Accountability Tuesdays – Week 47: NaNo Edition

One wonderful thing about kids is their level of unpredictability, am I right? I’m using the word “wonderful” as a subjective term of course. I mean, who would have thought that after sleeping straight through the night for four or five nights in a row, my daughter would choose the night after I only slept about five hours to decide to wake me up every half hour?

Just saying, I mean, come on. That’s cruelty right there.

Moving on.

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverHealth and Body Image Goal

My exercise this week has been cleaning. Don’t judge me. I have a birthday party coming up this weekend which will have quite a few people in my home, so I’ve been scrubbing. We also have Christmas approaching, so I’ve been deep scrubbing to ensure that everything is good for when we start decorating (right after the birthday party). And it’s been hard work, so I’m counting it as exercise.

On the food side of things, I’ve been a little healthier by drinking more water and forcing myself (most mornings) to have some kind of breakfast, but the key this week seems to have been Metamucil. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or if I really did need the extra fiber, but I’ve been feeling so much better this week. No evil stomach pains in the middle of the night, no feeling like my guts were going to drop out of me immediately after eating. It’s been a good week. I’m really, really hoping that it will continue.

Editing Goal

This is the last week that I get to say “skip!” for this one. Editing activities will resume next week, and since there’s not a lot left I really believe that this is one goal I’ll achieve by year’s end.

1,000,000 Word Goal

I’m really proud of myself this week, not because I wrote diligently ever day (I actually completely skipped two days because of a shopping trip and a day of power-cleaning) but because I managed to squeeze extra writing in and beat last week’s total even considering the days off. All total this week I wrote 17,379 words, and over 7000 of those were yesterday. It proves that you can really get things done if you put a drive on. Unfortunately my drives don’t tend to come that often. πŸ˜›

NaNoWriMo Goal

There were some ups and downs this week (see aforementioned two day skip), but I managed to come out on top by the end of the night last night. I am currently hanging in at 43,023 words, which as of last night was over a thousand words ahead. Today I actually only need to write 203 words to stay on track, but my hope is to sit down and have another day like yesterday. I’m not holding my breath or anything, but if I can do even half as well as I did yesterday, and then do that again tomorrow, I’ll be done. Won and ahead of schedule. I had originally hoped to extend my goal this year from the usual 50,000 up to 75,000, but given everything I’ve been doing, Christmas shopping, cleaning, getting ready for the baby’s party, amongst other things, I think that just hitting the usual goal is a big deal. So wish me luck, and here’s hoping that at this time next week I’ll be telling you all about my fifth NaNoWriMo win!

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 46: NaNo Edition

Before we get into it today I have to ask a serious question: does anyone else, like, just LOATHE the new WordPress reader? Seriously, this little nested pop-up thing is driving me absolutely foolish. I was 100% happy with posts popping up in a new tab when I clicked on them. It allowed me to stay in the reader and click on multiple blog posts before beginning to read. It was quite comfortable to me. Now I either have to read each post as I come to it before being allowed to move on, or I have to click each post multiple times to get them to pop up in a new tab and then close the little nested pop-up so that I can get back to the reader. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but it’s at least three times as much clicking as I ever had to do, which is extremely annoying to me. Anyone else? It can’t just be me. 😐

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverHealth and Body Image Goal

Last week on Fiction Fragment Friday I mentioned that I was having a rough go with NaNoWriMo this week, in part because I was feeling violently ill. Indeed I spent two straight days feeling very much like I was dying. I was headachy and nauseous, and everything single thing I ate made me feel like I was either going to throw up or be trapped on a toilet for the rest of my days. It wasn’t fun. After almost 48 hours of this I said screw it, I’m going to the hospital because I can’t handle this anymore.

Less than two hours later I posted this status on FaceBook:
You know you’re getting old when you go to see a doctor to complain about constant stomach pains and nausea and her response is basically, “Yeeeeaaahhh…you’ve gotta start eating better.”

My meeting with the doctor basically went like this: she got me to lay on the table so she could poke my stomach and listen to it through a stethoscope, and then she asked me all what I’d eaten over the past couple of days. That was the moment I started to see how this talk was going to go because with every item I listed her scowl got sterner and sterner.

Long story short, I am now actively trying to drink more water, eat more complex carbs, and taking a glass of Metamucil each day. God DAMN I feel so old.

That said, I have been feeling a little better. I’ve also been paying close attention to my stomach and I’m starting to be able to tell when I’ve made a transgression. My biggest issue seems to be breakfast. My body wants it, and reacts quite cruelly if it doesn’t get it, but I’ve always been one to skip the meal, not because I’m trying to save calories or anything stupid like that, but just because I’m never hungry in the mornings (even if the last thing I ate was supper the night before) and it just feels wrong to force food down my throat when I’m not hungry. But I’ve begun to notice that my stomach feels like complete crap if I haven’t eaten something within the first couple of hours of waking up, so I guess there’s got to be a change there.

I’m way too young to feel this damn old. πŸ˜›

On the exercise of things, I haven’t been doing any in the traditional sense, but I’ve spent the last few days literally scrubbing every surface in my kitchen, so that’s got to count for something, right?

Editing Goal

I’m skipping this section for the next two weeks. If you don’t understand why, please see the previous two Accountability Tuesdays.

1,000,000 Word Goal

I have to be honest, though it feels like I’ve done a ton of writing this week, it turns out that it wasn’t as much as I thought it was. I thought I was totally blowing away my total from last week, but in reality I only wrote about 2000 words more this week. Still, it’s an increase, so I’ll take it. As of the cutoff last night, I wrote 16,060 words this past week. That brings my yearly total up to 419,217. Just a little over 80,000 to go to get to half a mill. That’s six weeks at 13,464 each, but since I probably wont get anything done over the Christmas holidays it’s really more like five weeks at 16,157 each. Think I can step it up and make the half mill mark? @_@

NaNoWriMo Goal

The good news is that I’m catching up. Despite all odds and having two days last week during which I wrote absolutely nothing at all, I’ve managed to bring myself much closer to the goal line than I was before. As of last night I was up to 27,701 words, as opposed to the 30,000 that I should have been at. That’s still 2299 words behind the line, but you have to understand that during the days that I was sick I managed to fall more than 6000 words behind, so really, I’m doing quite well. If I can have a couple more days this week like the ones I had recently, all will be well. You’ll see. You’ll all see. @_@

Semi-Annual Brain Dump

Lately I’ve been feeling a little busy in the head, so although I don’t usually do this sort of thing on my blog, I thought I’d allow myself a bit of a brain dump today. Here’s some stuff that’s been hanging over my head recently:

– As mentioned last week, we’ve been redecorating the daughter’s room. It was a bit of a kick in the teeth at first because we worked really hard on that room before she was born, decorating it in soothing yellows and lots of cute Winnie the Pooh stuff. But our little girl never really got into Winnie, and yellow isn’t really her color, so we decided to make the room a little more her. In truth, we decided this almost a year ago, but it’s taken us this long to get around to it. Now that it’s almost done, though, I’m pretty happy with the results. The top of the room is a pretty pink, the bottom is a lovely purple, and the chair rail and shelves are white. I’ve picked up some room darkening purple curtains, and we plan to replace her oak bookshelf with a white one to match everything else. But my favorite thing, of course, is the part I did myself. It was the hubby’s idea, but I’m pretty proud: I fabricated all of the My Little Pony’s cutie marks (the pictures on their flanks) out of craft foam to hang on her wall. My Little Pony is the daughter’s favorite thing in the world right now, so I think she’s going to love it. Photo 9-30-2013, 9 37 19 AM– On a related note, the daughter has been sleeping with hubby and I while we’ve been painting and waiting for everything to air out, and I’m dreading trying to get her back into her own room. I’m sure she’ll love the room, but after a week of sleeping with us in our bed, the return to normal is probably going to be a huge fight. Joyous.

– Tomorrow is the first day of October, which means I really really have to get to work on the little missy’s costume. Two years ago hubby suggested that I should make our daughter’s Halloween costumes because it’s more personal and special and also most store-bought costumes are pretty crappy. I resisted at first because it’s an awful lot of work, but the first result was pretty awesome…
DSCN2421…so I kept doing it…
10. October02…and now it’s time for number three. What I have in store isn’t as involved or detailed as the previous two, but it requires sewing a pair of pants and a hoodie from scratch, so I really need to get to work asap. At least, I keep telling myself that. πŸ˜›

– Lately I’ve been trying to get the house into a state that I’m happy with, and I’m having varying degrees of success. On one hand I finally got our mud room straightened away (it’s been an ungodly wreck pretty much since the instant we moved in the house), but on the other hand I can’t seem to keep the kitchen straight for more than half a day. I mean, seriously, how do three people (one of them less than three years old) use so many damn dishes? I make allowances for the fact that we have a toddler in the house and therefore it will never be 100% perfect, but I’m amazed at how much mess the three of us can create in less than 24 hours. Maybe I’m just inefficient at cleaning? Maybe I should be able to tidy up the messes faster and thus have the house cleaner for longer? I don’t know, but I’d like to figure it out because I’m getting really sick of wandering into certain rooms in the house and feeling like I haven’t cleaned anything in weeks.

– This will be addressed again tomorrow, but the editing hasn’t been going well. For one thing, I’ve been terribly distracted by all the stuff mentioned above. For another thing, since my laptop’s battery is dying an unholy death I haven’t been able to just wander off with it wherever I want, which makes things very difficult for me. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is for me. In addition to all that, I’m having a hard time keeping track of everything in my manuscript, making sure that everything follows the proper format and so on. This isn’t my strong point. The actual writing, yeah…making sure the writing congeals into a proper story, yick.

– We’ve been trying to get the little missy to watch some different things, since she’s so overly-obsessed with My Little Pony. It’s not going as well as I’d hoped, but yesterday we did get her to watch almost two hours worth of Looney Toons last night. It was rather enjoyable. There’s something about sitting and watching the cartoons you loved as a kid with your kids that it’s bliss.

And with that, my brain is a little emptier and it’s time to move on with my day. Thanks for listening to me being random. πŸ˜€

Distractions are…um…hold that thought for just one second…

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated the dual joys of our 4th wedding anniversary, and the marriage of two friends of ours. We enjoyed a beautiful ceremony in the lovely community of Cheticamp, whilst also spending time with another married couple who we hadn’t seen in a long time, and marked the whole thing off by staying at a sweet little chalet along the coast. It was all quite lovely.

Because it was our anniversary, we were inevitably asked what we got each other, and my husband got to tell our companions that he bought me a Playstation Vita.

For our wedding anniversary.

Because I asked for it.

Hey, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while and haven’t yet figured out that I’m a total and utter dork…now you know.

Hubby bought me a Wi-Fi version Vita with a 32 GB memory card, connected it to his Playstation Network account, and downloaded a bunch of free games for me (Sony, don’t ever change your Playstation Plus system…you’re definitely doing it right), plus he picked up Rayman Origins at Walmart. Since last week I’ve been glued to this little handheld joy-box. The Vita definitely has it’s flaws, as any gaming system tends to, but I’m absolutely loving it.

And that’s a bad thing.

Okay, it’s a good thing because it was a present and I wanted it, so obviously one would hope that I enjoy playing with it. But it’s a bad thing because it is a positive time vampire. This morning I got up at about 8:30 am and started playing it. Other than to put it aside long enough to get breakfast for the baby, a coffee for the hubby, and to dance with the baby when she suddenly decided I had to dance with her, I didn’t put the Vita down until 1:00 pm. I got a dozen or so Rayman trophies, and that is all I accomplished all morning.

This is the face of my procrastination.

I didn’t write, I didn’t edit. I definitely didn’t exercise. I didn’t do any laundry or dishes, and I didn’t start tidying up the guest room (which I have to do because we have two days worth of guests coming next weekend). I didn’t even really get dressed. I put on a pair of jeans long enough to run out to the car for something, but I couldn’t be bothered to throw a bra on under my shirt, and I still haven’t as I’m typing this. The baby is still wearing her pajamas. I only just took something out of the deep freeze for supper, and I haven’t established what I’m going to do with it yet. The kitty litter is full and the cats’ streaming water dish has been broken for several days. There are a ton of leftovers in the fridge that have gone bad and I haven’t thrown them out. There are about ten boxes of old baby clothes in the hallway that I’ve been meaning to go through so I can send some stuff to consignment.

But instead of dealing with any of these things that need dealing with, I played my new Playstation Vita for four and a half hours straight. And if I’m totally honest? The only reason I actually stopped playing is because I realized that battery was dying. Yes, the only thing that dragged me away from my gaming is the fact that battery scientists (that’s a thing, right?) haven’t figured out how to make mobile batteries last longer yet.

Distractions are a terrible thing when you’re in a position that requires you to be self-motivated. Currently I am not employed; I’m working on my writing, but I’m not in a position where I am getting paid or compensated in any way. That means that every morning when I get up I have to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, “Okay. You are going to get some damn work done today!” And then I have to try to follow through with it. I have to pick my own self up, with no hope of any kind of payment of any form, and I have to force myself to sit down and write. That in and of itself wouldn’t be too bad, except for the fact that while I’m trying to force myself to write I also have to deal with a child who thinks I should wear little pink play glasses all day, and a household worth of chores and errands that never seem to slack off in any sense of the word.

Distractions are terrible and they must be eliminated. They must be stricken from the lifestyle. It is the only way. Only when distractions have been completely removed will one be able to go on with one’s day productively and efficiently.

Unfortunately, I’m way too distracted by my shiny new Vita to get on with eliminating my distractions right now, so if you don’t mind…

This is the face of my procrastination.
WHY DO YOU MOCK ME SO?!

The Most Vicious of Vicious Cycles

I have a confession to make.

I decided to take a day off from blogging today so that I could try and get some cleaning done. Our house is in a bit of a shambles, you see, and I hadn’t vacuumed since Niece was here on the weekend, and the cat’s puked in the basement again, so I thought since I had no blog posts planned in advance that I would take the day off and focus on the homestead instead.

And now I’m here telling you about it because I needed to get this out:

Cleaning sucks. It’s the most futile task known to adulthood, especially to an adult who has a toddler and two particularly idiotic cats. The second I clean up the cat puke, one of them decides to “go” outside their litter box. I vacuum my daughter’s bedroom and two minutes later she crumbles a cookie all over her floor. I throw in a load of laundry, and god help me, the stuff still waiting to go in the wash seems to multiply exponentially. For the love of puppies, I can literally see a new coat of dust appearing before I’m even finished wiping away the old dust.

And here’s the thing…even if I’m diligent, even if I forsake spare time, writing time, and playing with my daughter, and I work my ass off to get the house sparkling…by the time I get from one end of the house to the other, the first end has gotten dirty again. Between baby messes, evil cats, and no end of hair and fur on everything, there is just no way to get ahead. And that’s not even taking into account all the organizing and purging that needs to be done.

So with that said, I implore my fellow bloggers, writers, and the random other people reading this post:
How the hell do you do it? Help! HELP! I’m losing my freakin’ mind!!!!

Day jobs ruin everything, am I right?

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

28. Write about the time you almost gave up writing for good

I won’t pretend that it’s an interesting story, but yes, there was a time when I almost gave up writing for good. It came as a result of my first post-graduate, degree-relevant job. You see, up to and including the moment when I graduated from university, I had only ever had part-time jobs. I’d worked summers, or evenings and weekends. I had positions that were Monday to Friday, 9-5 deals, but those would only ever last two or three months. Alternatively, the jobs I held in between those were 2-4 days per week, not even necessarily full 8-hour shifts. What I’m getting at here is that I had a lot of spare time to write. Even when I had the (temporary) full-time positions, they were the kinds of jobs where you could haul out a notebook and scribble away while you waited for something to do. Even at my most busy, when I was going to university during the day and working during the evenings, I’d still find time to write during free classes and slow shifts.

That changed quite dramatically when I started working at the paper mill. For one thing, this wasn’t the kind of job where you had down-time that you could fill however you pleased. Most of the time I was busy as hell, and even when I wasn’t it would be frowned upon if I curled up at my desk with a notebook. It was the kind of job where you were expected to be doing something even if there was no something to do. For another thing, this was a full-time, permanent position. I no longer had random slots of time to myself, multiple days off at any given time, and I got no breaks. I’m not talking about break-time during the work day – of course I got those, it’s illegal not to give them. I’m talking about chunks of time – days, weeks, or even months – during which I was completely off. This was a permanent job. After a few months that reality started to set in. I was going to do this job every day, five days a week, four weeks a month, twelve months a year. That first year I didn’t even get my two weeks of vacation because I couldn’t afford to take it (vacation pay is based on previous year’s earnings and since I got hired in December that would have meant I’d get approximately $80 for my two weeks).

With all that said and done, you also have to add in to the equation the fact that I was all alone in the world. I’d had to move an hour and a half from home for the job, while my boyfriend (now husband) was still back home finishing his own university program. Since I was living alone I had to do 100% of the stuff you have to do when you live alone: the grocery shopping, the cooking, the dishes, the laundry, the errands, etc etc etc. To make a long story short (is it too late for that?) I didn’t have a lot of spare time to myself. The spare time I did have I mostly filled with brainless things like watching tv and playing on my computer because I was just too exhausted to do anything else.

It took a while to work my way out of this rut. Eventually my future-hubby moved up with me and I had help around the house again. He would end up getting a job at the mill as well and as time went on things seemed to even out, become more second-nature, and calm down a bit. I’m still as busy as I ever was, but it doesn’t feel as busy because I’m used to it. So a while back I stumbled across NaNoWriMo for the first time and thought, “Hey, you know what? I miss writing. I should start writing again.” It’s been slow-going, and I still don’t always find the time I need to actually do it, but I’ve committed myself to keeping writing as part of my life. It’s important to me, even if it never takes me any further than my own laptop.