2019 Writing Goals – Q2 Review

Happy April! For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who like oppressive heat, constant sunshine, and other generally depressing things, it’s about to be your favorite time of the year. That said, while I’m quite fond of early spring months, the fact that they give way to summer always makes me sad. What better time to talk about uplifting things like whether or not I’ve kept my new year goals for writing?

People say I have weird priorities. I just think I’d rather not be constantly sweating.

If you want to go back and read the original goal post, you can find it here. That said, I’ve also put something of a summary of the goals in with my progress on each of them below. This is mostly for those who are lazy and don’t want to click back to the post, but it’s also for me and ease of copying when I write posts later in the year. Because deep down, I was the lazy one all along.

Goal 1: Blog Growth?

The easiest of my three goals to put hard numbers around is the growth of my blog in terms of visits. I took a month off from writing in June, so I fully expected this to get off pace. Let’s check in and se…

Q2 2019 Site Stats

Oh. Well then. Um. That’s great! For context, through the month of June, I’ve had a total of 6,359 visits to my blog in 2019. I only need 907 visits to surpass my blog’s entire traffic total for 2017 and 2018 combined. While I had what I felt were pretty aggressive growth goals in 2019, I certainly didn’t expect this. Maybe I need to rethink this goal in the second half of the year.

Goal 2: Finish a Second Draft of the WIP by July

I’ll share a lot more about this goal in next week’s post, however I do want to address it for a moment in this one. Technically speaking, I finished the second draft of my book in late April. With that said, the way I’m looking at drafts is much different now than when I originally wrote this goal in January. What I was then defining as my second draft has become my third draft in practice. I got started on said draft in late May with a lot more rewriting to undertake in one draft than I was initially expecting — admittedly all for good reasons. At this stage, I’m done with three drafts of the book and am hoping to start working on draft #4 in the near future.

I’m going to consider this goal itself as done (as we’re now in July), though I likely will still share something related to my WIP in this space in Q3 and Q4.

Goal 3: Take on Four New Freelance Projects This Year

This goal is a bit of a mixed bag at this point. On one hand, the projects I have coming later in the year are drawing closer. Additionally, I did get my first new freelance project of 2019 in April. The down side is that I’m still trying to chase down payment for said project. While it wasn’t for much, it’s frustrating that it’s happened yet again after some issues with it in 2018. While I’m behind pace on this goal, I still feel decent about it, if for no other reason than I know what’s on the way.

How are you doing on your 2019 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Sound off in the comments.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

My Pokemon Gym: Dragon

Welcome to the sixth iteration of the My Pokemon Gym series. If you’re new to this series, I take a Pokemon type then build out my team of six Pokemon of that type as if I were the gym leader. Here are the rules:

  1. I can’t use legendary/mythical Pokemon
  2. I can’t reuse Pokemon I’ve used in previous gyms in this series.
  3. Forms of the same Pokémon can be reused, provided they have different typing. For example, if I used Rattata in a Normal gym team, I could use Alolan Rattata in a Dark gym team.

Want to read my other My Pokemon Gym posts? Go read the Fighting, Ice, Psychic, and Grass type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Kingdra

People love running Swift Swim shenanigans with Kindgra, and if it were on my Water type team, I totally would. With that said, Rain Dance doesn’t have a strong place on my Dragon type team, leading me to have a Sniper Kingdra bent on critical hitting everything in sight. Octozooka is a particular favorite move of mine, meant to hold off any Pokemon that a Sniper-boosted Dragon Pulse or Ice Beam can’t handle. With any luck, Kingdra will take a out a couple of my opponent’s faster threats, which serves the rest of my team well.

Ability: Sniper
Item: Scope Lens
Moves: Laser Focus, Octozooka, Dragon Pulse, Ice Beam

Alolan Exeggutor

I love that Alolan Exeggutor can still learn Explosion. It makes absolutely no sense. Why would something that big and stupid looking explode? It’s amazing. Alolan Exeggutor gets on my team just by that — though I do love running a Curse/Outrage set on it, even if it is completely walled by Mimikyu.

Ability: Harvest
Item: Sitrus Berry
Moves: Curse, Recycle, Outrage, Explosion

Goodra

Okay, fine. I guess I could have done some Swift Swim shenanigans had I used a Hydration Goodra. That said, for as cool of an ability as Hydration is, it’s probably my least favorite of Goodra’s potential options. I’m going with Gooey over Sap Sipper because most people wouldn’t bring Grass types against Dragons anyway, but make no mistake — Goodra is here to stall you out. The Quick Claw is more a precaution than anything else, though I’m only attacking with Flamethrower anyway. If I could get away with running four non-attacking moves, I’d drop Flamethrower for Acid Armor, but then I’m just Taunt/setup bait.

Ability: Gooey
Item: Quick Claw
Moves: Toxic, Protect, Rest, Flamethrower

Kommo-o

One of the final additions to my team gets the spot because of how much I like its weird moveset. Did you know Kommo-o gets Stealth Rock, Bide, and Belly Drum? What in the world is that combination? As a Gen VII representative on my team, I feel like giving Kommo-o a Z-crystal is fitting, even if it is coming off of Dragon Claw rather than Outrage.

Ability: Soundproof
Item: Dragonium-Z
Moves: Belly Drum, Dragon Claw, Poison Jab, Earthquake

Dragonite

I always found it weird that Lance’s Dragonites in the original game focused so much on using Hyper Beam. Yeah, it was the most powerful move in the game, and yes, Dragon moves got the short end of the stick in Gen I. But considering the physical punch Dragonite can pack, it’s weird to me. I’ve chosen to make good on this by making my Dragonite a beastly physical attacker, but also to pay homage to the ridiculous damage Hyper Beam deal out by putting some massive variation in my attack types.

Ability: Multiscale
Item: Kebia Berry
Moves: Superpower, Rock Slide, Iron Tail, Aqua Jet

Mega Altaria

Mega Altaria is typically a stupid-fun mixed attacker, but I quite like running the physical variant that boosts its own stats a lot. Considering I’ve got plenty of Pokemon on the team to deal with my team’s inherent Dragon weakness, I figured Mega Altaria could be a late game cleaner, particularly one that aims to take out anything that isn’t a physical wall.

Ability: Pixiliate (Cloud Nine prior to mega evolution)
Item: Altarianite
Moves: Dragon Dance, Earthquake, Return, Cotton Guard

Catharsish

I’ve chosen to interrupt my previously scheduled hiatus from blogging to return to my blogging roots for one night only. Those who have followed any of my blogs (or have known me in general) likely know that I started my very first blog all those years ago as a way to try to help me work through my mental stressors at a point in life when I couldn’t afford therapy. Truth be told, it helped more than I thought it was going to. Even if I hadn’t ended up writing a book or anything as a result of that writing, the fact that I did it had a positive effect on my mental health at a time where I really needed it.

I’m at a position in my life now where I cannot blog/write/whatever as freely as I once did. Even ignoring the ramifications about writing about things impacting your mental health online1Even if you’re only sharing your struggles with a small group of people, it’s definitely easy to overwhelm others, whether you mean to or not. My very first blog that I used for cathartic purposes was a locked blog shared with three other people. After a couple of weeks of every other day head clearing posts, one of said people same to me and said something to the effect of “look…I know you’re going through some shit right now, but you need to pick and choose what you write about. If you’re overwhelmed by something I can’t help with, I’m just going to ignore it.”. Was that right? Probably not. But I do get where they were coming from. where others who impact your mental health could (and likely will) read it, the internet doesn’t forget. Saying one wrong thing when you’re trying to work out the thoughts in your head or taking one wrong action because you’re naive and young can come back to haunt you years later, regardless of the context and how much you’ve changed as a person.

2019 has not been a great year for me. There have certainly been positives, but it has largely felt overwhelming, stressful, and disheartening on several fronts. I’m not going to talk about most of the various areas where I’ve felt that way, as this isn’t the right place to do so. What I do want to talk about — and what I’m hoping to try to work through with this post — is how this year has made me feel all those emotions about my writing.


I have a weird duality when it comes to my writing. Part of me is surpremely confident in my ability both to write well and to tell a story. I know I generally write with good to great grammar. While my sentence structure, plotting, and pacing aren’t on par with academic journals, fantasy novels, or great murder mysteries, respectively, I do feel like I have a pretty good idea what I’m doing when it comes to penning a work of fiction. Furthermore, I can create a really good world in a story. That’s not to say the worlds and ideas I create don’t need some fleshing out. But at their base, I can create good stories.

On the other hand, I deal with a fuckton of imposter syndrome when it comes to my creative work. Part of this has come from external sources. I’ve had multiple people over time tell me that ‘I shouldn’t write creatively ever again’ or that ‘I grew up too poor to use words that big’ or that my writing is “just a hobby’. And those things hurt. Some hurt more than others. But I’ve always taken a little bit of enjoyment out of working as hard as I can to prove those statements wrong. So while I’d love to say the imposter syndrome comes from here, all such statements really do is piss me off and make me work harder.

What hurts that feeling more are the little failures. I fully recognize that the things I’m about to talk about aren’t necessarily failures. That said, I need to frame them as how my mind thinks of them in order to explain this properly.

I lost a patron recently. It was the first patron I’ve lost since starting my Patreon account last year. I only found out because one of my friends told me that they finally fixed their Patreon notifications, leading me to go in and grab them a link from my page, then seeing the notification that I’d lost one of the four patrons I had. The fact that I’ve only managed to get to four patrons in nearly a year is frustrating. On one hand, I can’t help but thank those who have supported me enough for all they’ve done. On the other hand, I lost someone. I’m clearly not doing enough2I realize people have their own reasons for pledging and it’s nearly never personal. I also realize that this event hit me really hard, starting the mental spiral that I’m trying to get out of by writing this post..

Maybe this is just a hobby after all.


I am working on a story. I’ve talked about it in the past and will have another update on the book in the near future. The story itself is good. The world it’s being built into is good and will continue to get better. I have an editor who is amazing and who is constantly pushing me to get better with my book. She’s fucking awesome and I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done. She also told me I should stop complimenting her until work is done3Since I know there’s a very good chance she’ll read this — hi., but again, trying to clear my head here.

The book will get done. It’s moving slower both than I expected and than I wanted it to. The former is explained by the fact that I’m repeatedly rewriting the book to make it better. I have zero trouble reconciling that fact4Though I do want to share it with others so bad right now.. As for the fact that it’s moving slower than I wanted it to — that goes back to my general feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed with life. There’s been more than one night where I’d planned to spend a few hours writing or editing before I go to bed only for something to happen. Then, suddenly, my time is taken away or my mood comes crashing down and I can’t bring myself to write. Rinse and repeat across most of this year and I begin to feel like I’m letting down myself and my goals. I know my mental health should take priority over my writing. And usually it does. But I worry that my mental health is impacting my writing to the point where my work isn’t the best it could be because of me. Because I don’t feel happy.


The hardest part of writing this post is not knowing who’s going to read it. If anyone will care enough to try to help or if I’ve overwhelmed those around me to the point where they’re getting tired of listening to the shit that’s spewing out of my brain. This might not have been the most constructive post. I know this is all a part of my brain — an inner critic, I’ve heard it called — that is doing this. But when everything else I’ve tried to help myself has come up short (or had no help at all), I figure there can’t be much harm in going back to my roots to try to help myself.

A Short Hiatus

Hi all.

I’ll be taking a short hiatus from the blog for the rest of the month of June so that I can continue to work on getting my work in progress novel ready for beta readers. While I’ve tried not to take too much of a break from blogging and my other writing while editing, the draft I’m working on right now will require a lot of writing. As such, I want to make sure I can focus on that. It’ll also be my first sustained break from blogging in well over a year, so I feel like the breather is well warranted.

When the blog comes back in July, you can expect the following posts (plus more).

  • The next edition of the My Pokemon Gym series (Fairy type)
  • My Q2 writing goals update
  • A work in progress book update
  • Chapter 9 of The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever
  • A special patreon selected post

I’ll still be getting my Patreon rewards out during this time. Additionally, patrons will get to pick the topic for one of my posts for the month of July. If you’re interested in getting to choose what I write about, there’s a post up on my Patreon now where all patrons can vote to choose the content of said post.

Wherein I Write Messages In Books

In February of this year, I found out a really exciting thing was happening, though I couldn’t share it until now. I found out that 30 copies of my book were being given away as part of a swag bag for a corporate event. Which:

  1. Holy shit.
  2. My book is not a particularly work appropriate book, at least not in the case of specific short stories.
  3. Might be the coolest writing related thing to happen to be so far. AND
  4. Is definitely the most mentally overwhelming thing to happen to me to so far.

At this point, I was overjoyed it was happening. Thank you so much to Jeremy and Jon for involving me in this. As part of the agreement, I arranged to sign and add messages to all 30 copies of the books being given away. This lead to quite the mental quandry. What do I write in a book while signing it?

I’ve signed copies of my books before. I’ve written messages in them before. That said, in both cases, this was always for people I knew at least in passing. A total stranger has never — at least to my knowledge — acquired a copy of my book that was signed and had a personalized and/or handwritten message in it.

So what did I decide to do? Do I write the same thing in every book? Are my messages classy, uplifting, or inspirational? Are they legible?

No.

I wrote 30 unique messages across the 30 books. With the permission of Jeremy and Jon, I’ve shared what I wrote in the books below. You can click on the images of the pages to get a better look at them. This may be helpful in the case of a couple of the longer messages, like the one where I wrote out a recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Note: Only 29 of the images are currently shown below. I had some issues with one of the pictures that I didn’t catch until after the post went up. I’m going to dig and see if I can find a good version of the final image.

My hope is that I’ll get the chance to do this with my current work in progress some day. I personally feel that said manuscript is already lightyears better than An Epilogue to Innocence was. That’s not to say I dislike my first book. Far from it actually. But I’m slowly getting the feeling that my WIP could be something really great.