Accountability Tuesdays – Week 24

Do I look super sweet and trustworthy? I only ask because today marked just about the hundredth time that an elderly lady picked me – out of an entire airport full of people – to ask where she had to go/what she had to do or to just sit down and start having a conversation with me like we were old pals. I’m not complaining, I just find it humorous. I’m a young adult wandering around an airport with a Batman t-shirt and “I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night” bags under my eyes, and somehow this translates to “ideal travel companion” to little old ladies. *shrug*

Oh wait, I’m traveling again… That must mean its time for more accountability. Huzzah! ๐Ÿ˜›

Health and Body Image
I’m sad to say that I tapered off on this one last week, mostly because it rained and rained and rained, and I just can’t deal with running in the rain. On that note, after my husband asked me what the hell I was going to do in the winter, I started working on cleaning up our basement so I can use the treadmill again. Not ideal (I find running on a treadmill really hard on my knees) but it’ll be better than not doing anything. In the meantime I’m on my way back out to Fort Mac, where it’s dry as a bone 90% of the time, so yay for getting back to running! The audial zombies have been waiting for me, I’m sure.

Editing Goal
As previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to get rid of my short supernatural romance before moving back to my zombie novel. It’s much quicker going – I’m already halfway through chapter 3 of 10 – so I don’t expect it to take too long. Though I much, much prefer to work within Scrivener, I’ve exported my files and taken them out West with me on my tablet so I can continue to pluck away. Hopefully I won’t screw up my formatting…that stuff drives me looney.

1,000,000 Word Goal
I did a silly thing this week. Namely, I forgot to keep track of my writing. Mostly I only did blog posts, and I can tell you that those accounted for 4329 words, but there’s some more in there somewhere from reworded romance scenes that I neglected to record. I can figure it out…but not without my laptop. So for now we’ll go with the 4329. I’ll add the rest at a later date and report my grand total instead.

And now, my friends, it’s time for another plane ride. Thank puppies I have a good book to read.

I’ve Been Changed in the Write Way

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnaginโ€™s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

101. How writing has changed your life.

When I was in the third grade, we were assigned a writing project. I can’t recall exactly what the project was, but it involved writing a short story and binding it into a little book using construction paper and string. I wrote a story called “The Mystery of the Emerald-Eyed Cat” and while I can’t recall precisely what the plot of the story was, I remember that I bound it in green construction paper and that I drew mean-looking cat eyes on the cover. I also remember that I signed my name on the front with an extra middle name that doesn’t actually exist, but hey…kids are weird.

Anyway, I remember my teacher at the time, Mr Power, telling me how good the story was and that I should write more. Looking back, he was obviously just being a sweet, encouraging teacher, but at the time I took him at his word it was pretty much then and there that I decided I wanted to be a writer.

My writing continued on throughout grade school with my best friend and I writing what we called “The Game Masters”. They were two separate series’ with the same basic plot, one written by each of us. They had the same characters, but in my series I was the main character, and in hers she was the main character. We would write our stories in those thin, crappy scribblers that little kids get for school, and whenever we each had a full chapter or so we would exchange and read each others’. It was great fun, and though I’d probably cringe terribly to read those stories now, they seemed pretty damn awesome at the time.

From there on my writing has waxed and waned due to any number of reasons, but I’ve always returned to it. I wrote nonsensical mini-stories in junior high school, fanfiction in high school, slash fanfiction in college, and eventually returned back to original fiction over the past 10 years or so. In the past couple of years I finished my first original piece, start to finish (minus the editing part), and I am currently in sight of the finish line for my second original piece.

So you see, writing has been a part of my life for a long time. As to how it has changed my life?

On the negative side, writing has definitely made my life more stressful over the past few years. It’s difficult to work a writing schedule around a full-time job and a husband and child, and even thinking about doing so makes writing feel more and more like work, which I hate. Writing is something I love to do, so I have to struggle hard not to let it become one of those things that I have to do and dread to do. I would love to be able to write for a living, but I never want writing to become a job, and sometimes when I’m trying to force myself to write a few paragraphs in camp after I’ve worked a 12-hour shift, that’s exactly what it feels like.

But on the positive side of things, writing has kept me sane all these years. No matter what else was going on in my life, I could always write. When I had a fight with a friend as a child, when I was a ridiculously awkward teenager, when I experienced heartbreak, when I had doubts about my future…whenever something frustrating was happening in my life, I still had writing. Some people escape into books written by others, but I’ve always been able to escape into stories written by myself. I can pour my feelings out into my characters when I don’t know what to do in real life. I can torture my characters to make myself feel better, or give my characters the world for the same reason. I can twist reality exactly as I see fit, which is even more satisfying than you might imagine. Writing, for me, has always been one of the most cathartic things I can do. It keeps me from punching holes in the wall and screaming until my voice gives out. It is my Valium.

So I guess, what you could say, is that writing has changed my life by helping to prevent me from becoming a violent lunatic, because I can just write violent lunacy instead! That sounds sane, right? Right?

A Day at Kearl Lake

I have come to the conclusion that the Internet in my camp room is not going to get fixed while I’m actually still here, so let it be known that I plucked out this entire entry on my iPhone. ๐Ÿ˜

Camp life is definitely a different kind of life.

I wake up between 4:00 and 4:30 am. The bed is a little stiff, but I’m used to a cushion-top mattress, so I might be a little biased there. I wash up at the sink in my room, throw on some clothes, grab my lunch bag and stumble down to the main area of the camp.

Breakfast is served in the dining room, should you wish to partake. There are dispensers of cereal, tons of fruit, and you can also get stuff cooked in the kitchen, such as various forms of eggs, sausages, bacon, etc. To drink you can get milk, several kinds of juice, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. I don’t usually get breakfast in the dining room because I’m lazy and don’t normally eat much for breakfast anyway.

For your work lunch you go to the bag-up room. This room is full of easy-to-grab things like fruit, sandwiches and wraps, sweets, salads, and refrigerated portions of stuff from the kitchens, like lasagna, chili, chicken and potatoes, etc. These things are marked with stickers showing the day they go bad so you can see how old they are and judge whether you’d want to eat them. Of this stuff you can effectively take as much as you want. I usually grab some oatmeal and fruit (which I eat while waiting for the morning work meeting), one of the kitchen things (today I have spaghetti) and some snack stuff like celery and peanut butter, a bagel, some cookies, or whatever.

To get to he job, I line up at the gates at around 5:10 am. The buses line up at 5:15 and leave at 5:30. You have to swipe your card and go through a turnstile and then find the bus that goes to your section of the site. I haven’t actually counted, but I think there are close to thirty different buses. You have to get on the right one or you’ll end up in a section you’re not allowed in. The bus drive takes about half an hour to 40 minutes.

At work we have a meeting and then head out into the site. The site is so huge that you have to sign in to which area you’re going to in case of emergencies. I’m in the Froth section, which is the part of the system that will remove the oil (bitumen) from the sand. It’s still under construction so right now my main duty is to familiarize myself with the equipment. There’s a lot of walking and climbing. A LOT. The other day myself and a couple of the guys climbed to the top of the highest structure on site. It took almost half an hour to get up, but it was a pretty awesome view.

We catch the bus back to camp at the end of the 12-hour shift. If you’re quick you can jump in the bag-up room before it closes and grab some snacks to take to your room. I usually jump in and grab some cookies or something. For supper the dining room generally has two or three entrees and half a dozen possible sides, plus a bunch of deserts. Yesterday I had roasted potatoes and lemon-crusted sole. The night before I had hot wings and fries.

Finally, after supper I basically go up to my room, take a shower, and relax. There’s a gym with lots of equipment but I’m too beat by the end of the day to use it. Maybe I’ll get used to it after a shift or two and start adding in some stints at the gym but for now I just go up to my room, maybe give a call down home, and watch shows on my computer until I fall asleep (which doesn’t take very long).

Eventually I’ll figure out how to squeeze some writing into the day somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜