The Gym For 30 Days

I finally went out and got a new gym membership yesterday. I had a gym membership at this great gym in Downtown Louisville, but it’s still closed due to the pandemic. My membership was only for a short time before the shutdown in March and I’d barely figured out any sort of routine before. I maybe went a total of four times so I still don’t know that much about the gym. Now that I have a new membership, I’m going to go to the gym every day for 30 days.

I tried Krav Maga a few weeks back, but it doesn’t seem like something I’d be too interested in continuing if I had other options, like a gym. This downtown gym isn’t charging me anymore until they reopen, though I still have the membership. They have not indicated when they’re going to reopen. I have a sneaky suspicion that they won’t reopen. I know the coronavirus is a real thing and I’m not criticizing them. If they can’t open safely, they shouldn’t.

Anyway, I need a new gym. Yesterday I did some googling and found another gym that has 24/7 access and is within walking distance, sorta. It’s a 20 minute walk according to Google, maybe a 10 minute bike ride. So now, for whatever reason, I’m ready to try the gym for real.

Why I’m Going To The Gym For 30 Days Straight

Is starting my gym experience out by going to the gym every day for 30 days extreme? Probably. However, it’s the only way I know of to get myself into the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis. 30 days is a good habit-forming period of time for me. I got a month-to-month membership so that if my preferred gym does reopen, I can go back to it, maybe. Who knows, I might like this gym more. It’s not as big, but it’s accessible 24/7. My previous gym wasn’t. With all the stuff I’m doing, having a gym that is 24/7 seems like a great idea to me.

There is the issue of me not knowing much about the gym at all, even though I had a gym membership for a few months before everything shutdown because of the coronavirus. I can’t bring a guest to the gym with me, so I’ll have to either go it alone, or make a friend, or hire a personal trainer. For 30 days, I’m going to try going it alone to see what I can accomplish.

My Gym Fears

I do have a few fears. Well, it’s a lot of fears, but they mostly stem from two categories. The first set of fears are based on me being gay and being in the gym. The gym is in The Highlands in Louisville, which is a very gay-friendly area of Louisville. However, I still worry about homophobia in the gym. What if it’s the one business in the area that is super homophobic or something? Then there’s the shower room fears. Different from straight guy shower room fears only in the sense that, once or twice, something might actually pop up awkwardly. There may be a distracting cute guy every so often. I don’t plan to use the gym for dating or anything, and would never act on anything. At least not at the gym.

Then, there are the high-school-like fears. Friend-clicks, acceptance, the possibility of making a friend or two, or the possibility of no one liking me at all. All of that stuff. None of it is the end of the world or anything. But, I’m human and those fears are there. Another big one is the fear that maybe the gym just won’t work for me at all. Like, what if, you know, it just doesn’t work? My body doesn’t change? I don’t get any healthier? Stupid fear, but it’s there.

How Will I Measure My Progress?

I suppose it would make a lot of sense to take a photo of my body so that I can look back on it. Of course, I’m not going to show that on here. Subjective physical attractiveness isn’t the ultimate way to track gym progress, but maybe it’s a place to start.

I suppose I’m not the worst looking guy I’ve ever met or anything. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. My belly is a little bigger that it should be. I don’t have abs. My arms are small. My chest is, um, not right. I don’t think it’s realistic to tackle everything all at once, so I’m starting small. For now, I’ll settle for a bigger chest and arms. Chest mostly, for now. I’d like it to be more proportional to my gut. Again, I don’t have abs, but if I can make my chest a little bigger, I’ll feel better about my belly.

So, for 30 days, I’m going to focus on building a habit of going to the gym. My target area is my chest, though I know I need to do other things besides chest stuff. I’d also like to do some cardio to help lose a little weight, but I’m not stressing about that right now. Honestly, if I actually make the trip to the gym every day for 30 days, I’ll put it in the win column.

Let Me Know If You Have Any Gym Tips

Hopefully, after 30 days, I’ll keep going frequently. 30 days worked well for my blog. I blogged for 30 days and I’m still blogging every day. While I may stop blogging on the weekends at some point, 30 days helped me form a habit that I’m super into now.

I’ll tweet some about the gym and probably blog about it, too. Comment below and let me know if you have any gym tips for newbies.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard 30 Days Gym
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I Was Busy But I Still Took Selfies

For whatever reason, this week was insanely busy for me. I don’t even really know why looking back at it. It’s just that I feel drained. I mean I guess I got further in my reading of The Goldfinch, I am almost done with editing the paperback of my fiction collection Crushes, and I read through some submissions over at the lit mag. Also, grad school stuff. Okay, I guess I was kind of busy. I still managed to get my lunchtime latte selfies this week, though. I think I started recapping my Twitter stuff on weekends here on my blog, right?

My Selfies On My Twitter This Week

Of course, I took my selfies every day. Here they are. Gosh, why no one has married me yet is beyond me. (<– Sarcasm!)

Other Things From My Twitter This Week

You know, when you tweet a lot, Twitter becomes sort of a good mini diary to look back on and figure out what happened to you. Sure, it’s mostly mundane stuff, but that’s life I suppose.

I got these business cards so that when people see me walking around with my book proofs or my manuscripts or my Canon Rebel SL3 and ask me what my deal is, I can hand them a card and say, “Don’t worry, I’m just creative.”

This was a spontaneous tweet during my reading of The Goldfinch. The narrator is not the author, of course, but the narrator definitely has his share of sexuality issues.

It’s probably boring, but I’m very excited about it. Boxes and boxes of books and old manuscripts have me ALL hoarded out. I’ve needed a storage unit for a while. Maybe now I can make my room more interesting and get my YouTube channel going with a nice modern I’ve-got-myself-together look.

And, you know, that’s that. It’s been a week. How was your week? Do you feel good about it? Were you lazy? It’s cool. Comment below and let me know how your week was, or what you’re doing this weekend, or whatever.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

eric shay howard selfie

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Almost Done Editing My Fiction Collection Crushes

This week, I’ve been really focused on getting my book edited for the paperback release. That’s why my blog posts have been short and simple this week. I’d say I’m sorry about it, but I’m actually not. I’m almost done with the book proofing I think. Just a little more to go, and little more waiting around with a copy to make sure I don’t notice anything else for a week or so.

Also, my strategy that I shared yesterday about getting the Audible copy of The Goldfinch has really paid off. I listened to the equivalent of around one hundred pages yesterday between my time in the office and at home, which is way more than I could’ve read. Having a fulltime job really drains the time away from reading and writing. I know this isn’t a groundbreaking realization. But, at least I can still get out on my lunch and get a nice latte every day.

Also, I was going to share some fiction on my blog that I had written, but everything I’ve written this week has been too long and not polished enough. What started out as weird semi-autobiographical-but-still-fiction has morphed into definitely-fiction. I’m still writing about those same characters, which again, is unusual for me.

This is a quick post again, but maybe not as quick a the last few. So, hopefully that’s better. I still like blogging every day, even if they’re not all the greatest things out there.

Anyway, leave me a comment below and let me know how your Friday is going.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

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I Kind Of Want A Nespresso Machine

I wanted to buy a Nespresso machine when our old coffee maker quit, but my roommate bought a new Ninja instead. Either way, we have a lot of leftover K-Cups and I’m dunno what to do with them.

What happened was, my roommate bought all these Keurig pods a while back. I don’t really use Keurig pods, but they were here and we had this coffee maker that used them. He kept buying Keurig pods for some reason. Then, a few weeks ago, I tried to put a Keurig pod into the coffee maker and it wouldn’t, um, go down into it? I told him I guess the Keurig machine broke. He was like, “Okay”, because that’s what he says most of the time when I break things.

So, yesterday, he bought this new Ninja coffee maker. Here’s what it looks like.

But, this coffee machine doesn’t have a K-Cup thingy, so we are just breaking open the K-Cups and using the single serve brewing option until we are out of these. I can’t wait to be done with them because I have some coffee beans from the local coffee shop that I really want to brew.

It took me forever to find an exact match for the Ninja on Amazon. I think it’s out of stock until November or something. I found it though. I’ll link to it below with an affiliate ad. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

Should I get a Nespresso machine instead?

I’m also really contemplating getting a Nespresso machine, because a lot of people I follow on Twitter got one, and I’m SUPER gullible. Plus I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be in a real cult. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Nespresso machines. Please comment at the bottom of the post.

Here’s the Nespresso machine I think I want. Again, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and earn money from qualifying purchases from the ad below.

I am a coffee snob. I go to coffee shops every day, and I have an espresso machine at home. For my black coffee, I use a French press. One day, I will get a REAL espresso machine, but for now I just have this one below. And, again, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Things that I can drink a lot of coffee while doing. What are you doing this weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Me getting my latte yesterday on my lunch break.
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How My Blog Works

The other day, I wrote a blog post about how my routine got interrupted and it made me question my blog posting schedule. I’ve been thinking about how my blog works. I’ve also been trying to figure out how it WILL work. I’m afraid to specify too detailed of a specific blog schedule. I’m always trying new things and tinkering with this and that. One day I’m complaining about my Grindr profile and the next day I’m mister literary give-me-a-break. However, I have ALMOST successfully written on my blog every day for 30 days in a row. I’ve decided that blogging every day is good for me. It keeps me writing and it gives me something to do. So, I will be posting every day, unless, you know, a hole to hell opens nearby or something. And even then, I dunno, I might have something to say.

How will my blog work in the future?

The question remains: what IS my blog about? What type of content should I really focus on? Me, of course, but, I should be a little more specific, right? Or maybe not? Let’s see.

I’m probably going to post some of my short stories and creative writing a little every week, because I’ve loved doing that! But, I think I’ve also bombarded you all with my short stories a little too back-to-back, so maybe I’ll take them down to one or two a week.

I suppose at least one day a week will end up being a life update post of some sort. I can share what’s been going on with my books, with my writing, with my dating life, with my friends, or whatever.

That leaves four more days to figure out. Hmmm. I mean, maybe I can come up with four interesting blog posts about SOMETHING every week? That doesn’t sound too hard. It probably is though. I’m sure I’ll have problems sometimes: bad dates, life frustrations, et cetera.

I’ll continue figuring it out as I go along, I suppose. Again, this needs to continue being a little loosey-goosey, or it will probably implode into itself.

How will my short story posts work?

I do kinda have this part figured out. When I post new short fiction or creative writing on my blog, they are usually early drafts. They’re stories that I’ve decided to not submit to literary journals and just keep here on my blog. Most literary journals require that submissions be previously unpublished, which means they also can’t be on a blog somewhere.

I don’t have a detailed or serious process for deciding which stories to post on my blog or save to submit to literary journals. It’s usually as simple as “I’m familiar with some literary journals that this MIGHT fit into and I’m going to save it to submit to them.” If I don’t feel that way, I’ll post it. I know, groundbreaking.

I should note that, as of the date of this post, I’ve not had any pieces actually accepted anywhere. But, I still hold onto the pieces and keep submitting them for a while. If I’ve collected enough stories that haven’t been posted on my blog that keep getting rejected from journals, I will just self-publish them in a book after a year or two. (Or three. Again, very loosey-goosey.)

As for the stories that I post on my blog, again, they are usually first or second drafts. I usually edit them over time, and probably rewrite them a few times down the road. Eventually, maybe some of the stories included in my daily blog will get polished enough to graduate up into my “Free Stories” section of my blog. It definitely won’t be all the stories. It probably won’t even be three a year. I’m just guessing.

As for the speed in which it takes me to get things “polished”, which in my opinion means “done enough”, It took me three years to write and rewrite and polish the nine short stories that make up my first fiction collection, Crushes.

I think this is a good plan.

For the most part, this a good, doable, loosey-goosey enough plan for me. What do you all think? Are you into it? The goal of this blog is to mainly keep me writing. I don’t want to make too many self-imposed rules or anything. Maybe something cool will come out it one day. I’m sure there will be kinks to work out, bumps in the road, and blah-blah-blah. I suppose there’s also the fact that I’m paying money to have this domain name and web hosting, so I might as well put stuff on here.

To recap, I’ll post a few short stories, life updates, and random stuff every week. Eventually I might stop posting on the weekends? If it gets to be too much, I suppose. Or I could just post selfies on the weekends. Works for me. Hey, a blog post is a blog post.

Let me know what you think about this “plan” in the comments. I’m all for post ideas, too.

You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard in sun flare
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On Football Video Games

I never played physical football. The only thing I know about football is that they wear tight clothes. I did pretend to like football once with a high school crush.

On Football Video Games

I walked down the steps, through the den, and into Jack’s bedroom behind him. He offered me a corner to put my backpack.

“So, this is it,” Jack said. His bed was on the left side of the room. There were folded clothes next to his pillows. Above his bed had an Evanescence and a Lacuna Coil poster. Rob Zombie was behind the television on his dresser. There was a blue bean bag chair at the foot of his bed. His brother’s bed was bigger and on the right side of the room. His brother’s dresser was against the opposite wall, and he had a larger television.

Jack took off his shirt and sprayed some cologne. “You want anything to drink?” There was a small refrigerator just outside his room. It held an assortment of cheap department store branded sodas. Red cream and strawberry flavors dominated the few cans of grape. There was one diet Coke.

“I’m okay for now,” I said. Jack took a red cream soda and chugged it. His elbow extended and his chest stretched. There was hair under his arms, but no hair on his chest. “You can get comfortable,” he said. He changed into a pair of athletic shorts. His legs were skinny and were as tan as his chest. I brought a pair of sweatpants in my backpack, but I left my jeans and thin black sweater on. I took off my shoes.

He laid out some video games over the blue and white quilt on his bed. He switched on the PlayStation 2 as I checked out his collection. The title screen of Madden 2002 loaded. Footsteps walked across the floor above us. He closed his bedroom door.

“Do you play Madden?” He asked.

“I have before,” I said. It was a lie. He handed me a controller. He sat on the edge of his bed with his legs spread apart. I pulled the bean bag chair away from his bed a ways and sat down in it. I picked the 49ers. He was the Broncos. Plays were presented along the bottom of the screen. I mostly lost yards and failed at blocking Jack. When I meant to sprint, I passed. I preferred playing defense, that way I could look up and over my shoulder more. I scored a touchdown accidentally once. He got down off his bed and grappled me at my shoulders.

“You’re getting it!” He said. I blushed when he touched me. I realized this, so I laughed.

We played Madden all evening until we got tired. The only thing I learned about football that night was that they wore tight clothes.

“You can sleep in my brother’s bed if you want. He won’t be here. Or the couch out in the den. Wherever you want,” Jack said. He went upstairs to the bathroom. His brother’s bed had Guns and Roses and Black Sabbath posters, and their records hung above it. They were all symmetrically separated. The records were placed like bricks in masonry work. When Jack returned, I walked all the way up the stairs to the bathroom to change into my sweatpants. When I got back to his brother’s bed, I took off my sweater. I slept in my white shirt. I knew I was gay.

I’ve been blogging about my childhood and high school a lot lately. I wrote this post about the first time I cooked mac and cheese. I wrote this post about one of the times I came out as gay to a friend.

Have you ever pretended to like something because of a crush?

I don’t think I’ve played a football video game since then. Someone will have to actually teach me how football works one day. Have you ever pretended to like something for a crush?

Comment below! You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Also, the edits for the paperback of my book, Crushes, are coming along. I promise it’ll be out and available for purchase soon. It’s a short fiction collection.

Selfie me of with my fiction collection Crushes, and coffee.
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My Writing Routine

So this week I wrote some slightly-more-creative blog posts and it was a lot of fun. I started a new little writing routine by writing a few little stories every night before bed, sort of based on my childhood. They’re not 100% honest; I change names, try to ramp up the tension a little, and write until I feel like I’ve completed some moment. They’re fictionized enough to where the real people from my life reading them can’t really say “that was me!” or “you’re an asshole for writing about this!” Maybe some of them aren’t quite fictional enough, maybe some of them are too much. I’m not sure. I’m not worried about that probably as much as I should be.

Each morning I’ve been taking one of the little fictionized autobiographical stories from the night before and posting them on my blog. There are sometimes a bunch of typos early in the morning. I try to fix them as the morning progresses. If I worried about typos before publishing a blog post I wouldn’t post for a year, probably. Here are my thoughts on creative writing and typos, if you find that sort of thing interesting.

My writing routine got interrupted.

Lat night, I ruined the momentum I had going with my writing routine by staying up too late helping my roommate install a 65-inch television set he impulsively bought from Costco. I guess that’s going to happen sometimes: roommates will buy TVs. So, today, I’m trying to not let my routine completely fizzle out. I’m really good about things when I can establish a routine. However, I’m really bad about giving up on them forever when too many life interruptions happen. My goal is to not let that happen with this, because I really liked writing these stories every night.

I’ve been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s one of those books that just about every writing teacher mentions at some point. I’ve never really read it before. I bought a physical copy of it a few years ago and never opened it. I had some Audible credits and got it, and I’ve been listening to it. I’ll put an ad so you can buy the book from Amazon below if you want. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn money from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

I’ve also successfully blogged every day for about 20 days or so. I’d like to make it all the way to 30 days, then eventually every day for three months, six months, a year. For my own sanity, and for when days like yesterday happen when roommates impulsively buy new TVs, I’m going to have to pick a day or a few days where my blog posts are in more of a “life update” style. I don’t think it would be very realistic for me to try to write a creative, fictionized, autobiographical “piece” every night. I mean I can try? But, maybe on the weekends I’ll just talk to you all like this, because this is kind of fun, too.

Eric Shay Howard selfie with coffee
Here is a selfie of me with my coffee in Downtown Louisville yesterday, because I also have a coffee routine.

Comment below! What is your creative craft, and what is your routine for it? Do you have a writing routine? How do you deal with interruptions and starting up again after them? Do you think breaks are helpful? I worry sometimes that if I take too long of a break, like I did last year, I’ll go way too long without writing. If you’re not very creative, let me know what you’re up to anyway.

You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

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