Why Your Super Smash Bros Ultimate Main Sucks

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (SSBU) has been out for a little over a month now. In the time I’ve had the game, I’ve come to an irrefutable conclusion.

Your SSBU main sucks.

It’s true. It doesn’t matter who you use. Whoever you use as your Smash Ultimate main1The primary character you use in battle. is terrible. You hate them, I hate them, everyone hates them. I considered writing a review for the game itself2I still might. I have strong feelings about World of Light and the character unlock processes for SSBU., however, I felt this was a much more important topic to address.

With there being 74+ characters that are playable in SSBU, writing a blog post talking about each and every one of these characters would be an arduous task, both to write and for you to read. That said, this blog wasn’t built off of writing short posts just for the sake of getting interaction. I write long fucking posts, dammit. So let’s do this. Here’s why each of you uses a garbage main for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Characters are listed below by the order they appear on Smash’s character selection screen.

Top Row

Mario – Mario is only picked by people who haven’t played video games since the 1980s or who like platformers. Peach has been trying to leave this guy for YEARS. Why do you think she keeps ending up with Bowser. You’re playing as the villain in Mario games. He’s a stalker and Peach is just trying to live happily with her new man…er…dinosaur. Cape is not OP, no nerf is needed.

Donkey Kong – So you know how Mario was actually based off of Jumpman — a character from an earlier Nintendo game? That Nintendo game’s main star was Donkey Kong. If this large ape couldn’t even character the hopes and dreams of an entire company, how could you expect him to carry you to Smash glory?

Link – For five generations of Smash now, Nintendo has made the same mistake. They keep labeling this character as Link, but all of the games he’s in are called The Legend of Zelda. This is a massive oversight on Nintendo’s part. You’re playing as a walking typo.

Samus – For being one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history, you’d think that she would have been written much more poorly. But no. Samus has been a pretty awesome character throughout her existence. Could she be the lone character on this list without flaws? Nope. The only people who main Samus are doing so in order to rub in your face that they’re playing as a female character who doesn’t look stereotypically female and isn’t oversexualized. While they’re right, those type of people are insufferable, making Samus one of the worst mains anyone could have.

Dark Samus – Yes, you’re playing as a female villain. But why would you play as Dark Samus when Wendy exists? I mean, at least you didn’t pick the shitty Metroid villain introduced in SSBU to play as your main3I detest Ridley. So much..

Yoshi – Why would you use a cute cuddly dinosaur as a fighter? That’s an oxymoron. Dinosaurs are evil killing machines, which is literally the antithesis of cute and cuddly. Plus, you’re playing as a character that Mario throws away like garbage every time he needs to make an extra long jump. You’re just a disposable camera that poops eggs.

Kirby – Kirby gets a cool role in SSBU, being the character you start with in World of Light mode. As a result, there’s a ton of players who are learning to play as Kirby — some of them even possibly learning to play him well. This might make Kirby the most common main to have in Smash Bros Ultimate. No one likes a frontrunner.

Fox – There has only been one good Fox player ever. His name was Mad Dawg. None will ever surpass him. Just stop trying.

Pikachu – Being the face of a franchise does not make you good. If Pikachu were really good, Ash would have won a major tournament by now. But do you know how many he’s won? Zero. Pikachu is so bad that they had to make a second Let’s Go game with Gary Oak’s signature Pokemon just so consumers would have a choice to have a real starter Pokemon.

Luigi – This isn’t Mario Kart. In Mario Kart, Luigi is the baddest man in the planet. He’s essentially an Italian Dale Earnhardt. In SSBU, Luigi’s signature move is to trip you — just like a sixth grade bully. Luigi’s final smash is a vacuum cleaner for a reason. He sucks.

Ness – Huh. That’s really neat. I didn’t realize Backyard Baseball got characters into Smash. When were they on Ninten…oh. Ness isn’t from Backyard Baseball? Then why are you using him? Justice for Pablo Sanchez.

Captain Falcon – Captain Falcon shouts his own name during sex.

Jigglypuff – In the Pokemon anime, Jigglypuff tries to sing a beautiful song, only for everyone around who hears the song to fall asleep. Jigglypuff then draws all over those same people with a marker, humiliating them for failing to stay awake during her beautiful aria. In Smash Brothers, Jigglypuff does not attack its opponents with a marker. This is an oversight that will be your undoing.

Second Row

Peach – I’m sure there’s a joke here about how Peach really loves Bowser and not Mario, but I make it several other times in this post, so we’re not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to mention the fact that Peach uses Toad as a meat shield to protect her from attacks. How can you do that to Toad?

Daisy – You have a character named Daisy and she doesn’t come with a Lip’s Stick built in as part of her starting appearance. It’s a missed opportunity. While her black attire might be the single best alternate attire in the game4While Lucina’s Cordelia art, purple Charizard, and dalmatian Duck Hunt have valid arguments, I think they all fall slightly behind., you are still playing as an echo fighter. And who really wants to main an echo fighter? Just play the main fighter they’re based on5Also, as was pointed out to me after publishing this post, Daisy’s voice is bad. Nails on a chalkboard bad..

Bowser – Peach has been running away with Bowser for decades now. Yet, despite being a massive dragon with some massive coffers to build giant castles and employ an entire workforce of guards, he can’t keep a plumber away from the woman he loves. Bowser is the worst protector in the history of protectors. Do you really want to be associated with this loser?

Ice Climbers – When your team is completely useless because half of it falls off stage, you probably weren’t worth bringing back just for the sake of everyone being here.

Sheik –  Ah yes. Sheik. That’s a real fucking hero6Shout out to Kilian.7I would like to take a moment to point out that Sheik’s new final smash for SSBU is AMAZING.. Why aren’t all the Legend of Zelda games based around Sheik? The problem with being a Sheik main in Smash isn’t that Sheik is a bad character — far from it actually. Sheik’s only problem is that she has a move called Bouncing Fish. How can you take someone seriously when one of their most threatening attacks is named after what happens when marine wildlife is taken out of its habitat?

Zelda – That’s not Zelda. That’s Sheik fan art.

Dr. Mario – Dr. Mario is not a licensed medical professional. Despite this, he is frequently seen dispensing medicine throughout Smash matches, While there are a ton of villains in this game, some of whom have allegedly killed people and/or are are the mayors of towns filled with animals, Dr. Mario skirts the reputation of being a bad guy because he’s still Mario. Justice should be served by not playing as Dr. Mario, as it’s the only way to keep him from giving out pills to unsuspecting children.

Pichu – Everything I said about Pikachu above applies here, only you’re playing as a weaker, more frail, though slightly faster version of it. Pichu hurts itself any time it uses electricity, which is a terrible trait to have both as an Electric Pokemon and while living in 2018. Pichu also takes passive damage from WiFi signal, stiff breezes, napping, using an item, not using an item, being near an item, and existing.

Falco – I’ve always found it odd that the Star Fox series chose to include a replacement player from the Washington Sentinels in its games. That said, good on Keanu Reeves for getting those Smash royalty checks. Plus he got to end up with Brooke Langton at the end of the fi…wait. This isn’t that Falco? Then why is he even in the game?

Marth – You’re only maining Marth because you’re a Fire Emblem purist who thinks giving the option not to have permadeath ruins the game. I bet you only play one stock, one-on-one battles in Smash too, right? No? Hypocrite.

Lucina – For being the character who is clearly the actual protagonist for their game, Lucina doesn’t manage to get her own game until more than half way in. For the first half of the game, you just know her as Marth. In Smash, she’s just a clone of Marth — and arguably the laziest clone in the game. If you main Lucina, you’re really just saying that you wish Marth was a hot girl with better customization skins who speaks English8For the record, I’m a Lucina main..

Young Link – Link, but with an overworked teenage sex drive.

Ganondorf – There are so many ways that Ganon has been made to be terrifying in the Zelda series. Yet, for his Smash Brothers character, Ganondorf is depicted as a shitty Klingon wizard cosplay hybrid. The only thing scary about him is the inevitable con-croup you’ll get from spending too much time in his presence.

Third Row

Mewtwo – Sure. Play as a genetically engineered Pokemon specifically designed to be superior to all other fighters. You’re clearly bad enough that you need the help.

Roy – While Roy may or may not be our boy, it’s clear that he’s using a sword coated in some sort of flammable material when fighting. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. You’d think Eliwood would have raised his son better than that.

Chrom – Chrom is so forgotten that he still has to be part of Robin’s final smash despite getting his own character in the game. You don’t main Chrom. No one does.

Mr. Game and Watch – The only valid reason to play Mr. Game and Watch is to get the badge where you KO a character by hitting a 9 on his Judge move. Once you’ve done that, there’s no reason to ever play him again.

Meta Knight – There was a point in the Smash Brothers series where Meta Knight was a broken, near deity level character that likely should have been banned from the game. Those days are long gone. In modern Smash, Meta Knight is fine, but trying to relive its former glory. Meta Knight mains are the cool kids in high school that still talk about their four touchdown performance in the city championship game despite the fact that their own kids are in college.

Pit – There aren’t a ton of characters in fighting games whose powers rely on another character’s powers. Pit can’t fly without Palutena’s assistance. There’s plenty of characters in SSBU that can’t fly, but it’s a critical part of who Pit is. You’re really just a Palutena main but don’t feel comfortable fighting as a girl.

Dark Pit – Pit for posers.

Zero Suit Samus – You like playing as Samus, but only when you can see her boobs. Come on, man. Grow up. Besides, if you want boobs, the internet exists.

Wario – Wario’s entire offense is based off of farting, which sounds cool until you realize that South Park made a whole game based off of this very gimmick. If you want to play as a character who farts all day, there are much better creative outlets out there for you. Go. Be free. Just like a fart.

Snake – I get that Snake is the right player to put in the game because Snake was in the game before and they were trying to bring everyone back. But why is Snake your choice when Revolver Ocelot is a thing? His name is Revolver Ocelot. Revolver. Ocelot. Snake is such a terrible name in comparison.

Ike – One of my favorite things to do is to encourage people who have never played Smash to use Ike’s up special move. With an unskilled player, it’s pretty much an instant self-destruct. With a skilled player, it’s deadly. If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re currently sitting watching your friends play Smash because you can’t harness the power of Ike’s up special.

Pokemon Trainer – This trainer isn’t Gary Motherfucking Oak.

Diddy Kong – I remember Diddy Kong Racing too. It was like Mario Kart, only not quite as good. Diddy Kong in Smash is the same way. Like a real fighter, but not as good. But hey, at least you don’t have creepy teeth like Donkey Kong.

Fourth Row

Lucas – Ness’ blonde best friend features all the same flaws as Ness does, but you don’t have a baseball bat. Lucas’ recruitment level in SSBU is annoying as hell if you’re going into it blind, but those items aren’t why Lucas sucks. Lucas sucks because he’s just Ness, only crappy. The entire premise to playing Ness is to keep away from everyone in massive battles, then to pick off other fighters when you get the chance. Too bad the dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge strategy only works for so long before you die. And when you do, you don’t even get to do so while wearing a cool hat.

Sonic – God. I’ve got nothing insulting to say about Sonic. Nintendo already buried Sega so hard that the Game Gear is talked about in the same breath as the Commodore 64 and rotary phones. Playing as Sonic is like talking to your childhood imaginary friend as an adult. It’s sweet, but kind of sad.

King Dedede – The best thing King Dedede has ever done is dressing up as King K. Rool in said character’s reveal trailer. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen. That said, you’ve chosen to main as a Victoria’s Secret model which, while an interesting choice, is not a particularly good choice when considering how few lingerie models go on to be fighting tournament champions.

Olimar – I love watching my wife play the Pikmin games. It’s an oddly calming game to watch, particularly when my wife’s normal fare is X-rank Clam Blitz in Splatoon 29This is the same reason why I love watching The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.. That said, the lack of the black Pikmin as part of Olimar/Alph’s Pikmin Pluck is disappointing. You can’t blow other fighters up with Pikmin. At that point, why even have Olimar in the game?

Lucario – When you think Fighting Pokemon, what do you think of? If you were around the game in Gen I, it’s likely the Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee duo. If you’re a fan of Pokemon Go, Machamp and Hariyama likely come to mind. If you’ve played some of the middle generation games, Heracross, Blaziken, or Gallade might be your first thought. But the only reason anyone thinks of Lucario is because of the Smash series. While Lucario’s aura ability is pretty neat, to say this Pokemon is iconic would be a gross overstatement. You’re playing as a forgettable fighter whose signature move is a knockoff of Mewtwo’s Shadow Ball. Just play as Mewtwo. It’s better to be feared than forgotten.

R.O.B. – R.O.B. is the real Mad Dawg.

Toon Link – I mean, yes, it’s cool we got representation from Wind Waker, which is the single best Zelda game ever created. But why couldn’t it be Salvatore? Toon Link’s existence means there’s more versions of Link in Smash than Mario…and Mario is the face of Nintendo. Sure, Toon Link is the only acceptable version of Link to play as, but are you really sure you want to say you’re playing as a character who deserves to be represented more often than Mario?

Wolf – At least you’re not Slippy?

Villager – The eyes are dead on the outside, but the soul is even emptier on the inside. But it isn’t because the Villager is a heartless killer like has been stated since it’s inclusion in Smash. It’s because the Villager is actually a hostage of Isabelle and the other townsfolk in the Animal Crossing games. Don’t believe me? Why else would you constantly have to take out loans in order to make your home better — even when you’re happy with the home as it is? You’re not fighting to win Smash. You’re fighting for your life. Best of luck with that weight on your shoulders.

Mega Man – Mega Man is finnnnnneeeee, I guess. Sure, Mega Man’s final smash inspired a lot of later final smashes done in the same vein. And yes, Capcom has to make money somehow. But when given the option to play a game with Mega Man or listen to an epic album that tells the story of Mega Man, why would you play the game? Go listen to The State vs. Thomas Light and have yourself a good cry.

Wii Fit Trainer – Wii Fit Trainer is a flawless character that cannot be criticized by anyone.

Rosalina and Luma – On the plus side, Nintendo figured out how to make the Ice Climbers correctly. If you’re going to make one of the characters of a duo useless, go all the way. The downside here is that so few people played Super Mario Galaxy that most people don’t realize that of the two characters Rosalina is actually the useless character, not Luma. Smash created them backwards. No one should main this duo out of principle until this injustice is fixed.

Little Mac – Little Mac’s recovery is so bad that Nintendo had to give him what amounts to a second final smash (in the form of his KO punch) just to make him balanced. I can jump higher than Little Mac. True, now that the Belmonts are in the game Little Mac isn’t the easiest person to dunk on in the game. But he is the one Nintendo gave players the most handicaps to help.

Fifth Row

Greninja – Greninja’s whole gimmick in its Pokemon games is that it changes typing based off of the move it’s using, thereby always giving it a super effective move. SSBU Greninja doesn’t do this.

Palutena – I appreciate the various buffs Palutena got in SSBU, particularly combining her Counter with her Reflect moves. And yes, her up smash is one of my favorite moves in the entire game. But…you could have had Viridi. She’s clearly the funnier character in all of the Palutena’s guidance cut scenes. She even gives Pit flight instead of Palutena in Kid Icarus: Uprising. And don’t give me that she looks too much like a child to be in the game — Villager, Young Link, Toon Link, and Mega Man exist. Palutena is in the game solely because she has Family Guy legs. And she can’t even kick with them.

Pac-Man – Congratulations. You’re playing as a circle with eyes. You are a sand dollar.

Robin – It’s not often than the fourth most plot important character in their own game10Chrom, Lucina, and Emmeryn, in that order, are before Robin. gets a spot on the Smash Brothers roster, but usually when it happens, their name is Luigi.

Shulk – Did anyone actually know who Shulk was before Smash 411My brother-in-law did and was incredibly excited for Shulk to end up in Smash. I contend that he didn’t actually know anything about Shulk’s games and just acted excited, much like I did when I got Cordelia as a modded leader in Civilization V despite never having played Fire Emblem: Awakening at the time.? SSBU fixed the most glaring problem with using Shulk in Smash 4, giving you quick access to change his arts on the fly. That said, Shulk mains still fall prey to the overprediction that they did in the game’s previous iteration, meaning you’re better off working as a college football analyst for ESPN than trying to predict what your art is best to counter your opponent.

Bowser Jr. – I didn’t realize the kids from The Waltons got their own Smash fighters12The target audience for this joke — one that plays Smash regularly and was subjected to the torture that was The Waltons — is approximately six people worldwide..

Duck Hunt – *Sarah McLachlan’s Angel plays* This entry has been removed at the request of Sarah McLachlan and the ASPCA who wants you to cry while looking at sad animals on television instead of playing video games.

Ryu – I have a family member who grew up in the 1990s as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, Ohio State, and the New York Yankees. He refused to play as anyone else but Ryu in Street Fighter II Turbo and would scream at anyone who tried to use Ryu against him. Don’t be a Ryu main. No one likes Ryu mains.

Ken – I was so excited to get a second character from Street Fighter. That said, instead of getting the character we clearly deserved, we got Owen Wilson throwing fireballs. Wow.

Cloud – As someone who didn’t play the Final Fantasy series prior to Smash 4 coming out, I didn’t get the appeal to Cloud. Now that I’ve played FFVII, I can definitively say that people only play as Cloud because he has a big fucking sword. It’s like driving a Hummer.

Corrin – You’d think a character that’s part hero, part dragon, part prince/princess would not suck, but Corrin’s only in the game because Camilla’s inclusion would have caused Smash Brothers to get a mature rating.


Inkling – Splatoon and Splatoon 2 are amazing games created by Nintendo that provided a fresh faced intellectual property to its portfolio. By adding the Inkling to Smash, it’s proof that Nintedo intends to slowly milk the franchise for all it’s worth before discarding it like the Goldeneye franchise. They’ve already chosen to relive the past by picking the Killer Wail13One of the original Splatoon’s special moves…and arguably the least effective, though most recognizable one. as Inkling’s final smash instead of one of the Splatoon 2 specials14I personally would have loved to see the Inkjet or Tenta Missiles.. Don’t you see what Nintendo is doing? #SaveInkling

Sixth Row

Ridley – Ridley was better as an assist trophy and a stage hazard. There. I said it. You’re only playing as Ridley because you think dragons look cool. While this is a true statement, Ridley is terribly designed and not particularly scary. This slot could have gone to Big Bird and it would have been an improvement. It’s not that Ridley was too big to put into Smash, it’s that Ridley is so much more fun to beat than to play as. If you’re a Ridley main, I will target you first just to get you off my screen15Seriously though. We couldn’t get Waluigi, Decidueye, Toad, Phoenix Wright, or even the walking cheat code that was Oddjob, yet we get Ridley?.

Simon – Little Mac jumps higher than you. Castlevania is one of the few games represented in Smash that I’ve never played, so I don’t have much negative to say about the Belmonts other than they’re obnoxiously hard to save if they fall off the edge. I’ve got to say something though so…uh…you’re like a shitty version of Shaft if Shaft wasn’t cool?

Richter – How does it feel to be an echo fighter of an anvil?

King K. Rool – I bet you thought Tick Tock Croc was the good guy in Peter Pan.

Isabelle – Isabelle is a Smash fighter that no one knew they needed and even fewer asked for. Yet, here we are. She does have a cool mechanic on her throws where she can reel you in with her fishing rod before throwing you back from where you came. That’s an amazing mechanic in Bill Dance Bass Fishing, though less so in Smash. If you want someone who can win you a few matches, consider picking someone who is genre savvy.

Incineroar – Incineroar is a pro wrestling-based character, which is a much needed addition to the Smash Brothers roster. That said, if Nintendo wanted a cartoonish wrestling character that’s overpowered, capable of massive comebacks, and appeals to children, we could have had John Cena in Smash. That’s right. Instead of John Cena, we got Incineroar.

Mii Brawler – It’s a Mii character.

Mii Swordfighter – It’s a Mii character.

Mii Gunner – It’s a Mii character.

Mid-Month Short Story Challenge: An Update

I’ve been doing the Mid-Month Short Story Challenge since July of 2017. In that time, I’ve posted 16 prompts covering a decently wide range of genres, story styles, and other gimmicks to try to challenge both myself and others who were participating in the challenge to create unique stories. During that time, I’ve enjoyed developing my own writing skills based on prompts that were often created in collaboration with other people.

I put the Mid-Month Short Story Challenge on hiatus in December because I didn’t expect to have time to write a new short story around Christmas, nor did I expect anyone else to do so. That said, as I was creating my writing goals for 2019, I came to a realization. While the MMSSC has been a great way to build my own skills as a writer, it has not taken off in the same way I had hoped it would. Through 16 editions of the prompts, there have been a total of 4 stories other than mine written from those prompts. Total, that is, not per prompt. And while I do enjoy the challenge myself, I don’t feel the need to produce new MMSSC prompts if no one is writing for them aside from me. I already have a work in progress I procrastinate on a ton.

While I may bring back the MMSSC in the future, it likely won’t be soon. If you are interested in writing a short story based on one of the old prompts, that’s awesome! I’ve linked the prompts below, along with a very short description of each.

As for my favorite stories that I’ve written as part of this challenge, I’m quite partial to the weirdness that was Earth: A Study of Simulated Planet Behavior from prompt 11, as well as my first attempt at a true fantasy story with prompt 2’s response, In Training. The other notable thing that these prompts allowed me to do was to expand on abandoned projects I’d used for other things, such as The Isle Charon as well as Foxtails.

Thank you to everyone who has read the Mid-Month Short Story Challenge posts over the past year and a half or so. It’s been a lot of fun to do. I’ll make sure to give a heads up before restarting the project if I do reboot it in the future.

2019 Writing Goals

In 2018, at the suggestion of Optimistic Millennial writer Kaytie Zimmerman, I decided to create some goals for my blog in an attempt to grow my blog and, by extension, build the community around it. Last week, I talked about how those goals went throughout the year of 2018 (not to mention doing periodic checkins throughout the year), as well as trying to explore whether the results of each of those goals was a success or a failure.

I’m happy I went that route in 2018, however, I don’t think it’s the right way to go in 2019. That’s not because I succeeded in every goal, nor am I completely happy with the results I did achieve across the board. While things did go alright, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Instead, I’ve decided to diversify my goals a bit in 2019. This is in an effort to better reflect what I’m looking to achieve not just as a blogger, but as a writer and freelancer. I’ll be sticking with three goals, in 2019, only instead of three blog based goals, there’ll be one each for blogging, story writing, and freelancing.

Goal 1: Blog Growth?

Last year, I had three separate blog growth goals that I set for myself. Needless to say with how things went, I have zero clue how to set goals for myself for blog growth. Since I clearly have no clue what I should scale my goals to, let’s go with the one that’s at least the easiest for me to measure: raw traffic.

This year, I’d like to average one view per hour for every day of the year. That’s 8,760 views for the year, which would represent a massive amount of growth from 2018 to 2019. Then again, that’s what I thought by setting a goal for 3,000 views for 2018 when coming off of 2,369 in 2017. I was wrong. I was over 3,000 views in September and 4,000 views in November. If the first four months of the year would have had better traffic, 5,000 would have been a realistic possibility. While I’m not expecting months upon months of traffic like November 201816688 views, my single best traffic month ever on this blog, and my best traffic month on any blog since 2013., I think breaking the 8,000 visitor barrier is an attainable goal, even if it might be a bit of a reach.

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

Let’s just say it’s, um, been a while since I’ve given you all an update on my work in progress. There’s several reasons for that, some of which are understandable, others of which are not17All of which I will not be mentioning on this blog, for now.. That said, I’m planning to do another update on the project within the first six weeks or so of 2019.

That all said, I know for sure that once I get the initial draft finished, there will be some massive rewriting that needs done to make it presentable for beta readers. My alpha reader’s feedback, plus some of my own changes to the direction of where I want the story to focus, has proven that needs to be the case. As a result, once I finish the first draft, I’ll be re-writing my story (particularly the first 3-5 chapters) heavily.

In an ideal situation, both of these drafts will be completed by the end of July. I’m not going to set an official goal deadline for completing the first draft (mostly because January is particularly insane for me), however I feel like as long as that draft is done by mid-April, I should be in good shape to get my July goal for draft number two.

Goal 3: Take on Four New Freelance Projects This Year

2018 was an up-and-down year in terms of the freelance projects I took on. I had a large project come to me early in the year, as well as a ton of smaller projects that I took on. The problem was that the only one of those projects that I got paid for was the large project — all of the small ones came about as the result of my former company closing our office, which in turn meant resume editing work I did for free. While I did pick up a second, much smaller, project near the end of the year, the year was slower than I had hoped.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I ended up needing more of my free time than I expected on several other things that came up this year, including minor things like a redesign of my blog and launching my Patreon account. Even with that in mind, I’d like to do more this year.

I’m setting a somewhat flexible goal of taking on four new freelance projects in 2019, ideally one per quarter. I say this goal is somewhat flexible, as if I were to take on a particularly large project, I’d consider revising this down to three. That said, the project would have to be major in either complexity or the amount of time I have to dedicate to it (or both) for me to make said revision.

2018 Blog Goals – Year End Review

Welcome to 2019. How are you feeling? Excited? Confused? Hungover? Yes to all of the above?

2018 was an odd year for me, if for no other reason than I actually followed through on keeping track of my blog goals for the first time ever. As I’m thinking about it, this might be the first time ever that I’ve kept track of non-work related goals for an entire year. I know that might be a weird statement to make as a 31 year old, but here we are. I’ll be sharing my 2019 writing goals in a post coming on the first Monday of the year, however before I do that, let’s take a moment and look back on the 2018 goals.

When we last peeked in at the midway point of this year, I was only meeting one of the three goals that I had set for the year. While I was destroying the one goal I was meeting, the other two goals had continued to fall behind pace. The final quarter of 2018 was insane in real life for various reasons, so aside from my NaNoWriMo Tips series, the marketing I wanted to go into the blog never came to fruition. With that said, let’s see where I ended both Q4 of 2018 and the year as a whole.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Well. This had some ups and downs out of no where. Granted, I understand going from 5 to 6 to 7 and back down to 6 isn’t that big of a swing, but it is a volatile time considering how steady this value has been over the course of the year year and a half or so. This ended up being only 30% of my goal pace for the year. Even with that in mind, I’m not completely disappointed in how this turned out because of the way the next two goals ended the year.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Remember how in last quarter’s update post I said that 4,738 visits — exactly double my 2017 traffic — wouldn’t be a completely unrealistic number to hit? It was kind of nice to hit that number in the lead up to Christmas while talking about our charity drive. Though I didn’t quite get to the 5,000 visit barrier, this was still over 100% growth year over year, which is amazing to see. The final six months of the year were the six best months in this blog’s history, while nine of the top ten months all time also come from 2018. I’d love to see this upward trend continue into 2019, though (as you’ll see from my goals next week) I’ll be doing some refocusing on my priorities in my writing in 2019, so I won’t be trying to replicate my 100% growth next this year.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

2018 was weird when it came to my comments. Consider the following:

  • January – March: 48 comments (16 comments/month)
  • April – September: 45 comments (7.5 comments/month)
  • October – December: 57 comments (19 comments/month)

What the hell happened in the middle of the year? I understand that my comment explosion in December had a couple of factors working in its favor — those being the fact that comments for 10 days in December caused a donation to charity, as well as an 11th hour commenter who tipped me over my comment goal. That said, it was still nice to hit this with how weird (and frankly not well) the middle two quarters of 2018 went from a comment standpoint.

How did you do on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, I’d love to hear how you did, as well as your 2019 goals. Sound off in the comments.

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Ranking My 2018 Reads

It’s the end of 2018. Literally. Today is the last day of the year and I’m still cramming trying to write new content before the year ends. It’s like I’m back in high school. Except that I didn’t really cram study in high school so much as I just didn’t study. At all. Not developing study habits came back to bite me in grad school.

Wait…what was I talking about? Cramming.

So in 2018, like in 2017, I had a goal to read 12 books before the end of the year. 2018 was a borderline maniacal year for me — to the point where I’m hoping 2019 just consists of a nap for me. I miss having energy to do things. Now all my energy goes to my life, my job, or (if I’m very lucky) my writing. It’s a tiring thing. It’s why I’ve largely resorted to audiobooks over the course of this year. It’s also why I read 10 of the 12 books I read in 2018 in October or later.

I decided it made sense to do a small review post of the books I read over the course of the year. It’s been a while since I did I true book review post (if you want some of those, go check out Megan’s blog…she’s even done a full review on one of the books I read this year), and though I’m not in a position to do any of those in the near future18In terms of time spent per word written, book reviews take the most time of any post that isn’t creative fiction that I write., I did have some thoughts on the books I read. Most of them anyway. I’ve decided to rank 10 of the 12 books I read this year.

In addition to the books below, I also read “Candy Apple Butterscotch” by Rebecca MacCeile and “2666” by Roberto Bolano. I’ve chosen not to make these books part of this list. In the case of the former, I was involved heavily in the formatting process, so I don’t feel I could review it objectively in comparison to other books I read. In the case of the latter, the book was unlike anything I’ve read…to the point where I’m still not sure how I feel about it after the fact. I may come back and add it in as an edit to the post in the future, but as of writing this at the end of December 2018, it will not be mentioned.

10. The Red Inn by Honore de Balzac

The first book I read of 2018 was also the worst by a decent margin19It was a MUCH larger margin until I read the #9 entry on this list.. For a book that’s considered to be a classic novel, it was just boring. The Red Inn made The Iliad readable. It made Moby Dick seem entertaining. It was that bad. On the plus side, it was short, taking me only three days to read in spite of it putting me to sleep every night. I cannot recommend it enough if you have insomnia.

9. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

I’m generally a pretty big fan of books written by comedians, however this is one of the rare exceptions to that rule. You can always tell when someone is trying too hard to be funny, as it sounds forced and painful more than it does actually funny. Eighty percent of Dad is Fat falls into the forced and painful realm. There are a couple of entertaining moments in the book, but they’re few and far between. Having this as an audiobook made it better, as at least Gaffigan’s delivery was really good. That said, it’s one of the few books this year I actively had to put down out of frustration of reading it.

8. Hurricane Season: What Katrina Taught America by Susan Zakin

Not going to lie. I completely forgot I had read this book until near the end of the year. Huh. That’s not a good thing for a book. It was…unremarkable? Which is still better than the two entries below it on this list. But here it sits.

7. Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart by Lisa Rogak

I had extremely high expectations of this book and came away completely disappointed. As someone who is a huge fan of Jon Stewart, I was hoping to come away learning something new about a man who I had idolized through much of my young adult life. That said, the book came across more like a long Wikipedia article than it did a narrative story or biography. The audiobook featured the worst narrator of an audiobook I came across this year, but even when ignoring that fact, the book was still not great. There was so much potential here, but nearly no execution that couldn’t be done as part of a research writing class.

6. Earth (The Book) by Jon Stewart

I’ve always wanted to read this book, in spite of the fact that people have given me mixed reviews. It’s a gimmicky book — written as a letter of sorts to the alien race that inevitably finds the remains of crumbled society — and fills that niche about how you would expect it would. It was funny at times, though not to the point where I found myself in constant laughter or in deep thought like I often was with The Daily Show itself when Stewart was at the helm. It’s worth the read if you like the premise of the gimmick behind the book, but not a required read if you don’t.

5. Monkey: A Journey to the West translated by David Kheridan

I completely blame Overly Sarcastic Productions for me wanting to read this book. After all, this is a thing.

The book itself was a great morning read during the time off I had from work early in the year and does tell an interesting story. As OSP shows, Journey to the West is a folktale that provided tropes that we see constantly in modern literature. If you have a child of a certain age20I’m thinking in the 8-10 range…I don’t know how old kids are when they stop getting bedtime stories read to them. I don’t remember ever getting one. And now I’ve made myself sad., it’s a great bedtime story to span over a few months.

4. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

We come to the point of the list where I started actively being invested in the books that I read. The Black Prism is a very good story with an amazing magic system. That much is for certain. It’s also a fantasy novel wrapped up in all of the trappings of the typical fantasy novel, including cringeworthy gore and murder, as well as an unshakeable male gaze that makes most women in the story objects or plot devices first and characters second. There are two exceptions to the previous statement in Karis and Liv, however even they can’t avoid occasionally being nothing more than objects of desire21At least in the case of Karis, it’s somewhat justified, as two men feuding over their love for her was debatably the spark that caused an entire war. That said, she’s also a badass bodyguard who STILL has pages devoted to how she looks when dressed up by a creepy kidnapper.. There’s three more books in this series, and I’m torn on whether or not I want to read them at this point. The main story is great. The flaws are enough that I don’t know that I care about continuing reading the series.

3. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

This was surprisingly good — though not for the reasons I expected when I started reading it. Anna Kendrick often come off as this super-relatable, funny celebrity. Scrappy Little Nobody showed that the funny is definitely still true, though I’m less sure now that I’d use relatable to describe her. That said, she tells a damn good story, which was something I didn’t know she was as good at as she clearly is. This was another one of my audiobook reads for the year, and of all of the narrators I listened to in 2018, she was by far the most engaging. Which is nothing to scoff at since Wil Fucking Wheaton is her competition.

2. What If? by Randall Munroe

Speaking of Wheaton, he was the narrator for XKCD creator Randall Munroe’s deep dive into the batshit craziest questions about science you could ever imagine. As someone who adores science and math, this was a joy to listen to, causing me to stay up far later than I had meant to more than once. Munroe’s explorations into the weird space questions he would receive were the most entertaining responses in the book, however the entire book was engaging.

1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

The single best book I’ve read since high school…possibly ever22My ten favorite books list from 2015 needs updated at this point.

I’m not exaggerating. Go read this book. It was that good. I read this entire book in one day, then re-read it again over the course of about a week. I was swept away by the book itself, losing myself in the beauty of its story (something that has only happened one other time in recent memory). There are several relatable, compelling characters in the book. Its messages about fame and the social internet are inescapable truths. Even if the dialogue feels strange at times23Though that’s admittedly because I am not a female young adult, I think., the brilliance of the story makes any concerns forgivable.