Thirteen Years

(Author’s Note: I received the email from Twitch inviting me into the Affiliate Program three days ago as of this posting, on Nov. 13th, 2017, and I have been wavering on the verge of tears ever since. I wrote the following blog post at 3AM the next morning, and while it will hopefully explain 90% of the reason why, there remains a critical 10% that did not get included. A 10% that I haven’t the heart or emotional energy required to go back and edit in. As such, I will lay it out plainly here.

As a child, a powerfully influential person in my life taught me to believe that I would never achieve my dreams. That the odds were stacked impossibly high against me, and that I was too weak/stupid/whatever to overcome them. This was a belief that became rooted in the very core of who I was, and whose poisonous tentacles wrapped themselves around every single neuron in my brain; infecting my thoughts and twisting my emotions.

I say in the post below that I don’t know why I’ve kept fighting so hard for so long, but that is no longer true. I now know exactly why I’ve done so. I have fought so hard for so long because I simply could not live in a world where this person was right about me. In every sense of the word, I needed to prove them wrong. Not for them, and not for anyone else in my life. I needed to prove them wrong for me, and thanks to all of the love and support each and every one of you have shown, for the first time in my life, I finally feel like I have.

Thank you.)

Thirteen years. A decade plus three.

That’s how long I’ve been trying to make even some semblance of a career out of my passions. That’s how long I’ve been pouring everything I’ve ever had into making that dream a reality. Sometimes I would be sprinting forward with reckless abandon, leaping into the sky and flying high on wings of purest hope and joy. But other times, most times, I would be crawling broken and bloody through the mud; snarling and grimacing as the demons that had followed me out of my own, personal Hell clawed at my heart and stabbed pitchforks into my mind. They whispered of doubt and death and failure, and on more than one occasion, they came very close to dragging me back down into the abyssal pits of darkness and despair I’d fought so hard to climb out of.

For thirteen years, I have fought those battles.

For thirteen years, I have waged this war.

And for thirteen years, I have refused to give up.

To this day, I don’t know whether it’s been stubbornness or insanity that’s kept me going. Most of the time it feels like it’s been at least a little bit of both. After all, what possible logic or sanity could there be in persisting for so long in a conflict without a single, demonstrable victory? What rhyme or reason could there be in continuing to fight with nothing but heartbreaking defeats and soul-crushing stalemates to your name?

I don’t know.

But I kept fighting anyway.

I kept fighting because at the end of the day, of every day, it felt like the only thing that I was actually good at. Writing was my weapon. My words became my swords and my shields, and even with every battle lost, I could still feel myself getting better, faster, and stronger.

‘The next one,’ I told myself. ‘The next one will be the battle that I finally win!’

And so it was that I would pick myself up off the dirt, no matter how badly I’d been beaten down into it, and charge headfirst back into the fight.

For thirteen years, this pattern played out.

Fight, Lose, Get up.

Fight, Lose, Get up.

Fight. Lose. Get up.






My calendars rolled through birthday after birthday; from fifteen, through sixteen, through eighteen, all the way up through the most recent one of twenty-eight.

Fight, Lose, Get up.

The drumbeat pattern of my life continued. Became a constant. Became the single point of reference I would use to judge all future successes and failures by.

Fight, Lose, Get up.

Fight, Lose, Get up.



Get the f*** back up!

To say that anger never became a factor in all this would be to lie. Anger very much became a factor. Indeed there were days where the only thing that would actually get me back on my feet was the pure, unfettered rage I would feel at the thought of my demons finally overcoming me. That thought felt worse to me than just about anything else and so I would channel this fury, use it to reforge my word-swords and fly myself back into the fight.

For thirteen years, this pattern would be the single-most defining feature of my life, the axis upon which everything else would spin.

Fight. Lose. Get back up.

It got to the point where the thought of actual victory became little more than a pipe dream; a comforting fantasy I would let myself indulge in to numb the sting of fresh defeats. The battle was all I had, all I really needed. The war had become a waltz, and all I wanted to do was just keep on dancing it.

And that’s where it finally happened.

Out of what still feels like absolutely nowhere, I won a decisive, indisputable victory.

At 1:31 PM yesterday, I was invited to join the Twitch Affiliate Program.

To be perfectly honest, it still doesn’t feel real. After thirteen years of fighting, losing, and getting back up, my mind has been conditioned to reject this as reality. My brain has been trained to believe that this just another impossible fever-dream that I will soon wake up from.

And yet… I know that it’s not.

I know that it’s not because despite how it feels, this did not come out of nowhere. This is in actuality just another impossible event in the string of impossibilities that feels like it’s been happening to me since the first day of TwitchCon. I don’t have any words for this. All I know is that for the first time in my entire life, I finally feel a sense of true victory and accomplishment.

For thirteen years I have fought, I have lost, and I have gotten back up to fight again to make even part of my dreams a reality.

And yesterday, finally, after all that time and pain and effort, I’ve won.

Even if it was just this battle and not the whole war…

For the first time in thirteen years…

I’ve won.


Returning to Writing Form

So, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, what I’m about to say is probably something you’ve already guessed at. If you’re not following me on Twitter, I doubt this will surprise you either, given how quiet this blog as been over the last two weeks. And if you’re not following me on Twitter, and this is the first you’ve ever seen of my blog, well… hi, nice to meet you. 🙂

Now, on to the meat of this post.

I’ve barely written anything since coming back from GuardianCon.

I won’t say I haven’t written a word since I came back, but over the last two weeks I’ve written maybe 400 words, and almost all of that has consisted of basic level world building for a handful of new story ideas. Almost none of it has gone towards progress on The Demon (a paranormal YA novel that is my primary writing project), and even that progress has shifted away from writing the novel itself and towards a new synopsis from the perspective of my female-lead. Which has actually been a fantastically positive experience, but now I’m getting side-tracked.

The point is this: My writing life has gotten thrown into such complete disarray that for the last week or so, I haven’t been able to tell up from down or right from left. Because of that, I’ve kinda just let it sit and flounder in favor of my Twitch streaming. That and the brand new Oculus Rift VR setup that I got on sale thanks to Amazon, but again I digress.

Here’s the thing though. Writing and being a writer is so much a part of who I am that if I don’t do it, I start to not feel right. I’ll start to feel a little hollow, a little less like myself, and a little more like a stranger sleepwalking in someone else’s body. That’s how I know I’ve gone too long without writing, and I’ll give ya two guesses as to how I felt when I woke up this morning.

However, this time my lack of writing wasn’t due to any lack of desire or time, as has been the case in the past. Rather, this time my lack of writing was due to the fact that I didn’t even know what to write. Between story ideas I’ve already plotted out and new ones that’ve only just started popping into my head, I’ve got more than a dozen books rattling around in my head and different parts of me want to work on different ones at different times. Between all that confusion and the Twitch/GuardianCon hype and excitement, I just haven’t been able to get my brain back into proper writing gear.

Fortunately, I was finally able to change all that this morning.

There were a couple of factors that contributed to this. Perhaps the most important of them was the fact that I’m no longer under any kind of external time-crunch. When I was working at my local grocery store (hereafter known as The Store), I barely had any time during the day to write. As such, I focused all my writing efforts on The Demon; the novel I thought was most likely to get picked up by an agent/publisher and therefore offer me the quickest way out of my living situation at the time. This pushed all my other writing plans and ideas onto an uncomfortably crowded back-burner. However, now that I’ve quit my job at The Store (long story), that pressure to crank The Demon out the door is no longer there, and my life now actually has room for all these other stories I want to tell.

Another big factor in this is something that I learned about myself through working at The Store: I can be shockingly productive so long as I have an actual list of the things that I need to do. Now, I know to the outside observer this may seem like a “Well duh” kind of thing, but as someone who’s struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder my entire life, this was a revelation for me. Because with the way my brain works, sticking with any one thing for extended periods of time is not only difficult, but actually makes me *less* productive overall the longer I try to stick with it. But if I have multiple tasks that I can bounce back and forth between, then I can remain consistently productive on all of them, and therefore become even more productive in the long run.

So here’s the plan going forward: I’m not going to forcibly restrict myself to working on The Demon until it’s completely done. Rather, I’m going to break that project up into smaller chunks so that I can complete my other, shorter stories in between them. Counter-intuitive though it may sound, this’ll actually allow me to get far more writing work done in far shorter a time frame, and that’s something that I truly couldn’t be happier about.

And naturally, I’ll have much more to say about all these various story projects once I actually start working on them.

Take care, everyone. 🙂


A Different Kind of Exorcism

Last Sunday, I made a choice.

Last Sunday, I made a choice that I can still hear the people in my life telling me was the wrong choice. That it was the stupid choice, the reckless and irresponsible choice, and I know that their reasons for saying so are valid.

I also know that I made the right choice for me.

Last Sunday, I put in my two weeks notice at work.

I made this choice for a variety of reasons, but I suppose the simplest way to explain those reasons is this: If it meant that I would make enough money that I could afford to move out of my mother’s house, back into an apartment of my own, and support myself going forward, I would happily sacrifice both my writing and my streaming. If it meant finally becoming truly financially independent, I would give up on my dream of making a living as TheGamingAuthor with barely a second thought.

But I wasn’t making enough money, and I found myself still having to sacrifice both my streaming and my writing for it.

As you can probably imagine, I found that trade to be… less than ideal.

So I put my notice in.

I made the choice that was right for me while it was still a choice I was able to make.

Because here’s the thing: I know who I am, I know what I want, and I know what I have to do to get what I want. And if the day ever comes where I have to put down my quills and controllers, then I have to know that I’ve already tried as hard as I can to succeed with them, and have failed anyway. Perhaps that’s an overly fatalistic view of the world to take, but it’s one that’s allowed me to drive myself as hard and as far forward as I’ve already come.

On the bright side of things, working this job for the last nine months like I have been has shown me just how far I really can push myself if and when the situation calls for it. It’s shown me just how much work I can really get done in “X” amount of time. It’s taught me how valuable time really is, and how much more efficiently I can utilize it now that I appreciate its value.

It’s given me more confidence and faith than I’ve ever had before that I really can pull this off, and make this dream of mine a reality.

And you know what? Even if I do fail and this dream I have never comes true, thanks to the last nine months of having this job, I now know that I’ll still be able to make something fun and enjoyable out of my life.

So that’s all I’ve really got for you all this week. No real progress to speak of on the writing front. Largely because I’ve spent most of this last week too stressed out to even think about it, but that’ll all change for me very soon. I’ve still got two more weeks of work to do at my job, and then following that I’ll probably take an extra week to *finally* kick back, relax, and catch up on all the other Life-related things I’ve missed out on over the last several months.

So when that all wraps up, I’ll see you all right back here again.