was watching something more progressive. I mean, there was a whole episode about weight loss, and it was ladened with messages about your body needing to look a certain way to be beautiful. Usagi and her friends were definitely a little iffy about the relationship between Haruka and Michiru, and often referred to it as the types of relationships that women shouldn’t have (minus Ami, aka Sailor Mercury, who called them out at one point for making too much of a big deal out of it).
And while these problems were there, I think the show eventually grew into something that could stand as a positive show with good messages to take away. To be fair, they were in the show throughout the entire thing, but the show eventually found its footing and held its own as something that could inspire its viewers, much like Usagi grew into the gentle, but determined leader that she became by the end of the show.
Looking back into when I decided to start watching the original Sailor Moon series, and how I feel now just after finishing it, I almost feel like I was meant to watch it at this time of my life. There are so many themes regarding following your dreams, doing what you know is right in your heart, and remembering that you’re not alone in anything that you might be struggling with. It inspired me in ways I wasn’t expecting, and I’m so glad I decided to make the long journey through it.
In fact, it inspired me so much that it’s looking like the novel I’ve been talking on and on to friends and family about starting will be an urban fantasy story, much like Sailor Moon! Of course, it won’t be just like it, but it definitely will be in the sense that it will center around young people with magical powers. Specifically, young queer people with magical powers, because that is definitely the book I needed as a kid. I always found it hard to brainstorm stories with fantasy elements, even if it’s just a light amount of fantasy, but watching this show at this time of my life helped me get the inspiration to create something inspired by a show that has stuck with me for so long. It feels kind of cheesy to say that, but listen, I’ll take my inspiration where I can get it. Also, I have the potential to be cheesy. I’m aware!
Overall, I’m so glad Sailor Moon exists. I’m so glad I let myself enjoy it in so many different stages of my life. Who knows? Maybe I’ll watch it all over again in a few years. This show made me feel whole in such a way that I feel will be eternal. I’m more than okay with this.
So this piece that I put up on Medium today is only slightly spooky. Just a bit. Not like, overwhelmingly so.
My older brother once told me about this penny superstition, where he would find pennies in unsuspecting places during times where he was worried or off-balance. Both him and my sister-in-law had found them in several situations, and each time they would tell me about them, I would find it just as bizarre as they did.
Then, I found a penny of my own in a similar situation. The bizarre part? I was at least 99% sure that I had never placed a penny there.
If you’d like to check out this piece, click here to go to the story on my Medium page! I had a lot of fun writing this, and it was very cathartic, both to create and to share with you all. Hope you enjoy it!
It’s 2019, and I’m feeling refreshed and ready to kick this year right in the butt! I hope you are, as well!
Like most times when a new year starts, we’re all in this mode of trying to make changes for the better. And that’s great! It’s good to have reasons to make changes in your life. Sure, every day should be an opportunity to better yourself, but the new year transition has the air of freshness and starting with a clean slate, and I think finding determination in that aspect is amazing! The issue comes with how we keep that momentum going, but no matter what, having that drive to start making changes is a very important start.
I don’t really like making “resolutions,” because they feel so distant. They feel like a setup for disappointment. I like to set smaller goals and try to create positive habits that I didn’t have in previous years. There’s definitely nothing wrong with having big, lofty resolutions, but if it’s possible to break them up into smaller goals, that can be a big help!
In 2019, I plan to…
Write at LEAST 500 words a day, 5 times per week (even more, if it’s a good day!)
Make plans with friends at least once a week (twice, if possible)
Get into more publications
Pet more dogs
That last one is the most important, clearly.
I feel like those are all achievable, right? Like, I look at those goals for myself, and feel like working on them is possible, rather than look at a goal that’s like “I’m going to get a novel published!” and then feel STRESSED about trying to get it done before the year ends. At least with this list of goals for myself, I’ll still feel content if I don’t start a novel, but could possibly be very close to finishing one. Neat!
Aside from all of those smaller goals. The biggest thing I do want to work on is trying to work my way out of a lot of self-destructive mindsets that I created. I had a particularly tough year, last year, trying to find my way in a career that’s brand new to me while coping with the death of my mother, and that made me feel like I was both unsuccessful and VERY unimportant. I feel like this, more than anything, is what has hindered my progress, and I’m tired of that being the reason why I don’t feel like I’m talented, hard-working, or driven enough to achieve my dreams.
In fact, I even wrote a send-off to all of those self-destructive habits that I posted on my Medium page. If you could read it, that would mean the world to me. I think it was one of the best ways I could have kicked off this year, and I’m going to work hard to make sure the momentum from it sticks around for a long time. I’m hoping it’s just one of many amazing writing projects that I put into the world, this year.
I hope you all have been having an AMAZING start to 2019, and I hope you achieve every goal you set for yourself, this year!
What are some things you plan on working toward? Let me know! I want to hype you up!
I’ve been in a bit of a writing rut, recently. Which is really, incredibly unfortunate, as writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life. However, the light is at the end of the tunnel! I can see a future where I’m not in a rut! Can you believe?
I have some big ideas and I’m the process of planning said big ideas. It’s been a little challenging to motivate myself to put these ideas into the world, due to a a large amount of self-doubt with a hint of depression, but the more I talk about doing it, the more I feel like the motivation is there to actually get it done. So maybe I’ll just keep spamming Twitter with how excited I am about this novel that I want to write, and eventually, it’ll just come into existence. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Anyway, in the meantime, I’ve been trying to keep my mind active with prompts and whatnot. I use a book called 642 Things to Write About when I need some sort of direction for warm-up writings, and one of the prompts asked what writer’s block feels like. All writers are far too familiar with the feeling, and with the deep rut that I’ve been in (which I’m almost out of, I promise), I figured I’d know exactly which direction to go in, with this.
So here you go. Here’s a little thing I wrote, and hopefully after putting this into the world, my writer’s block will be gone. (If only it were that simple.) Enjoy!
Writer’s block is like getting ecstatic about the cookies you have in the oven, only for them to come out burned and bitter. It feels like getting to the top of a roller coaster only for it to stop, and have to take the stairs all the way back down. It feels like watching words and stories fly through your head and around your body, but not being able to grab hold of them and put them onto a blank word document.
Imagine having all of these ideas, all of this drive, and all of this desire to see entire movies in your head become a piece of readable text, only to sit in front of your computer wondering why your fingers just won’t move. Wondering why your brain decided that, this very moment that you hyped yourself up to finally get shit done, is the moment it decided to quiet itself. You wonder how you can turn up the volume on the inspiration to drown out the thoughts that want to tell you how much you suck as a writer, but now matter how loud you empower your inspiration to be, sometimes, all you hear is “you have nothing interesting to say.”
Writer’s block is knowing you have interesting stories to tell, but feeling like no one is going to think the same. Writer’s block tells you “it’s over for you; this is it. You’re not going anywhere else with whatever it is you’re trying to write, so you better just stop.” It can be one of the most self-destructive forces out there.
But it isn’t always that way.
Sometimes, it just feels like you’re empty. Sometimes it feels like you’ve squeezed out all of your best work already, and there’s nothing else left. Can it possibly get better than the 2,000 word streak, where you were so deep into the story in your head, you looked back up at the clock and realize time left you behind? That feeling of elation can be so nice, but sometimes it’s so short-lived, when you feel like that zone will never be back in reach. You can write whatever words come to mind, and hope to stumble your way back into that zone, or you can step away from the computer and hope to find that zone elsewhere. It’s never exactly where you want it to be, and that can be frustrating when all you want to do is see words fly across the monitor.
What can I say about writer’s block other than “it sucks?” Not much, I guess. It just does. It’s crippling to get so excited to create, to inspire, and to tell a story that’s begging to get out there, only to feel like what you’re about to put onto the word document is purely vomit. It’s sucks to feel those walls appear all around you just as you’re ready to tell the tale, feeling like those words within you that were once incredibly inspiring now have no place other than within those walls. But we persevere, and we find ways to chip away at those walls. They can’t keep us in for long; our stories demand to be told.
I had one of the most magical weekends of my life, just recently.
I was at TwitchCon from October 26th til the 28th, and I can’t even begin to tell you just how much the weekend meant to me. I’m going to try, but it’s going to feel like really expressive word vomit, because there’s just so much to say, and so many emotions that just want to push it all out.
I wouldn’t say I was nervous about attending this convention, but I was curious about whether or not I’d fall into some socially anxious moments. I had been to comic book conventions before, but that was with friends, and there wasn’t the added pressure of knowing I’d meet a ton of internet friends. Here, I knew I’d be meeting a ton of internet friends, as well as having the potential of people recognizing me from my Twitch channel. Sure, I’m not super well-known, but the potential was there, and my little introverted self wasn’t sure just how much social energy I could burn before my body decided it would be done.
When I arrived on Thursday to pick up my badge, I definitely needed a moment to process it all. So many people were hanging out in front of the convention center on Day 0 of TwitchCon, and a few people recognized me and came up to say hi, so all of it was a lot to take in. I’m not sure if it was the flight over here already making me a bit tired, which had already included me meeting two people I’ve gotten to know a bit through Twitch, plus a very popular Twitch streamer who makes a VERY comfortable living off of his channel (we’ll get to that, later), combined with the fact that I hadn’t eaten in quite a while, but seeing the sheer size of what this event would be left me shook. Don’t get me wrong, I was still excited, but I was nervous about whether or not I could keep up with the energy of it all.
Luckily, Thursday night kind of put it into perspective…when one of my favorite Twitch streamers shouted at me from a distance while I had chicken shawarma goop all over my face.
I hadn’t eaten for about 7 hours at that point, so I was in desperate need of some food. The person I was hanging out with originally was super tired from getting on an early flight to San Jose, so he opted to go to his hotel and rest while I went to go hang out with some fellow LGBTQIA+ streamers who invited me to dinner and drinks. I didn’t see them in the restaurant I was supposed to meet them at yet, so I went next door to a pretty cool market where they had several restaurants to get some food. Though I felt a tad strange about eating alone at an event where I felt like I had plenty of people to hang out with, I was starving, and I was going to be a useless shell of a human if I didn’t eat something soon.
I sat outside, eating this delicious chicken shawarma wrap, catching up on some social media, when I heard Negaoryx scream my name from the other end of the outdoor area we were in.
Though it wasn’t the first time I had been recognized that day, it was the first time someone recognized me in dim lighting from like, fifty feet away. I looked up to see that it was her, and thought “gurl you better wipe this chicken shawarma mess off your face right this very moment!” We hugged and I apologized for possibly having food on my face (which was probably unnoticeable, anyway), which I now realize is a dumb thing to apologize for, since chicken shawarma wraps tend to leave residue. But of course, she was sweet and fun and kind of the best, and meeting with her couldn’t have come at a better time.
I was terrified that the LGBTQIA+ streamers I was about to meet would think I’m much less cool than I seem on my Twitch channel, so my social anxiety was already on the rise. I think I brought up the fact that I had walked around in circles a few times because I didn’t see the group I was supposed to be meeting yet, so I settled for food by myself until I knew where they were, and I’m sure it became apparent to her that I was in my head about the event. She had to go meet a group as well, so she told me not to be afraid to approach her if I ever saw her around the convention, and I think something else about trying to let the social anxiety go, and then she glided off in her magical gown.
No seriously, it was magical:
After feeling a bit renewed from eating and meeting someone I looked up to quite a bit, I made my way over to the restaurant where I met up with a bunch of streamers I admired…and another one of my favorites, a lovely drag queen named Deere. Like, the world just couldn’t give me a break from meeting amazing, talented people who give me inspiration? But that was the thing; that’s just what TwitchCon is. It’s meeting people you look up to time and time again, and though it’s always both exciting and a little bit anxiety-inducing, I think you just get accustomed to the anxiety part to the point where it doesn’t feel like it’s there, anymore (well, depending on who you are).
We had a great time, and though it took me a bit to open up, I was eventually able to interact with them in the same way I do with any other friends. I surprised myself with how naturally I was able to open up to them. It’s not necessarily that I have trouble opening up to people, it’s just that I have a hard time opening up to several people, in groups, multiple times per day. Introversion is fun, y’all! Though I do think our innate shared experiences of being queer gave us that base-level understanding with one another, so being able to open up to them really isn’t all that surprising, looking back on it.
I wouldn’t say that TwitchCon turned me into an extrovert, but it definitely helped me realize just how far I can push myself, socially. Because during the rest of the event, I found it so easy to approach people I knew on the internet, but was just meeting for the first time. Maybe it was because there was some sense of familiarity there already, due to us watching each others’ live streams, but it was so nice to feel like I so easily got along with everyone I met.
The event itself was just so incredible, too. It felt like a bustling, chaotic home away from home. There was so much on the expo floor that related to gaming, streaming, and interests adjacent to those. There was also an artist’s alley, much like there is at most conventions like this one, where artists (who are also Twitch streamers) displayed and sold their creations.
There were several booths on the expo floor where you could play demos for games that were already out, or that would soon be released. There were also so many panels for improving your stream quality, how to be a better Twitch community member, tips on how to be a good community leader, and just about anything that could appeal to your interests as someone on a live-streaming platform. My personal favorite panel was the one on mental health and streaming, which had so much good information on creating content while also being kind to yourself. My biggest take-aways from that panel were that comparing yourself to avoid comparing yourself to others, focus on the good things you’re doing with your own channel, and know when to take breaks. Twitch is definitely its own thing when it comes to being a content creator, but it definitely had some amazing take-aways for anyone who’s in the creative world.
The other two panels that I went to that were also amazing were The Gayest Panel at TwitchCon (I mean like, of course I went to that one) and one on the art of makeup on Twitch, which was super cool to see as someone who doesn’t necessarily participate in makeup (though the panel sparked some interest in possibly experimenting with it? Who knows!) The Gayest Panel was amazing to see as a fellow queer streamer, knowing that we’re all linked through these similar experiences on the platform. Hearing their ideas on how they think queer presence on the platform will grow and move forward was also inspiring, mostly to confirm that me being overwhelmingly gay on stream is a good choice.
The makeup panel was also great, as it was fascinating to hear insight from people who use the same platform that I do for a different kind of creative medium. I’ve always been fascinated with makeup as an art form, but never have I really heard that kind of insight from people who do it so regularly as their means of entertaining others.
Seriously, y’all. TwitchCon has it all, when it comes to what you can get out of it.
Though the events at the convention itself were great, my ultimate goal was to connect with the people. I’ve met so many amazing people through Twitch, and there was something so magical about getting to see them all in person. There was a level of bonding we were able to achieve that, sure, can be possible on the Internet, but the quality definitely improves faster with those face-to-face interactions. And oh geez, did I have so many of these quality-improving moments when I was there. There were so many people I was excited to see, so many people I formed deeper bonds with, and so many people I hugged! Seriously! I’ve never been hugged so much in my whole life, and it was magical.
The thing about TwitchCon is that most of us are already so familiar with one another. We watch people do their live streams, which yes, can sometimes be a bit fabricated, exaggerated, or rehearsed when it comes to personalities, but ultimately, shows us a mostly unfiltered view of who they are. The fact that you can interact with the streamer directly through chat offers that direct line of communication, which has given us the sense that we’ve already come to know these people that we’ll be seeing at the convention. This was something I was initially a little nervous about, knowing I would be meeting so many people I had already talked to several times before, and feeling like they may not feel as good about my face-to-face interactions with them. Luckily, pretty much every meeting felt like a reunion with an old friend, so I was instantly more at ease with each time it happened.
I also met so many new people at TwitchCon, which wasn’t necessarily something I anticipated, but definitely had in the back of my head as a possibility. Even on the plane over to San Jose, I ended up sitting next to a streamer named Timmac, who has over 75k and is making more than a comfortable living through his channel, according to the Charlotte Observer. To those who aren’t super aware of how Twitch works, that’s an incredible feat! Some people stream for years and never have that kind of income from it, or even gain the viewership that would be able to yield that kind of revenue. When I saw this article, I realized I was sitting next to someone who had just the right combination of hard work and talent. Though I wasn’t aware of him until that day, it was amazing to get to meet him, and get to know him without the Twitch lens. Sure, we talked about being a streamer here and there, but it was really cool just to see who we was as a person before even seeing his channel.
Though I got a solid hour and a half with him, every other time I met a streamer for the first time was just as meaningful, as it felt like it was the beginning of a blossoming friendship. I don’t like to say that getting to know a streamer through Twitch is a less genuine way of getting to know them, but with all of the bells and whistles of the platform getting in the way, it can be hard to get a deeper sense of someone’s sense of self. They can be as authentic as possible on a livestream, but it doesn’t beat the magic of getting to talk with them in person.
I knew the convention itself would be fun, but it was always about the people, for me. It was always about getting to see the faces of people who have supported me, the people who I’ve gained inspiration from, and the people whom I have yet to be inspired by. Not only that, but it was a mixture of strange and rewarding to have people recognize me, want to chat with me for a bit, and take a selfie with me. I don’t think we often realize what kind of influence we have as creators, so having people be so excited to see me was so surreal. The space I take up on Twitch can sometimes feel so small, but it’s moments like those that I realize the impact can be much bigger. I think being around this excitement helped center my thoughts around what my channel is serving on the platform, rather than how it exists compared to others. It didn’t feel like there was room to compare myself when there was so much kindness and support in that convention center.
Because of how much this trip impacted me, I’ve decided it’s no longer a trip I can afford to miss. The amount of inspiration and kindness at this convention is something I can’t miss out on, now that I know it’s there. It’s already sad, thinking that I might not see the people I met there for another year, so I don’t want to extend that for an extra year by any means.
Though every single person I met and interacted with was absolutely exceptional, I especially want to thank all of the queer streamers I met for all of the fun memories. I had already felt such a connection by interacting with them via Twitch, but getting to meet so many that I admire was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had, to this day. I have never seen a group of people be more kind and loving toward each other, and I think as long as we stick together and lift each other up on this platform, we can do anything we set our minds to. Don’t @ me for sounding so cheesy. I know I sound like an after school special, but let me be in my feelings! I deserve to get sappy!
Thanks for the memories, TwitchCon. Thanks for the renewed spirit, for impacting my life in the most unique way, and for sending me home with a full heart. I’ll be back, and next time, it won’t be with the looming sense of anxiety, but with the confidence that it will be just as amazing, or even more so, than the year before.
(Want to see even more photos from the event? Check out my Instagram!)
You know that book I was going to be featured in? Well, it’s officially available for purchase!
You can order it directly from the publisher here, or if Amazon is more your style, you can order it from them here.
I worked quite hard on this piece, and though it’s hard to believe that I got published in this book full of super talented writers, I also know that my hard work paid off, and I’m thrilled to see that I’m talented enough to be among them.
As a reminder, the piece within the book focuses on some feelings around my mother’s passing, and how things will be different, moving on. I could say more, but that would be a spoiler!
I’m so thrilled that the book is finally available for y’all! PLEASE feel free to let me know what you think about the piece!