10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Gaining

I feel like I don’t often talk about my own personal experience with gaining on here, except for when it inspires one of my stories.  But in addition to being a weight gain writer, I am also a gainer. And there are probably a lot of gainers and aspiring gainers in my audience as well.  So being that I’ve been actively gaining for years, and been watching people gain for a lot longer, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.  Whether you’re already gaining or considering going for it, I hope this is helpful.

1. Eating to gain doesn’t have to mean eating garbage
In the gaining community, we have this image of gainers shoving down burgers and other fast food to put on weight.  And sure, that can be a cheap (and hot) way to do it. But if you want your gaining to be sustainable, you’re better off eating healthy.  Eat good foods, just eat a lot of them. Eat whole grains whenever possible. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Cut down on trans and saturated fats and eat lots of healthy mono/polyunsaturated fats.  Keep your sugar intake low. Eat lots of protein, which will help you regulate blood sugar (according to my doctor) and help you build muscle (see next point). If you don’t get a lot of protein in your diet, protein powder can help, and it’s not nearly as unpleasant to taste as its reputation suggests.  Research foods for healthy weight gain, and eat plenty of those.

2. Work out
I know, this one seems even more antithetical to gaining than #1.  Especially because we have this idea in our culture that working out is done primarily to lose weight.  But working out and gaining weight don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Mild-to-moderate cardio for 30 minutes shouldn’t burn much fat, but will keep you healthier and more mobile.  Lifting weights and building muscle will give you the strength to carry your new weight, tighten your frame if you’re into that look, and improve your overall health greatly. Either one will be good for you, so pick the one you enjoy more (or at least hate less) and do it.  If you’re going to build muscle, make sure you’re targeting your abs, back, and legs. Keeping those strong is essential to carrying your new weight.

3. Slow and steady does win the race
I’ve been in the online gaining community for over a decade, and I’ve seen a lot of gainers come and go.  What I’ve observed consistently is that the ones who gained more gradually were much more likely to be able to stick with it.  Gaining quickly can be hot in theory, but your body needs time to adjust to those changes. Without that time, the health consequences can be a lot worse.  If you want to be able to keep gaining long term, and be around long enough to enjoy your gains, be in it for the long haul.

4. Grazing > Binging
On a similar note, you’re better off snacking all day to gain, rather than trying to get a bunch of calories at once by eating a giant meal.  Especially for aspiring gainers who feel like they don’t have the stomach capacity to gain, this is key. For one, there’s only so many calories the body can absorb at once, so all those calories you stuffed yourself with might not even stick!  For another, you’ll be able to get way more calories in over the day if you spread them out. Keep snacks nearby at work and at home. (Again, try for healthy ones: Google “snacks for healthy weight gain” for ideas.) Make it as easy as possible for yourself to eat mindlessly.  You’ll be surprised how quickly the calories add up.

5. Get tested for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder where your airway closes when you sleep.  It reduces your quality of sleep, which leads to a whole host of other problems.  It can happen to people of any weight, and is thought to be really underdiagnosed, but it’s especially common in fat people.  So if you were already fat when you decided to start gaining, or you want to gain more than 10-20 pounds, it’s going to come with the territory.

I harp on this a lot because I was in denial for a long time about having sleep apnea.  Mine got so bad that I was falling asleep at my desk at work, in meetings, and even in traffic.  I’m really lucky that it never got me into a car accident, and that my boss was understanding about it and didn’t just fire me.  But I don’t want you to go through what I went through.

If you’re told you snore.  If you wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you wake up several times.  If you’re tired during the day, even after seven-eight hours of sleep. And especially if you’re having trouble staying awake during the day.  Talk to your doctor and get tested. CPAP masks can seem intimidating at first, but they are seriously life-changing if you need them. And once you get used to them (which took me about a month), you won’t even notice them as you’re falling asleep.

6. Be honest with your doctor about your intentions
This is a hard one, and it took me a long time to work up the courage to be honest with my doctor about wanting to gain.  There’s so much shame in our society surrounding being fat that to want to stay fat, let alone be fatter, is hard to talk about.  But if you’re going to talk about it with anyone, it should be your doctor. Your doctor’s job is to help you stay healthy on your terms.  For example, if someone does extreme sports, the best thing for their health would probably be for them to stop. But if they don’t want to stop, it’s a doctor’s job to tell them “Wear a helmet and work with safety experts,” not keep insisting they stop doing extreme sports.  It’s the same with weight (at least, it should be).

Your doctor might not initially understand the desire to gain (mine certainly didn’t), so be ready to explain yourself.  This is where it helps to have done the necessary introspection before you go in, because you can’t explain yourself to someone else if you don’t understand yourself.  But it will make a world of difference. Once your doctor knows you don’t want to lose weight, they’ll stop wasting your time with suggestions to help you lose weight, and help you figure out ways to address your health problems that work for you.

And if they don’t, dump them and find a doctor who will.  Your doctor isn’t one of your parents; you don’t have to listen to everything they say, or else.  Find a doctor who will work with you rather than stubbornly insisting on one method of treatment.

7. Don’t wait for an encourager to help you
Every time I go on the Grommr news feed, I see tons of posts from people saying “I need an encourager!”  And I really hope they’re being hyperbolic. Because if not, they’re going to be in for a bad time. Even if you find an encourager to help you gain, they could break up with you.  They could be forced to leave you for reasons outside of their control. They could die. And then you’re only left with yourself, and your own will to gain (or lack thereof).

At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to have to live with the extra weight you’ve put on, both the good parts and the bad.  If you can’t motivate yourself to gain, you need to seriously evaluate why before you try. The joy of gaining, of growing fatter, should be its own reward, and its own motivation.  Believe me, I understand how fun it is to have someone along for that journey. But if you can’t make the journey on your own, you’re not ready to make it.

8. Don’t depend on others to fund your gains
Patreon, OnlyFans, and begging for money in general are hot-button topics in the gaining community.  If you follow me on Grommr, you know I’ve made no secret of how I feel about it. So I’ll be just as upfront here.  If you can’t fund your own gains, maybe now is not the time for you to be gaining. Maybe you’ll get lucky enough to find a sugar daddy to fund your gains, or have a successful Patreon or OnlyFans.  But the odds are against you there, especially if you aren’t already really fat. And other people’s funds are just as unreliable as they are.

It is possible to gain on a budget.  Buy from the grocery store instead of fast food chains.  Fast food is cheap, but you’re still paying for someone to make it for you, which is money that could go to more food.  Add canola oil to the things you cook: it’s cheap and high in healthy unsaturated fats. Peanut butter, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice are also good healthy gaining foods that won’t break the bank.  Buy in bulk. Favor vegetarian options; buying meat means paying for the food that fed that animal, as well as its care and upbringing. Eat before bed so the calories stick better. All of this will go way farther to help you gain than asking strangers online for money.

9. You don’t have to stop gaining at the first sign of bad health
I’m a strong proponent of body positivity, and dismantling the idea that fat is inherently unhealthy.  But if you try to get to a weight that’s higher than the weight your body wants to naturally be at, there can be consequences:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, etc. For some gainers, often called “death feedees”, the risk of these diseases is part of the thrill.  A lot more aspiring gainers stop gaining as soon as there’s any indication of any of these problems.

But you don’t have to do that.  Yes, weight loss is often suggested as a way to treat these diseases.  But there are other ways of treating them and reducing your risk of them, including some of my tips in this list.  This is one reason why being honest with your doctor about your intentions is so important, as they’ll be able to help you focus on ways of managing these issues other than losing weight.  These could include medication, diet changes, lifestyle changes, etc., and they won’t all necessarily be fun. But they will help you life a longer and better life at your desired weight.

I know from experience that it can be very stressful when you find out that your numbers are high.  But if you see your doctor regularly and get tested for these things regularly, you can catch them early enough to address them before they become major problems.  Knowledge really is power, and it includes the power to address these issues as you gain, rather than having to stop gaining because you let one of these problems get out of control until it was too late.  But with that said…

10. You will have to decide how you balance gaining and health
We’re getting into the heavy stuff here, and I’m not talking about your weight or mine.

I think something we all have in common is that we want to get the most out of life that we can.  Gaining applies to that in a very direct way. Intentionally gaining weight does put you at a greater risk of diseases and conditions that can shorten your life, or reduce your quality of life.  Even if you do everything you can to gain healthily, it can still happen. Family history and genetics have as much to do with it as lifestyle.

If you choose to intentionally gain weight, especially a lot of weight, you’re going to be faced with deciding how much you prioritize length and quality of life, and how much you prioritize getting fat.

I know, it’s not fun to think about stuff this morbid.  But I think not thinking about it is a big reason why so many gainers chose to lose weight at the first sign of any negative health effect.  They face their mortality, something they’re not used to, and get immediately spooked. Conversely, I think if you really give this some thought, you’ll be better equipped to make that decision, and handle the consequences and responsibilities that come with gaining long-term.

A lot of people see this kind of thing in a very binary way.  You can either live as healthily as possible, staying thin and eating for living instead of living to eat, seeking as much length and quality of life as possible.  Or you can go full death feedist and embrace the unhealthiness, living as unhealthily as possible as you get as fat as possible, all while your health and wellness plummet and you become immobile.

But those are just the extremes of a spectrum.  And I think most of us are happiest somewhere in the middle.  We all have to decide what risks we’re willing to take for the joys we want out of life.  Just leaving your house and getting in a car to go somewhere is a risk–you could get in an accident.  But is avoiding that risk worth missing out on all the things you enjoy in the world? The same way of thinking applies to gaining.

As you gain, you’ll have to think about how you’ll balance health and gaining.  Maybe you’re okay with outgrowing clothes, but not furniture. Maybe you’re okay with getting out-of-breath more easily, as long as you can still do all the things you enjoy.  Maybe you’re okay with treating health conditions with medication and lifestyle changes, but when that isn’t enough to keep them from getting worse, you’ll stop gaining. Maybe you’re okay with living with those conditions if their prognosis is measured in decades, but not if it’s measured in years.  They’re all different points on that spectrum, and it’s up to you to figure out where you’re happiest.

To some, this may seem like lunacy.  A lot of people see health as the ultimate goal, and think we should be willing to sacrifice everything else to it.  I don’t agree. Why give up all the things you enjoy in life that are the least bit unhealthy? So you can live longer and spend even more time not enjoying them?  No thanks. But at the same time, if you go too extreme, you might not be able to enjoy them for very long. The question is, how much do you prioritize one vs. the other so you get the most enjoyment out of your life?

To be clear, this is not an easy question to answer.  We’re talking about your mortality here, possibly the hardest question any of us will ever grapple with.  And your answer will probably change as you gain that first-hand experience. Maybe you’ll find the joy of being fat to be worth a possibly shorter life.  Maybe you’ll find gaining doesn’t bring you enough joy to be worth that risk. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer I can give you. But I hope I’ve at least convinced you to think about it.  It’ll make your gaining experience that much better.

Practical tips for body acceptance

Originally published August 26, 2019.

I know I write about fat largely from an erotic angle, but body acceptance and fat positivity are also things I care deeply about.  Which does come up in some of my stories (The Baker’s Bashful Boyfriend and The Fashion Writer’s Husband come to mind), although I feel I ought to write about it more.  But that’s beside the point.

A while ago, a friend asked me for tips on accepting his body at the weight it’s at, after I told him that I’d managed to go from hating my body to loving my body in about a year.  Some people suggest positive affirmations or trying to change your inner dialog for this kind of thing, but I find that very hard to do.  I personally find it easier to make myself do things than make myself think thing.  So here’s a list of the things I did to help me see my body in a more positive light.

  • Take selfies and post them online.  It sounds silly, but thanks to the mere exposure effect, where being exposed to something makes you like it more, it really works.  One way to incorporate more selfies in your social media usage is that when to go to take a picture of something, take a selfie with the thing in it instead, to also show off your reaction.
  • If possible for you, when you’re home, lounge around naked.  It’s a great way to get used to your body and see it as a more neutral thing, which can be a good stepping stone to liking your body.
  • Buy cute underwear.  Again, this sounds silly, but it can help you feel sexy, which can be a big confidence boost depending on the person.
  • Follow body positivity and fat positivity accounts on whatever social media site you use most.  The more you see confident people who look like you, the more that confidence will seem possible to you.
  • When you find yourself thinking bad things about yourself, actively counter it.  If you can’t counter it with something positive, at least counter it with something neutral.  E.g. “I look fine,” or “If I don’t mind this body type on others, then it’s fine on me,” or “I don’t owe anyone thinness,” or “Weight has no moral value.”
  • Similarly, stop saying bad things about your body.  Just because you think them doesn’t mean you have to vocalize them, and how you talk about your body is going to influence how other people see your body.  If you use self-deprecating humor as a coping mechanism, try saying outrageously positive things about your body instead.  The disparity between how you feel about your body and how you talk about it will serve a similarly humorous purpose.  But over time, the way you feel about your body will more closely mirror how you talk about it.
  • Buy clothes you actually like, rather than ones that are “flattering”.  And buy them in a size that fits you, rather than a “goal” size or a baggy size.
  • Take care of the other elements of your appearance that you have more control over.  Try something new with your hair, wash your face, wear deodorant, etc. These things make a huge difference for people of any size.
  • Go to the gym, but not to lose weight.  Taking care of yourself can make you feel good about yourself.  Plus going to the gym has a ton of benefits that have nothing to do with weight loss.  Also, I think a source of insecurity for a lot of big guys is the sense that their body “happened” to them.  If you start lifting weights and getting definition, you can gain a sense of ownership over what your body looks like.
  • Remember the “shitty basement ska show” paradigm, as described here: ronibravo.tumblr.com/post/1252….  I don’t offer many positive self-affirmations because I don’t find them helpful.  But I think a paradigm shift can be helpful.  I listen to a lot of black metal.  The bands and artists who make this stuff will never be able to sustain a full-time career off of it.  Even the most popular artists in the style have audiences whose size PALES in comparison to a mainstream artist.  But they can still be proud of their work.  And their work will still find an appreciative audience, who will appreciate it all the more for being exactly what it is.  We are that black metal / shitty ska music.
  • If possible, minimize your time around people who make you feel bad about your body.
  • Watch Queer Eye and pick up some of their tips.

How to support an artist for zero dollars

Originally published May 28, 2019.

Back when I had a Patreon, quite a few of my patrons said that the perks were just bonuses for them.  Ultimately, they were pledging because they wanted to support me.  And since deactivating my Patreon, I’ve gotten messages from people saying they’re bummed they never got to join, not because they wanted those perks, but because they wanted to support me.

Let me say first that the fact that any of you folks want to throw any money my way because of these stories really means a lot to me.  And I would never want to come across as ungrateful for those who want to support, and those who did support.  But the truth is, I don’t need the money.  I’m blessed to have a day job that allows me to live very comfortably, which definitely makes working on my art a lot easier.  So while I appreciate you wanting to show your support monetarily, I’d feel bad about taking that money from you, when you might need it more than I do.  That’s why the Patreon was always set up as folks getting extras for pledging:  to give you something back for supporting me.

But apparently some folks want to support without getting anything extra in return.  I’m incredibly grateful for that.  And I’m happy to say that there is a way to support not just me, but any artist you like, and it doesn’t cost a penny:


Don’t get me wrong.  Knowing people are reading my stories is great.  Favorites are awesome.  But when someone leaves a comment on one of my stories, about something they liked or some way it resonated with them, that leaves me feeling like I’m on cloud nine for the rest of the day.

For example, “Big” is definitely not one of my most popular stories as measured by favorites.  But the comments I got on it from folks who appreciated it meant so much that I still get giddy when I think about them.  It takes a lot of favorites to match the amount of love I feel from one heartfelt comment.

So if you like someone’s art (not just mine), one of the best ways you can show support is leaving a comment.  Tell them how much their art means to you.  That’s the kind of thing that keeps us artists going when we get creative block, or get frustrated, or just don’t feel like creating.  It makes the process feel so much more worth it.

On Perspective and Criticism

Originally posted April 28, 2019.

This isn’t about gaining, and it’s only tangentially about writing.  But it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I want to get my thoughts down.

On April 19th, Lizzo released her major label debut album, Cuz I Love You.  You might have seen some of the songs from it going around, like “Juice” and “Tempo”, both self esteem anthems, the latter of which has been especially popular in the gainer community for its fat-positive message.  I personally have been a huge fan of Lizzo for a while now–“Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell” are my personal favorites–and was very much looking forward to this album.  Unfortunately, I was pretty let down by the album as a whole.  But I seem to be in the minority on that, as it’s been getting very positive reviews.

But rather than focus on that, Lizzo seems to have focused on one of the few negative reviews.  In a tweet that she has since deleted, she said, “PEOPLE WHO ‘REVIEW’ ALBUMS AND DONT MAKE MUSIC THEMSELVES SHOULD BE UNEMPLOYED”.  When someone suggested that if the review in question had been positive, she wouldn’t have cared whether the reviewer made music or not, she said, “Ur absolutely right.”

Suffice it to say that I’m pretty disappointed that one of my favorite artists would not only take this position, but double down on it.  Even her fans were disagreeing with her rather than defending her, which is how you know you dun goofed.  But it’s something I want to talk about anyway.

Now, obviously this stance is pure defensiveness, plain and simple.  Even without the follow up, the idea is patently ridiculous.  By this logic, no one can ever leave a review on anything on Amazon if they don’t make it themselves.  Did those headphone you buy break after a week?  Sorry, unless you work in the manufacture of audio equipment, you can’t complain.  Throw in her follow-up about how only negative reviews are invalid if they come from someone who doesn’t make music, and it’s obvious that this line of thinking is plainly ridiculous.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that even if Lizzo were making this argument in good faith, I still strongly disagree.

I have never made music myself.  I’ve tried to play a couple instruments here and there–got decently good at drums before I stopped practicing, tried bass guitar and gave it up when I was not immediately excellent (that’s that former gifted child syndrome for ya)–but I’ve never recorded anything.  However, I’ve been a fervent music fan for about six years now. (I listened to music all my life, but it didn’t become a huge passion of mine and something I spend a lot of time on until I graduated college.) I spend a lot of time looking for new music and listening to the music in my collection.  I love talking about music, breaking down what I do and don’t like about music, and debating where music is going.

In contrast. I’ve been writing and sharing my writing in some form for nearly a decade now.  It started with blogging, then I got involved in my local spoken-word poetry scene for about four years.  Then I dabbled in fiction for a while, before settling into gaining fiction, and that’s where I’ve been the last three-and-a-half years.  I’ve been quite prolific in all of my endeavors, and with the exception of the non-erotic fiction, made a name for myself in my own way in each arena. (Not to brag, but let’s call it like it is.)

And yet, I don’t really read.  I read social media posts and the occasional online article, but I find books to be tedious and boring, and I don’t read the kind of stuff I write nearly as often as you might think.  They say that the key to being a good writer is reading a lot, and that’s true to an extent.  But I don’t read nearly as much gainer fic as I used to, because writing it myself has made me really picky. (Incidentally, this is also why I don’t make music:  I fear becoming even more picky about music than I already am.  A friend of mine who has recorded albums has said that exact thing happened to him.)

Based on the above information, you might think I’d make a better critic of writing than of music.  It seems Lizzo certainly would.  But I feel way more confident in my ability to review music than my ability to review writing.  Granted, my “reviews” haven’t amounted to anything more than opinionated Facebook posts, but I did recently copy them to my RateYourMusic profile if you’d like to read them yourself.  But the point is, I feel way more confident in my ability to critique music than to critique writing.

Because at the end of the day, reviews aren’t for artists.  They’re for the listeners, the readers, the viewers, the players, etc.  It’s not about answering the question, “Is this a good piece of art?”, although I’m sure some reviewers do fancy themselves arbiters of that question.  It’s about describing the experience of partaking of that art.  It’s inherently subjective, because the experience of enjoying art is inherently subjective.  As I think I said in my third-anniversary Q&A, I’m of the opinion that art isn’t this monolith that’s made by the artist , with the spectator being tasked with teasing out the “true meaning”.  Art is what happens between the piece of art and the spectator.  It’s inherently interactive, even if the spectator is “passively” taking it in.

What makes a good reviewer is how well they can express their subjective impressions, how well they can describe what happened between the art and them.  And that doesn’t come with a familiarity with the creative process.  That comes with a familiarity with the experience of partaking of that art.  That comes with being an avid reader, not a writer.  And that comes with being an avid listener, not a musician.

When I posted about Lizzo’s tweets on Facebook, that friend of mine who has recorded several albums said, “I feel like reviewing from non-creators is essential for artistic development.  They bring an entirely different perspective to your art.”  And that’s an important point too.  While art is ultimately a form of self-expression, if you’re going to share your art with the world, then it’s important to have an idea of how your art is perceived.  Otherwise, you get whatever Kanye West’s career is right now.  Sure, an artist could argue, “I’m making this art for myself, not for anyone else’s approval.”  But if that were true, then they wouldn’t have any desire to share it with the world.  If you’re going to share your art, then deep down somewhere, you do care how others perceive it.  And the only way to learn that is from non-creator reviews.

In short, people who listen to music without making it are exactly the kind of people who should be reviewing music, assuming they’ve listened to a lot of music and can think about it deeply.  If I got two pieces of critique, one from someone who has written a hundred gainer stories but doesn’t read them, and one from someone who’s read thousands of stories but never written one, I’d take the latter way more to heart.  Because I don’t write to impress my fellow writers.  I write for you folks.

Revisiting making art in times like this

Originally published October 6, 2018.

Today is my birthday.  I had a wonderful lunch with my parents, followed by a fantastic party with my closest friends, where I laughed so much that my abs now hurt from how much I laughed, and at one point, I laughed so hard that I had to force myself to breath or I would have suffocated and possibly passed out.  It was, overall, an amazing day.

And I have to end it by learning that Brett Kavanaugh is now a justice in the highest court of my country.

Over a year ago, I wrote a journal entry about the difficulty of making art in these scary political times.  I don’t exactly have more to say about what I wrote in that post; I stand by all the things I said in it.  I also didn’t mention which events specifically made me so sick to my stomach, because I didn’t want to face down the possibility of political discussion in my comments, when I knew I didn’t have the mental capacity for it.  But after another year of burning in the Trumpster fire, I am too sick of this bullshit to even keep up the veneer of being apolitical.

Synthesizing all of this, I have a few things to add on the topic of making art when it feels like the world is going up in flames around you.  They’re just a few things that have been on my mind today.

1. A lot of the big news events have hit me really hard these past few years.  The Kavanaugh confirmation, as angry as it makes me, isn’t one of them.  And I don’t think it’s because I’ve become numb to Trump and the GOP’s bullshit:  I think it’s because I had so many good things happen today that put me in such a good mood that even this can only bring me down so far.  I don’t think my stories are good enough that they can singlehandedly have that effect for someone else.  But if they can help, that’s plenty of reason to keep writing.

I don’t have the mental fortitude to participate in a protest.  I don’t have the social skills to go door-to-door.  Talking on the phone scares me too much to make phone calls for a candidate, or even call my elected representatives.  All I can really spare is money, but donating to a cause that’s trying to make lives better for people affected by this administration, or donating to Democratic candidates in swing states, just doesn’t make me feel like I’ve actually made a difference.  It’s too abstract, too detached from the issue at hand.

But if I can, though my art, make someone’s day better, and pull them up a little bit when the world is pulling them down, then I consider that still helping.  Which brings me to my next thought…

2. As someone who feels like my individual impact on the world is, in the grand scheme of things, so minuscule as to be meaningless, it’s hard to feel like there’s any way I can make an impact.  I haven’t talked about my depression much on here, but it’s that feeling of hopelessness that triggers it the worst.  But as I was driving past a bunch of political signs for candidates and certain answers to certain ballot questions today, I realized:  if I consider myself one of “the good ones”, then I need to stick around.  If all the “good ones”, like me, decided it wasn’t worth it and ended it all, that would be an unequivocal victory for “the bad ones”.  There’d be no one to stop them from getting their way.

If there’s going to be any hope for change, we “good ones” need to stick around.  To believe women and survivors when they come forward about assault.  To cast a doubtful eye on the justifications used to excuse police brutality.  To pressure big companies to stop exploiting their workers and the environment.  And most importantly, to vote.

Some people say that voting only gives citizens the illusion of control.  But there’s a quote I read a while ago that has really stuck with me:  if voting really were meaningless, there wouldn’t be so many politicians trying to take it away from us.  Gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, ID laws, etc.  Politicians (let’s call it like it is:  Republicans) don’t want us to vote because they know voting has power.  If you consider yourself one of “the good ones”, you can’t let them have their wish.

Which, to tie this in to point #1:  If through my art, I can make someone a little less vulnerable to that feeling of hopelessness, and empower them to keep on keeping on and being a small positive change in the world, maybe it can add up.

3. As has been clear throughout this post, I’m no longer interested in keeping my political viewpoints a secret.  I hate Trump, I hate the entire Republican party in my country, I have very little positive regard for people who support them, and I have absolutely no positive regard for people who still support Trump.  And I have no problem with that rubbing you the wrong way if you fall into either of those latter two categories.  You want to enjoy art created by a queer person, while simultaneously supporting a man who picked, as his Vice President, a man who thinks I should be electrocuted until I either pretend to be heterosexual or kill myself (giving the statistics on electroshock conversion therapy, it’s 50/50 which it would be)?  While simultaneously voting for politicians who run on a platform of taking away my basic human rights?  That’s a special kind of entitlement.

If you’re going to go in the comments and complain that me “making this political” is going to “make it hard” for you to enjoy my stories, good.  You’re making it hard for me to even live my life in this country, let alone write stories for you to enjoy.  If me writing this makes you not want to read my stories at all, even better.  You won’t be missed.

That’s all from me for now.  I didn’t want to end my birthday writing something like this, but I also didn’t want to end it finding out Kavanaugh was confirmed.  To paraphrase a blogger whom I used to follow who’s sadly no longer active, I’ll deal with it the way that writers do it:  I write.  It usually helps.

And now back to working on my stories.  They feel more necessary than ever now.

Tips on writing weight gain fiction

I was recently asked on another platform for tips about getting started with writing weight gain fiction.  The person who asked me already had experience writing for fun, so a lot of this advice is written under the assumption that you have some experience with writing.  If you’ve never written for fun before and you want to write gainer fiction, you have all of my encouragement, but I’m probably not the best person to give you general advice.  With all that said, here’s the message I wrote:

Gainer fiction tips, let’s see…

The thing that comes to mind immediately, since you have experience with writing already, is don’t abandon what you already know.  The rules that make a good story generally also apply to making a good gaining story.  There’s nothing wrong with some good no-frills smut every once in a while–goodness knows I’ve dabbled in it myself, and tend to prefer reading it over more plot-heavy stories–but for something you’re writing yourself and want to be satisfied with, everything you know and have learned about good storytelling up until now applies.

The one possible exception to that rule is description.  If you’re a description-lite writer, like I am, you’re going to have to learn to slow down and spend some time ruminating on the parts where it matters:  describing a guy’s body as he grows, perhaps describing the meal and his experience eating it if you want that to be a part of the story (sometimes I dwell on the meal, sometimes I skip it; depends on what I’m focusing on in the story), his experiences in his newly grown body, etc.  Don’t gloss over what your readers will be coming for.  🙂

On the note of not abandoning what you know, don’t think you have to try something completely foreign to you to dive into gaining fiction.  You like writing short stories of fictional words?  Write a story about a world where weight gain is common, or where the world is otherwise set up to allow your protagonist to get bigger.  After all, there are only so many ways to write “man gets bigger”; I find it’s the who, where and when, why, and how that makes the story worth telling over and over again. (Sixty-something times for me now.  ) Even if you want to eventually branch into a different kind of gaining fiction, starting by writing gaining fiction in a style you’re comfortable with is a good first step.

Another piece of advice I strongly believe in:  write what turns YOU on.  There’s this quote I read once that claims comedy and erotica are the easiest genres to create, because we have a built-in biological reaction that lets us know when we’ve down them right.  I’m not sure I agree with the statement itself, but the point about that built-in reaction still stands.  Write what turns you on, and it’ll find an audience that is also turned on by it.  I’ve talked to some authors who felt pressured to put more intense feeding scenes in their stories than they were comfortable with, or incorporate vanilla sex as well when they just wanted to write about gaining.  If you write to what you think people want, rather than what you want to write, that will come across in your writing, and your writing will suffer for it.

They say the best way to become a good writer is to read a lot, and that applies to gainer fiction too.  If you’ve read gainer fiction, then you know what works for you and what doesn’t as a reader. (For me, that later category is marking a character’s growth by the number of pounds they weigh, unless there’s an in-universe reason for them to be weighing themselves, and growth that happens too fast and doesn’t feel earned.) Take what you’ve learned by reading other people’s stories, especially what you learned from stories you DIDN’T like, and apply that to your own.

Finally, proofread and edit.  I probably don’t have to tell you this as a fellow writer, but proofreading and editing your story will make a world of difference in the final quality.  There are a lot of weight gain authors who clearly throw their works up online without even giving them a single additional read-through.  And even as someone who’s not a stickler for grammar and spelling like I use to be, the fact is there’s a threshold where the writing gets so hard to read because of all the mistakes that you have to slow down to figure out what was trying to be said.  That’s going to take the reader out of the experience.  I’ve been complimented by readers before simply for the fact that my stories are generally free of typos and egregious errors.  The bar is that low, my friend.  Just proofread your stories and that alone will give you an edge over an embarrassingly large number of weight gain writers.

That’s all I have for now, but feel free to ask my any more questions you might have.  I love helping other writers, especially if doing so means there’s more weight gain fiction, particularly GOOD weight gain fiction, in the world.  [Note that this last paragraph isn’t a simple carry-over from the copy-paste; it’s an invitation for all of you reading this to ask me questions as well, for exactly the same reasons.]

The Immediate Future of My Writing

Originally published Febuary 25, 2018.

Like a lot of writers, I struggle with writer’s block.  Even having put out gaining stories as proficiently as I have for as long as I have, I still have those times were I sit down to put the words down, and nothing comes out.  But it’s not just that they won’t come out.  It’s that the very prospect of writing is so unappealing that you’d think it was painful.  Where it gets so bad that I’d rather cycle between the same three social media sites, even though there’ll be nothing new on any of them because I’m checking them too often, while the album that I put on to help me focus on my writing plays from beginning to end.  And when it ends, I feel like a failure because I haven’t even gotten one word down, and the hot chocolate I got to help me write is sitting across the table from me mostly empty, and it feels like all my efforts to keep myself on task have gone to waste.

In any case, for the longest time, I treated this condition like a deficiency in my character, and something I had to just push through.  After all, your readers will never get to see this story you’ve put so much time and effort into if you don’t finish it, Owen.  Stop making excuses, stop messing around, and get to writing!  So I’d spend an hour or two working up the nerve to put words to the metaphorical page, only for the entire expereince to feel stiff and unnatural, forcing myself to do it like I force myself to clean my apartment or fold my laundry.  As a result, the writing comes out reading like I have as much passion for it as I do for doing my taxes, and with exactly as much creativity evident in the final result.

But maybe that wasn’t the correct approach.

What got me rethinking this particularly insidious flavor of writer’s block, and how I counter it, was a post by one Rex of the blog Wrex Writes, where he talked about the idea of “getting” yourself to write.

But maybe before we force our butts into chairs, we should ask why it’s so hard to “get” ourselves to write. We aren’t acting randomly; our brains say “I don’t want to do this” for a reason. We should take that reason seriously.

Most of us resist writing because it hurts and it’s hard…  It feels fucking awful, so naturally we avoid it.  We can’t “make writing a habit,” then, until we make it less painful. Something we don’t just “get” ourselves to do.

So many of us already dismiss our own pain constantly. If we turn writing into another occasion for mute suffering, for numb and joyless endurance, we 1) will not write more, and 2) should not write more, because we should not intentionally hurt ourselves.

“Numb and joyless endurance”.  Sounds about right.  I’ve tried to capture the essence of the post in this quote, but if you’re a writer who struggles with this kind of writer’s block, you should absolutely read the whole thing.  And if you struggle with it to the point that you find it hard to write anything at all, I highly recommend his follow-up, rehab for writing injuries.  Personally, I don’t think I’m at the point where I need to use Rex’s rehab program that he outlines in that post.  But especially lately, there are enough times when writing feels like a chore, rather than something I’m doing for fun (like it should be!), that I feel I could benefit from doing some introspection on where this resistance to writing comes from.

So what does that mean for my writing going forward?  On your end, probably not a whole lot.  What it means for me is that I’m going to be writing my next few stories with the intention of easing that particular kind of writer’s block.  For now, I’ll be focusing on stories that will hopefully be easy for me to write.  And if/when they get difficult, I’m going to focus on asking myself why, rather than trudging through them and forcing myself to keep going.  There won’t be any trudging for the next few weeks or so.  I have one story finished that’s up for early access patrons at my Patreon, that’s scheduled to go up for everyone this Friday.  After that story, everything else I post in the immediate future will be part of this sort of self-administered writer rehabilitation.

The only major difference on your end is that I won’t be taking suggestions while I’m on this writer rehabilitation.  While I’m working on myself and my writing process, I need to be able to answer only to myself as I’m writing these stories.  Quite a lot of that particular brand of writer’s block has come while working on stories based on suggestions, so for now, I want to eliminate that particular source of it.  If I decide to make writing a story based on a request a part of this rehabilitation process, I’ll solicit requests privately from folks of my choosing whose requests I’ve gelled with well in the past, rather than putting out a general call for them.

I probably won’t announce an official end to this rehabilitation.  I think I’ll just naturally come out of it as I start to feel more confident in my writing and enjoy it more consistently.  Until there, here’s to a hopefully better and brighter (and more fun!) future.

Why I rarely write sequels

Originally published September 27, 2017.

It’s a question I get all the time.  “Any chance for a sequel?”  “Is there going to be a part 2 / (whatever number would come next after a multi-part story)?”  “Please tell me there’s going to be more!”  And don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the sentiment behind questions like this:  that someone loved one of my stories so much that they didn’t want it to end.  I know that if anything, it’s intended as a compliment.

But the fact is, no, I generally don’t write sequels to my stories.

I think some of the basis for the question might be that there are authors out there who post their stories in chunks as they work on them.  They’ll finish a chapter, post it, and then work on the next one.  That, I think, creates this expectation in some readers that any given story posted on here could be unfinished.

But I’m not one of those authors who posts my work in pieces as I finish them.  I would much, much rather finish the entire story and post the whole thing at once than post in pieces.  That way, if I decide I want to change something in an earlier part of the story as I’m working on it, I have the freedom to do so.  Otherwise, I would be beholden to the parts I’d already posted and how I’d written the story so far.

Of course, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of writing sequels to those finished stories.  So why don’t I?

The main reason is because once I post a new story, it means I’ve explored that premise as much as I want to.  You might think there’s more potential in it, that there’s more story that could be written, and you might be right.  But when I post a story, it means I’ve explored the premise as much as I want to.  If there were more of that story that I wanted to tell, I would have kept writing, and included that extra story in the finished product.  Once the story goes up on this page, it means I’m satisfied with where it is and don’t want to add anymore.

But, you might say, maybe I could do it to give the people what they want?  Well, the fact of the matter is, I’m not Hollywood.  I’m more concerned with what’s creatively challenging and fulfilling for me than I am with making stories that are guaranteed to get a good reception.  In particular, I find it really satisfying to find new and novel ways to fatten a man up, and quite a few of my readers have told me they like my work for that reason.  Writing a sequel that just continues a previous idea is the exact opposite of new and novel.

There’s also the matter of inspiration.  When I stop writing a story, it’s usually because I’ve taken the story as far as my inspiration will take me.  To continue the story beyond that point, e.g. by writing a sequel, wouldn’t be fun for me because it would feel more like work than a hobby.  And I know from experience that when I’m not inspired while I write, it’s reflected in my writing.  My writing becomes more stiff, more clinical, less colorful and vivid.  My sentence structure becomes less varied, and it feels like I’m just plodding ahead to get to the conclusion, rather than trying to paint a scene.  All of that means that the story itself will be much less fun for you as a reader to read.  So it won’t be fun for anyone.

There’s also the very practical matter of growth.  Some readers and writers have no limits to how big a guy can get while they’ll still find it hot.  I’m not one of them.  As you might have noticed, and as I mentioned explicitly in my second anniversary request raffle, I don’t like reading or writing guys gaining to immobility, let alone even bigger.  For me, that’s where a story stops being hot.  It’s not something I can intellectualize, just a personal preference I’ve always had.

What this means for sequels is that there’s a maximum of how big I’m willing to make a guy in my stories.  Sometimes the maximum is even lower depending on the premise of the story.  When I finish a story, you can bet that I’ve made the guy as big as I’m willing to make him given the circumstances surrounding him.  Which means there would be quite literally no room for him to grow in the sequel.  And what’s a gaining story without any gaining?

So that’s why I don’t write sequels.  I would rather forge boldly ahead into new and exciting ideas than revisit old territory that I’m already satisfied with.  And hopefully those of you wishing for a sequel to one of your favorite stories will find something to like in these new stories that reminds you of why you liked those old stories so much.

And hey, if you want to see the story continued that much, you could always write a fanfic sequel yourself.

”I’m not a writer.”

Originally posted Sep 19, 2017.

In the time that I’ve been working on gaining fiction, I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks who had amazing ideas for stories.  Some of them were suggesting them to me as stories I could write, while others were just making conversation.  Either way, when I’m impressed with an idea that much, I’ll tell them they should write it, because I’d really like to see that idea brought to life.  And then they say that heartbreaking phrase:  “I’m not a writer.”

It comes in various forms:  “I’ve never written anything before.”  “I don’t have the knack for it.”  “I’ll leave the writing to the real writers.”  They all seem to stem from this idea that there are Writers, and then there’s everyone else, and if you aren’t blessed with the Talent for writing, you’re doomed to be an everyone else.  By this idea, you can’t be a writer unless writing comes easily to you, unless the words simply flow your literal or metaphorical pen, unless you’ve always been good at writing.

If this is how you define a Writer, then I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  I’m not a writer either.

This probably doesn’t make much sense without context.  After all, I’ve written forty-plus stories, soon to be fifty, and if the comments and messages I’ve gotten are any indication, people really enjoy my stories.  I write on a nearly daily basis, and I put out stories pretty consistently.  How could I say I’m not a writer?  Because I don’t have the knack.  I don’t have a talent for writing.  Writing simply doesn’t come naturally to me.

Let’s rewind back a decade or so.  I’ve always been a very logically-minded person, practically a stereotypical ISTJ.  In high school, I excelled in math and science, while I struggled with English and foreign language.  In both of the latter two classes, I kept my grades afloat by nailing the grammar portions of the class–after all, grammar is just a system of rules, and I’m good at those–but struggled with the vocabulary portion of foreign language and the writing and literature portion of English.  At my high school, graduating seniors didn’t have to take the final exam for any classes they got an A in.  I only took two finals for two classes that year:  Senior English and Spanish IV.  The point is, I’ve always struggled with writing.  Even when you go as far back as elementary school, it was one of my weakest areas.

So how did I turn it around?  World of Warcraft blogs.  That’s not sarcasm at all:  I started playing World of Warcraft freshman year of high school, and kept playing until the middle of my sophomore year of college.  Toward the end of high school, I fell in love with the WoW blogosphere, the community of blogs and bloggers that surrounded the game.  Even as my interest in the game itself waned, I couldn’t get enough of reading World of Warcraft blogs.  And it was by reading those that I decided I wanted to try my hand at blogging.

So over the summer between high school and college, I started a WoW blog of my own (which has since been lost to the internet ether, unfortunately).  I set a schedule for myself that I would post three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with different themes each day.  And so I blogged, for a year and a half until I stopped playing, writing essay-length posts three times a week and posting them online.

Then a funny thing happened.  At the end of my freshman year of college, when I was taking a class called College Writing II, the professor (who looked a lot like Zooey Deschanel, but that’s neither here nor there) asked me to send her the .doc file for one of my essays.  She wanted to hang on to it to show to her future students as an example of how to write a good essay.  And I got an A in that class.  From there on out, I didn’t take many writing classes, because I was a math major.  But I still took a lot of classes with a big writing component to fulfill the non-math requirements of my degree, and I aced all of them.

So what happened?

There’s this story–it’s probably fake, but the message behind it certainly isn’t–about a pottery teacher who split her class into two groups.  The students in the first group would be graded solely by the quantity of their work.  At the end of the class, she would bring in a scale and weigh how many pots each student had made.  If they made 50 pounds, they got an A, 40 pounds, a B, and so on.  The second group, on the other hand, would be graded solely by the quality of their work.  Those students only had to make one pot, but it would have to be perfect for them to get an A.

By the end of the class, a funny thing happened:  the best pots all came from the first group, the group that was being graded by quantity.  While the second group was busy theorizing about the best ways to make pots and trying to learn the best techniques in preparation for making their perfect pots, the other group was just making pot after pot after pot.  In other words, they were practicing.  And by practicing, they actually got better.  Meanwhile, the other group just had a bunch of theories and piles of malformed clay to show for their efforts.

Without realizing it, writing essay-length posts three times a week for my WoW blog was giving me practice with writing and making me a better writer.  And in just a year, one of my weakest subjects became something I was strong at.  It wasn’t because I discovered a knack or talent I didn’t realize I had.  It was because I made my 50 pounds of pots, all because I’d found a way to make it fun.

From there I discovered my college town’s spoken word poetry scene, and got involved in that for several years.  After that, I dabbled in fan fiction and original fiction, before settling on gaining fiction as the kind of writing I wanted to focus on for a while.  By then, I’d been writing as a hobby consistently for over six years, across all those different genres.  I bring up those six years of writing for a reason:

Given some of the comments and messages I’ve gotten in the past, I get the feeling that some people think I’ve always been good at writing.  That I just came into the gaining scene with my golden touch and have been putting out good stories since day one.  And even I’ll admit that I’m pretty proud of my first few gaining stories, and I think they’re pretty damn good.  But they weren’t me coming out of nowhere with my Knack for writing and knocking it out of the park from the first inning; they were me coming in with six years of practice and applying that practice to something new.

Which is to say, if you think you’re “not a writer”, know that all that separates you from me is practice, those 50 pounds of pots.  How do you become a good writer?  You start out as a bad writer, maybe a just okay writer, and you keep writing.  Aside from a basic understanding of the mechanics of storytelling and spelling and grammar, that’s what it takes.  All your favorite writers started where you are right now.  And then they wrote a story.  Then another.  Then another.  All you have to do to start on the journey of getting where they are is write a story.

If that doesn’t motivate you to write, then maybe this will:

There are people out there who call themselves writers.  If you’re at party and you ask them what they do, they’ll proudly tell you they’re a writer.  Poke a bit deeper and they might tell you about all the stories they have planned out, their favorite original characters, how the story arc will play out over the course of the several-novels-long series they have planned, and so on.

But they haven’t written anything.  Outside of school assignments, the most ambitious thing they’ve written is a Facebook post that was long enough to generate a “See More” button.  They call themselves writers, they fancy themselves “real writers,” but they don’t write anything.

If you write one story, you’ll have a more valid claim to the title of “writer” than these people do.  It doesn’t matter how amateurish or rough or short that story is; any rough draft is better than a blank page.  If you can do that, if you can even just write a rough draft, you’ll be more of a writer than these self-fancying writers are.  And if they can call themselves writers, then so can you.

So go ahead and make that first metaphorical pot.  You already have an idea for a story, and as someone who’s been doing this for years, trust me, that’s half the battle right there.  You’ve probably read enough gaining fiction to know what separates a good story from a bad one, and subconsciously, you’ll apply that to your own writing to make it better.  Once you write your first story, it’s easier to start writing your second, and even easier to write your third.  Keep it up, and you’ll make those 50 pounds of pots faster than you think.

Making art in times like this

Originally published Aug 16, 2017.

Like anyone with a functional conscious, I’m sick to my stomach at a lot of what’s happening in the news right now.  Like a lot of the folks around me, I’m really scared because of it.  And I know at least a few of those folks are struggling to create art right now.  There’s a real sense of futility to creating when it feels like we’re watching the world come to an end.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t felt some of that futility myself.  Though my output hasn’t been shaken that much by world events, it definitely took some time to get there.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the magic words or the unique insight that’s going to make everyone reading this feel better about what’s happening in the world, or feel less paralyzed by fear.  All I can do is talk about what’s kept me creating even as it feels like we’re approaching the end times.

Part of it is a very pragmatic and boring line of reasoning best summarized as “might as well”.  I’m just one person, and the fate of the world doesn’t hinge on my actions.  The world is going to either keep on keeping on or spiral to its doom regardless of whatever I might try to do to stop it. (If the last year has done anything, it’s destroyed my confidence in the power of the individual.) And that also means the fate of the world doesn’t hinge on whether I’m making art or not.  So why not make art?

Even if our days are numbered, the fact is, the world isn’t ending right now.  We have to do something to pass the time between now and the end.  I could either spend that time never getting out of bed, thinking about how awful the world is, or I could spend it making art.  The latter is certainly a lot more fun.

Of course, it’s not that simple, or else there wouldn’t be so many creative types feeling like making art right now is pointless.

I read a Facebook post once by a singer whose name I regrettably can’t remember.  It was posted in the wake of one of the many recent demoralizing events.  She talked about how she felt the same sense of futility about her art, really about doing anything in the face of these new horrors. (Or new faces of old horrors, really.)  And she talked about the sense of powerlessness to do anything about it.

I can’t remember whether she already had a show scheduled, or was in the midst of scheduling one.  But she posted about the upcoming show on her Facebook page, and the post was flooded with comments from fans thanking her.  They thanked her for giving them something to look forward to, and something to take their mind off of things.  And when she performed at that show, surrounded people who were just as excited to be there, for a moment, everything felt okay.

That story has stuck with me ever since I read it, and what it demonstrates is what ultimately pushed me back to creating art.  Sure, in the grand scope of the political theater, whether or not I make art is of no consequence.  But it’s not of no consequence to you folks.  In fact, judging by all the lovely comments and messages I’ve gotten from people, it’s of quite some consequence, in a positive way.

That’s ultimately what motivates me to make art in the face of annihilation.  I might be scared shitless that the world is going to end, but I’m not the only one.  And if I can help other folks who are scared to feel just a little better, to give them something to look forward to, to take their minds off of things, then I think that’s a great reason to keep writing.

(I avoided mentioning specific events, ideologies, politicians, and groups/movements in this post, because I am not looking to get into a political discussion.  I ask that you do the same in the comments.  Any comments that don’t, even civil ones that avoid trolling and name-calling, will be deleted.)