Welcome to TraceyTobin.WordPress.com!

Some time ago, I went through my online presence, disposed of a great deal of excess, and created NoPageLeftBlank.wordpress.com as a place to bring what was most important to me into one spot. At the time it worked wonders, but over the years that have passed since then quite a lot has changed. I am now a published author and a growing YouTuber, and as a result of those things my online presence has once again gotten convoluted. So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to what I’m hoping will be my new-and-improved personal space.

This blog will not be specifically for me as an author, or me as a YouTuber, and it will not be a place specifically meant for blogging or marketing or any other individual issue. TraceyTobin.Wordpress.com will be for me, in whatever form that takes. I will talk about the writing process and what’s happening with my books, I’ll share my YouTube videos and other geeky nonsense as I see fit, and I’ll blog as I desire. This site will be me in my entirety, as I see fit.

So if you’ve come here from NoPageLeftBlank.wordpress.com, thank you very much for following me into this new venture, and if you’re new, welcome! You may see some strange things happening here in the following weeks as I create back-dated posts to share older YouTube videos, but moving forward expect to see lots more of, well…me!

Cheers!

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Plans and Goals 2018: Week 24 Review

plansandgoalsweeklyreview

Week 24 was EXHAUSTING.

I’m not throwing that out there right at the beginning so that I can use it as an excuse or anything; I’m just stating it as a fact. I spent a lot of time the past week getting my reading/writing/gaming room exactly the way I wanted it, selling off old furniture and other items to make room for the new layouts of both this room and my daughter’s bedroom, worked my ass off reading through my own book in order to complete a necessary side-project (more on that later), plus dealt with a bunch or random kid stuff (sports group, multiple birthday parties, etc.), and capped it all off by driving three hours yesterday (one-and-a-half out, another one-and-a-half back) so we could all spend the day at the local amusement park before it packs up and moves to the next town. So all in all, by the time I laid down my head down on my pillow last night I’m pretty sure I’d already been asleep for several hours. 😛

I just thought I’d share that, because sometimes I’m pretty sure people get the impression that I sit around doing nothing all day and then complain about not having time to write. ^_~

So anyway, with that out of the way, let’s move into the guts of the post.


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
I can honestly say that I did put significantly more focus on writing this past week, although not necessarily when it came to the actual writing. Let’s explain:

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. My word count for week 24 was pretty sad, but actually still better than week 23. I only wrote the one blog post, which accounted for 1895 words, and I wrote a further 961 words toward my fiction count. Together that makes a paltry total of 2856, but on the bright side that means my year’s total has finally hit a major milestone, as I’m now up past 100k! The total right now stands at 100,024, which is massively behind where it should be, but is still an excellent number to be able to look at. The second downside, however, is that my daily total has dropped to it’s lowest yet, at 595, so my new mini-goal will be to try to get that back up over the 600 mark.

    Now, normally I’d be extraordinarily disappointed in myself (as usual) for having such a poor word count for the week after I just last week listed some new websites I found to help me actually REACH my writing goals. However, there is a very, very good reason why the actual writing was low in week 24, and that will come up again shortly.

  • Goal #2: Sell more books. Hey you! Yeah, you! You reading this right now! Buy my books!

    That was a little rude, wasn’t it? Unfortunately I’m starting to feel like that kind of shouting into the void is all I’ve really got left in my self-promotion tool-bag. I’ve been putting as much spare time as I can manage into my author social media accounts in the hopes that this will eventually lead to some sales, but it’s a very slow-going kind of plan. Oh what I wouldn’t give for the spare cash to buy some actual visual promotion!

    All that lovely whining aside, I did get two book sales last week. Go me. Ha!

  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. Okay, here we are. This is the reason why I got very little in the way of word count for week 24. I’VE BEEN WORKING ON BOOK TWO! Yes, you better believe it! I spent an entire evening early in the week going through Book One paragraph by paragraph and scribbling down every possible important piece of information in my little notebook, and then I really got to work on the beta-reader-copy edits. It’s taking a little longer than I was hoping because I had to completely rewrite most of a chapter in order to rectify a ridiculous plot hole, but progress is definitely being made, and I hope to be able to send the manuscript off to my beta readers very soon. FINALLY.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
With each success comes a modicum of failure.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. Nothing. We filmed absolutely nothing this past week. At least part of the reason can be attributed to the business I mentioned at the very beginning of this post (it’s difficult to film when you’re out at the circus for a full day or waiting for people to show up to your house to haul away furniture you’re selling), but a good part of it simply has to do with the fact that Jason and I have been having a hard time getting into it lately, for a number of reasons. The good news is that we’re still working on the channel in other ways, which I hope will eventually become evident once we’ve learned a lot. If that seems cryptic…it’s on purpose. 😛
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. The social stuff continues to go fairly well. Although my attention is now split between two separate personas – the YouTuber and the Author – I think I’m doing a pretty decent job of keeping both moving forward steadily. I go a little quiet on days when I’m extra busy, but more or less I feel that I have a steady handle on things there.

#3: Focus more on myself.
The biggest stride I took toward personal focus in week 24 doesn’t relate to either of the goals for this section, but rather the work (and there was a lot of it!) that I put into getting my reading/writing/gaming room set up. I am in love with this room now. The futon my parents gave me is actually really comfortable, I’m surrounded by things I love – books, geeky plushies, my dragon collection, etc – and although I’m obviously not going to lock my husband and daughter out of the room, it’s still, for the most part, a space just for me. I’ve spent a good bit of time in there the past few days, and it just feels lovely having this place where I can go and curl up to read or get something written in moderate silence, or relax with an old game or two. It is a genuinely huge deal to my mental and emotional health, and I’m so happy that I took the initiative to get it done.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. The biggest thing to mention here is that I played a significant amount of Breath of the Wild this past week. That significant amount mostly involved wandering aimlessly across the enormous map and finding random stuff to gather, but oh man…what a beautiful game. And relaxing too! I feel like I could just wander and collect things forever and still be happy with it.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. I took a few days off last week for things like the circus day, but I also finally finished the ridiculous race missions on the Zombies Run app so that I could finally get back into the normal Season 2 missions. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do the races so that I could get the secret story points, but who the hell thought it was a good idea to hide bits of story behind a 20 kilometer run?! Do you know how long it takes me to go 20 km? Long enough to develop shin splints and massive blisters, I’ll tell you that much. But at least I can say they’re out of the way!

Looking back over this post I tend to feel as though I didn’t really get that much done in week 24, but a lot of time and energy was put into my room, and the majority of my focus has been on editing Book Two, so I look at that as a win. These are important things, my friends! Important things that move me (at least a little bit) toward success!

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 23 Review

plansandgoalsweeklyreview

Have you guys ever experienced that strange situation in which it feels as though time is moving like molasses, and yet somehow at the exact same time it’s slipping through your fingers and you have no idea what’s happening to it? That’s where I am right now.

The first(ish) week of June has been the kind that just doesn’t let up in the sense of having a million things to do, while simultaneously throwing out some of those annoying days during which the world is crawling by, mostly because you want to be doing things and, for whatever reason, can’t.

Am I making sense? I’m having a hard time concentrating because our live stream of E3 is on right in front of me at the moment. XD

You know what? Let’s just jump into it, and I’ll explain as we go.


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
There was some genuine focus on my future as a writer in the past week, although that, oddly, didn’t involve a huge amount of actual writing. I shall explain!

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. Okay, so let’s get the actual numbers out of the way right off the bat. In week 23 I wrote 1883 words for blog posts, and 733 words toward fiction, for a weeks’ total of 2616 words, which is not a spectacular number at all. That brings my years’ total up to 97,168, and my daily average down to an all-time low of 603. Obviously I’m not incredibly impressed with that, but oh my GOD did I have a terrible week for trying to sit down and write! On top of being busy with things like cleaning the house for visiting family and actually having to then deal with the visiting family, I also spent an ENTIRE DAY in the local hospital’s outpatients department with Jason. Don’t worry, we’re both okay, but Jason had either a pulled muscle, a pinched nerve, or a misaligned rib (we’re still not sure which) which was causing him so much pain he hadn’t slept in three days. So off we went to the hospital, where we sat in the waiting room for NINE HOURS. That’s on top of the more-than-an-hour it takes to drive to and from that hospital. Now, you might be thinking that I should have had tons of time to write that day. Well, yes…I should have…if I’d thought to bring ANYTHING TO WRITE WITH.
    I apologize for all the textual yelling, but I’m genuinely enraged with myself for spending a full work day sitting in a waiting room with nothing to write with.

    Moving on to more positive notes, I’ve recently discovered a couple of websites that I feel are going to help me greatly with my future writing. First, thanks to a lovely lady on Twitter, I discovered a website called Pacemaker. No, it has nothing to do with your heart; it’s literally a maker of your pace for writing. Basically you can create a plan, in which you choose the goal you’re trying to achieve (in my case I choose a “marathon” running from January 1st to December 31st, for a word count total of 500,000), and depending on a few other options you can choose, it creates a plan for how many words you have to write per day. You can then update your plan with your progress, and the plan will automatically reassess and change in order to keep you on track. In my case I input all my progress so far for the year, and chose a plan that is semi-random so that it’s not an exact number of words per day, and it gave me a calendar that shows how many words I need to write per day. I like the way it’s set up because, for instance, it’ll tell me that I need to write 4000 words today, but then tomorrow it’ll give me a break and say I only need to write 100. In that way I have days that are absolutely going to be difficult, but then I have other days during which I can relax, which helps lower the stress level created by missing daily goals.

    The other website I found – this one on my own, as called 4thewords, and I’m still deciding whether I really like it or not, but I feel like I’m probably going to end up getting addicted to it. For lack of a better description, it’s a text-based RPG kind of game in which you get bits of the story and progression through lovely artwork and a pre-programmed fantasy tale. Writing words into the on-site editor gains you XP, items, and allows you to defeat enemies. So it is quite literally a video game, as such, that you progress in by getting your word count up. It seems like a fun idea, and since you’re able to copy and past into the files and still get credit for your word count, I can take things like this blog post and move it to the site later to get my progression points. Sound interesting? I thought so!

    Okay, that’s enough about this goal; I’ve written more in this one section than I usually write for this entire post!

  • Goal #2: Sell more books. There’s not much to report here, as the sales front has been pretty much dead lately. That said, I’ve been working hard on my author social platform, building up the Instagram and Twitter accounts to try and get my name out there as both a writer and reader. I’ve also got a few awesome friends attempting to help promote my books, so that makes me super happy even if it doesn’t necessarily end up leading to sales.
    One other note: I just got my very first cheque from CreateSpace. On the one hand that is SAD since Nowhere to Hide has been available for NEARLY FOUR YEARS, but on the other hand, I finally have a goddamn cheque to cash. XP
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. I’M GETTING TO IT. <<insert weeping emoji>>

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
Based on my previous explanation of our time at the hospital, preceded by Jason not sleeping for multiple days in a row, I’m going to imagine that you can guess where this one is going.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. Surprisingly, we did manage to get two videos filmed and published last week. We were supposed to be hyping ourselves up to really get back into it and start filming a lot more, but zero sleep and entire days spent in a waiting room can really put a damper on things like that. So I’m telling myself to be satisfied with what we did manage.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. There’s not much to report here either, but in this case that’s a good thing. Social media has been going pretty well. As mentioned in a previous post I’ve pretty much given up on Snapchat, as it’s pretty much only useful if you’re chatting one-on-one, but I’ve been putting a lot more focus into Twitter and Instagram, and I feel that it’s been yielding results. Plus it’s fun to talk to everyone on those two platforms. 🙂

#3: Focus more on myself.
Before I get right into the specific goals, for this section, I’m going to explain the little side-project that I mentioned last week, which has now begun to take effect. This might below in the writing section of this post, but since it really plays to focusing on ME, I’m going to put it here.

The basics of the situation is this: we have a guest room with a bed for when family/friends visit, which is also the room that my bookshelves are in. This room has been a cluttered, unholy mess pretty much since we’ve lived here, because it’s the spot that everything gets thrown into. There’s a dresser and an enormous chest of drawers in there that are all but kindling since we don’t use them, and the bed we had in there was a massive thing that took up the entire room. So what I’ve done is begun to gut it. I gave the bed to our daughter (so now she actually has room to SLEEP in there, rather than just cover it in plushies) and sold her single bed, while also greasing a futon out of my parents that they didn’t want anymore, so there’s still technically a bed in the guest room for when we need it. I got rid of a ton of junk, hid away more, and rearranged the room so that now I’ve got a lovely little reading area on the futon, and my bookshelves are nice and tidied and organized. The next step is to get rid of the huge chest of drawers, which will free up an entire wall, on which I can put a computer desk we’ve had under a pile of junk in our mud room for years now. Once that’s up there I can decorate a little to make it my own, and I’ll finally, for the first time EVER, have my own ACTUAL writing space. You have no idea how exciting that is to me.

What it all comes down to is that the guest room, when it’s not being a guest room, is now going to be MY space. Mine alone. With a door that I can close when I need time to myself. And that, my friends, is an enormous deal to me.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. Moving on to this stuff now! I managed to read a bit more of Stephen King’s On Writing this past week, and I plan to read more in the coming week (now that I have that reading spot!). I’ve also been continuing to play Rayman Legends, but also sneaking some other stuff in here and there. As I mentioned previously E3 started recently as well, and that’s always a big deal for Jason and myself, so I’ve been pretty much glued to that. TONS of fun.
    Related note: cleaning up my bookshelves and rearranging everything has had the side-effect of an enormous list of books I want to read now. o.o
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. The zombies are still chasing me! 😀 Week 23 was a little bit of a slow down, just because I’ve been doing the (in my honest opinion) ridiculously stupid 20k race missions in multi-day sessions so that I don’t kill myself, but the fact of the matter is that Runs. Are. Happening. WOO! I’m pretty sure this is the longest streak I’ve ever had as far as near-daily exercise, so I’m pretty proud of myself. I haven’t been losing weight at all (goddamn it), but I can happily report that I’ve been feeling better and seeing little positive changes in my body. One thing that I hadn’t even realized until Jason pointed it out is that I’ve been walking a lot straighter lately. I’ve always had a terrible slouch, to the point that a physiotherapist told me my shoulders are even hunched forward when I’m laying flat on my back, so to have Jason turn to me and say that he’s noticed my posture has been improving a lot, that definitely put a smile on my face. Here’s to more positive changes in the future!

So week 23 wasn’t exactly what I’d consider to be productive, but a lot of good things came out of it in the end. So with that said, I’m going to leave you for now so that I can go watch Sony’s E3 press conference, and then in the morning it’s back to work on my beautiful new ME space! Let’s do this!

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!

Game of Thrones WINTER IS HERE COLLECTION! – Full Case Titans Vinyl Blind Box Unboxing & Giveaway!

Winter is here, and it’s set to be the longest one in many ages…

By which I, of course, mean that the next season of Game of Thrones is AGES away, and we’re all extraordinarily pained by it. @.@ So to keep us satiated until then, Jason and i are unboxing an entire case of “Winter Is Here” vinyl blind boxes from Titan! Even better: Entertainment Earth is giving another full case to one of our subscribers! Check out the video to see which characters we got in our case, and then click the link in the description box to get your entries in for your own case!

June’s “To Be Read” List

It’s a list of one!

“That’s not a list!” you say.

Shoo! I don’t need your negativity!

onwriting

I mentioned last month that I wasn’t really doing a “TBR” because I already had too much left to catch up on that I’d failed to read in previous months’ TBR’s. Well, I continued my failing streak by reading exactly none of the books I was behind on during May! Look at me go!

With that said, May was a horrible month for me for a number of reasons, and all that’s to be done is to move forward. So I’m giving myself a really small, simple goal this month. I’m going to finish reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It really shouldn’t be difficult, because I’m halfway through it already. And if I manage that, I’ll move on to the next thing, but for the sake of just saying I have a TBR for June, there it is: that one book. Wish me luck.

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 22 Review

plansandgoalsweeklyreview

Okay, someone is playing a trick on me, right? There’s no way that it’s the first week of June. I refuse to accept it.

I’ve been feeling more and more like time is slipping away from me lately. That may be in part to the “broken brain” thing I’ve been complaining about for a while now, but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that it’s halfway through the year already and I feel like I’ve gotten next to nothing accomplished. Yeah, sure, there’s been videos, there’s been blog posts, there’s been writing and gaming and spending time with my family. But what have I really accomplished?

But that’s enough of that for this morning.

You may notice that, as has become some kind of annoying tradition, this post is late again this week. But I have an excuse! I totally intended to have this written and posted yesterday, which would have made it the first of these posts that has been on time in about a month, but it was simply not to be, for the moment I sat down to type it all up, this happened:

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So you’ll forgive me, right? I knew you would.

Okay, let’s do this!


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
I’m going to let the individual goals speak on this one, because I’m still flabbergasted at just how unfocused my focus has become.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. I’m going to be honest: I’m a little confused by this one this week. I could have sworn that I wrote more than I actually did. I can’t explain it at all. Somehow, between the week passing in the blink of an eye on me and the fact that I’ve clearly begun to go senile (body of a 34-year-old, brain of an octogenarian) I managed to write 3551 blogging words and absolutely nothing toward anything else. Again, I’m totally bewildered because I could have sworn I’d worked on something, but when I went looking in my Scrivener files and notebooks there was nothing to be found. Senile, I’m tellin’ ya. Regardless, the words that I did write brings my year’s total up to 94552, and my daily average down slightly to 614.
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. As we speak Kindle’s website is experiencing issues so I can’t see my sales reports. I can tell you that I’ve had precisely nothing in the way of paperback sales, but I can also tell you that I’ve gotten a few lovely offers for helping to promote my books, so hopefully there will be some new eyes on the books in the near future.
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. There has been work done, I swear. Unfortunately, most of it has been done in my head. Ideas, planning, small revelations, and so on. There will be more intense work done soon though, I guarantee it. I’ve got something on the horizon that might not be a big deal to the average person, but is a huge deal to me, and that something should go a long way toward helping me plunk my butt down and get some work done. More on that as the situation progresses, because I like keeping people in suspense.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
This has become nearly as difficult as focusing on writing. Again, I’ll let the goals themselves do the speaking.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. We are so far behind on filming again, but it’s mostly for good reason. We had a few family events recently that took us out of the house, so that’s excusable. Beyond that there’s also been the trouble with Jason’s eye, which is still acting up, and I had a few days this past week during which my throat was acting up. Our weather has been very up-and-down recently, with lovely warm sun one day and freezing cold rain the next, and it’s been totally screwing with our bodies, I think. We only managed to get one video filmed and up last week as a result, but at least it was a fun one, showing off my new Freddy Krueger. Go check it out if you’re a horror fan!
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. I mentioned this a few days ago, but I’ve effectively doubled my workload as far as social media goes, as I decided to set up and run an Instagram and Twitter as an author in addition to the YouTube channel accounts. So far it’s been going okay, with my attention to the channel accounts remaining mostly the same. I’m a little less attentive to the author Twitter simply because I’m used to mostly talking about geeky stuff and I haven’t caught my stride when it comes to more “authory” things yet, but I’m sure I’ll get into it eventually.

#3: Focus more on myself.
Oooh, now that I think about it, the something that I mentioned up above is a really good example of focusing on myself…but I’m keeping that close to the chest for now. 🙂

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. I’ve been playing so much Rayman Legends, omfg. I’m down to the stages that are mind-exploding-ly frustrating, but I’m determined to 100% the game, so it looks like I might be caught in that rabbit hole for a while. At the same time, however, I’m working on Stephen King’s “On Writing” (which you might remember from the last half-a-dozen-or-so “To Be Read” posts), and Jason and I have been watching a ridiculous anniversary show based on an old anime, Fist of the North Star, which has been an excellent way of turning my brain off since it’s so off-the-wall dumb.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. I’m still running! The Zombies Run game has really got me hooked. Unfortunately I’ve missed a few days lately because of rain and those family events I mentioned earlier, but I’m still doing great in general because I love the darn thing. I’m totally obsessed with the growing story and building my own little virtual township. It sounds silly, but I just LOVE it, so yay for something actually getting me into exercise! On top of that the SparkPeople.com challenge that I joined a while back is starting over again as of today, so I’ll have that extra motivation coming at me. Go health!

And that’s pretty much it for me for week 22. I’d love to say that it was a nice, productive one, but as I’ve said a dozen times, I swear the week blinked away on me and vanished into the mists of time. But all things considered, it really still wasn’t that horrible of a week. Onward and upward into June, everyone!

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!