P1040283So, some of you know that I set up a treadmill desk near the end of last year. I bought a secondhand treadmill in good condition, and my husband and I rigged up a prototype desk attachment with wood and duct tape so I could see if I was going to like it. I did. It took me a very short time to get used to typing while walking, and I used the desk a fair bit during NaNoWriMo in November. Not much in December, what with holidays and catching up after November. :)

Now we've ditched the prototype and made the "good" desktop from a piece of project pine. It's bolted into place and there to stay  (although it could be removed quite easily and the treadmill converted back to non-desk status in the future). I still need to put a few coats of finish oil on the wood, but it's done for all intents and purposes. (If you are interested in more details on the DIY, please let me know!)

I planned that starting in January, I would try to track my usage of the desk (and the various outcomes). January turned out not to be what I consider a "normal" month, since some serious illness in our family affected both the time I had to walk and the things I did while walking. Still, I kept my records, so I can share them now. Aren't you excited?

I track the time and distance I spend walking, average speed, the calories the treadmill tells me I burn (fwiw), and how I spent the time each session. Also, if I'm writing "new" words in a first draft, the number of words written. The breakdown for January is:

Time: 902 minutes (just over 15 hours)

Distance:
26.93 miles (Yes, I'm in Canada, I should be tracking kilometers; however, I haven't figured out how to change that setting on the treadmill yet. However, being of a certain age, both miles and kms make perfect sense to me, so it's all good.)

Calories burned: 5077 (Wow, that sounds like a LOT. It translates to having lost 3.6 pounds, so it IS a lot!)

Avg. speed: 1.78 mph (I try to keep up around 1.8-2.0, but depending on what I'm doing while walking, sometimes a bit slower is better.)graph-treadmill-january

Activities: For this, I made a chart! As you can see, I spent half my time on the treadmill in January--playing Torchlight II. I make no excuses for this. It was good stress relief at a very stressful time for our family. The editing was for the deadline I was working toward on the 15th of the month; I think all of it took place at the beginning of the month, and then I moved on to Torchlight in the second part of the month. I am hoping the breakdown for February will be different, because that will mean things have improved. :)

I have to say, I love my desk. Although it takes up a fair amount of space in my relatively tiny office, it's well worth it. Writing is by nature a sedentary pursuit, but it doesn't really have to be! (And yes, I wrote this while walking on the treadmill!)

Because I Can

Dec. 30th, 2012 03:32 pm
sherrydramsey: (listening)
My website over at sherrydramsey.com is down today--it may have been down for a few days now as I haven't posted anything new since Christmas or popped 'round to check on it. So it's not due to anything I did, it's something on the hosting end. I've sent a message, which should produce a response "within 9 hours." Wow, that's some customer service.

But why is it that now that I KNOW it's down, I can't stop thinking about it? I wasn't going to post anything of huge importance...taking a break from the revisions I thought I might post about my five-star reads from 2012. That was it. I will likely do that here, later on, since now I've wasted my break time trying to get the site sorted. Grrr.

Anyway, I had to post here just because I CAN. But I don't feel all that much better...
I spent most of yesterday trying to finish up the first draft of a short story that really needed to be done.  I'm discovering, though, that I need frequent breaks when I'm spending long days at the writing mill.  I've never really noticed this during my NaNoWriMo sprints, I suppose because I can generally crank out my daily words in one or two sessions.  But now that I've moved to much longer days of concentrated writing time, I've found a difference.

Yesterday I thought I'd take a  break from one kind of creativity by switching to another, but I needed to set some boundaries so that I wouldn't get swept away and forget to go back to the writing.  Therefore I made it a time challenge, too.  I decided I would open up Photoshop and give myself twenty minutes to create a desktop wallpaper.  One other rule:  I had to work with only the brush sets I happened to have open, plus one other I could choose.

It was fun and provided a good break.  The result isn't terribly fancy, but I like it and it's on my desktop now.  Here it is:


I titled it "Sister Moon."

For Christmas, hubby gave me a new packet of artist trading cards.  I think I might start a few of those to work on when I take a timed break, too.  The switch from one creative endeavour to another seems to have been better for me than using the time on something more mundane.
Well, it's a good thing I was not also participating in NaBloPoMo this year, because my blog posting has taken a serious backseat to novel-writing. However, in the circumstances, I am not berating myself about it.

Last night I actually caught up on my word count for the first time since the month started. (Of course, I haven't written yet today, so now I'm behind again, but that's NaNoWriMo for you.) I'm really liking the story I'm writing. It's turning out to be much more complex than I had realized, and of course I don't have all those complexities planned out, but that is a big part of the fun of writing for me, so it's a good thing. I'm about at the point now where I need to sit down with a stack of index cards and figure out the shape of the thing, and I may get to that this afternoon. Looking forward to it quite a bit. It's my first real stab at alternate history, and I'm finding that aspect of it a blast.

The slipped disc problem has improved considerably in the last few days, although I'm still constrained in what I can undertake. I was able to attend my writing workshop session yesterday morning, which made me very happy since I did not want to miss out on these last two sessions. I went to the mall last night to pick up a birthday card for my brother and came to the realization that my mall-walking limit is about half an hour. Good to know, and it's fortunate that I am in the habit of doing a large part of my Christmas shopping online. I'm doing a little of that today, too.

One side effect of being confined to be for a large part of the past two weeks is that the puppies have managed to infiltrate the house to the point of sleeping on the end of my bed, mostly because it's just easier to keep an eye on them there and I haven't had the energy to keep shooing them away. So if anyone came out of this experience to the good, it's the furrier members of the household.

Something fun: a tweet from Elizabeth Bear today pointed me to these random fractal backgrounds, which are lovely, and poking around the site I found the free program to make your own. You can tile them to fill whatever size background you want. Take a look and try it out; they are really beautiful! Here are a few I got on the first run of the program (it generates 20 every time you run it):

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