September 2016 Goals in Review


Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and warn you guys in advance that September was simply not a great month for any of my goals. Part of that is because of being busy with various life stuff, and getting totally stressed out because of my job, but if I’m honest I have to say that I’m not even really quite sure what happened in September. The month just seemed to completely fall apart on me in numerous ways. So let’s just go ahead and get this ‘Month in Review’ over with, shall we?

Goal #1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps per day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

Goal #1 is probably the most epic fail of the month because I didn’t even manage to accomplish a part of it. For one thing, out of the entire month, there was only one day on which I managed to hit 10k steps. One day. That’s ridiculous even for me. And to add to that, my average steps were only 6550, which is the second lowest average I’ve had all year. That number should actually be slightly higher, because there was one day during which I’d forgotten to charge my FitBit and it died on me, but the extra steps would probably only boost the average buy a couple dozen. Totally pathetic.

But to make matters worse, I didn’t even manage to pull off the 15 minutes of “me time”…not by a long shot. I counted 19 days where I managed to do something – usually just lounging on 9Gag on my phone or playing that silly Sailor Drops game. That means there were 11 days in September during which I couldn’t even manage to find myself 15 minutes. Not 15 minutes. And that is just depressing.

Goal #2. Build more readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting more fun YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

The second goal isn’t a complete fail, but I’m not really feeling a huge level of success here either. I’ve definitely been trying to put more time and effort into things like the YouTube channel’s social media, interacting with other channels and the like, and that’s definitely a good thing but it doesn’t seem like it’s doing a whole lot of good, really. We’ve stagnated a bit in terms of new subscribers and followers, and while that’s not necessarily our fault (it could be any number of things, really), you also can’t help but feel a little like you’re climbing uphill with no shoes.

Meanwhile, a little bit of good news is that the new cover for Nowhere to Hide does, in fact, seem to be making a difference. I still wouldn’t call my sales anything worth talking about, but at least there’s the occasional e-book sale, the occasional number of Kindle Normalized Pages Read popping up, instead of months of a completely dead graph. So cheers for that! I definitely need to put more effort into promoting the book though, because I’ve really been neglecting that aspect of being an author lately. Bad Tracey.

Goal #3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

And then there’s this. I wrote a grand total of 6689 words this month which, like my step average above, is the second worst number I’ve come up with all year so far. It’s better than nothing, there’s no doubt about that, but I’m consistently depressed with my apparent inability to commit myself to the thing that I actually love doing the most.

To accentuate this personal failure, I’ve been getting reminders in my email about how National Novel Writing Month is less than a month away, and I just don’t know what to do with that info. I want to participate, because I’ve participated every year since I discovered the challenge, but I know I’ll fail. I haven’t written 50k words over the course of the last five months, so what are the chances I’ll be able to write that many in one month? Pretty slim I’d say, and I just don’t know if I feel like setting myself up for that failure right now.

So that’s that, I guess. I didn’t intend for this post to be so moody and depressing, but those are the facts, I guess. And it doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling tired, stressed, and pretty much just burnt out in general. Tomorrow is another day, right? I promise I’ll try to keep telling myself that, if you guys promise to believe it.

How was your month?

March 2016 Goals in Review


It’s another month in review, just a few days late because I figured with the A-Z Challenge going on I might as well just wait for the only day of the week for which a post wasn’t already scheduled. 🙂

It was a good month in many ways, a bad one in a few ways, and overall it just seemed that the 31 days of March flew by in a flash, leaving me standing here, blinking, wondering what the hell had happened. That seems to happen to me a lot, doesn’t it? Maybe I should just start taking it as a given. 😛

Goal #1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps a day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

I should move this goal to the bottom of the list so that I’m not always starting off these posts on a sour note. It’s genuinely depressing how poorly I did on this goal throughout March. Right off the get go, out of 31 days there were only 9 on which I hit the 10k step goal. That’s absolutely abysmal. I haven’t had a month yet during which I managed it every day, but at least the other months averaged out a bit; big days brought up the average on behalf of bad days. This month, not so much. My average for daily steps throughout the month was 7527. Definitely not as bad as it could be, but also definitely pretty awful considering that I spent 14 of those days at work, working in the field, wandering around all day.

As far as “me” time, that wasn’t too, too bad. I only missed three days during which I didn’t find two seconds to relax, never mind 15 minutes, but on many of those other days I spent longer periods of time just sitting around doing fun stuff, so I can’t berate myself too much. I also got an amazing massage, and that just pushes things up super-high. God, I love getting massages.

Goal #2. Build readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting fun and different YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

This goal is much more positive, although only on the YouTube side of things. Thanks in great part to my husband, we’ve got a system pretty much down at this point. I’m shooting more and better videos, sharing everything on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, interacting with people tons, and generally just doing well all around. My follower stats keep rising, I posted 10 videos throughout March (1 every 3 days ain’t bad for someone with a full-time job!), and I continue my trend of mostly managing to avoid arseholes on YouTube, which is a miracle in and of itself.

On the author side of things I don’t even want to talk. I’ve come to a point where I don’t even know what to do with “Nowhere to Hide”. Any of my friends, family, and coworkers who give a damn already have the book, and no amount of promotion online seems to help at all. The only sales I’ve gotten in the past several months (which was, like…two or three ebooks) have been at complete random from across the pond somewhere. I’m just at a stalemate I think…no one cares about zombies anymore, and it’s not the kind of genre for which you go hunting for indie books.

I am however promoting the first book of “The Other World” for my A-Z Challenge this year, so hopefully that will help build some interest and maybe gain me some new blog followers who will actually be excited for the book to become available. *fingers crossed*

Goal #3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

Now this goal I can’t complain about at all because it was a pretty damn good month. My only concern is that a large chunk of my word count came from loosely scripting YouTube videos (because my MEMORY, people…my GOD my MEMORY), but I accept it because at least it’s some kind of writing, right? RIGHT? I know you guys understand this, so answer me, for the love of puppies. ;_;

So, anyway, for the month of March I wrote 19,131 words toward blog entries (including flash fiction posts, which I forgot to separate again), 7195 toward my journal, 1446 words toward fiction (finishing up the current draft of book one of “The Other World”), and 15,127 words toward the scripting I just mentioned. All together that’s a total of 42,899 words for the month, which works out to an average of 1383 words per day. That’s way better than I’ve done in a long while, so I’m pretty happy about that. I wish more of it had been fiction, but since the A-Z Challenge always gets me well ahead on blog posts, I expect I’ll be able to focus more on fiction for April.

There you have it, then. A few ups and downs, but a pretty decent month over all. I think I’ll give myself a pat on the back for this one.

How did your March go? Did you get anything accomplished? Do anything for yourself? Have any kind of awesome fun? Please share!

September 2015 Goals in Review

amonthinreviewAnother month has come and gone in the blink of an eye…oh man…where is 2015 going on me? It’s gonna be freakin’ Christmas before I know it. But before the holidays sneak up on me there are a few more months worth of goal reviews to get into, so let’s go ahead and get September over with.

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

I didn’t really think about this goal at all until right at this moment as I’m typing these words. Taking care of myself just wasn’t that much of a concern this month. However, having said that, it actually wasn’t that bad a month for this goal. Some of you may have read a post I wrote a few weeks ago about discovering that the prescribed medicine I was taking for anxiety was actually rotting my guts out from the inside via screwing with my pancreas. Figuring that out (even though I did it illicitly, without actually, you know…talking to my doctor) has made a pretty big change in my health. My guts are still in the mess that they were a year ago (before I’d ever been given the meds), but my original issue was just irritability, whereas the meds were actually causing major digestive issues and possibly even a host of side effects such as fatigue. So yeah, deciding to drop that prescription was a pretty big turning point.

Another thing that has been helping a lot, even though it may sound silly to some people, is learning how to meditate. I’ve been doing this with the help of the “Headspace” app, for which I received a three month free trial with my Summer Fab Fit Fun box. I won’t be continuing the app once the free trial is up because it’s, quite honestly, horribly overpriced (approximately $12/month for the right to access the audio files), but I’ve learned a lot so far and it’s been helping me quite a bit to make it through the mornings at work, which are always the worst for me for some reason.

Aside from the meditation I can’t honestly say that I’ve done a whole lot of relaxing…even when my husband thinks I’m taking it easy on my computer I’m actually writing, blogging, planning, editing, and so on. Plus there’s been writing contests, work was actually quite busy this past shift, and during my last days off we had a number of trips to take involving the purchase of a new vehicle. So, yeah, through the month of September I didn’t really take too many moments to just sit down and relax or take a bath or whatever. Then again, the month went by so quickly that I hardly even noticed the lack of relaxation. So…win? I guess? Maybe?

Goal #2. Continue to build my readership/viewership.

This has become the kind of goal that actually has a mind of its own, although I suppose that’s giving myself a lot less credit than I deserve. What I’ve been really trying to focus on is just interaction: responding to comments on the blog and YouTube videos, commenting on blog posts and videos from others that I like, interacting with the Twitterverse and Instagram and all that. I can’t claim that I’ve been actively trying to build readership/viewership, but focusing my limited energy on the interaction side of things definitely helps. I’m rapidly approaching 500 followers on YouTube, and WordPress tells me that between blog followers, email followers, and Facebook followers I’m up to about 1000. My Facebook Author page is fairly quite (I can’t blame people, since that’s the platform I find most difficult to actually interact with), but even that has gotten up to 133 followers, meaning that if you combine all those platforms plus Twitter and Instagram I’m looking at something like 2000 followers. That might not sound like a lot to some people, but if I could convince those 2000 people to buy a book I’d be doing pretty good. Ha!

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

Last month I was a bit depressed because my word count had gone down significantly from the previous months…and this month it went down again. That in and of itself is fairly depressing, but I’m not letting myself get down about it because there were other important things to focus on this month. For instance, during one 48-hour period when I could have easily written a few thousand words for the book or the blog, I was actually focusing on my second story for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. And speaking of that challenge, as I blogged about before, I got ten points out of a possible fifteen for my first story in the challenge, which was a major boost to my confidence, so even if I don’t continue on after the end of this round I’ll be happy with what I accomplished in the contest. 🙂

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I didn’t get all that much written in September. Most of the words I did get down were for the blog, and they only totaled 13,663. Not a horrible number, but not one I’m happy with either, particularly since the only fictional words I wrote during the month were the ones for the challenge and the ones for “Flash Fiction Friday”. So, this coming month, my mini-goal is going to be to focus on finally finishing the current draft of “The Other World: Book One” so I can throw it at my beta-reader and get to work on Book Two during NaNoWriMo.

Oh god…NaNoWriMo…I’d almost forgotten about that this year. It starts in 26 days. Writing gods, help me now.

August 2015: Goals In Review


This post is a few days late because I wanted to finish up with the FODMAP Diet Experiment and then it was time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, then we had the little missy’s first day of school, followed by a Flash Fiction Friday post, and now I’m writing this instead of a Memoir Monday post because I’m not waiting any longer, dammit!. August is over and done with, we are firmly within the realm of September, and it’s time to get down with the goals in review before October sneaks up on me.

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

This may shock you right out of your socks, but I had a lot of ups and downs with this goal during August. Astounding, right? I bet you can’t even believe it.

There are a number of factors to look at. For one thing, I did the low FODMAP experiment for two weeks while I was on shift out West. I was hoping that it might help resolve some specific digestive issues I’ve been having as of late, but in the end it made absolutely no change. I do admit that it’s a healthier way of eating (the four-pound weight loss just helps prove it), but I can honestly say that sticking to the diet mostly just made me depressed. Maybe that’s a sign that my body has become so used to copious amounts of sugar that it can’t adjust (which is definitely not a good thing), but all I can say is that I would rather be happy and a little unhealthy than a little healthier but depressed all the time.

Another aspect of this goal is that I spent a good deal of the month (the end of one work shift and the entirety of another) fighting with two warring aspects of my brain: one wanted copious amounts of sleep, the other wanted to actually enjoy a few moments of my evenings. The second part often won because even on the nights that I went to bed super-early I still woke up feeling pretty much like hell anyway. This further cements my belief that my body is somehow broken because it seems to need a minimum of nine hours of uninterrupted sleep in order for me to actually feel refreshed in the morning. Since this is literally impossible while I’m on shift (12-hour day, plus 1 hour travel, plus 1 hour for shower and dinner, plus 1 hour breakfast and getting ready in the morning means I’d have to fall immediately asleep directly off the bus in the evening) I find myself stuck with this pretty frustrating predicament that isn’t likely to be amended any time soon.

Finally, I have to admit that I did pretty much negative amounts of relaxation this month, unless you count those half-hours per night that I would crash on my camp bed and watch YouTube. My days off were surprisingly busy, considering that there were no major events going on, and then there’s the work days, which you’ve already heard plenty about. Long story short, I’m wound tighter than a drum and could really use a deep tissue massage.

Goal #2. Continue to build my readership/viewership.

I’ve been so bad at this for so long, and honestly I’ve been trying to be better. I’ve been trying to work myself into some kind of a groove wherein I actually think about tweeting or instagraming every now and then. It’s ridiculous because both of those things take literal seconds to do, but my brain just never goes there, or I only think about it when I’m working or otherwise indisposed.

The blog, unsurprisingly, has had pretty dismal stats for the past few months as a result. You really don’t realize what a help it is to share on your Facebook Author Page, or to regularly tweet something that leads back to a blog post, but it really does make a huge difference.

The good news is that my YouTube channel is still gaining steadily. At last check I’m up to about 350 followers, which amazes me considering the quality of my videos and the content involved. I wish I could somehow turn that into better stats for the blog as well, but despite mentioning the blog at the beginning of every video and linking it in the description boxes, it’s just not helping at all.

Finally, there’s the book, and I have to say that talking about it every month really makes me feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I’m not surprised that I have abysmal sales, considering the indie-ness that is my current situation, but it’s definitely no fun to talk about it every month. I haven’t had a review in quite a while either, which is also unsurprising, but the combination of no sales and no reviews really makes the world feel stagnant.

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

And finally we come to the writing, but unfortunately I don’t have good news like I had last month. It wasn’t an absolutely horrible month or anything, but I was hoping it would be a lot better. If you read my IWSG post you’ll know that I fell under the 20,000 mark this month with approximately 17119 words, and most of those words were just keeping the blog running. I actually wrote very little fiction, did very little revising/editing, and all in all just did a poor job of being a writer. I’d like to be able to say that I’m going to do better in September, but the truth is that I just feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels lately and maybe I just need to take a break.

So that’s how my month went, for better or for worse. What about yours? Did you accomplish anything? Go anywhere? Do anything fun? Please share in the comments!

Dwindling Word Count: An IWSG Post

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So it’s been a whole month since the last IWSG post day and I… Oh dammit, did I seriously write less than 6000 fictional words this month? That is totally unacceptable unsurprising.

It’s been one of those months. You know the kind: you have every intention of having a spectacular four weeks, but somehow by the end of it you look at your meager word count and begin feeling suitably bad about yourself. I’ve had a lot of those kinds of months this year and it’s starting to get to me a little.

This month I wrote approximately 20,000 words. Now, for some people 20,000 words may sound amazing, and it’s definitely nothing to sneeze at…better than zero words, at least! But here’s the thing…the overwhelming majority of those words were blog posts. A few of those blog posts were “Flash Fiction Friday” posts, so that adds up to maybe 5000 or so words, and other than that the only fiction writing I did was to revise a couple of chapters of The Other World: Book One, which only worked out to about 800 or so new words. So we’re looking at less than 6000 words of fiction over the course of a month.

Now I’ll grant that I have difficult hours to work with; for seventeen of the last thirty-one days I was dealing with 12-hour work days and an hour of travel each day. For three more of those days I was crammed into the most uncomfortable possible seats on a series of airplanes ferrying me across the country. That leaves eleven days that I was free to get some hardcore writing done, but those were the days I was actually home with my husband and daughter, and you can probably see where this is going.

Basically, what I’ve come to accept is that the best time for me to write is in the tiny window I have between the end of my 12-hour shift and the moment my body collapses into fitful, this-bed-sucks-so-much sleep. That window, after accounting for getting a shower and eating supper (and, twice a shift, doing my laundry), is about an hour long. I’m forever behind on blog posts, so I usually spend about half of that hour feverishly typing out something for the following day. That leaves half an hour. And what do I do then?

Honestly? Usually I wind up throwing on YouTube videos while I drool into my pillow and my eyelids begin to flicker.

could ignore my body and stay up later to get some writing done, but I choose not to because my health is bad enough as it is.

could rip the ethernet cable out of my laptop and refuse to let myself watch YouTube, but after a 12-hour shift I can’t help but justify my half-hour of semi-relaxation.

could suck it up and get down to it while I’m on my days off, but there’s always a million other things that I have to do while I’m home (or they don’t get done), and if I spend all day on my computer my daughter and husband end up frustrated with me because I’m home and should be spending time with them (and, you know, I actually want to spend time with them instead of sitting at my computer all day)

Basically there’s lots of solutions that I could employ, along with lots of reasons not to employ them.

And so I wind up with a measly 5800 fictional words over the course of a full month.

But I had plans, dammit! I was going to completely finish revising The Other World: Book One so that I could ship it off to my beta-reader and not have to look at it for a while! I was going to continue working on the first draft of The Other World: Book Two so I could feel like I was actually getting somewhere! And I was going to play my hand at writing a short romance novel, mostly out of curiosity to see what kind of reaction it would get, but also to broaden my horizons as a writer!

And literally none of that got done. None of it even got halfway done. Book Two and the romance story didn’t even get touched, despite my daily internal pep-talks that today was going to be the day.

I know that I’m being pretty hard on myself (hey, that’s what we writer’s do, right?) because I do have an outrageously awful schedule to have to deal with while trying to write as well, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that I’m just being a lazy whiner, that if I really wanted to do these things I would do them already. After all, I wrote, revised, edited, and self-published Nowhere to Hide while working this same kind of schedule. So why can’t I do it again?

Maybe I’m getting old and tired before my time. 😛

So that’s my insecurity for the month, in all it’s twitchy, teary-eyed glory. How about you?

July 2015 Goals in Review

amonthinreviewAnother month has come and gone, and frankly I’m a little shocked. Where did the time go? My summer (such as it is) is half gone! Well, some of the month went to parties and other celebrations, some to shopping trips and errands, and a large chunk of it to the day job that is slowly, slowly devouring my immortal soul. July disappeared on me in the blink of an eye – and a fair share of alcoholic beverages – but what about my goals? How did they fare?

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

There are a lot of considerations to take into this month. First, the month started out in the second week of my last work shift, and it was a bit of a rough one. Between the smoke from the fires in Saskatchewan and a few days of rain that turned the Alberta dirt into a slippery mud deathtrap, I didn’t get out for any runs for the remainder of that shift. I was also eating pretty poorly because, dammit, I shouldn’t even have to defend myself when it comes to Wapasu camp food. Google “Wapasu” and you’ll probably find at least ALL OF THE PEOPLE complaining about the food.

[/mini rant]

Then I went home, and things didn’t really get any better because they were some of my busiest days home in ages. In twelve days I drove to my hometown for an all-night bachelorette party, drove home the next morning to celebrate our anniversary with my husband and some friends, spent almost three full days in Halifax shopping and visiting friends, and spent two more days back in the hometown to celebrate the mother-in-law’s fiftieth birthday. And that’s not taking into consideration that I was trying to spend time with my daughter, filming and editing YouTube videos, trying to squeeze in writing and blogging time, and doing all that good constant stuff like cooking and cleaning and errands. So, basically, my days off were a whirlwind of alcohol, fast food, and stress (albeit, most of it the good kind of stress).

It wasn’t until I got back to work that things started to work themselves out a little bit. The weather cooperated for my first week, so I managed to get several good runs in before the monsoons started up again, and according to my FitBit I was successful in averaging 10,000 steps per day throughout the shift. I can’t say much about eating well because there’s only so good you can eat at Wapasu (seriously…ask around), but I did manage to go the entire two weeks drinking only water and the occasional tea. That’s a pretty big deal for me since I usually drown myself in pop while I’m on shift.

So basically the month finished off strong, and now the key is to take those good habits home with me. Wish me luck!

Goal #2. Continue to build my readership/viewership.

July was not a good month for this goal because of the never-ending streaks of busy that I previously mentioned. It was difficult enough as it was to get my blog posts written and my YouTube videos shot without also worrying about tweeting and ‘graming and remembering to post stuff on my Facebook page. Basically the whole social media system just shut down on me this month: I’m even still catching up on replying to blog and video comments because they just piled up so high on me.

But despite my disorganization and inability to add extra hours to the day, my numbers are still rising. It’s a slow rise, but I regularly get notifications for new followers on all fronts. About the only numbers that have remained stagnant are book sales, which is admittedly depressing, but unsurprising.

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

With the previous two goals filled with “oh my god I was so busy”-ness, you’re probably expecting me to say that it was a bad month for this goal. Oh, my dear readers, you know me so well.

Except that I’m happy to prove you wrong with this bomb: July was actually my best month of 2015 so far!

I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened, but somewhere along the line I managed to write 24233 words, and over half of those words were fiction in the form of new and revised scenes for Book One of “The Other World”. Because of this truly spectacular (and unexpected) month, I am very close to finishing the second draft of my manuscript, which means that I can ship it off to my beta-reader and get to work on Book Two! That’s big progress for me, and I’m genuinely proud of myself, which doesn’t happen very often and this is totally awesome.

So all in all, thought it had its share of bumps and seemed to have gone by in a blink, I’m going to go ahead and call July a win! Here’s to extending that trend in August!

How was your July? Did you get anything accomplished? Do anything fun? Please share!

April 2015: Goals in Review


April rolled by pretty quickly, thanks in part to the A to Z Challenge, which never seems to last as long as I want it to. It’s hard to believe that we’re a third of the way through 2015 already. It would be easier to believe if it would stop snowing in my neck of the woods, but that’s a rant for another day. Let’s get to the important stuff: how did my goals fare this month?

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

Though there is always room for improvement, I can honestly say that I did a pretty good job of this goal during April. There were several contributing factors:

First, I’ve made a point of eating better while I’m at the work camp out West. It’s difficult, since so much of the available food can hardly qualify as ‘edible’, but believe me when I say I’ve been making a huge effort. The big thing is avoiding pop (except for once or twice per 14-day shift when I have my treat nights) and drinking as much water as I can force down my throat. I’ve also been avoiding the baked goods like the plague, because I don’t know what they do with some of that stuff, but it seems like every time I have a camp-made chocolate-chip cookie I wind up with a roiling stomach all evening. The hardest part though? A vast deal of the meat here doesn’t taste right to me (I swear some of it isn’t even actually meat) so by the end of the shift I tend to be pretty protien deficient. I’ve been trying to remedy this by making friends with both cheese and peanut butter, and thus far it seems to be going fairly well.

Also, I’ve been running again, using my Zombies! Run! app, and it’s been going very well so far. I didn’t go out once while I was home last time, but there’s a reason for that, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Oh, and for the record, I’ve lost about 7 lbs in the last couple of months, so that’s pretty awesome. ^_^

The other thing that I have to mention in my “taking care of myself” goal, is that I had an extremely relaxing days off in April. There was a bit of a snafu on the first day I got home, in which my car fell victim to the insanity that is the pothole-riddled roads back home, but other than that I had quite an excellent 12 days. I played with my daughter, spent time playing video games while snuggled up in a blanket with my little spectator, took some rather relaxing baths, and just in general did almost nothing. I didn’t write, I didnt’ work on the blog, I didn’t exercise. The only things that I did that I would consider “work” was to install our new dishwasher and to record some YouTube vidoes, but all of that only accounted for maybe one full day’s worth of time. So it was pretty good. I needed it. And although I definitely want to get some fiction writing in more often, I plan to have a similar days off in May as well.

Goal #2: Continue to build my readership/viewership.

It wasn’t really a bad month for this goal either, for a combination of reasons. For one thing, at the beginning of the month, and then on my birthday, I gave away several copies of “Nowhere to Hide” to readers who took part in my giveaways on the blog and on Goodreads. The Goodreads giveaway in particular had a huge response – I think something like 800 people entered – so I’m hoping that it pays off and that the winners write some nice reviews for me.

Another factor, of course, was the A to Z Challenge, which didn’t have an enormous impact on my stats this month but resulted in several new people deciding to follow the blog (hi guys!), and I even picked up a few new followers on Twitter as a result of the challenge.

Additionally, my Instagram and YouTube following has been steadily increasing over the past few months. I’m not sure exaclty what I’m doing on Instagram that people are enjoying, but I’ll take it! As for YouTube, my “Enormous Funko Haul” post has been dragging people in from the woodworks – it’s gotten over 6000 views, which isn’t bad for someone who isn’t exactly a major presence on YouTube – and some of those people decided to stick around. I am very close to reaching my first 100 subscribers, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s pretty awesome to me considering that I just do these videos for fun. 🙂

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

This is the one goal that suffered in April. The main reason is, of course, as I mentioned above, the fact that I didn’t write a damn thing while I was on my days off last time. 12 straight days of not writing definitely puts a girl in the negative column. It was worth it, of course, but between that extended period of nothingness and the fact thatI planned, wrote, and scheduled most of the A to Z Challenge posts in March, I didn’t do a whole lot of any kind of writing in April. All total I wound up with 12844 words, which is more than a 7000 drop from March. Still though, all things considered, I don’t think it was that bad a month. I mean, come on, almost 13k words is pretty descent, right? Right.

With that said, I would like to bring your attention to my blogging plan for the month of May. First off, because of the A to Z Challenge, I haven’t done any of the unboxing and review posts for the month of April yet. Most of the videos are up on YouTube already if you’re a subscriber, but I didn’t want to clutter the blog with the corresponding posts while the challenge was going on, so those posts will be going up the rest of this week. I also have an additional few videos – some hauls and a YouTube TAG that I decided to take part in – that will be going up soon, and I’ll be sharing them on the blog as well. Aside from those I plan to take it mostly easy on the blog for the month of May. I need some time to deal with other stuff, figure out my priorities, and keep up with that whole relaxing thing, so I’m not going to panic about making sure that there are at least 5 posts a week. If I have something to talk about, I will, or if I see an awesome prompt or something else I want to share, I will, but I’m not going to hold myself to any standards this month because, hey, everyone needs a break every now and then.

So I hope you’ll all keep coming by to check out the videos, and make sure to relax yourselves! It’s absolutely worth it!

How was your April? Did you participate in the A to Z Challenge? Did you get any good work done? Did the emerging post-winter potholes destroy your car as well? Please share!

March 2015 – Goals in Review

amonthinreviewThough it is, first and foremost, A to Z Challenge month, there are still a few other posts I’ll have to do throughout April, and this is one of them. The fact that it’s a couple of days late? Blame that one on the run that nearly killed me…but more on that in a minute.

March had its ups and downs, but I made it through, so I guess that means it’s time to take a look at my goals.

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

I’m going to go right ahead and say it: I did a horrible job of this goal in March. There’s no one particular example that I can give; I just wasn’t really in tune with myself this past month. I didn’t relax much, I ate horribly, and I somehow managed to never get enough sleep, even on the nights that I slept 9 or more hours. And to top things off, I realized that what ever rose-colored glasses I’ve been wearing the past few months have shattered… That is to say that I’ve fallen back into a funk concerning my body. I’m not talking specifically about weight, because I wasn’t even paying attention to that; I just looked in the mirror one day recently and realized that I am not happy with the reflection.

Cue the run I mentioned, which occurred on the last day of March and very nearly destroyed me. I was exhausted, all my muscles seized up, and my right foot still hurts like someone took a hammer to my toes and heel. Ladies and gents, I am the very furthest thing from being in shape. The furthest.

So, basically, I ended March on a sour note, having determined that I’ve let myself get into a pretty rough shape. I want to remedy this, but I’m unsure how to go about it since I don’t have much control over what I eat while I’m on shift out West, and I’ve gotten so badly out of shape that even the simplest exercises are a monumental effort. Sympathies and suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Goal #2: Continue to build my readership/viewership.

I’m a bit on the fence about this goal throughout March. On the one hand, I sold a few books (not many, but a few) both online and to my coworkers. On the other hand my “comment for a chance to win a book” contest did not go as well as I hoped it would. That said, I did see several comments from people I’d never seen around the blog before, so that was nice. I also gained several new followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and got a few new Likes on the Facebook page, so that’s all nice.

The thing that really amused me during March? My Goodreads giveaway has amassed 200 entrants. ^_^ The giveaway doesn’t end until my birthday (the 11th), so if you’re interested, stop by here and check it out!

Oh, and the commenting contest I was having? Though it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped it would, I guess I should announce the winner, right? Well, after taking down all the commenters throughout the month and randomizing a winner, the name that came up was miss mortbane, of Dreamer, Awaken. I’ll be contacting my fellow blogger today to confirm that she would like to receive her prize. And thanks to everyone who commented throughout the month! You guys are the best!

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

At the end of February I said that I wanted to blow that month’s word count out of the water. Well, I don’t know if I would really say I “blew it out of the water”, but I definitely did better. Mostly through planning out my A to Z posts in advance, I manged to write 20507 words during March, which is almost a 5000 word increase from the previous month. I’m plenty happy with that, no doubt. My only small complaint is that I spent so much time on the blogging that virtually none of those words were fiction. As soon as I get the last few (difficult) A to Z posts out of the way I plan to dedicate April to finally writing some fun stuff for a change. What do you think?

How was your March? Did you accomplish anything awesome? Feel free to share!

February 2015 – Goals in Review

amonthinreviewGeez, has it already been another month? It feels like I just wrote January’s Goals in Review post! I must be getting old, man. *shudder*

This post is obviously several days late, but I wanted to get the contest post and my buddy Eric’s guest post out of the way first, so I imagine you’ll all forgive me.

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

If I’m going to be totally honest, February was a horrible month for this goal, mainly because I returned to my work out on the Alberta oil sands and it is not easy to “take care of myself” from there. Between the 12-hour days, freezing cold weather, heavy and uncomfortable work gear, and the fact that almost all of the available food at camp makes me horribly ill, I spend most of my 14-day shift just trying to make it back to my crappy camp bed so I can collapse and binge-watch Castle until I pass out.

My days off at home were better, of course, but of those 14 days I spend almost a full two of them on cramped, overcrowded planes, another day recovering from the jet-lag, and two or three at the end of my days off getting more and more cranky by the second as I realize that I’m about to head back out for another shift. I did manage to have a couple of relaxing baths, snuggled up and watched a few movies with the little missy, and enjoyed some time spent fixing up the basement with my husband, so that’s all nice. I just feel like I really could have used some more relaxation time, you know?

Side note: one thing that I enjoy doing to relax is to paint my nails cute colors, but ever since I returned to work my nails have been splitting like crazy and constantly cracking off right to the skin. Grrrrrrr….

Goal #2: Continue to build my readership/viewership.

It wasn’t the best month for this goal either, unfortunately. I missed several blog days for a number of reasons (some of them good, some of them bad), and though I filmed a couple of YouTube videos I didn’t manage to edit and upload them yet. Despite my lapses I did manage to pick up a few new followers on the blog, Instagram, and Twitter. What I’m really looking for, however, is to get more people interested in checking out “Nowhere to Hide“. I’m expecting two semi-professional reviews in the future, but I don’t know if it’s going to be the near future or, like, months down the road. To be honest, the anticipation is killing me.

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

February was not as good as January, but that’s to be expected since it has fewer days, and I spent 14 of them working 12-hour shifts. Regardless of the obvious roadblocks, between blogging and working on “The Other World”, I did manage to write a respectable 15034 words last month. I had hoped to write quite a bit more since I was working on completing the current draft of my manuscript, but it just didn’t turn out that way. I am, however, satisfied with the result, though I hope to blow that number out of the water during March.

So that was my February; not great, but not horrible. How about you? Did you accomplish anything during the shortest month of the year? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

January 2015: Goals in Review

I really can’t believe that January is over already. Guys, seriously…where the hell did the month go? I’d almost swear that I was just taking the Christmas decorations down, and here I am coming at you with my first monthly goals update. It’s insanity, I’m tellin’ ya.

So how was the month? Let’s take a look.

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

Well, right off the bat, I can’t in good conscience claim that I ate well or forced myself to do any kind of exercise, but of course those things aren’t really the staples of this particular goal. I said I was going to relax and take care of myself a little more, and so far I’ve been doing okay. I’ve been getting stuff done that needs doing, but I’ve also been taking the time to play games and watch shows, and I’ve been taking tons of baths because they’re so relaxing. I’ve also been taking a little time to play with beauty products and cosmetics simply because it’s fun and makes me feel like I glow a little, and just today I attended a “tea party” (think “Tupperware” party, but for loose-leaf tea) which is actually unusual for me because I don’t usually leap toward social events. So yeah, I guess you could say that it’s been a pretty decent month for “taking care of myself”.

Goal #2: Continue to build my readership/viewership.

I’ve been pretty busy with other things this month, so I haven’t been working on this particular goal as much as I probably should have, but things aren’t all bad. I’ve noticed a handful of new followers on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and the blog, so that’s all great. Book sales, however, may as well be considered dead in the water for the past two months. To help rectify this I’ve set up a “Kindle Countdown Deal” for the second week of February, so if you haven’t read “Nowhere to Hide” yet, you might want to check it out then. I’ll post more info on that closer to the start of the deal. 🙂

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

On the writing front I’m a bit disappointed in myself because I have done little-to-no fiction writing this entire month. I did write a small piece for the Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Contest, but that was only responsible for 1500 words. I had hoped to get some work done on “The Other World”, but I had so many handwritten pages that had to be transcribed that I never got around to writing anything new (luckily that’s finished now, so I can get to the good stuff). Instead, all my new writing for the month of January was comprised from blog posts and a couple of interviews that I did for other sites. That said, the total word count was nothing to scoff at. I ended up writing 20,846 words, which works out to an average of 672 words per day. Not too shabby at all, I think, but I’m hoping to bump that total by at least 100 words a day in February. Think I can do it? Come back at the end of February and find out!