Accountability Wednesdays: Week 33

I wanted to add this quick message to thank everyone for the outpouring of support over my post this morning. Ryan and I were not close, but he was always a total sweetheart to me and I genuinely believe that the world is a little better for having had him in it. Thanks to everyone who read my post, and extra-special thanks to everyone who clicked on the video I shared at the bottom of it. Please continue to spread Ryan’s video so that others can hear his story even though he’s no longer around to tell it. I think that’s what’s important. LOVE LIFE!

A little something I want to talk about before we get down to it this week. In case you hadn’t noticed, a little thing called the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” has taken the Internet by storm. The challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to raise awareness for ALS, in addition to making a donation to the cause. The whole thing caught on in an insane way, with even the biggest of celebrities (and even some big businessmen like Bill Gates) rising to the challenge. In the past couple of days the challenge began to sweep through my own family, so two nights ago I recorded the following video:

My aunt nominated me for the challenge while I’m on shift out West, so I had to get a little creative by swiping a bin from the camp cleaners and doing the challenge in the shower to avoid a huge mess, but I managed it! (Also, still totally made a huge mess…lol) My aunt also nominated my husband, whose water was colder than mine judging by his reaction, and then my daughter decided that she wanted to do it as well…too cute!

For more information on the challenge and ALS, check out this link.

Okay, with that out of the way, here’s my weekly update:

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

As usual, while on shift, I can’t report anything concerning my weight, but I can tell you that I’ve accomplished some good things this week. For one thing, I’ve gone the entire week without drinking anything other than water and tea (with nothing in it). Literally, that’s all I’ve been drinking. The amount of pop alone that I’ve cut out should definitely be worth something. In addition to that, I’ve been so much better with the sweets and junk food, you have no idea. I’ve been letting myself have one sweet a day (a pair of cookies, or a pastry, or whatever) and that’s it. I only broke that one day, when I had two sweets.

Another thing I’ve recently begun doing is not eating supper when we get back to camp at the end of the day. My work days are 12.5-hours long, with an hour-long bus ride either way, so we’re only actually physically in the camp for 9.5 hours a day. That means that if I eat the supper there, I’m having this big heavy mean almost immediately before bed. And I was sleeping terribly. When I finally put two and two together I started to pack up my supper and take it to work the next day, allowing me to stop eating approximately 4 hours before going to bed, and I’ve been sleeping much better. It’s making a big difference.

Lastly, I’ve been very diligent about taking my gut medicine (I only screwed up one part of one day) and it’s definitely been helping. My stomach has been so much better than usual, it’s almost creepy.

Goal #2. Be more active on social media and work hard on my author platform.

Things were a little slow this week because I was busy working on other things, but there was a bit of activity the last couple of days with the ice bucket challenge stuff. Spread the word! Actually, now that I think about it, one reason that I didn’t accomplish much on this goal this week is because I was super-distracted by checking out all the celebrity ice bucket videos. Tom Hiddleston’s was truly stupendous, and Chris Pratt is definitely the funniest one yet. Go see!

Goal #3. COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

You guys, I did so well this week. I expected to get a chapter done a day, which would mean that I’d be done by the time this shift is over. Well, I’ve still got six days of this shift left, and guess what? I’ve only got one chapter left! In fact, by the time some of you read this post I’ll probably be done! And then it’s off to the beta-reader and hopefully I’ll be getting to work on the whole publishing bit by next shift. I am PUMPED!

Goal #4. Write 500,000 words.

Remember how I said that this goal would probably dwindle because I was going to be focusing on the editing stuff? Well I couldn’t work on any of the editing during work hours, but I could scribble stuff in a notebook during breaks and lunch, which is how I somehow (I’m still not quite sure myself) managed to write 7136 words. I’m totally stoked. I actually managed to have a successful week on all four goals, and that’s while working 12.5 hour days. How awesome am I? Totally awesome.

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 32


Can I just first mention that this traveling back and forth across the country thing is for the birds? Good money, but the traveling part I could definitely do without. I’m on day 2 of the current shift and I think it’s going to be two or three more days before I recover. Anyone know of any good stimulants that aren’t rough on the guts? 😛

Okay, on to the weekly nonsense.

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

I don’t have much to report here, although I can tell you that I had a pretty decent go of it the last two days. I managed the entire day of travel without eating anything horrible (except for an iced cappuccino at Tim Hortons, but I’m not counting that because I needed the caffeine to survive the 5-hour bus ride). Then, at dinner with my coworkers, I announced to them all that I was not to drink any pop this shift and if anyone sees me with a can they are to slap it the hell out of my hand. So there’s some accountability for you. Also, yesterday I actually managed to restrict myself to a decent number of calories. I don’t know how long that’s going to last before I start having sugar withdrawal symptoms, but we’ll take it one day at a time.

Still trying to figure out how I can fit exercise into my day while I’m on shift but I just don’t think it’s possible without giving up some of the precious little sleep I already get.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my author platform.

A bit of a lull on this one this week. No new YouTube videos because I won’t be able to record any more unboxings until I get home, but Nerd Block Jr retweeted my vid of their recent box, so that’s nice. I’ve been trying to hang out on Twitter more often but I think I’ve waned on Facebook. I can’t say it’s been a bad week, just not a particularly good one.

On a related note, if anyone has any ideas for YouTube videos that I could do in between the unboxings, let me know! I’m actually having fun and I think it’s good for me to slowly get over the anxiety of talking to a camera. 😛 Plus it would keep the channel active during the lull when none of my subscription boxes are available to me.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I can’t say that I got a lot accomplished this past week, but I promise that a lot is going to get done this coming week. I brought my laptop out West with me this shift, all fitted up with a brand new battery that actually holds a charge, and my plan is to spend the hour-long bus ride each evening working on finishing the final edits. If I stay true to this promise every evening that will be fourteen hours of editing, and I’m almost certain that will be enough to finish the edits. I did the first day yesterday and managed to edit an entire chapter, and there’s only ten left, so there you have it. Mini-goal! I’m on it!

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

Continuing on with this one, I have to report a lackluster week since I’m focusing my energy on goal #3, but it wasn’t all that bad. Because of a few extra review posts and something I whipped up on a notepad during break yesterday, I can report 1924 words this week. If I continue to scribble stuff out during my breaks I may even have something half-decent to report next week, but we’ll see. Can’t focus on everything at once, right? Right.

So with that said, if anyone feels like encouraging me to eat well and keep editing, please do so. I thrive on positive reinforcement. XD

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 23

A couple of things to say before we get down to it this week. First of all, I know I’ve been rather slow when it comes to responding to comments and the like lately, and I apologize. I’m having one of those times when it just seems like there’s a million things to do and I can’t concentrate, so I’ve been a little lackluster when it comes to responding to the various forms of internet communication. I tried to catch up yesterday, but if I missed anyone I apologize, and feel free to shout at me. 🙂

Second, as of this coming Monday I will officially be at my new job in the Alberta oil sands. That means that for two weeks at a time I may be fairly absent online. It all depends on what the cell reception is like where I’m going. So if it seems as though I’ve disappeared (except for scheduled posts), I haven’t…I’m just having a difficult time communicating.

Okay, now that I’ve explained that, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

I must admit that I had a rough time this week. Part of the problem was good old fashioned being too busy. On Wednesday I had overnight visitors, then on Thursday I had to do a 3-hour round trip for a doctor’s appointment and a visit to my sick grandmother, which was punctuated by an almost five-hour trip to the circus with the daughter and the niece, and then hubby and I took the niece to our house for two nights, which just always wears me out even when the kids are really good (which they were). So all in all, I ended up missing all my workouts for those days, plus ate a ton of junk like pizza and pancakes.

I totally planned to make up for those lost workouts early this week, but somehow it just never happened. I managed to fit in the one run that I missed, but I never made up for the strength training sessions that I missed, and as of a strangely exhausting day today I’ve managed to get another run behind. I’m just all kinds of screwed up, and to make matters worse I’ve been reverting to bad habits like drinking pop constantly.

On the positive side of things, I finally got a medical diagnosis on my stomach problems. It was the one I was dreading, because it involves a lot of work to figure out your triggers (of which there could be many), but there’s an upside to it. Given my descriptions of the problem the doc thinks that my biggest (maybe only) trigger is anxiety, so he’s given me a prescription to hopefully help with that. I’ve only been taking it for a couple of days so I can’t really tell if it’s helping yet, but I should know pretty soon since my worst times are when traveling to and from work. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

As mentioned above, it’s been a really bad week for this kind of stuff. I haven’t touched Twitter once, and have only been on Facebook in order to link to my blog posts. There’s not much more to say about that, aside from that I’ll try harder next week.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

You can probably guess based on everything else what I’m going to say here. Like everything else, it was a bad week for this goal, but I am at least able to say that I got one more chapter done. Along those lines, I can tell you that I’m starting to understand that “kill the little darlings” thing that everyone is always talking about. The chapter I was working on was one that my beta-reader said dragged a lot, so when I was going through it I was trying to find ways to shorten it or speed up the action, and it was harder than I would have expected. Every line seemed important and well-written, so it was really difficult to cut anything. In the end I managed, but it really gave me an appreciation for how hard it is to cut stuff that only you feel is worth leaving in.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

Surprisingly, this is the one goal that I’m not too disappointed in this week. It was definitely a weaker period than the previous few weeks, but it was still pretty good overall. Honestly, I’m not even sure where these words came from, but somehow I wound up with a total of 5198 words. Not too shabby for such a busy and confusing week!

All in all, I would have to say that this week was frustrating in a great number of ways, but at least I can say that I kept writing, right? Right.


Accountability Wednesdays: Week 22

You know what’s incredibly adorable? A three-year-old helping out in the garden. I have the kind of plants around my house that require you to pull away the dead stuff each Spring, and the second I put my gardening gloves on the little missy demanded that she have a pair too. Fifteen minutes and one trip to Canadian Tire later and I had this helping me out with my landscaping:

That is how you make gardening fun right there. Best little cedar-chip spreader I ever met. Also, gardening…hard freakin’ work. Really brings home how terribly out of shape I am. And speaking of being out of shape…

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to keep on track since my post last week. I am now in the middle of week 2 of my exercise plan, which involves three days a week of the Zombies! Run! app, three days a week of a strength-training program, and one rest/stretch day. For myself, the trick to exercise has always been keeping my brain amused. I used to read magazines while walking on the treadmill. That worked once, but at the moment I’m at a point where just walking isn’t going to do me any good. That’s why the Zombies! Run! app is great, because it’s like living a little story while learning how to run. I’m doing the 5k training version of the app, and it starts out really slow, which is good for me because I’m so out of shape that 20 seconds of running has me panting like a heat-stressed dog.

For the strength-training I’ve been following the program in a book I’ve had for a while called Buff Brides. My husband laughed at me when he saw me looking at it and pointed out that I haven’t been a bride for a while. I punched him and told him that I was pretty sure my body didn’t care whether it was going to be ultimately wearing a wedding dress or not. I chose that program because I did it before (guess when?) and it’s strenuous enough for me to get something out of it while being low-key enough for me to not want to throw up while doing it (an important factor for me). Mind you strength training is incredibly boring to me, which is why I’ve been watching TV shows while doing it. Win-win.

Anyway, long story short, I’ve been getting all my exercise in this week. The eating aspect of trying to lose weight and get healthier is a little bit more difficult and I can’t honestly say that I’m doing well there. Baby steps, right? Right.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

I’m seriously considering removing this from the list simply because it’s hard to write about every week. 😛

Everything is pretty much the same as it has been during previous weeks. The big thing that I did this week was to participate in Jay Dee’s What Will You Write? challenge…which I won. ^_^ It was fun, and I’m expecting it to get big as time goes on, so I’ll keep participating.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I can’t really report anything this week because there was no physical accomplishments. In my defense, it’s been a really busy week. That said, I’ve got it mentally worked out how I’m going to proceed with the next few chapters (which will have some minor revisions), so I’m all prepared. The next two days are going to be a bit of a write-off because I’ve got company coming today and a 3-hour drive on my hands tomorrow, but I am confident that this weekend I will get a chance to sit down and really get some work done.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

It was a good week. Even though a few of the things that I wrote are things that I don’t think are ever going to be published in any manner, I did wind up with a total of 9172 words this week, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve been trying to get as much out as I can before I return to work because I don’t know what my output is going to be like once that happens. I’m also trying to schedule lots of blog posts in advance, which really helps with the word count. But, that said, I’m starting to run out of ideas, so if anyone wants to make any suggestions I’d be happy to hear them. lol

Blogging 101, Day Two: Say Your Name

The assignment for Day Two of our little blogging adventure is to edit your title and tagline. The reasons? Well for one thing, these are for the most part the first things your visitors will see, and you want to make a good impression. For another these two little pieces of information can define your blog and help explain to the people who wander by why they might want to stop and have a visit.

Now one thing that The Daily Post points out is that your blog’s title does not have to be the same as the url you chose for it when you set it up, and that’s very true. For instance, when I set up my blog I chose the url “nopageleftblank” and also used that as the title of the blog, but at any time I could decide to change my title to anything else I want. It’s nice if the url and the title match up, but not necessary at all.

Something else I will mention on this topic, however, is something else that I picked up from Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Authors in a Digital World. That is, before even signing up for a blog in the first place, one should consider why they are starting a blog. When I started mine I was a bit hyper and immediately started trying to come up with clever names, but in retrospect I should have considered that this blog is going to be an important part of my author brand. To those ends, it would be nice if my url was something that is easier to find based on what little information people may have about me, i.e. my name. Don’t get me wrong, even if I could go back I would still name my blog, “No Page Left Blank” because I believe it defines my goals, but if I had considered the implications a little further I may have chosen my url to be so that it would be that much easier to locate via search engine. Get what I’m saying?

Anyway, back to the assignment. Now, I’m not actually going to change my title and tagline because I’ve already established those and they’re exactly as I want them to be, but if you’re just starting up, here’s how I chose mine. “No Page Left Blank” is my title, chosen because I wanted to immediately give the impression of an artist to people who wandered by. My goal is to become a published fiction author, and to those ends I try to write as much as I can, whether it be toward the actual fiction, or on this blog, or whatever other options present themselves. Thus, I attempt to leave “no page left blank”. Get it? It may not be the most clever thing in the world, but it’s a little catchy, a little memorable, and my impression is that people are easily able to remember it and associate it with me.

As for the tagline, this is a place for you to be a little more creative if you so desire. A title isn’t likely to be very long – in fact, a lot of people simply stick with their own name – but the tagline gives you the chance to actually describe your blog a little. Myself, I just chose to say “Tracey Lynn Tobin’s Blog” because the end game is that people who read my books will then come looking for my blog. It suits it’s purpose, you see? But get creative! And if you have no idea how to actually go about changing these little bits of information, The Daily Post explains how in the Day Two post. Check it out!

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 21

First, a bit of randomness on this particular Wednesday. Have you ever had to take a drug test for any reason? I’m up to my third test because it’s a requirement for most companies on the Alberta oil sands before you’re allowed to go out on their sites. For the majority, the work camps that employees live on during their shift are “dry and drug-free”, meaning that if you’re caught drinking or taking recreational drugs, you’re booted out. In a lot of cases you’re blacklisted by the company who owns the site and you can never work on one of their sites again. So, yeah…ensuring that you’re not a drunk or a druggie is a bit of a big deal.

So anyway, I went for one of these drug tests recently because I’ve been offered a new position starting in June. This particular test was at a different location than the ones I’d been to previously, and one of the first things the lady in charge asked me was to lift up my pant legs so that she could see I didn’t have anything hidden there. After showing her that I didn’t have any smuggled samples and having a bit of a chuckle, I asked her if she got a lot of people trying to cheat the system. She told me that I’d be depressed if I knew just how often that happens. She said that sometimes people actually show up to the test loaded drunk. Other times she’s had people come in with big bottles (filled with other peoples’ urine, remember) bulging through their pant leg and have argued her down to the ground that there was nothing there. More than once she’s had to call the cops on someone who assaulted her because she wouldn’t let them take the test with their – very obviously right there under your pants – illegal sample on them.

I had to share because of the sheer absurdity of it. I can’t fathom, for the life of me, walking into a drug testing facility and signing a bunch of legal documents swearing, upon legal retribution, that the sample you’re providing is your own, and then being surprised when the tester asks you to prove that you don’t have anything on you before you take the test. It just…flummoxes me. o.O

And with that said, shall we move on to the accountability portion of the post?

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Finally – finally – I have something to report for this one. I’m so proud.

Early Sunday morning, despite the fact that we were experiencing that gross misty rain (you know the stuff that is hardly even rain, but more like a thin mist, and you get totally soaked from standing in it for ten seconds?), I dragged myself out of bed, took a hit of my inhaler, and went for a run. I say run…it was mostly walking, but still. I started from scratch with the Zombies! Run program, and I’m glad I went right back to the beginning…I’m so out of shape that even the 15 second running intervals had me panting. But the point is that I did it! I got up, went outside, and went for a “run”!

Even better, the following day I did about forty minutes of strength training, and the day after that I did another Zombies! run. Today, sometime after you’ve already read this post, I’ll be doing another round of strength training. Rinse, repeat!

I will say that I feel really good. Exercise does genuinely make me feel good about myself, it’s just hard to convince myself of that fact when I’m feeling lazy or have a thousand other things that need doing.

The food-related side of the story is a little less impressive. I’ve been trying to drink more water than anything else, but it’s difficult because I hate water. Exercise always makes me crave things like fruit and protein, so that helps, but often a few hours later I find myself dying for sugar. One step at a time, though, right? 🙂

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

Things have been a little slow here, to be honest. I can’t say that I’ve been particularly bad on the social media front, just not necessarily as good as I could be. I still find it hard to think of anything worth saying on Twitter, though I have been spending a fair bit of time conversing with my fellow bloggers, so that’s good.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I said I’d get something done on this last week, and for once I actually told the truth. It’s difficult to find the necessary quiet time in order to concentrate on what I’m doing, but this week I managed to go through and sign off on two chapters. Those chapters are 100% done and will not be changed any more in any way. So now I’ve got to do the same thing for fourteen more chapters. Hopefully I can pick it up a little more this week.

On a related note, has anyone here ever used Scrivener to compile a manuscript into a Kindle file? I’ve been playing with it and I’m having the worst time. I got it to actually do the compile, but the file I wound up with had enormous text so that there was maybe one sentence on each page. I have no idea why it’s doing it because everything compiles properly when I use other formats, such as PDF. Anyone? Help a fellow indie writer out?

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

I’ve fallen off the wagon a little here, but all in all it was still a half-decent week. I’ve been trying to schedule a bunch of blog posts in advance because of the aforementioned job offer, and between that and a little bit of random journaling I managed to end up with 6809 words for the week. One thing that I noticed when examining the little spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my words is that I have written no original fiction yet this year. I did a little bit of work on my Final Fantasy novelization, but I don’t consider that to be original fiction, for obvious reasons. This distresses me a bit. I do have the defense of trying to get one manuscript in publishable form, but it bothers me that I’m almost five months into the year and haven’t written a single new thing. I’m really dying to get to work on the fantasy series, and I think that once I get on that it will really boost my word count. So, fingers crossed, I guess. 🙂

Fun times!

Blogging 101, Day One: Introduce Yourself


Day One’s assignment is to forget about what your blog looks like or even if it has a proper name yet, and to write a “Who I am and why I’m here” post. It may seem a little bit obvious to introduce yourself when starting up your blog, but lots of people don’t do it right off the get-go, and plenty never do it. I’ve checked out tons of blogs that left me wondering, “Who the hell is this person and why should I care about what he/she has to say?”

The fact is, as The Daily Post explains, that writing that introduction post has the joint benefits of letting your prospective audience know what to expect from you, as well as helping you yourself decide what this whole blog thing is going to be all about. You can write exclusively about yourself (pro tip: people care about you more if they feel like they know you), or explain your goals and reason for starting the blog, or even just write about how you honestly have no idea what you’re doing yet. The point is to get words down, to have something available for your prospective readers to look at and (hopefully) think, “Hmm. This person sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll follow.”

When I first started this blog I wrote just such a post, one that – while it didn’t give up much information – gave an idea of who I might be as a blogger. It was a small example of my voice, of what people might have to look forward to if they chose to follow me. In retrospect I may have been a little more forthcoming with the personal information, as this blog has now become a key component in my author platform, but we all have to start somewhere.

So for argument sake, and to be able to say that I did, in fact, do the “assignment”, here’s my new “Who I am and why I’m here” post:

My name is Tracey Lynn Tobin. I’m a 30-year-old wife and mother of one spectacularly cool little girl. I’m trained and regularly work as an Industrial Instrumentation technician, but at the core I am, and always will be, a writer. I’ve been writing fiction since the third grade, and while I’ve had numerous breaks from writing as I’ve grown, I’ve always come back to it. In recent years I have focused a lot more on my writing, on refining my style, on finishing what I start, and on building an audience. I’ve not been published as yet, but I plan to be in the near future, with my first novel being a zombie apocalypse that I’ve been working on for a few years now, called Nowhere to Hide. This blog serves the dual purposes of helping me to build that audience I spoke of, while also being a way to keep myself writing even when writing seems impossible.

Oh, and by the way, I love horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, and I’m happy to talk at length about my many obsessions, which include the Marvel Universe, the Whedonverse, and Super-Who-Lock (Google it ^_~).

There…how’s that for an introduction? 🙂

The second part of the assignment is to ensure that you give your post some good tags, the kind that a search engine will snag and lead readers to your post. For example, for the purpose of this post I’ll make sure that I tag “Marvel Universe”, “Whedonverse”, and “Super-Who-Lock”, because those three things are certain to be regularly searched on the multitude of search engines. The fact that I’ve included them in my post won’t necessarily bring anyone here, but put it this way: if you don’t put the tags in there, search engines have no way to identify your post, and no reason to bring it up in any search results.

Two extra things that I’ll mention that aren’t actually part of the Blogging 101 assignment:

When considering the tags that you’re going to use for your post, remember to identify yourself in some way. As Kristen Lamb explains in Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, there is going to come a time when people are going to be searching for you by name, and whether that name is your real one or a pseudonym, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for people to track it down if it is attached to your blog as often as possible. Step back and imagine what you would type into Google if you were searching for a particular person. For example, since picking up the tip from Kristen, I’ve started tagging each and every one of my posts with the two tags: “Tracey Lynn Tobin blogger” and “Tracey Lynn Tobin writer”. That one little change alone has made it so that now if you go to Google and search for my name, every result on the first page is actually me.

And the last thing that I’ll point out is that the “introduction” post you’ve just created makes an excellent “About Me” page for your blog. As previously mentioned, people are more apt to care about what you have to say if they feel like they know you a little bit, so making sure that you share that information in a way that is easily accessible can be a very important step to creating a successful blog.

That’s it for Day One! Catch you all tomorrow!

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 20

Whenever I can think of something quick and interesting, I try to share a little something at the beginning of all my accountability posts, as a little bonus to the people who bother to read them (and as an incentive to the people who really couldn’t care less about my goal progression). This week I just had to share this article, which I stumbled across on Business Insider. It explains, quite simply, that the same researchers who initially provided evidence of gluten-sensitivity have now published follow-up papers that show that they were totally wrong and there is no such thing as gluten-sensitivity. (This is not to be confused with Celiac disease, which is an auto-immune condition that is triggered by gluten and is, in fact, a very real disease.) I have to be honest, this amuses me a great deal because I know a few people who actually have Celiac disease and have to deal with all that that entails, and then I also know quite a few people who have used the term “gluten sensitivity” to give them an excuse for everything from why they’re overweight, to why they need to have a ton of special instructions for every meal, to why they just refuse to stop farting every five seconds (yes, that’s an actual conversation that I’ve had to endure with a coworker).

One less thing to blame all your troubles on, people. Sorry, try again. XP

And now to talk about my troubles, which I’ll readily admit are entirely my own fault.

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Not a great deal to report here. As usual exercise hasn’t been on the top of my priority list. I will say that I’ve been eating a little better, although that’s objective. I’ve been forcing myself to have breakfast in the morning, usually in the form of a bran-dense cereal of some kind, and at the advice of a couple of readers I’ve been trying to force more liquids down my throat to keep the hunger at bay. I have a really hard time drinking plain water, but I’ve been drinking a lot of caffeine-free tea and juices. There’s also the occasional glass of pop, but I’ve been trying really hard to restrict that to one glass a day. I will admit that it’s helping. I’m still snacky (I’m working on that, I swear), but not nearly as bad as I was a week ago. I’ve been managing to keep the constant random grabbing of easily-shoved-in-my-mouth foods to a minimum.

On a related note, can being a little dehydrated actually make you a little bloated? I’m just wondering because since I’ve been forcing more fluids into me I’ve noticed that my pants don’t feel as tight. I haven’t lost any weight or inches; my pants just feel a little more comfortable. Does that make any sense at all? :\

Oh, also, I’ve now been on my trail medication for my stomach problems for a week now. I kinda thought they might be helping, but then this morning I had some major gut rot for no reason that I could discern…I didn’t even eat anything out of the ordinary. So, I dunno. I have an appointment to see the gastroenterologist again in two weeks, so maybe he’ll have something else to say, or want to put me on different meds, or maybe he’ll just tell me that I’m psychotic. We’ll see, I suppose.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

Things are going as well as always on this front. I’m still trying hard to keep up with the blogging community, and I’ve been making an effort to drop a tweet every now and then that isn’t a link to the blog. I’ve noticed a couple of new followers to the blog, as well as a couple of new likes on my Facebook Author page, so that’s awesome. Hi everyone! *waves*

Another silly thing that I’ll mention because it’s technically kinda “social”…last week the hubby and I re-watched Tropic Thunder (a ridiculous comedy about a bunch of actors making a war movie, if you didn’t know). There’s this one scene that involves Robert Downey Jr in an inception-like levels-deep role, and I thought it was so silly that I made this image about it:

I then posted the pic on, because what the hell, right? Well, apparently over 23,000 people thought it was amusing as well, because BAM. Hot page. It’s not exactly the crowning achievement of my internet career, but I have to admit that it pleases me that 23,000 people “liked/upvoted” something that I came up with.

Now if the image would just find it’s way onto Robert Downey Jr’s Facebook page, I could die a happy fangirl. lol

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I’m gonna go right ahead and put this out there: I’m going to get something done on this during this following week, or I am going to find some way to severely punish myself. The floor is open for suggestions, people. Give me some motivation by telling me how I can torture myself if I don’t get some work done.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

All other things aside, it was a pretty good week for this goal. It wasn’t quite as good a week as week 19, but still an excellent one at a total of 8240 words. I expect to get at least that number in again this following week because I’ve got a lot of blog-post planning to do. You see, I’ve gotten word that I shall be returning to work in just under a month, and I want to get as much work completed and out of the way as possible before that happens. So look forward to another excellent word count next Wednesday. ^_^

And don’t forget: if you haven’t been officially diagnosed with Celiac disease, all that super-expensive gluten-free stuff is a complete waste of money. XD

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 19

I’m just gonna put this out there, on the off-chance that someone actually responds. If there is anyone out there who has the secrets on either, a. turning off your stomach so that it stops feeling hungry all the time for no reason, b. learning how to happily exist on less sleep, or c. getting stuff (work/exercise) done in your sleep, I would greatly, greatly appreciate a heads up.

Moving on.

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

As you may have already discerned from my little passive-aggressive rant up there, this goal is still not going so hot. I had really, truly hoped to have a good doctor’s appointment on Friday…a revealing one. Unfortunately, it was more along the lines of, “Well, we know there’s something wrong because you’re telling us that something is wrong, and also your blood work is telling us that something is wrong, but…we don’t know what is wrong.” Basically, none of the tests show anything. I have a ton of symptoms, but they can find no signs of any kind of condition. My family physician is convinced that my problem is the same as one that my mother has, but again, no proof. I left my doctor’s office on Friday with a vague sense of doom and a prescription for a trial run of some meds that may help, but may also make my problems worse. Oh, and it may take up for a month for me to even notice if they’re making a difference, and they cost $80 for a month’s supply. So yeah. I’m not in the best of moods concerning that particular aspect of my life.

Several times in the past week I’ve tried to convince myself to get up and go for a run in the morning, but it hasn’t happened yet. A combination of straight-up laziness and fear that my stomach will fall clean out of me the second I try to move has kept me from taking the leap. To make matters even more fun, I’ve crossed back over into the “ravenous hunger” part of the strange hungry/not-hungry cycle I go through for no discernible reason (see request a.).

All in all, just feeling horrible about myself. There’s always next week, I guess.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

I suppose I can give myself some kudos on this one. My Facebook time has slowed down a bit, but I notice I’ve been doing a lot more consistent interaction with other bloggers, plus I’ve actually been dropping in on Twitter every now and then. I’m also proud to say that I’m THIS CLOSE (*imagine me holding my fingers a really short distance from each other*) to hitting the 200 followers mark on this blog. Since I entered April of this year with somewhere around 150 followers I’m pretty excited about that. Go me!

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

As mentioned last week, I took a break on this one in order to beta-read a manuscript for a friend because I didn’t want to be trying to divide my attention between the two different stories. Well I’m happy to be able to announce that I managed to get the beta-read out of the way this past week. It was the first one I’ve ever done, and I believe I did a pretty good job, so yeah…pride. The story was also a good one, so that helps of course. XD

Point: I didn’t get anything done on this goal this week, but now I have no excuses. Nose to the grindstone time, baby.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

Finally something I can feel really proud about. Mostly all the words that I wrote this week were for the purpose of scheduling blog posts ahead of time, but it was a lot of words written for the purpose of scheduling blog posts ahead of time. All together I would up with 9785 words for the week, which is almost as much as the last three weeks combined, and also the most I’ve written in one week since March. Now if only I could keep that up for a few weeks, am I right?

You know I’m right.

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 18


Before I get started today, I have a quick question for my fellow WordPress bloggers. Are any of you having problems with lost comments/notifications? Since April was such a busy month with the A to Z Challenge and all, I think I may have missed this problem until just recently. Basically what is happening is that I’m getting notifications through my iPhone app (for instance, “So-and-So has left a comment on your post, Such-and-Such”) and I’ll glance at them just to see what they are and then forget about them for the time being because I find it too cumbersome to do a lot of comment replies and the like on my phone. So later, when I’m on my computer, I’ll go to WordPress to reply to the comments, but it won’t be in my notifications. It’ll be on the post, if I go to my blog manually, and it’ll be in the “Comments” tab of my account dashboard, but it won’t be in the list of most recent notifications. Since that notification list is what I normally use to interact with comments and the like, I now find myself in the frustrating position of having no idea how many comments I may have completely neglected to reply to. And since I’m the kind of blogger who likes to respond to everyone who interacts with my blog, this is really really bugging me, but the only way I can know now is to go to that “Comments” tab and scroll through every single one to see what I’ve missed, which I totally do not have time for.

So, in conclusion, I’m asking if anyone else has experienced anything like this, and also issuing an apology to anyone who may have visited me during the A to Z Challenge and not gotten a reply. I swear I made every effort to interact with everyone, so if I didn’t reply to you, this is why. Sorry!!

Moving on…

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Okay, so two weeks ago I said that I had a plan and that it was going to be put into motion within the following two weeks. I’m going to go right ahead and say that that did not happen. However, hear me out. Last week I got a C.T. scan done on my abdomen. This Friday I have a doctor’s appointment to talk about that scan. I’m really, really, really hoping to get an answer, or at least a better guess, about what might be wrong with my guts. And since, for the past year or so, exercise has tended to make my stomach problems worse, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to wait until I get to that appointment first. I’m not sure what I’m going to find out (if anything), but it would be nice to get an idea about what’s going on before I put my guts through that extra strain. Hopefully we’ll finally have some real idea about why I get the way I do, and I’ll leave the appointment with meds or a diet plan or something that will help avoid the issues, thus making exercise less of an anxious ordeal.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

Things have slowed down a lot this week now that the A to Z Challenge is over. I’ve been keeping up with Facebook, but that’s about it. Trying to keep in touch with all the awesome bloggers I met in the last month, but I also kinda wanted a week of silence after all the business during the challenge. I’ll do better next week, promise. ^_~

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

This seems completely illogical, considering that I just got myself moving on this goal, but I’ve put it on hold for a short amount of time. The reason is that a friend of mine has given me her manuscript to beta-read and I want to give it my full attention. To be reading someone’s manuscript while also editing my own, I just don’t think that would be kosher. She’s relying on me to give her honest notes about the state of her manuscript, and I want to make sure that I’m able to focus on that without my mind wandering over into the problems that I have with my own. I’m hoping to get the reading done and the notes off to her as quickly as possible, so check back with me next week for this goal.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

Beyond everything else, I was really hoping to get a good, high word count this week, but it didn’t really happen that way. There were a few distractions, such as a birthday party that took a giant chunk of my day away (hour and a half drive down, two hour party, hour and a half drive back), a few crappy days (miserable, rainy grossness makes it impossible for me to concentrate), and a variety of other things I had to do (take the daughter to playgroup, house stuff, major grocery runs, etc), and when you add in the fact that I’m just sometimes lazy as all hell, I only ended up with a grand total of 4297 words this week. The good news is that when I happened to glance up at my grand total for 2014 thus far, I found that I’ve surpassed a hundred thousand! My official number at the moment is 103,552 words since January 1st. It definitely would be nice if it were higher, but still..that’s over 25,000 words per month so far, so go me. ^_^