National Novel Writing Month 2019


It’s that time of year again! The time of year when good little boys and girls of the writer persuasion wrack their brains and their fingers, destroy notebooks and laptops alike, and drive themselves to the brink of madness by attempting to write a full 50,000-word novel entirely within the confines of 30 days.

Last year I didn’t really participate in NaNoWriMo for a variety of reasons, many of them stress-related, some of them personal.  I technically signed up and reported some written words, but it was a complete bust in the long run. For the most part I only really signed up at all because I hated the idea of not participating after having previously done so for 8 years in a row. Other than technically keeping my participating streak unbroken, there was really little to no point in my bothering to claim that 9th year spot.

Well, this year is going to be different, my friends. For one thing, because of my stubbornness in signing up last year, this year is my 10th since attempting NaNoWriMo for the very first time. That alone makes it special and makes me feel almost like I have to pull this one off. How can I possibly accept screwing up my 10-year anniversary?!

For another thing, I’m in a much better place this year than I was the last. Mentally, emotionally, physically, financially…everything is just better this year, which means a world less stress and more time and energy that I can use to focus on, you know…actually writing.

But that’s not to say that my participation this year is going to be standard fair. Oh no, as usually I intend to be thoroughly rebellious and totally screw with the system because, apparently, I can’t do anything at all the normal way. Who likes normal anyway?

This year, for my 10th Anniversary NaNoWriMo, I fully intend to write well-more than 50,000 words, but they will not be toward a single novel. Rather, I will be working on all the wonderful thoughts that have been dancing around in my head for months now. That includes working toward the manuscripts of The Other World Books Three, Four, and Five, plus a handful of different fan-fiction ideas I’ve been playing with (almost all of them Good Omens ones…don’t judge me), as well as a variety of short stories and other such things that I’ll be writing for my Patreon.

Does it make sense to split my attention like that? No, not necessarily. But only I know how my brain works, and believe me when I say that this is what’s best in order to keep me writing throughout the month.

The only real question, at this point, is what I’m still doing here, yammering away at you fine people rather than writing fiction? Well, honestly, I just wanted to have a chat! And now that I’ve had one, it’s time to go back to the fiction, my friends. Fiction!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2019? Let me know what your username is so I can add you as a friend! You know having friends to be accountable to makes you significantly more likely to complete the challenge, right? That’s what they tell me, anyway. So let’s be friends! Friends who write fiction!

Yeah, okay, I’m just rambling now. ON TO THE WRITING!

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 45 Review


It’s Monday morning. I woke up today to the first snow of the season. Then I ran to Walmart for cat food and found that they were playing Christmas songs. And you know what?


The frustrating truth is that I tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months in Eastern Canada, but right now, at this moment, sitting in front of my laptop with a coffee while shivering from the cold…I’m actually in a really decent mood. I’m not entirely sure what’s up with that, but let’s run with it, shall we?

Week 45 was a busy one, although now that I’m looking back on it I couldn’t quite tell you what it was that made it busy. It just seems as though I was nonstop throughout the week. So let’s have a look-see and try to determine what took up all my time.

Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
Though there are always going to be distractions, the thing I love about National Novel Writing Month time is that it gives me a sense of motivation to do better. I see all these people on social media just killing their word counts and it makes me think, “Dammit, I can do that too!” I’m not always able to actually pull off what I’m seeing other people pull off, but it’s definitely a huge boost to my willpower.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. I’ll be totally honest and say that I was hoping to do better on my word counts this past week, but that’s not to say that I didn’t do well. In fact, I did quite excellent! I wrote 3201 words toward blog posts for this site and, and I wrote an awesome 8699 fiction words toward The Other World Book Three, and an as-yet-unnamed ghost story that I’ve been playing with. Woo! That gives me a week’s total of 11900, which is just 17 words shy of being my second best week of the year so far. Not too shabby at all! Those words also bring my year’s total up to 231699, and my daily average up to 735. Yeah! The average is still going up!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. I don’t wanna talk about it, dudes.
    Seriously though, I’ve had a total down-slide on book sales recently. I’m not sure what’s up, but there’s been absolutely nothing. Obviously I need to do some holiday pimping myself out.
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. Continuing on from previous weeks, I must repeat that my manuscript is currently with my beta-readers. That said, I’m going to go ahead and say that the book will likely not be “complete and published” by the end of the year. I was hoping to have it out for Christmas, but chances are that I’m going to want to make a bunch of changes after my beta-readers are through with it, plus I need to commission the cover art, plus I need to go through the new Kindle publishing process, wait for a proof copy, and confirm that everything is all good. That’s not all likely to happen in the next seven weeks. Plausible, sure, but I also don’t want to rush and end up screwing something up. So let’s take it a little easy and say that the book will be ready sometime in early 2019.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
The focus has been in and out on YouTube for the past few weeks, as you likely already know. We’re trying to psyche ourselves up, try some new things, and engage followers more, but it’s also the busiest time of the year for us, plus I’m starting a new job shortly, so YouTube naturally lags a bit as a result.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. We managed to get two videos filmed, edited, and uploaded in the past week. One of those was a bit of a time-consumer too, since it involved lugging a bunch of discounted Halloween purchases around and trying to work out how to lay them out so we could record everything. The other was another full case blind box opening, too, and those are never super-quick because of the bulk involved. So yeah, we definitely could have done more in the past week, but I’m happy with the two vids we managed to get up.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect.  I think we did enough with the social media late yesterday to qualify for an awesome week overall. 😛
    Jason went absolutely mad with Instagram pics, which I then shared on the Twitter account as well, so it was a very social-intensive night. That said, the week in general wasn’t too shabby either. I may have drifted off from the social media a bit recently because of the amount of time I’ve been spending trying to get some writing done, but I’m still always there, tweeting away and sharing pictures when I have picture ideas to share. All is going well.

#3: Focus more on myself. 
Focus on myself, in recent weeks, has been delegated down to basically just trying to get done all the stuff I want to be done. As mentioned, this is a very, very busy time of year for us, what with the holidays coming up, plus both Jason and Adrianna’s birthdays, plus my stubborn insistence on participating in NaNoWriMo, so it’s definitely hard to find a moment or two to actually focus on myself.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. Something I did manage to sneak in this past week was the time to finish reading Carrie, and I can officially say that I love it. I won’t say too much because I might find the time to write an actual review post, but I’ll definitely say that if you’re a King fan and you haven’t read his original, first published novel, you need to. Especially if you are, or were, a teenage girl. Absolutely awesome.
    I did try recently to sit down and play a little bit of the Nintendo Switch, but it only lasted about two minutes before I decided there was stuff that needed doing.
    As for “watching”? Well it hasn’t been me time, but rather us time with Jason, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this ridiculous Food Wars anime we’ve been watching. It’s a ludicrous, over-sexed cooking anime, of all things, and I’ve been totally hooked. We watched almost the entire first season over the course of a few days.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. Though I haven’t been doing any actual runs or “real” exercise, I’ve actually been fairly active of late. In particular, I spent a good chunk of the weekend as a whirlwind blowing around the house, trying to get it more-or-less clean.
    It’s starting to get genuinely cold out now, so I doubt I’ll be going for any runs in the near future, but I might still manage a decent bit of walking. The job I mentioned above is located only a 15 minute walk from my house, so I’ll probably walk to and from most of the time to avoid taking the car away from Jason and Adrianna, and the job itself involves pretty  much constant movement and a lot of lifting. So here’s to “free” exercise! Ha!

Having gone through it all now I’m still not exactly sure where I was so busy throughout the week, but I’ll settle for knowing that I had a decently productive one. Here’s hoping I can continue that on through the next seven weeks. I tend to lose any semblance of productivity the closer we get to Christmas, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

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 44 Review


Halloween has come and gone. Christmas is sneaking steadily toward us. And it is currently November, the National Novel Writing Month, also known as the month during which Tracey laughs, cries, loves herself, hates herself, eats way too much junk food, drinks way too much tea, and wonders why she can never seem to force herself to write this much during the other eleven months of the year.

But that’s nonsense for another post. Right now we’re talking about week 44 of 2018, also known as the week of Halloween preparation, execution, and post-holiday discount shopping. Also also known as the week during which I do a lot but accomplish little.

Mind you, this particular year the week was not as mind-blowingly unproductive as in previous years, so this isn’t going to be an “oh my god I did nothing!” post, but I guess what I’m saying is: don’t expect TOO much. ^_~

Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
I did my absolute best to find the time and energy to work on my writing during week 44, and honestly, I don’t think I did half bad!

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. Obviously, because of the aforementioned several-days-of-Halloween-events I didn’t get as much done as I could have, but I still managed to squeeze in a lot more writing than I have in previous years, so I’m actually fairly impressed with myself. I wrote 1766 blog words, and 5073 fiction words (mostly toward NaNoWriMo, once the 1st had rolled around), for a week’s total of 6839. That’s my best week since the huge week 40, which is pretty awesome since I generally crumble like an overbaked cookie during those few days leading up to and away from Halloween. Go me!
    Those numbers bring the year’s total up to 219,799, and my daily average back up a bit to 714. Yay for moving upward again!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. I’ll be honest: I haven’t even really been looking at my numbers the past week or so. I know (because I checked today) that there hasn’t been much movement, aside from a few pages read on Kindle Unlimited, but I just haven’t had the time or energy required to self-promote. I’m going to be moving back into the promotion in the coming weeks though, what with the holidays approaching. Buy the reader in your life an awesome book! You know you wanna!
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. The manuscript is still with my beta-readers, peeps! You can’t judge me on this one! It’s out of my hands! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
YouTube takes a bit of a reasonable backseat during those few days of Halloween, since the holiday is rather largely celebrated in the Tobin household. So just keep that in mind, yes?

  • Goal #1: Film more often. We did two videos during week 44, both of which were directly related to Halloween. Jason did a countdown list of movies that we watch every year during the season, and we did our yard haunt video, which is just an extra bit of fun to add to the actual day of Halloween. Both were fun videos that were obviously time sensitive, so I’m happy that we were able to get them done and up. It would have been nice if we’d been able to cram in a couple more, but as mentioned, Halloween is kinda huge for us, so our focus was very simply placed elsewhere for most of the week.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect.  Social media continues to plod on forward without much issue. I completed the October challenge I created for the channel Instagram, which was tons of fun. I totally flaked out on the last few days of the author-account Instagram challenges, but there was simply too much to do and I was running ideas for those last few days worth of pictures. I also may have been flaking out on Twitter a bit the past few days, but that’s mostly because I spent so much time driving all over hell’s creation while we searched for discounted Halloween decorations, followed by the complete and utter crashing of my system once we finally returned home each day. Mama needs rest and a reboot!

#3: Focus more on myself. 
I’m not even going to joke; the week of Halloween is not a time during which I’m likely to find a few moments to myself. There’s too much preparation, family stuff, shopping, running around, deconstruction, and so on and so forth. So, yeah, I love it, but it’s also a period of time during which I basically lose any capability to have two minutes to myself.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. Aside from our nightly horror movies and Halloween-night specials, I don’t know if I really did any of this stuff during week 44. I was too damn busy!
    No! Wait! You know what? I read some more of Carrie. A little bit. So there’s that. I’m still trying to finish it (come the hell on, Tracey, it’s not even that long of a book…), but I did manage to read a bit of it through the holiday. I didn’t play bugger all though, and I didn’t watch anything that wasn’t a predetermined family-viewing date. I really have to find some time soon to sit the hell down BY MYSELF and catch up on Supernatural and Doctor Who. If anything is bound to relax me, that’s it.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. And here we are, down at the last goal, the one that usually comes with the most excuses…but not this week! Staying active is absolutely not a problem during Halloween week. You know why? Because I basically NEVER STOP MOVING. Since our weather tends to be rainy and/or windy near-constantly throughout October, Jason and I do 90% of our Halloween decorating on Halloween morning. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off getting everything ready, then we each take shifts walking our daughter all throughout town, then after she’s in bed we go out and deconstruct the decorations, because if we didn’t half of it would blow away, get ruined, or get stolen. Then, the next day, we run around shopping, looking for discount goodies, and because the stores are stubborn and like to try to drag the good deals out until as long as possible, we end up doing the same thing for two or three more days in a row. In other words, I basically didn’t stop moving for a good 4-5 days straight. And I have the sore back, near-broken neck, and callused feet to prove it. Also, my Fitbit has been like, “Woooooah, bitch, calm down! What the hell is happening?” So, HA.

In case you hadn’t put two and two together yet: I LOVE Halloween, but it’s also one of the most physically painful and exhausting few days of the year for me. So I’m genuinely quite impressed that I managed to get anything accomplished in week 44, and now I’m going to go crawl into bed with a pile of Halloween chocolate (parent tax FTW!) and try to forget that Christmas is going to be peeking around the corner before I know it.

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

NaNoWriMo Sparkless: An IWSG Post

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Here we are, right in the middle of the first week of October. This is one of my favorite times of the year for a lot of reasons. The temperature starts to dip back into that cozy one perfectly for snuggling in couch blankets. The air has that strange, lovely smell about it. Pumpkin spice and candy corn is everywhere. And, of course, there’s Halloween. I love Halloween.

But there’s something else about this time of year that gets my blood pressure working, even if it’s something that I do technically enjoy.

NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month.

I love NaNoWriMo, I really do. I’ve participated it in every year since I first discovered it back in 2009. But I haven’t actually “won” since 2013.

And that’s when things started to change a bit, I think. It’s not that “winning” is necessarily the most important thing about NaNo, but there’s no doubt that “losing” so many years in a row is a bit of a downer, and bit by bit other things started to change too.

When I first started NaNo, for example, there was a huge sense of community about it. I spent as much time chatting with people in the forums as I did actually writing. I participated in word sprints, did a tea exchange with a lovely lady I met in the All-Ages forum, and competed with the other Nova Scotia writers for the highest word counts per day. But slowly, surely, I started to drift away from all that. By the time NaNo came around in 2017 I felt completely alienated somehow. The forums began to feel like a solid wall of strangers whom I didn’t have the energy to converse with. Word sprints felt like organized chaos that I couldn’t fit into my life. The community in general seemed as though it had been driven away from me, even though the truth is that I drove myself away from it.

Now NaNo feels a lot different. I still look forward to it, because it still affords me that little push of motivation to write more than usual, ignore my inner editor, and just GET STUFF DONE. But the real excitement doesn’t seem to be there anymore. The fun doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

A lot has changed in my life since NaNoWriMo 2017, so it’s just possible that the spark my be reignited this year, but I’m not holding my breath. I suspect that something has been lost that will never be found again and that is, as you may expect, rather sad.

I’m still going to participate. I’m still going to do my best to “win”, even though it’s been years since I was able to find the time and effort to do so. And I’m going to really try to rejoin the community and see if I can’t relocate that spark. But I’m also going to do my best not to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

Wish me luck. And if you’re participating, look me up, username: Toreshi. Maybe we can create a new spark together. 🙂