AROW80 Check-In for 5/6/2018

A question from this session’s update reminder post which was talking about various ways of reaching your audience:

Do you find your audience through blogging or other social media? What works best in your experience?

Right now? I don’t know as I have an audience in the broader sense of the word.  I’m still limping my way back into blogging with any kind of regularity and I don’t have any of my non-fanfiction writing posted anywhere that people can see it. This will eventually change, but for the time being, let’s chalk that lack up to a combination of “I’m shy!” and “I don’t really have much of anything worth posting beyond random character sketches and unfinished snippets.”

With Omegas: Cake Walk my audience is primarily off-line: a couple trusted beta readers and my girlfriend (who is also a trusted beta reader) have read some or all of my progress.  Since I’m wanting to go the traditional publishing route, I’m reluctant to post large sections of the work online since I don’t want to risk my work being considered to have been previously published — that and what I’m working on right now is really more of a first draft and therefore still rough around the edges.

I do want to start blogging more because I think that’s a way toward building an audience and it’s something that allows me to ramble on longer than, say, Twitter does. Though, I do have my updates go out to Twitter, Tumblr and now Facebook, in hopes of spreading my net wide and maybe snaring more fish readers (though, honestly, if any fish are reading this, you’re welcome here).

In other news, I went to the endocrinologist today (I’m a Type II diabetic) and got some disappointing news followed by some truly heartening news: my weight is up to 254 pounds from 231, though it looks like that’s due to water weight gain caused by a side effect of a medication I was on (Actos). The doctor took me off of that and increased my dose of a second medication (Trulicity) to compensate and a third medication (Farxiga) has a diuretic effect so that should help with losing the water weight.   My blood pressure was high (146 over…something) but when I went to Urgent Care about stiffness in my shoulders, it was 116 over…something and due to other lower readings, the doctor wasn’t overly concerned. I’m supposed to start checking my blood pressure at home (which I can do, I just need to take the meter I got for myself *mumblemonthsagomumble* out of the box and start using it)

The heartening news is that my A1C, which for those not in the know, is a measure of what your average blood sugar has been at for the previous three months, is at 7.7 — which is very close to the target of 7.0 or under.  Diabetes is a lot like golf, you want those numbers low.  The closer the number is to 7.0, the better control you have over your blood sugars and the less likely you are to end up with complications from diabetes.  And since the complications from diabetes can hit just about every system of the body with disastrous effects, good control is seriously important.

So, that’s a non-writing based goal for this quarter and beyond: keep my sugars down low and get some exercise to help get the weight down.

Beyond that, I came home from the doctor’s appointment, took a nap and had weird Cthulu-adjacent dreams. For which, I blame Ruthanna Emrys’s Winter Tide (link goes to an excerpt from the first chapter over at Tor.com), which is a historical dark fantasy set shortly after the end of World War Two and, well, here’s the summary:

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

The book is a wonderful story, very richly told and full of good period detail. Lovecraft is an author, like Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who I’ve never really read directly but whose works I am exceedingly familiar with due to my enjoyment of works based upon their creations.  I highly recommend Winter’s Tide to anyone who enjoys Charles Stross’s Laundry books or Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country.

Circling back around to writing based goals: Chapter Nineteen of Omegas: Cake Walk continues apace. I’m past the scene that was giving me trouble and am now on to a completely new scene that needs to be coaxed into cooperating. Since I’m going to be staying up late tomorrow morning to go vote when the polls open, I’m planning on maybe doing some noodling over breakfast in the hopes that being sleepy will make my brain more apt to fire in interesting ways.

Beyond that, all is doing well and I hope you are having a good week. Please feel free to comment below and let me know how things are going.

Later, Gators.

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Insecure Writers’ Support Group Post for March 5, 2014

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2

I faced a fear of mine yesterday and I’m proud of myself for doing it.  I’m a diabetic, Type II, adult-onset that I control through oral medication and diet. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been terrified that one day I would have to start taking insulin.  There’s a couple reasons for that fear but the one that is relevant to this post is the fact that I hate needles.  Haaaaate them. As in when I was seventeen and in the hospital for appendicitis I debated whether the pain in my side was really so bad that I needed to ask the nurse for a pain shot. (It was; massive gastrointestinal area infection trumps phobia much like rock beats scissors but without the cool hand gestures.)

So, the idea that my life would depend on me having to willingly stick a needle into myself was just too much to take. Luckily, oral medication was and has remained an option for me.  Unfortunately, I haven’t always been the best about remembering to take that medication or stick to my diet so my diabetes hasn’t always been under control. Which has meant living in a cycle of ‘work hard on doing what I’m supposed to do’ turning into ‘slacking off’ and that, in turn, sliding into ‘not  doing what I’m supposed to at all’ and segueing into ‘oh crap, this is the doctor’s visit where they’re going to tell me that I have to go on insulin.’

I’ve been exceedingly lucky that I haven’t reached that final stage for real but after my last visit with my primary care doctor in January, I was referred to a diabetes specialist. I met with her yesterday and she put me on a new medication that is supposed to help me get my sugars under control and to lose weight.  Going on this new medication may mean that I’ll be able to drop a couple of the other medications I’m on and reduce some of the other ones I take, so I was pretty excited to hear about this.

And then, the doctor mentioned that a nurse would be coming in to show me how to take my new medication.  “’Show me how to take it?’” I asked, since I’ve been pretty good at swallowing things for several years now.  “Yes, it’s an injectable medication,” says the doctor and I say, cunningly, “Oh…”

I was a good girl and did not attempt to run out of the doctor’s office in a blind panic.  Instead, I waited and the nurse came in and showed me how to use the injection pen and provided moral support for the five or six minutes it took for me to build up the courage to inject myself.  I hemmed and hawed and stared down at my stomach and told myself that this was something I had to do, that there was no way of getting around it and that if I could prick my fingers to test my blood sugar, I could give myself a tiny little poke in the belly.

And, I did it! And it did not hurt. I mean, I literally did not feel it at all. I’ve caused myself more pain biting my nails (which says more about how badly I bite my nails than about how much this needle hurt).  I gave myself an injection!   And I did it again later that night before I went to bed – that time, it did hurt but it was a very insignificant pain and the run-up to doing the actual injection was a lot shorter.  I suspect that it’s going to get easier and easier to jab myself as the weeks go on.

Writing has been kind of like my approach to my diabetes – I know what I’m supposed to be doing (taking my pills; putting words on a page) and that while some of it is difficult (sticking to a diet; figuring out an ending), doing the work is going to be to my benefit (improved overall health; a finished novel).  I’ve made stabs at trying to be serious about my writing, attempts that have fallen through because for whatever reason I just couldn’t make myself stick to it.  But lately, I’ve been sticking with it. Since November 1, 2013 I’ve managed to put some serious work into my current novel draft – heck, I’m still working on it and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to an actual ending.  Thanks to the support I’ve found here and with the good folks at Around of Words in 80 Days, writing a book feels like it is doable.  I can change my habits and do what I need to do to get what I want.

This makes facing the needle and the blank page a lot easier.

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Side note: as someone who is and who will likely always remain squeamish about needles, being told ‘oh, it won’t hurt!’ just annoys the crap out of me. Yes it will so hurt! It’s a needle! You are sticking me with it! It’s going to hurt! I still have mad respect for the nurse who gave me a tetanus shot and said “Oh, yeah, it’s going to hurt.”

 

AROW80 Check-In for March 5, 2014

Howdy folks! Happy Wednesday! The snow has, mostly, melted from the ground around here and the weather has warmed up — or I’ve acclimated to the cold — enough that I’m able to only wear one coat when I go outside. 

I’m still doubtful about this spring thing happening, though.

Personal Goals: 

  • Work on following diet plan that the dietitian worked out and generally making better food choices. — Still doing this! Had a follow up with her this week and we reviewed my diet plan and I talked about some of the choices I’ve been making.
  • Met with diabetes doctor — this was something my regular doctor had set up and that appointment was this week. I wasn’t really sure why she was having me do it — other than that whole ‘my sugars are not under control’ thing — so I was pretty nervous but the diabetes doctor was very nice and the appointment went well. She adjusted my medications and put me on a new injectable medication called Victoza that’s not insulin but that’s supposed to help lower blood sugar and may help me lose weight.
  • Keep dentist appointment this week — This is tomorrow. I get to have the left side of my mouth numbed and cleaned. At 10:30 in the morning. *WHINE* The good news is that apparently they put something on your gums to numb them before they give you the shot so, yay!
  • Work on getting exercise — Still needing to work on this, particularly after talking to the diabetes doctor. She wants me to work on losing weight since that will help improve my health and potentially help me reduce the number of medications I need to be on.  And part of that is going to be working on reaching 10,000 steps a day.

Victoza, Needles and Me: So, like I mentioned, I’m now on an injectable medication.  And, as I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I am dreadfully afraid of needles.  So, how am I adjusting to having to jab myself once a day?

Surprisingly well. (Ok, granted, I’ve only been doing this since YESTERDAY, but I am doing it so, go me?)  It helps that a) I know that my phobia is pretty damned ridiculous, particularly when it comes to the kinds of short, sharp sticks that are involved in this kind of an injection and b) this medication can help me get my sugars under control and help stave off complications from diabetes. And considering that the complications of diabetes include things like going blind and losing limbs, being whiny about a needle stick is just counterproductive.

Not that I am anywhere close to ‘going blind and/or losing limbs’ at this point in time. The idea is to never get close to those possibilities.

That said, when the RN came in to show me how to do the shot, it took me a good five or six minutes to work up the courage to do the stick. Which then turned out to be painless — the needle is that thin and I’m injecting into the fat on my stomach so there’s fewer nerve endings to worry about.

It hurt a teeny bit when I injected again before bed but not even enough to signify.  So, here’s to a new beginning!

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out Chapter Eightteen is done! — and now I’m on to Nineteen!
  •  Word Count: I’m at 71,000+ words! Does anybody else have a thing about numbers? I write down little numeric goals for myself — not just round numbers like 50K but things like 65,432 or 77,777. It’s fun and it gives me something to strive for.
  • Ending: I am still unsure of where I am going but I am still on my way!

Goals for this week:

  • Keep my appointment for getting my teeth cleaned and make an appointment for my root canal.
  • Get a pedometer and carry it with me so I can find out how many steps I average in a day and work up to 10K
  • Start checking my blood sugar regularly.
  • .Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out — I’m hoping I can be at Chapter Twenty by the end of the week.
  • Write up my Insecure Writers’ Support Group post for Wednesday — working on that after I post this!

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