Accountability Wednesdays: Week 16

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Before I get started today, I want to send out a belated “Happy Easter!” to all those who celebrate the holiday, and I hope you had a good one! This Easter was the first one that I really got to celebrate with my daughter since she was too young to understand what it was about the first two years, and last year I was working on the other side of the country during the holiday. Since I had the opportunity I staged a little egg hunt with goodies (cream eggs, M&M’s, mini-eggs, and little plastic bracelets) in plastic eggs. It was too fun watching her run around looking for the eggs, sometimes staring right at them and walking past. She also got a Build-a-Bear Fluttershy (My Little Pony) from us, which was the first thing she ran right for, which of course made my heart melt. Throw in some books and candy and a couple of games for her LeapPad from the grandparents, and the little missy had quite a lovely day, and therefore so did I. Little joys, my friends. Little joys.

Also, decorating eggs is a necessity! :D
Also, decorating eggs is a necessity! 😀

And now that I’ve thoroughly cleansed your pallet, it’s time to muck it up with a week’s worth of failure. o.o

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

On the upside of things, I weighed myself this morning and I am almost three pounds lighter than I was when I had my meltdown last week. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, or whether either of those two weigh-in’s was accurate, because it doesn’t seem likely that I lost three pounds in one week without doing anything at all. But for now, I’ll take it.

The bad side of things is that I had an awful week for poor eating, due in part to the Easter holiday. I mean, come on, chocolate was everywhere. I also had a lot more pop than I should have, so I’m reasserting myself to avoid it this week. Water, water, water…maybe if I repeat it enough times I’ll start to enjoy drinking it. lol

The other bad side of things is that I did almost zero activity last week. I hopped on the treadmill once, and that was it. My FitBit should seriously have some kind of shock function that fills me full of voltage if I get fewer than so many steps in a day. >.>

But there is another upside! Kinda. See, I’ve got a plan. My plan partially hinges on the weather not being an ass, but it’s a plan none-the-less. I broke out an old book I’ve got called “Buff Brides” that I used when I was trying to lose weight for my wedding. It’s actually a pretty nice program, laid out in a simple-to-understand “do this on this day” system, and it helped me last time so I figure it can help me this time. The program involves weight training three days a week, starting with simple exercises that neither take too much time nor beat you out so that you end up quitting right away. It also encourages three days a week worth of cardio, so I’m going to hike up my britches, pay that my stomach holds itself together until the doctor’s can give me a more definitive answer about my gastronomic issues, and start my Zombies! Run! app again. I hope to start my new plan this Sunday – starting with a Zombies! run – but I’m not committing to it for certain because I’ve got some other things to deal with between now and then. If not this Sunday, it’ll be the following Sunday. Hold me accountable, people! Ask me how I’m doing and yell at me if I say anything other than “Great!”

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

This week was much like the previous week. I’ve been doing pretty well with Facebook and the blogging community, interacting and getting conversations going and the like. Twitter is my weak point and I’m not really sure what to do about it. For some reason it feels like a lot of extra effort to add that one site to my daily routine, and I think it’s because I can never think of anything to say that I can compress into less than 140 characters. I’m just too wordy, I guess. 😛

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

This is the crux of my failure right here. I keep telling myself that I’m going to work on it, and I keep daydreaming about what it will be like when I’m 100% done and sending the file to Create Space, and yet it never happens. Partially my problem is a mixture of laziness and lethargy – I’ve been very badly obsessed with sitting on my ass and playing video games the past while – but at least part of the problem is good-old-fashioned fear. I long to have my book finished and published, but I also fear it. It’s that stupid human way of fearing both failure and success simultaneously. What is wrong with the human mind? A great many things, it would seem.

That said, I stand before you now (or rather, sit behind my side of the computer screen) and swear to you all that I am going to get something done toward this goal this week. Even if it’s just to go through and fix the invisible typos that my beta-reader pointed out, I will do something this week, I promise.

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

You know what? I’ve changed my mind. This is the crux of my failure. If there’s one thing that I know for sure that a writer has to do, it’s write. We have to write, write, and write some more, and then have a couple of cups of coffee and keep writing. I have completely failed this aspect of writer-dom during the month of April. I figured – I really did – that if I wrote and scheduled all my A to Z Challenge posts in advance, then I would have tons of time to write other things throughout April without having to worry about the blog. Technically that did happen. I’ve had time to write. I just haven’t been using it. I completely wasted three weeks of not having to worry about writing blog posts by completely failing to write anything else. This past week the only thing I wrote – literally, the only thing that wasn’t a Facebook status or a comment reply – was last week’s accountability post…for a grand total of 875 words. The really sad thing? That was actually a better total than last week.

So my second promise for this week is to write something every day, even if it’s just a couple hundred words of nonsense. This complete and utter laziness toward writing has got to stop. How can I ever consider myself a professional writer if I don’t write?

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 31

Have you ever experienced a thunder storm without the rain? Maybe that’s common in other parts of the world, but up here in Cape Breton it’s not the norm. We usually have torrents of rain coming down for hours before the thunder and lightning starts, but yesterday we had hours of thunder (and possibly lightning, but it was too light out to tell) for hours before the rain started. It seemed odd and unique to me, which is why I bring it up.

Alrighty, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Health and Body Image Goal

Still thinking about striking this goal from the list, but at the same time I’ve been thinking about how to resuscitate it. I do want to be healthier and lose some body fat while I’m at it, but I’ve been expelling some much of my energy on everything else that I can’t figure out how to work this back into my lifestyle. I’m amazed that I somehow have less time and energy while unemployed at home than when I was working 12-hour shifts out West. How does that even work? It doesn’t matter. The point is that what I want to do (once I tie up a few loose ends) is start a three-times-a-week exercise program that I will interweave with three days a week of doing my Zombies! Run! program (which I will have to start over since I’ve negated everything I did before). Currently I’m trying to decide what the exercise program will be. I’m considering taking Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution and just replacing the cardio days with my running days, but if anyone else has any suggestions for a good three-day-a-week program for women, please share!

Editing Goal

I’m happy to report my best editing week yet since I made these goals. My supernatural romance (tentatively called Moonlight) is complete! I just have to do one more read-through to make sure I didn’t make any glaring errors and then it should be ready for submission. I don’t have high hopes for it, but being able to say that I finally submitted a manuscript to a publisher will be a big deal for me. Plus, now that I’ll finally have that story out of my hair, I can move back on to my zombie apocalypse novel, which is the one I really care about. This one is much longer, so it’s obviously going to take longer to edit, but I’m setting myself a mini-goal to have it done by November, because I fully intend on participating in NaNoWriMo this year and I don’t want to have the last chapters of a zombie apocalypse on my mind while I’m doing it.

1,000,000 Word Goal

Good news! My mini-goal was a success! I wrote my ass off last week, and between blog posts, writing exercises, morning pages, and new-or-changed scenes in Moonlight, I wrote a total of 20194 words! That brings me up to a year-long total of 201938! When I originally made this goal I had hoped to be a lot further along by now, but this is still so many more words that I likely would have written had I not made the goal in the first place. That’s like four NaNoWriMo‘s! In one year! I really hope to be able to keep up this pace. It’s become very unlikely that I’ll hit the 1,000,000 words by the end of the year, but if I’m able to hit 500,000 I will still be very impressed with myself and will mark the goal a success.

As a closing note, I want to mention that I’ve begun The Artist’s Way this week, and over the next couple of days I will be trying to complete as many of the Chapter 1 tasks as I can. I’ve accidentally timed my start such that I’ll finish one week before NaNoWriMo starts, so aside from sharing updates as I go, once I complete the program I’ll do a quick review and let you all know whether it helped me in any way toward writing a new book. Look forward to it!

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 25

It’s (more or less) official; my job is over and we’re all headed home after this shift. I’m not too depressed about that because it means I get to go home and enjoy the summer with my family, and there will definitely be more work in the future. That said, I have to inform you that the last week of a job that you know is over is absolutely painful. I’ve been spending my time scanning documents that have to be saved and transferring over changes that have been made between the master books and the working copy books, and it is unbelievably mind-numbing. At this time one week from now I may be a drooling puddle of goo on the floor.

Cheery today, aren’t I?

Okay, let’s get on with it then, shall we?

Health and Body Image Goal

I’ve been eating pretty well, I can tell you that. I don’t know if it’s sheer willpower or if my stomach (the organ, not my flab-belly) has been shrinking and I’m just not as hungry as I usually am. I have been scoffing on peanut butter cookies in the evening (OMGSOGOOD), but aside from that I’ve been eating good foods and decent portions of them.

On the exercise front I can’t claim as much success. Believe me, I do want to be going for my zombie runs, but I’ve been a little gun-shy since last Thursday. That morning I got up to go for a run and before I made it out of the building I almost doubled over with pains in the gut. I ended up nearly sprinting back to my room and staying there the entire day. I still have no idea whether it was a stomach bug or food poisoning, or what, but I’ve been a little nervous about venturing too far from a bathroom ever since because I still don’t feel quite right. I know I have to buck up eventually though, so tomorrow I’m going to try running on the treadmill in the ladies gym (which is only about thirty seconds from a bathroom) and see if I can’t build my confidence back up.

Editing Goal

I’ve regressed back to the days of getting nothing done…dammit. I do plan on doing some editing before the end of this shift, I swear, but I’ve gotten a little caught up in the writing aspect, as documented below.

1,000,000 Word Goal

This week I rediscovered a little thing called 750Words.com. It’s nothing fancy, just a daily challenge to write approximately 750 words on your personal section of the site, but there’s something strangely motivational about it. In three days on the site I managed to rack up over 8000 words alone. All together, through a variety of blog post planning, writing exercises, and a little bit of good old fashioned freewriting, I managed to write 13421 words this week, which if I’m not mistaken makes this my best week yet this year. Not too shabby, hmm?

I hope to focus more on writing (and editing) in the coming months while I’m temporarily out of work, and I plan to use 750Words.com for a little boost of motivation. You should check it out…it’s very simple, but it somehow makes you want to achieve the goal. I’ve joined the monthly challenge for July, and I hope to have more success with that than I had with Camp NaNo. 🙂

Until next week! Ciao!

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! 😛

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.

It Only Makes Sense, When You Think About It

I have never been someone who exercises. Oh sure, when I was a kid I would ride my bike around town or go swimming and the like, but I grew into a pretty sendentary adult. I’ve always been more of a mental individual than a physical one, more artistic than athletic. I’ve always liked to read and write, to play piano and guitar, and to indulge in movies and video games. I did not play sports, I never got into anything like track or gymnastics, and I absolutely loathed physical education. I just never enjoyed any of it, and even the stuff I did get into had downsides. I became a cheerleader for a while in high school, but while I enjoyed the actual routines, I hated the fitness program portion that went with it. I was into Tae Kwon Do for a couple of years and I loved the training, but I hated the warm-ups and forms and the running at the beginning of each class.

Especially, especially, I hated the running. I’ve always hated running because I’ve always been bad at it. My legs get sore so quickly, I could never seem to be able to control my breathing, and I’ve always found it just dreadfully boring. I have had people around me telling me for years that if I want to get into shape I should run, but I could just never convince myself to do it. I’ve tried a number of times, but it always came to the same conclusion: “It’s too hard, I’m no good at it, and I hate it!”

Then I tried the Zombies! Run! 5k Training app. Yes, I know, I’ve already written about this before, but this is not a shameless plug. Just hear me out. I tried the app out partly because I was trying to figure out how to work some exercise into my day, but mostly because it sounded so interesting and different. Train to run by running from imaginary zombies? Hmm. Neat. So I gave it a whirl. I didn’t honestly expect to become hooked. I am now obsessed with this program. I long to hear more of the story, I’m motivated by the playful characters urging me on, and I feel genuinely proud of myself whenever I finish a run. I’ve done other exercise programs that made me feel good about myself at the end of the workout (P90X comes to mind), but this is the first time I can ever recall being excited to start the exercise. I’ve been practically leaping out of bed in the morning, I’m actually disappointed when the run is over, and I’ve been skipping the program-designated days off because I want to keep going. Let that sink in. The program is telling me to take a day off and I’m saying, “Screw that, give me more!”

This all confirms what I’ve been hearing for years; that is, the trick is to find something you enjoy doing. Exercise feels like a chore because we force ourselves to do things that are easily defined as “fitness” moves, like weight lifting for instance. But for every gym buff who lives for the free weights, there are a hundred more people thinking up every excuse in the book to not go to the gym because weight training makes them miserable. For every dedicated marathon runner there are dozens of people who spend their entire workout fantasizing about breaking a leg so they don’t have to run anymore. For every enlightened yogi there is a veritable army of agitated people with zero balance two deep breaths away from strangling their instructor with the yoga mat because it’s just not working for them.

You’ll never exercise if the very thought of the exercise makes you cringe. You’ll just keep making excuses, or you’ll phone it in, and afterward you’ll feel bad for not making the effort.

So find something you truly enjoy. It doesn’t have to be “traditional” exercise; it just has to be something physical that you enjoy enough to keep doing it. It could be swimming at the local pool, golfing with a friend, walking a friend’s dog, learning how to pole dance (they have classes for that now!), joining a gentlemen’s hockey team, tending your own garden, or any number of other possibilities. Find something you enjoy doing, do it often, and you will see results.

Myself, I may not have experienced any significant weight loss (yet!) on the Zombies! Run! program, but I have reduced my average pace from a 20-minute mile to a 14-minute mile in just two weeks, which is something I’m sure I never would have accomplished had I not found this app.

What kind of fitness programs have you tried? Have they worked for you? Do you enjoy your workouts? Please share!

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 21

Okay people, in all seriousness…how is it Tuesday already? I was just thinking that it feels as though this shift has been dragging on terribly long, but here it is half over. What happened? It must be all the (wait for it…) writing and exercising I’ve been doing. 😀

Health and Body Image Goal
I have been doing awesome this week, all modesty aside. First of all, I’ve been eating quite well. There have been some things that I probably could have done without – like raisin bread and M&Ms – but for the most part I’ve been excellent. I’ve been making salads with spinach and skinless chicken, using lemon juice instead of dressing; I’ve been melting controlled portions of cheese over broccoli for snacks; I’ve even forced myself to have salmon a few times (and it wasn’t half bad, which leads me to believe that the camp cooks are serving us “salmon”). I’ve been so good that when my usual “cheat night” came up I looked at the bag of chips and bottle of pop and said, “You know what? No. I honestly do not want this.”
In addition to the healthy eating habits, I’ve also been running diligently with the help of the Zombies! Run! app. I’ve only skipped one day so far and that was only because I woke up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp that nearly had me crippled for the rest of the day. But I was right back at it the following day! Look at me go!

Editing Goal
I can’t honestly say that there’s anything to report for this week because there definitely isn’t. But the good news is that I have recieved a pleasant kick in the ass from a friend and fellow writer who has suggested a novel swap beta-reading. In other news, I now have major motivation because I can’t possibly let anyone read my manuscript in its current state! Edits away!

1,000,000 Word Goal
It’s been a pretty good week, I have to say. Writing fan fiction definitely allows me to write a little faster, and as such I’ve managed to pluck out 9041 words this past week. That’s more than 1000 a day, so I’m pretty happy. But the real news is that I checked my yearly total and I’ve surpassed a hundred grand! I’m settled right now at 108,481! It’s only a little over 10% of my original total goal, which brings home the idea that I am totally not going to hit 1,000,000 words, but still…a hundred grand! That’s more words than I could have imagined writing in 5 months before I made this goal! And to me that is definitely success. 🙂

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 19

~Raindrops keep falling on my head…~
Literally and figuratively! It’s raining out again (I love you, Spring weather [/sarcasm]) and I had the pleasure of watching the Toronto Maple Leafs completely blow a 4-1 lead in game 7 of the first round playoffs. ARG.

With that depressing thought in mind, I don’t have much to report this week.

Health and Body Image Goal
My intention when I got home was to continue on with the Zombies! Run! program and try to get my energy up enough to maybe do something a little more intense. The days and days of rain put the kibosh on that. We’ve only had two half-days of decent weather so far since I’ve been home, and I spent those outside playing with the baby and tossing some junk to the curb for heavy trash pick-up. Why didn’t I just run in the rain, you ask? Because screw that, that’s why. *grumble grumble, excuses excuses*

Editing Goal
I haven’t done any actual editing, but I’ve been working on figuring out a better method. So far I’ve been printing out so many pages of my manuscript at a time and scribbling all over it in red ink. While this method is somehow strangely satisfying, it’s slow and messy and requires me to lug a bunch of printed sheets back and forth across the country with me. It would be a lot simpler if I could just use Scrivener, but since I take my tablet out West with me instead of my laptop and the internet out there isn’t reliable enough for any kind of remote access setup, that’s not really an option. I’ve recently downloaded an app called Kingsoft, which might be a better word processor than the one that comes with the tablet, so we’ll see…but in the meantime, if anyone has any better suggestions to make editing quicker and easier, please share!

1,000,000 Word Goal
I might have to hide my head in shame on this one. After doing a quick count of a couple of pages I wrote for my Final Fantasy fanfiction recently, I found that this week I wrote a grand total of 749 words. That’s 749 words that I may not have written, but still. For shame. I’m getting ever closer to having a week during which I write 0 words, and that is all kinds of not good. It’s almost as though other things keep coming up to keep me away from writing…huh. Well, anyway, if you’ll excuse me I have to go cuddle up and watch My Little Pony with my daughter now. 😛

Accountability Tuesdays: Week 18

Man, the couches at Wapasu Lodge camp feel so cushy on the day you fly home. Why do you think that is?

So here I am again, plucking out an accountability post as I wait to travel. There have been worse ways to spend a day, let me tell you, and since this one results in my returning home to my baby girl and husband, I’m as happy as a pig.

(No feces necessary. Pigs just seem to be rather happy creatures overall.)

Health and Body Image Goal
I have to admit, I’ve waned on this one, but there is an up side. Starting about Wednesday I started shying away from the Body Revolution videos for two reasons. One, its really hard to get up in the morning to do them, especially when your camp neighbors ensure that you’re not asleep at night until a good two hours after you wanted to be. And two, I was finding that combined with the diet (or as close as I could get to the diet with what’s available at camp) I was feeling too god damn weak to do the exercises! I’m sorry Jillian, but my body seems to require significantly more calories than you think it does.

So anyway, I ditched the diet for the more enjoyable method of eating what I want while keeping a keen eye on my calorie and fat intake, and since the weather made a turn for the better, I traded Jillian for the Zombies! Run! app. I plan to continue Body Revolution at home (and possibly next shift if my neighbors are a little less ragingly inconsiderate), but for the past few days I’ve just been enjoying getting some fresh air and running from imaginary zombies. Win-win.

Editing Goal
This is another one that has waned, but mainly because I’ve run out of printed copy to edit. My manuscript is several hundred pages long, so I only printed out the first few chapters, and I think I’ve done all with them that I can. Next shift I’ll bring up the USB stick with my soft copy on it and print out some more. Until then, c’est la vie.

1,000,000 Word Goal
I wasn’t expecting this past week to add up to much because with layoffs happening all around me I’ve been about ten times busier at work than usual. Combine that with the nosy neighbors/loss of sleep issue and the fact that I’ve hit a roadblock on my work-in-progress, and I figured I wasn’t going to have anything to report. Imagine my surprise when I counted up all the blog posts I’ve been writing in advance this past week and found that they totaled 6769 words. Not too shabby, huh? I won’t complain, for sure, because I’ll be lucky to get that total over the next twoweeks.

Which is to say I plan to be terribly busy playing My Little Pony with my daughter. So long coworker suckers!