My Writing Is Getting Published!

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So you know how I was talking about the fact that I’m going to have some writing published in a book, soon? Well, that book is now available for pre-order! The book itself is a collection of excerpts from Arizona-based writers, in both fiction and non-fiction genres. I’m not only excited to see my excerpt in a solid, tangible book, but I’m also very excited to be featured along so many other talented writers!

The excerpt I wrote for the book discusses some feelings I had around my mother’s passing. A parent passing away is such an interesting (and yes, painful) time for introspection, and pondering about how life will be much different due to the fact that they’re gone. I had some complex feelings surrounding her death, and it was not only cathartic for me to get these words out into the world, but was cathartic to turn these feelings into a strong piece of art. I really did put my heart in it. I wouldn’t have submitted it if I didn’t stand strongly behind it.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering this book, here is the link that you can use to get a copy of your own! It will be out on October (date here), and I can’t wait for you to read it!

Some Well (Or Ill) Timed Imposter Syndrome

I’m not the only writer who compares himself to others. I’m not the only creator who feels like his creations are worse than they actually are. In the world of artistry and pulling ideas out of your head to turn them into a creative piece, looking at your finished product (and at times, your work-in-progress) and thinking “this is a pile of garbage” is just a part of the process. It doesn’t have to be, but it usually is.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been slinging out a bunch of hot, smelly garbage when it comes to writing. I can smell it even before it hits the blank document, and I immediately discourage myself from the idea that anyone else would even want to look at it. It’s been hard, because every time I finish the grueling creative process with my writing, I get such a damn rush that I can’t get from anything else. So feeling like everything I’ve been doing lately is subpar, plus seeing the success of so many other writers, makes me feel like I don’t have what it takes to let my creativity shine. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m quite ecstatic to see others succeed, especially when they’re other queer writers. However, I start to feel like I need what they have in order to succeed, and I talk myself down into thinking that I’ll never have it. Nevermind the fact that what they have and what I have can exist at the same time and be equally as successful; my brain thinks I just won’t make the cut.

This all changed when I just recently received this email:

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Okay well, I’m exaggerating. Not ALL of it changed, but it did take me a little bit out of the immense imposter syndrome I’ve been feeling for a bit. Like I don’t know if I actually deserve the success I get because I don’t believe I’m at the level of other successful writers.

I keep going through these motions of being a writer where I feel like the talent just isn’t there, like people are just saying I’m a good writer because it’s better than saying I’m a bad one. Even receiving this email (which, don’t get me wrong, I am THRILLED about it), I feel like I’m still just some run-of-the-mill gay writer on the Internet.

This publishing house wanted a short, 1250-word excerpt for their collection. I could have just combed through my old projects and sent one of those out, but what did I do, instead? I busted my ass to write a whole new piece from scratch. I didn’t have to, as I didn’t have that long of a time to write and edit a whole new piece to send to this publication, but I did it, and that work paid off. Yet, I still feel like it didn’t actually happen. Like maybe it’s going to slip away, somehow. How, exactly? I don’t know, but I keep feeling it.

Regardless, I’m trying to stay on the lighter side of it. This is my second publication I’ve gotten in to! That’s huge! I wouldn’t have been given this if there wasn’t talent in what I do. I worked hard for it, and I know I deserve it, and as long as I keep reminding myself of that, I know I can move forward and continue to put that energy into something bigger and better, so I’m going to do what I can to ignore the imposter syndrome, and keep writing the way I know I can. This may sound all kinds of cliché, but gurl, I just learned that I’m getting published. I can get a little sappy and cliché if I want to!

And believe me, I’m just getting started. I have bigger ideas that I will for sure be putting some good energy into, so once this imposter syndrome stops being so damn loud (which may never happen, but I’m feeling optimistic while writing this), the world will see just how mighty my pen can be! (Not a euphemism, ya nasties.)

A Geek in the Community

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Photo by Geeky Shots on Unsplash

I chose a username about 4 years ago, with the intention of making my presence based on me being just one voice in a community of diverse individuals. “AGeekintheCommunity” was supposed to be a way for me to assert that my voice was only one voice among the community (at that point, it was for LGBT+ topics), but it had a double meaning in the sense that I felt like I was a geek that traversed through many different communities. I wanted to try to portray that my voice is distinct, but not the only voice who has an opinion on the topic.

Though I consider myself a “geek,” which in my realm, means being incredibly passionate about a certain something (usually TV shows, movies, books, etc.), it was starting to feel strange trying to brand myself completely off of that. At first, it was easy to embrace that I would be a geek in any community I moved through (which, well, is still a little true), but it hasn’t been until lately that it feels like it shrunk me. It reduced me to being “just another face in the crowd,” as people say.

I know I’m just another geek in the community, but I don’t want to feel that.

Due to a lot of discouraging experiences, I’ve felt like nothing special for most of my life, and I don’t want those insecurities to start bleeding into how I present myself online, or the quality of work I put into my creative projects. I’ve known that I have a lot of talent to offer, but I have rarely felt that I do, and I know I need to break out of that cycle if I want to believe in my talents. Can a simple username change across all of my platforms be enough to make me feel the uniqueness that will inspire good work? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt to try.

Originally, the name change across all my social media was due to the trend of writers/authors using their real names as usernames, as well as the domain names for their websites as a means of making it easy for people to find their work. I was scared to do it at first, because it would mean going from a catchy username to just, you know, my name. I had been thinking about it months before changing, but always talked myself out of it, or listened more to the people discouraging me from doing it. The thought started nagging at me even harder lately, and I figured that it was just time for me to do it. It’s “Now or Never,” you know, like the Blair St. Clair song (she’s a drag queen, in case you didn’t know). I’m pulling myself together, and all that jazz.

I still love AGeekintheCommunity, but he’s not who I need. He got me started, but it’s my turn to lead myself into something amazing.

It was originally supposed to just be a thing I did for a more solid web presence, but I found something deeper in the username change. Maybe the hinderance that AGeekintheCommunity gave me was so subconscious, it wasn’t until I went through with the whole process that I see where it could have been holding me back. “JeffBrutlag” might be less catchy, but it’s me. It’s the identity I’ve lived with, and am learning to love. There is complexity, experience, and talent behind that identity that I know will do amazing work. I can put in the effort to make my identity pop; AGeekintheCommunity will always just be “a geek in the community,” no matter how good he is.

So look out for me on the world wide web, friends! Jeff Brutlag is ready to kick some metaphorical teeth in. He’s still a big geek, though, so don’t be too intimidated.

(The only place you may still see the username “AGeekintheCommunity” is Facebook, because apparently “Jeff” isn’t a word that’s “allowed on Facebook.” Their platform can go down in history as the first hater of my name change. That’s like, kind of cool, I guess?)

Empty Wells

Coffee shop productive (in post)
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I’m just going to blurt out a bunch of stuff that I’m thinking because I’ve been super unproductive and I need to at least write SOMETHING this week that makes me feel like I haven’t been incredibly lazy (when it comes to writing, at least. I know I’ve been working hard in other realms of my life.) I’ve been waking up about two hours later than I normally have been, and I feel like that’s been spiraling into how I run the rest of my days, and I’ve honestly been hating it. I used to be great at just getting myself out of bed, but lately, I’ve been like “eh, let’s close our eyes for another 5 minutes,” which then somehow turns into another hour and a half. I can’t say I’m proud of this, but I try to give myself the benefit of the doubt by suggesting that my body needs that extra sleep. For what reason? I don’t know, but listening to your body is important. However, I now feel like my body is taking advantage of me.

I have writing projects I know I need to get done, but like most of the writing projects I’ve been working on, there’s a fair amount of emotion that goes behind it, and those emotions haven’t been easy to confront. I keep thinking “is it too soon to write about this?” But those thoughts are so often combatted with “if I don’t write about it now, then the feelings just won’t be the same.” Which, I guess both are true, but all in all, I feel like this is all just a subconscious excuse to stall. Why am I stalling? What is there to wait for? I’m not getting to success any faster by staring at a mostly blank word document and hoping I can get words to appear. I have to put the work in, and I have to do whatever it takes to just get that work done.

But…of course, there’s another side to that. These last few weeks, I haven’t been in the mental headspace of allowing myself some relaxation. About a month ago, I was doing well at telling myself “okay, just ONE episode of Jessica Jones, and then you have to get to work,” and that was keeping me on a pretty good track. Lately, every moment of my day has been filled with me thinking “okay, you have to do this right after you’re done Twitch streaming, today,” and subsequently, trying to fill every moment of my day with trying to stay productive. It’s kind of been driving me crazy. Sometimes I feel like my mind is just trying to tell me to stop, relax, and give myself a damn break before getting into the work I need to do. Maybe I need to listen to that.

But it’s hard, because I also feel like I haven’t been productive, despite organizing and running a month-long charity campaign on my Twitch channel for The Trevor Project (which is still happening), which alone has been enough work to be considered a job. When I’m not working on that, I’m sitting in front of my computer, trying to be productive by sheer willpower (with little to no results), so lately, there hasn’t really been a moment where I’m just…relaxing, simply for the sake of it. I’ve valued balance for so much of my life, and now, I’m trying to sweep that under the rug. Maybe that’s been a detriment, a product of the environment I was raised around that doesn’t agree with my brand of adulthood. I was taught that being busy means being productive, and that relaxation was a privilege granted when you’ve been busy enough to earn it. While I believe in staying busy to be productive, I also heavily value my time where all I’m doing is something that requires little to no productive effort. Though, whatever the reason is, I know me best, and losing touch of that has started to make me slip into a version of myself that’s hindering progress.

I don’t like being my own worst enemy, but as a content creator, that can just be part of the job description. For so long, I’ve fought between “I just want to relax for a bit” and “I’m not being productive enough,” and I’m realizing I need to finesse that combination in order to create some progress. I sometimes punish myself for taking breaks when I know I have a lot to do, and for sleeping in when I wanted to be up earlier, but maybe that’s part of what’s hindering, well, everything. I put this pressure on myself to hopefully avoid the pressure someone else may put on me, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve been going about it the wrong way. Willing myself to squeeze words onto a word document, when all my body wants is just forty-five minutes to escape reality, might be what’s drying the well of productivity to the point of cracking. A moment to just breathe might be what I need in order to re-fill it.

I guess this is when someone would say “treat yo self.” Make sure you’re treating yourself for the hard work that you do, because you deserve little rewards throughout your week. Keep yourself motivated, and know when the well is empty. Find healthy ways to fill that well. Kick ass. Repeat.

Supportive People are the Best People

After deciding to make a career off of being an independent writer/creator, I’ve been ultra in-tune to the attitudes about my decision from others. On that same note, I’ve been ultra sensitive when I feel like someone is discouraging me from that kind of a career, even if its something as simple as a look that suggests that I’m crazy. In a sense, I sometimes feel like I am crazy in regards to this career path, but hey! I’M STILL DOIN’ IT. 

With these thoughts rolling through my head constantly, I recently had a conversation with some friends about this new-found career path of mine. Of course, I felt like the question was approached with a tone of “what are you even doing with your life?” Granted, I lost my mother in October, and I was in the process of looking for a job at that time despite the stress of her being in hospice taking its toll on me (which meant that the job search didn’t end up lasting too long), so I’m sure most people I know have a giant question mark in their head as far as where I’m at with my life. My friends all seemed fascinated by what I was aiming to do with my life of trying to make it as a writer/content creator, and though I didn’t really know how to respond to that particular sentiment, I found it more invigorating than the alternative: making me feel like this big choice I made would ultimately fail, making me poor, homeless, and more of a disappointment than I may already be to those who disagree with what I’m trying to do. Can you tell that I’ve been thinking about this a lot? 

And this isn’t to say that I’m uncomfortable with the decision to become a full-time writer, trying to become successful through my creations. It’s felt like the right decision to make for over a year, but never really became a viable option until just a few months ago. It’s the one passion of mine that has stuck around for the longest, while everything else seems to come and go. While I recognize the unconventionality of it, and what could happen if I don’t succeed, all signs in my life have seemed to point in this direction. So whether or not people support it, it’s still something I have to throw all my efforts into it. 

To the credit of others in my life, the group of friends I spoke with weren’t the only ones to be enthused with the choice that I made for my career. Plenty of other friends and family found it exciting, and thought that it’s definitely something I could pull off. Every time I talk about this scary, but ultimately fulfilling decision I’ve made for my career, and I get a supportive response, I feel hopeful. That sounds cheesy, and I know you probably just thought “okay, cool” but there’s honestly not a better way to describe how it feels. The feeling of hearing someone tell me that they think I’ll be successful at what I’m working toward is almost as satisfying as accomplishing that thing, itself. It’s like the kindling to a bonfire of a career. 

The more I discover which people in my life are supportive of my big career choice, the closer I feel to them, and the more I become aware of the kind of people I need to surround myself with. That’s not to say I only want people in my life who approve of every single thing that I do, because we do need those people who keep us grounded, too. However, there’s a difference people who try to keep you grounded, and people who try to pull you so far into the ground, you can’t see the light. Having people in your life that lift you up rather than drag you down, especially when it comes to things you’re passionate about, is such an important part of feeling secure in those decisions that you make. You don’t necessarily need that support to know you’re doing the right thing, but feeling that it’s there certainly takes literally a ton of weight off of making the decision.

This video of Will Smith made its way to my Twitter feed, and I feel like it’s so applicable to what I’ve been talking about, and a great reminder to us all about the kind of people who deserve our time.

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Interview with Comic Artist, Author, and Vlogger: Paige Lavoie

Being an online content creator immediately opens you up to this world of people who are so talented and inspiring, to the point where you just think “how are you not super famous?” In the very baby years of my vlogging endeavors, I came across the channel of a wonderful lady named Paige Lavoie, whom I later found out was way more than just a talented vlogger. She creates comics, she writes novels, she looks flawless pretty much 100% of the time, and every bit of her talent inspires me to do more with all of the content I create. Not only has she published a novel (a feat I have yet to accomplish), but she regularly creates comics, vlogs, all while continuing to put out more novels. How does she do it all? Well, she’s also a magical girl, so there’s that.

Because she’s such an inspiration to me, I asked her if she would be willing to answer several questions I had for her. I was thrilled when she agreed to it, because I knew her infectious charm would appeal to all of you, as well! So without further ado, let’s get into these questions!

 A panel right out of her webcomic! Characters, left to right: Sebastian, Violett, and Skarlett
A panel right out of her webcomic! Characters, left to right: Sebastian, Violett, and Skarlett

When did you first start making web comics?

It had to be around when I was fifteen or sixteen, (It’s so crazy that that’s more than ten years ago now.) It was back in the Yahoo Geocites days. I remember scanning my super rough drawings and posting them for friends to check out, and trying to promote it on Myspace! It feels like a million years ago, now. 

Is Pumpkin Spiced your first big comic, or were there others that came before it?

There was! I kept my webcomic from when I was a teenager going for a long time. It was called “The Graveyard Girls” and most of the characters from Pumpkin Spiced started in that gag-a-day comic strip. A lot of the humor was really sarcastic and fun to do, but I got to a point where I knew so much about these characters and I really wanted to share more about their stories and how they all came to get to know each other. They’ve changed and grown so much since then! 

I absolutely love the character designs in Pumpkin Spiced. How did you come up them?

Oh wow! This is such a good question. Growing up I was really inspired by Tim Burton, and I think that still shines through in the comic. Edward Gorey has also been a huge influence. I feel like that combined with my love for Manga and cutesy street fashion ended up creating the creepy/cute look that you see in the comics. 

Pumpkin Spiced has been with you quite a few years! How has the art/story developed as time has gone on?

It has changed so much from the beginning! Originally the story was going to revolve a lot more around Skarlett, and while she still has some major plotlines I want to follow in the future, what’s currently going on in the comic has her less at the center of it than readers might think. 

I don’t want to give away too much- but somehow the story began to pivot away from Skarlett and more towards Penelope. I wrote about how she came to live with the girls in my short story “A Pumpkin Spiced Christmas” and I started to realize that so much of what’s going on in the comic right now revolves around her origin story. I’m getting closer to jumping into a small flashback arch, where readers will be seeing her pre-zombie for the first time ever, and I cannot wait! Plus, every time I get to draw her and Helga together I swoon. They are my personal favorite ship ❤

It’s all practicing, jotting down notes, and figuring out the characters. I still sketch while I write, and sometimes things pan out, and sometimes they get scraped. I have been seriously stuck to the past trying to figure out what to do next. It’s been challenging, and I’ve gotten sidetracked by little side stories. I have a whole stack of papers somewhere of story arches and plotlines I never ended up following. But all and all, I’m really happy with how the story has shaped up over the years.  

 Progress of her character, Isabell!
Progress of her character, Isabell!

You’ve also published a novel called Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl, which is such an amazing feat! What was the process like of writing/publishing this novel? 

It’s so hard for me to sum up. I wrote it during National Novel Writing Month, and it was a mad-dash of word-sprints, self-doubt, excitement, and tears. It sounds so dramatic, but Confidence was the first novel manuscript I had ever finished. It was scary, but also one of my proudest moments. I hit the end of the story on the very last day of November, and just barely reached 50k before I was out of time, and I’m glad I pushed myself so hard to finish it (even though at the time I was convinced it was terrible.) 

It took me about a year to share it with my husband. I remember watching him like a hawk as he read through it- I wanted him to like it so badly! I questioned every raised eyebrow, smirk, and chuckle. I’m so thankful for his support. After the post-NaNoWriMo feelings settled in, I knew I liked the story, I knew I wanted to do something with it, but I honestly don’t know if it would have happened without his encouragement. I feel really lucky to have him on my team. 

After that and reading it over a billion times, I hired my editor Jen Juneau Haupt (who is generally just an amazing person and so talented) she did fantastic at pointing out places for me to fill in plot holes, fixing up my crazy grammar and giving me fantastic feedback. I worked with her on my upcoming novel as well, and I love working with her. 

I decided to self-publish, and went through Createspace. My husband and I worked together to design the cover, we thumbnailed a million designs, I put up polls on Facebook to get votes, and we ended up landing on the journal/convention design. He did the artwork on it and I’m so pleased with how it turned out (he also did the formatting, because he is a superhero. Haha! I’m going to make him blush when he reads this.)

We learned a lot through the process, It took a long time and was fun, frustrating, and scary.  It’s such a cliché but all of the stress and long nights felt worth it when I got to hold the finished book in my hands, and flip through the pages. My heart was racing when we clicked the “publish” button to make it go live on Amazon ❤

 Click the picture to learn more about her book!
Click the picture to learn more about her book!

How would you compare the experience of writing novels vs. the experience of creating comics?

They both have their challenges, but I can write a lot faster than I can create comics. Whenever I’m working on either I try to get sucked into the story, and picture all of the details like I’m watching a movie. translating that into comics can be a little harder sometimes. Both definitely have their pros and cons. 

Would you say that one is more challenging than the other?

Comics Is more of a challenge for me. I’m not the fastest artist, and I struggle with trying to get the comic page to look how it does in my head, But with writing, that’s something that I feel like, even if I get stuck, generally, I can fly through. Yes, there are still tricky scenes to workout, I’m going to need to step away, rethink, and organize my thoughts, but when I write, I don’t have to worry about drawing hands! 

Just because I’m curious…which of the characters that you’ve created (in your novels or comics) do you relate to the most?

Barbara Jenkins from Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl all the way! I didn’t realize it when I was first writing the story, but a lot of her awkward quirks, like leaving sing-song voicemails and generally overthinking are very inspired by myself. 

On top of all of this talent you have, you also run such an entertaining Youtube channel (which I watch religiously). What kind of content do you enjoy making for your channel?

Recently, I’ve been really enjoy doing the webcomic Q&A videos. It’s a great way to interact with my community and share the tidbits of knowledge about topics I know they’re interested in. I also like how it’s a little bit more causal feeling than my “How to Make Webcomics” videos. 

I do feel some pressure in speaking so directly to my viewers, I always want to make sure the advice I give is clear and helpful. But, I think that, for me, it makes it feel really rewarding to create and post those videos. We all go through creative slumps, but it’s humbling whenever someone says a video of mine helped them through a bad day of writing or drawing. Sometimes I can’t even processes that a video I made could do that for someone. It’s mind-blowing, and right now as I type this I’m having a hard time summing up the feeling with words. 

It makes me really happy, and I want to create creative content that makes people feel empowered to go out and create something wonderful. 

What kind of creative satisfaction do you get from making videos that you don’t get from comic writing or writing novels? 

It’s a overall faster experience. I can shoot a video, edit it, and have it online within the day (although let’s be honest, editing can sometimes take forever, lol.) I love how quickly I can share the content with the world.

If each of the main Pumpkin Spiced ladies had their own vlogging channels, what do you think they’d all vlog about? 

Oh this is super fun! 

Violett would totally have a “storytime/rant” Youtube channel.

Penelope would have a cooking channel, and try her best to leave brains out of her recipes. 

Isabell would have a sewing/DIY channel.

I feel like Skarlett would either team up with Isabell for the sewing channel- or maybe make travel videos. 

And Trixi would do a lot of anime reviews, unboxing and kawaii makeup tutorials….and a whole lot of shoe hauls.

(Characters left to right: Isabell, Penelope, Skarlett, Trixi, Violett)

When you’re not busy writing, vlogging, or drawing, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I love cooking. I’ve been doing more of it recently, and having a lot of fun playing around in the kitchen. We had a bunch of friends over for a Christmas shin-dig last month and I did a super cute brunch menu and made eggnog French toast and a breakfast casserole, as well as tiny chicken and waffle sandwiches that lasted…maybe two minutes? It was definitely a win! 

Sometimes my kitchen experiments go well, sometimes they’re not so great. But kind of like like writing stories, everything I make is practice. You just put your heart into something and hope the people receiving it will enjoy it, and it warms a part of their soul. Oh wow, I totally sound like a shoujo manga protagonist, right now. 

 *strikes pose and glitter sparkles fly everywhere* 

I also love exploring my city, checking out everything from themeparks to small local happenings. And if I’m having a lazy introverted day, it’s very likely I’m reading a visual novel or clicking through a otome game. 😛

 Any new projects you’re working on that you can talk about? 

Yes! So right now, I’m getting ready to release my second novel. It’s a modern day Frankenstein story, that I’ve been explaining to people as “My Fair Lady meets Steel Magnolias.” The story has a female “monster” as the main character, and I loved creating the person she wakes up as, and grows into as the story progresses. 

Currently the story is still untitled…which has honestly been keeping me up at night. I want the name to be perfect, you know? I’m hoping it just hits me like a ton of bricks before the month is over. But we shall see? The goal is for this novel to come out in Spring of 2017. One can only hope it will have a name by then. 

And I’m currently finishing up a manuscript with the working title “Broommates” about teenages who are banished from magic school to a bed and breakfast in Portland. It’s around 77k words right now, and so close to being finished and ready for revisions. It’s been a really cute YA (Young Adult) novel that ended up feeling a lot like a summercamp romance. 

I received the advice on a writers retreat to let your rough draft sit for at least a week or a month before jumping into revisions/editing, and work on something else, so I have a small pile on manuscripts ready to revise and polish up that I’m hoping to jump into before the end of the month! 

 Source URL:     https://www.flickr.com/photos/geekgirlcon/31645820836/
Source URL:    https://www.flickr.com/photos/geekgirlcon/31645820836/

Now before we go, what advice would you give to anyone looking to jump into a big project like writing a novel or creating a web-comic?

Don’t wait until your art or writing is at a “certain level” to start. Jump into the deep end and just start creating. If a novel seems too scary try out a short story! Just start creating something that you can be proud of. The best way to get better, is to start practicing and what better way to practice than to start doing something you love? 

There are going to be good days, and bad days, but just think about the work you want to create, the characters you want to exist, and their stories. You’re the only one who has the power to make them exist in the real world, and bring them to life through your writing and your drawing. Keep going, keep doing your personal best, and remember: you’re not alone. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed by little old me! Where can people find you on the Internet?

Thank you for having me! You can find me on, 

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/PumpkinSpicedPaige

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pumpkinspicedpaige/

Twitch (I do a virtual write-in every Tuesday at noon, some come do some writing with me!) 

https://www.twitch.tv/pumpkinspicedpaige

My Blog https://paigelavoie.wordpress.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/MrsPaigeLavoie

and Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/ItsPaigeLavoie/

Writing is Hard

You know what really sucks? Writer’s block. Which, yeah, is common knowledge, but when it hits hard, it hits really hard.

I’ve been trying extra hard to write something fiction-related recently, but I just can’t seem to stick with an idea that I’m passionate enough to write about. I start one story, try to write through the looming feelings of apathy toward the story, and then stop writing it altogether, knowing that I won’t be able to develop it into something that I could be truly proud of. It’s not even a self-esteem thing where I don’t believe I can turn the story into something great, it’s just that I don’t have the drive to turn that particular idea into a full-fledged story.

I often come up with ideas that I know could be a good story, but it’s just not the story that I want to tell, and I feel like that’s why I lose steam on certain ideas. I’ve had stories that I loved writing because I fell in love with the idea, the characters that were born from said idea, and the way everything came together while I was constructing it. From there, I was able to put more of my heart into making it something I’d even want to read, myself. Lately, however, my brain has been giving me ideas where it’s like “well, I guess that would be really entertaining?” That just ain’t acceptable.

When I start to feel this way about my stories, I start to get INCREDIBLY self-conscious, and start to SERIOUSLY doubt myself as a writer. I’ve told myself for so many years that writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life, and I still believe that, to this day. I get so flustered knowing this because I keep thinking that, if I truly want to be a good writer, surely I should have more passion about my ideas than what I’ve been showing, right? I mean, I maybe have one or two short stories that are actually edited to a point where maybe I could try to get them published, but other than that, it’s not like I’ve actually fully completed a giant writing project (except for a novella that I wrote a few years back, but still have a TON of stuff to edit in it.)

Oh great, writing about this is making me even more anxious about it! Splendid!

But I feel like maybe it’s because I’m trying to pigeon-hole myself into this idea that I have to write short stories first before I write longer novellas/novels again, because that’s the progression I took while I was in school. This can’t possibly make any sense to me now because, while I was in school, I dreaded writing short stories. There’s so much story you have to put in such a small space, and it makes me feel so confined. Granted, I know I could write a decent short story if I had to, but I don’t have the passion to write them as much as I have it to write longer pieces. As the semesters went on, my fiction writing professors encouraged us to work on novellas if we wanted to, and I felt way more motivated about writing those. Something I enjoy about writing is spending enough time with my characters to see them develop over time, and with short stories, it’s not that it isn’t possible to do that, it’s just that there isn’t as much time to do it.

Regardless, I know I have to push myself to find an idea, but not too hard, because forcing the ideas could lead to being unmotivated about it. Even if the idea comes from me just writing a bunch of gibberish onto a blank word document until something happens, then gosh darn it, I should just do it. Writing stories is the one thing that gives me the highest satisfaction, and though it pains me that I’ve been distant from it for so long, I have to jump into it with the same drive I had when I did it more actively, or else I’d already be setting myself up to fail. 

Because I’m very determined to keep up a good schedule for fiction writing, I’ll be posting a lot of sneak peeks from some writing prompts that I find online on my Patreon page. I’d love to have you as a pledge over there, and I’ll be sure to make it worth your while by letting you in on what projects I have going on, as well as posting a ton of behind the scenes content! Your support, no matter how much, would help me get closer and closer to my goals as a writer/content creator!

If you’ve ever felt something similar to this about the projects that you work on, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear some inspiring stories about how you overcame it, or how you’re still trying to overcome it!