Good Ol’ Writer’s Block

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’m moving.

Like, holy geez. It’s actually happening.

It’s not just a dream in my head. It’s like, reality, now.

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I’ve been wanting a place of my own ever since I got a taste of it during my college days. I wanted it ever since I had a job that was earning me a steady income, even though it wasn’t enough for me to be completely on my own. I still wanted it after my mom died, despite some depression making it seem like I didn’t desire it enough to do anything about it.

Inheriting her house was one of the best gifts, because it was like that final extension of her making sure I was safe, especially during a time where my whole world had changed. Though her death wasn’t sudden, it was still a shock, and the gift of her home gave me time to navigate out of that paralysis. However, the house has now become a crutch. It’s become a constant reminder of the past twenty-two years that I’ve been living in it. It’s a reminder of the fact that I was a child, then a teenager, then an adult in this home. These stages of my life don’t represent the full spectrum of who I am now, and living in a space where I used in those mindsets is a strange, debilitating experience.

I am an adult who does not want to live in a home where his entire life has taken place. I have so much to look forward to, so much ahead of me, that I can’t have a heavy past weighing me down.

As easy as it is financially to live in this house (especially as someone who’s investing in self-employment), it has been the worst for my mental health. Projects start, and don’t go anywhere. Ideas float away because I don’t have the energy or the feeling of self-worth to solidify them. I sit in front of the computer and use only willpower with no actual work to just hope that I get some words onto the blank document. This house has sucked all of the inspiration out of me. I have to drag its past along with me to get anything done, and that past has become too heavy.

Even just knowing that the move is days away is enough to feel inspired. I’ve flown through even just writing this post, which would have taken me a whole hour, if I were to write it a few months ago. The drive is there, knowing that my life is moving on. I feel the spark, ignited by a big change. In this new apartment, I picture myself writing thousands of words at a time, and having more energy than ever for my Twitch streams. It feels better than anything has in such a long time.

I told a friend this already, but I’m probably just going to cry the moment I’m finally settled in to this new apartment. I’ve had the weight of living in this house on my shoulders for too long, that I don’t remember what it’s like to be without it. It just might be one of the most beautiful things I’ll feel in this decade of my life.

I want to apologize to those who hoped to see more written content from me, lately. I especially want to apologize to anyone who supports me through Patreon, which you can use to help fund my creative endeavors, and receive exclusive rewards. Living in this house has really done a number on any kind of inspiration for the one thing I’ve been consistently passionate about, and I’m sorry that it meant affecting you all, as well. Believe me, I have tried time and time again to create new things that I am passionate about for you all, but the depression behind living in this stagnant space has really taken its toll. It has weighed me down to a point where I hate myself for saying I’m a writer. I don’t want to hate myself for not being able to fulfill a dream, anymore.

Thank you to everyone who continued to support me through this. Thank you to everyone’s kind words and positive vibes, especially about this big change in my life. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the feeling of things changing is there. I have to keep talking about it, or else it doesn’t feel real. Thank you for your assistance in making it feel real.

Variety is Spicier Than You Think

produce variety
Photo by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash

I’m gonna sound like the biggest nerd, but I’m pretty sure that most people already think I am, so there’s really no going back, now.

I had this idea to pan fry some sweet potatoes as a side dish for dinner, this week. A novel idea for me, as this would be the first time I ever bought fresh sweet potatoes to cook. A lot of my side dishes will include some sort of grain (usually brown rice or quinoa) and a vegetable, so I get in this cycle of eating the same meal archetypes all the time. However, I recently remembered that, oh hey! I like sweet potatoes when they’re a little salty and crispy, so why not make my own sweet potatoes? I usually get sweet potato fries because they’re so easy to just throw in the oven, but there’s like, added sugar and stuff and I’m trying to limit the amount of processed food I eat, so this seemed like the next best thing. A little more work, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Now, the sweet potatoes are sitting in my kitchen, and I’m getting so damn excited to cook them. Like, I’m unrealistically excited to dice them up, add some salt (and maybe some rosemary), and cook them in a pan. Yeah, total nerd.

It seems like such a simple thing to get excited about, but it’s better than, y’know, not being excited about something, right? Like, here’s this nerd on the internet rambling about how he’s really excited to cook some sweet potatoes, and maybe you might think it’s weird or annoying that he’s rambling about his pan-fried sweet potatoes, but certainly it’s better than hearing about why he’s sad all of the time. Not saying that he’s necessarily sad, but maybe he’s just had a hard time finding that spice in his life. Maybe a few sweet potatoes are what he needs to remind himself to change things up, every so often. 

I think we can find ourselves doing the same things over and over, not really inspiring ourselves to try new things. Parents encourage their kids to try new things not just to make sure they actually eat a vegetable, but also to add variety and excitement to their food options. Meanwhile, as adults, we can still find ourselves eating the same things, going to the same restaurants, taking the same trips, doing the same activities with friends; all of these things can be fulfilling, but sometimes it adds some excitement to know that you’re about to try something new. As long as it’s a new thing that gets you excited, that could be all you need to add some of that spicy variety to your life.

Go to a new coffee shop to get work done. Meet your best friends at a restaurant none of you have tried, before. Try a new vegetable. Try a new dessert. Try baking a new dessert (even if you think you’re terrible at it, you could surprise yourself). Explore a new city in your state. Do something you’ve never done before, but maybe have always wanted to.

Just get out of that zone of familiarity and try something new. Even if it’s the most minuscule thing you can think of, and as long as it’s bringing that excitement of trying something new, get into it. Do that thing. Even if it’s just buying some sweet potatoes and throwing them in a pan, start changing things up on regular basis. Give yourself things to get excited about.

Was this Dan’s Plan, All Along?

Just recently, I went on a small vacation to Universal Studios: Hollywood. The trip was a bit sudden, and I wondered how I would feel about being on it at all, but I’m glad I went. I really needed to get the hell out of Arizona for a bit, and in turn, out of whatever creative funk has been plaguing me for the past few months. Do I feel cured of said funk? Not really, but I do feel like I’m on the road to a full recovery. Or something like that.

Something I can’t seem to stop thinking about is the few moments before taking the flight to LA. As we waited to board, I saw a man who almost became my boss and his wife boarding our plane. Let’s call him Dan. Like most other times you see people you’d rather not see, I felt that adrenaline rush when I saw Dan and his wife, as if I was about to enter dangerous territory. Whether or not it was actually dangerous is entirely arbitrary; my brain wanted me to believe it was. 

I had interviewed with his personal/professional development company for a social media position about a month after losing my job at the men’s underwear company. He made a name for himself by crafting these development classes, both video and in-person seminars, and he had an abrasive knack for motivating people to improve themselves, and the attitude he portrayed made it seem like he was the one doing it better than anyone else. Sure, I thought he was a bit arrogant, but he was good at his job, so who was I to say he shouldn’t be? I thought his advice was so non-specific, and didn’t take into account that everyone is different. It felt like he thought, at one point, “well all this worked for me, so I’ll take everyone’s money so that I can tell them that it’ll work for them, too.” Something was clearly working for him, despite how I felt about his content. He called himself “no-nonsense,” but I thought it sounded more like he had no tact. I tried to convince myself that I might have been wrong. 

My first interview with the company was with his wife and their secretary. His wife was late to the interview, and his secretary spoke like whatever they were brainwashing her with was slowly starting to lose its grip. They liked my ideas enough to bring me to a second interview, where I sat in their office and created posts for them. They liked my content enough to bring me to a third interview, which included going to a networking event that they were holding, actively updating their social media pages with posts related to the event, and…approaching strangers to ask them about their experience at their seminars.

I knew I lost the job the minute they asked me to do this. Mind you, I have no problems talking to strangers, but my introverted brain can only handle so many kicks into a social war zone. Not only was I still in the interview process for this company of people I barely knew, I was now being pushed to approach several people among a crowd of new faces for the sake of getting a job. Under all of that pressure, you would hope I’d turn into a precious gem. Though I didn’t come out of there looking sparkly and valuable, at least I didn’t turn to dust. However, they were looking for diamonds, not something resembling coal.

Something I must have repressed due to the nature of the people who owned this company popped up shortly after I saw them, though. I remember the night of the networking event, and I remember the conversation Dan and I had before I walked out of that event. He took a seat on the kitchen counter in the country club community center, and asked me what I ultimately want to do with my life. I felt like I was being tested. I saw the pen and paper in front of me, the question he asked in bold lettering, and I had studied the answer over and over again, but this time, I didn’t give the answer I knew I needed to give. 

I told him I wanted to write. I diluted my actual dream, but I still poured it into the reality we were sharing. I was anxious to share it, half because I wasn’t taking myself seriously enough at the time, and half because I felt his arrogance leaving so little room for anything else in the room. What I didn’t expect was him to pull it all back, and tell me that he saw something in me that suggested that, whatever I did with my life, he knew it would be great. I’d never felt that much space in a room for my dreams to just…exist

After he told me that they would call me tomorrow to tell me whether or not I got the job, I felt like I could finally see my path. Maybe he actually knew, or maybe he just wanted the news from the next day to hit me less hard, but everything seemed to fall into place shortly after that. Though I’m tempted to tell myself that I haven’t achieved the success that he saw in me, I think boldly stepping onto the path is the first step. I was anxious about seeing him, because I was anxious about the possibility of having to tell him that I lost the opportunity he could have given me, only for me to go months without actually gaining the success I told him I craved. 

What I initially failed to see in all of this anxiety is that even he knows that success comes in all different forms. I just need to make myself aware of this, too. Maybe it’s a slow start now, and maybe I don’t feel I have anything to show for it yet, but I also think wouldn’t have had to prove it, at all. There’s something already in me that’s radiating, and I have to believe it’s there just as much as everyone else. If Dan, an arrogant, seemingly self-centered business owner whose job is to know you better than you know yourself can take a minute to look into my eyes and tell me that he believes it, then I sure as hell can, too.

Am I Worth Your Time?

As I’ve been getting older, I’ve started having more and more mild panic attacks about just how much time I have left before Death’s fatal kiss takes me. Okay, maybe not actual panic attacks, but my thoughts spiral into an endless loop of approximating 60-ish years until I die, wondering if I can accomplish all my goals in that time, wondering if making a sandwich for lunch is worth my time when I could just throw a frozen (but organic) burrito into my lunch bag, wondering if I’m wasting time even writing this blog post, wondering if developing a career as a writer is even worth my time and I should be finding a different calling…but I’ll stop there, because my list of spiraling thoughts could actually fill up an entire blog post. 

The aspect of time that I’ve been most focused on has been related to how we spend it with other people.

I’ve been preoccupied with so many thoughts about how time and attention are among the most precious things we can give to someone. Whether it’s the time to help them out with a project, the time to cook them a meal, or the time to just chat with them over a latte, and really just be present in these moments with them, I feel like just having that time spent with each other shows a level of kindness and respect that you don’t get from anything else. With how precious time is, I’ve noticed that it’s so much more important to make the best out of the time others give to you, and how important it is to make sure your time is spent in ways that don’t make it feel like you’re wasting it.

I regard myself as quite a busy person. I work forty hours a week, and when I’m not in an office during the eight hours of day that I need to be there, I’m doing all of the planning and creation for what goes on my website, Youtube channel, as well as figuring out what kinds of stories to start writing. On top of that, I try to work out, at minimum, six days out of the week for about thirty minutes (but sometimes I get so into my yoga routine that it could last an hour), read twenty-ish minutes a day, and among all of this, try to have some moment in the day where I just relax, whether it’s with a TV show, a video game, or something that allows me to completely escape from the world and my responsibilities (this doesn’t always happen). Imagine only having 4-5 hours to do ALL of that after getting home from work, because, you know, I have to find some time to eat, sleep, and do household chores, in all of that. So, yeah, I’d say that I generally have a lot going on. This isn’t to say that I’m too busy for people in my life, but it’s just to say that when I’m not spending time with others, there are definitely things I could be working on.

Because of this, I consider my time to be a very precious thing. I choose how I spend my time very carefully (not always, but definitely most of the time), which also translates into how I spend my time with other people. I don’t make plans to go out with just anyone unless I have a good gut feeling about how they’ll treat our time together. I don’t just go to certain events, such as concerts or other happenings that either I’ll get invited to, or that I’ll invite someone to, just because “I’m not doing anything else.” I make these plans because I believe they will be time well-spent for both me and the person I’m giving my time to. I go because I believe the people will be respectful of the time that I’ve given them, because I respect them enough to be present in the moment that they’ve taken out of their day to spend with me. 

However, the moment I feel that this time is being disrespected is when I start feeling that they don’t respect me. Whether it’s being extremely late for dinner, coffee, or any sort of get-together without letting them know ahead of time, or just not really giving the right level of attention in the moment when you’re around that person, these methods of disrespect can really show just how little someone feels about the generosity you have given them with the time in your day. Believe me, as someone who loves social media and using my phone, I get a little annoyed when people won’t just put it away for a little while and interact with me. You know, seeing as that’s the reason why I invited them to spend time with me, in the first place. 

Unless the purpose of the get-together has to do with being on these devices, you really should just be present with the people you’re with. It’s just the base level respect you can give in these situations, but if you do have to interrupt that quality time, it’s considerate to say something like “sorry, I just have to respond to this text because it’s important” (but make sure it’s actually important) or “sorry, I just love taking food pictures” (that’s totally me, when I see people for lunch/dinner). You have to make sure that the attention you’re giving to the person you’re with is genuine and kind. That friend, date, family member, or whoever you spend time with is giving you the time out of their day that could be spent doing literally anything else; don’t make them wish they were doing anything else. 

You just don’t know what a person could be giving up to see you. That’s not to say that it’s a complete sacrifice just to have a cup of coffee and chat, but you just never know what’s going on in their life that they’re now taking time away from to see you. A friend could see you for lunch when they should be writing their dissertation, because they believe time with you is worth losing more time to work on that important part of their schooling. Family members spend the time and money to schedule flights to help settle you into college of your choice to make sure your experience is off to an ideal start, when those days off of work could have been used for a more relaxing trip. Dates and significant others spend time with you over the other potential romantic interests they could find because they believe there’s something in you that ignites their spark like no one else can.

And maybe this is all already an implicit agreement that we all have as human beings, you know, to just respect each other’s time. However, as I make it further in the journey of life, and as I interact with more types of people in said journey, I start to realize that this agreement may not be as implicit as I originally thought. There are many people who found their way into my circle who have disrespected the time I gave them just one too many times (and it’s ironic that I’ve given those people more time that they could disrespect). Meeting them has taught me that my time is something I shouldn’t give away so frivolously, not necessarily as an act of selfishness, but because others could be selfish and take that time for granted. While some do come around and show me that their intentions were not to disrespect the time I gave them, others don’t, and it’s a sad fact of life that many of us will have to come to terms with.

If you keep find yourself in situations where your time is treated poorly by the person you spend it with, make sure that they’re aware of this so that you can hopefully inspire some change. Don’t let them take the precious time you’ve given them if all they’re going to do is let it slip through their hands and watch it shatter to dust. Life is too short for you to sit back and watch someone turn your time into millions of indiscernible pieces. There will be people out there who will hold it dearly, never intending to have it slip away from their grasp. If it happens to fall, they’ll reach desperately to catch it before it’s gone. They will even thank you for giving them that time in the first place, and make it up to you in the long run.

They won’t even do this because they feel they need to repay you; they’ll do it just because they love you enough to let you know that your time means everything to them.