Monthly Archives: May 2012

WritersButt Goes International


Earlier today on Twitter I tweeted a teaser that I’d have a fun announcement today on WritersButt Wednesday.  Well here I am and I’m so darn excited, I don’t know where to start.  So, I’ll start back at the beginning to give you the whole picture.

About 10 years ago, I attended my first big writers’ conference and it was AMAZING.  I went to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, which is in Surrey, BC. You guys, it seriously overwhelmed me with awesomeness.  I was a fairly new writer at the time and I soaked it all in and just let the experience wrap around me.  I continued to attend for many years, skipped a year or two, and then went back again, I think 2008 or 2009 was the last time I went.  Each time was wonderful for a different reason. The workshops changed and as I grew and developed as a writer, I got different things out of the conference. Also, this was the annual meet-up for my fantastic, incomparable, critique group.  Some of the best moments of the conference actually happened in our hotel rooms on the floor eating take-out sushi (I know a great place if you’re going … ask me in comments!!) and drinking wine. We’d plot, brainstorm, and dissect workshop notes.  It was beyond wonderful.

Then my critique group decided to switch gears a bit and we got together for retreats amongst ourselves, or we did smaller events, and as we always did, we were (and still are) in constant contact online.

But that last year in Surrey, late one night in one of our hotel rooms, we said, we’ll get back to Surrey but when we do, we want to be on the other side of the room.  Meaning, we want to be a presenter.  It was a huge statement because throughout the years, Surrey has pulled in the cream of the crop in terms of presenters.  Some highlights for me have been Anne Perry, Donald Maass, Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Lyon, Diana Gabaldon, Jack Whyte … and many, many more!

So, what does all this have to do with WritersButt?  I’m getting there, unless you’re late for a workout, in which case, go and work your butt off and come right back.

Alright, so last fall I decide to start a blog.  This happens concurrently with the very smart decision to take Kristen Lamb’s two-month long blogging and branding class based off her book, We Are Not Alone.  Also at the same time, one of my critique partners was going through some health issues and started talking to me about fitness and nutrition. Then she had the fabulous idea about me helping other writers with fitness and health.  Long story short — WritersButt was born and I made it a regular feature on my blog every Wednesday.

How do the Surrey conference and my little blog and WritersButt have any connection.

Well ….

I’m thrilled, excited, and completely blown away to announce that I will be a presenter this year in Surrey, at my favorite conference and will be giving a WritersButt workshop, connecting the body and mind for writers in terms of more creativity and better health.

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  — Y’all join me screaming, we’re family here! — Woooo-Hooo!!!!!!!

Oh, you want proof?  Fine, how’s this?

Ginger’s Presenter Page!

There it is. I went from newbie writer attending my very first conference in Surrey. To working my craft, taking Kristen Lamb’s class and becoming a WANA, starting my blog and coming full circle and heading back to Surrey.

Here’s another really cool fact.  That very first year, at the last lunch of the conference, I sat next to Jo Beverly.  We were all told to put our lanyards/nametags on the table so they could recycle them.  Jo’s had a presenter’s ribbon on hers and I jokingly said, “Some day I hope to have one of those.”  She took the ribbon off and handed it to me and said, “Keep it, focus on it, work at it, and some day, you will.”  I saved that ribbon and did all those things.

I think I will cry when I pick up my conference packet and see my own presenter’s ribbon this year. I’m crying already!  Maybe I should email Jo Beverly and let her know how that impromptu moment planted a seed that I sowed and made grow into my dream.  But not alone, no!  The past decade was with an incredible critique group, an amazing family, and now, my new, amazing WANAs, who are like a tidal wave of support and all things spectacular!

It would over-the-top, freak-out-amazing, if any of you attended the Surrey Conference this year and I got to meet you.  It’s a stellar conference.  Registration opens soon, on June 6th.  I’m going to be doing some morning power stretches before the workshops begin and I’ll work with and meet anyone in the gym if they want some extra guidance.  So, who’s coming?


Summertime’s Hilarious Dangerous Moments

Yesterday as the last day of school. My sophomore is now a junior, my middle schooler is now a high schooler and my sassy girl is off to middle school.  I know, I can’t believe this either. This was a momentous end of year in so many ways. My middle child received a very special award, which I will blog about separately because it totally deserves it’s own ‘moment’.  So with school out, that makes today is the first day of Summer 2012!

Cue the cheering, fist-bumbing and cartwheels down the hallway.  We LOVE summer at the Calem Clan. The entire pace of our life changes, and after the hectic, frantic pace of the school year, the downshift is welcomed with a huge sigh of relief.  We spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, specifically at the lake.  This summer will be no exception and I hope to blog about some of our summertime antics.

Other than out lake fun, we just do a lot of hanging out. My kids sleep in, like really sleep in, until close to noon. We read a lot of books. We grill dinners. Mainly, we fully enjoy what feels like an expansive amount of breathing room that summer brings.

Do any of you have big summer plans? I want to know what you’re up to, what your planning, even if it’s only lazy evenings on the porch sipping sun-tea or a frosty margarita.  Because, lazy evenings on the porch is fantastico in my book!

In the meantime, I ran across this short video and I’m sharing it so we can all start our summer, or our weekend if it’s not yet summer in your neck of the woods, with a giggle.


What’s in your name that’s FABULOUS?



May is nearly over and like every other May I can remember since having children, it’s been crazy and just shy of out of control. We’ve taken a family poll and by vast majority vote, this has been the fastest school year in the history of the universe. We do not exaggerate. I find as the school year races to the finish line, our lives sort of spin out of control, or at least mine does. Too much to do resulting in too much set aside for later. All those things I’m setting aside, well, they’ve piled up and are now hovering over my head threatening to bury me.

I started to sort the piles of accumulated tasks and ran across the homemade Mother’s Day card my daughter made for me.  In that moment of feeling totally overwhelmed and defeated, I was reminded of what someone else thinks of me.  It was a moment of clarity that I needed to take stock, regroup and prepare to move forward minus the frantic crankiness.

The fact that I have an abundance of activities in my life is proof we’re living a full life, a life full of blessings. It’s time to hit the reset button and get back to basics.

Breathing.  Thanking.  Loving.  Laughing.  Praying.  Being.

Let me share her card with you so you can see why it put a huge smile on my face and was just the hug I needed on this overwhelming Monday.

I LOVE this back page and I’m totally not going to bust her on her little spelling error.

This got me thinking.  Maybe you all need this sort of pick me up.  For fun, let’s all write out our names with a positive attribute for each letter.  Notice I said POSITIVE … no negative, self-hating, insults allowed.  Be kind to yourself. Love yourself.

Every letter in your name is something else wonderful about you.  Prove it!

Even though I adore my daughter’s version, I’ll do one for myself since I want to play too.

G – Grateful

I – Intense

N – Ninja (just let me use Ninja—it’s special to me!)

G – Genuine

E – Expressive

R – Resilient


Ok, now it’s your turn.  I can’t wait to see all those beautiful letters spelling out your wonderful, fabulous selves in my comments!!

WritersButt Wednesday: Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater!


Today folks, we’re going to cheat. Yep, you heard me. Sometimes, you just have to let loose and have a little indulgence. Not a LOT of indulgence, I said a ‘little’. No need to go on a twinkie rampage. But if you’ve been disciplined with your nutrition, and you’ve kept up with your workouts, even if only the mini-breaks I’ve given you to incorporate into your daily routine, you have earned the reward of a ‘cheat’.

Now, honestly, I don’t really care for the term cheat, because that makes it sound like a negative and it’s not. I’d prefer treat, reward, or how about a goodie, like a goodie-bag you get at the end of a birthday party.  Woo!

Yesterday, Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser, released his new book, The Skinny Rules.  Ok, full disclosure, another term I’m not a fan of , skinny, especially when used as a compliment because I don’t picture success or beauty when I hear skinny but it’s what most people think they want. ~sigh~ In my world, Strong is the New Skinny, but I digress.  Outside of the title, Bob’s book seems to offer some great advice, if his top 5 tips represent the rest of the book.  (I have not read the book, so I can’t review it in its entirety.)

In this video from his appearance on The Today Show, he talks about his top 5 tips to get Skinny Awesomesauce.  You may have heard some of these tips right here at WritersButt.  ~huge grin~

  1. Water. Drink a glass of water the moment you get out of bed and drink a glass before every single meal. He wants you to get at LEAST 8-12 glasses a day. Let’s do that math, 12 glasses would be 96 ounces, which is pretty darn close to the WritersButt rule of 100 oz a day.
  2. Protein at every meal. All kinds. Make it easy, like always have hard boiled eggs ready in your fridge.  These are easy to carry with you to work. Good quality deli meats are good too.  Just get your protein.
  3. Berries and Apples every day. They both are a great source of fiber and antioxidants. They will make you feel satisfied. Plus, the natural sugars may offer some relief if you’re battling a sweet-tooth.
  4. Meatless day every week. His reasoning for this is that it encourages you to eat more veggies and fruits. He said, “No one gains weight eating vegetables.” (Bob’s quote—not Ginger’s!) But he is right that it’s hard to eat too many veggies, as long as your reaching for the leafy greens, those veggies with deep vibrant color like squash, peppers, broccoli, asparagus … make a rainbow of color on your plate with veggies. Maybe a day without animal protein isn’t such a bad idea. I might try this one.
  5. Go to bed hungry. Late night snacking is a bad habit and it inhibits restful sleep. You don’t want your body working to digest your food while you’re trying to tap into your REM cycle. Plus, you want to wake up hungry. Bob suggests not eating within 3 hours of going to bed. That will be hard in my house but he makes a great point.

So, why have I called this post Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater?  Because another thing that Bob talked about, which I also agree with, is the 80/20 rule in terms of discipline. He suggests that it’s a very small percentage of people who can be 100% disciplined 100% of the time.  He admits that he can’t even do that.  For me, I’d say I’m more of a 90/10 girl with occasional 20% vacations.  The point is, do well with your choices at least 80% of the time and you will have earned the splurge/cheat/ treat/goodie/reward!  Bob suggest a splurge meal a week. I think that’s excessive.  Haha!  Surprised? I’d say a couple times a month or a small reward every week, but not a whole meal every week.

I know, WritersButt Ginger is so mean!

Typically, in my 10-20% gray area, I drink wine and indulge in really good chocolate, like Lindt’s dark chocolate with sea salt and very occasionally some gourmet cheese.  YUM!  I read something on Facebook yesterday that made me laugh and I’ve edited to suit my tastes.

“I’d give up drinking wine … but I’m not a quitter.”  Hee hee!

So my question is what is your cheat? You know, that thing that if I told you you’d earned a reward meal or treat, what would be the one thing you’d choose?


Lately for me, it’s Popcorn. I don’t know what’s going on but I’ve been craving popcorn something fierce.  Popcorn is one thing that I always allow myself when we go to the movies.  I just love its crunchy goodness.  I do not feel guilty eating it in the least because I’ve been disciplined 90% of the so I get that 10% reward.

Spill it – what’s your indulgence?

Cotton Candy Pride


In light of the fact that Mother’s Day is this weekend, I’d like to share with you one of the best pieces of advice my mother ever gave me. She said, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing well.” Think about that. If something needs to be done, it deserves to be done with consideration and effort.  I can’t think of a single job that requires only half-effort. What’s the point? Where’s the pride?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a ton of different ‘jobs’.  Some of the more unique jobs I’ve had in my life were, juggler’s helper, show skier (water), ‘reader’ to a blind man (Wall Street Journal), amusement park concessions and I once gave hydrotherapy baths and wraps in a resort salon.  I’ve also done more normal jobs, like retail sales, office worker/file clerk, and I waited tables, which I think everyone should do at least once if you are physically able.  Talk about perspective when dining out!

There are some jobs I’ve always wanted to try, like grocery cashier, flight attendant, tour guide, like at gardens or at an old castle. And, I think it would be a blast to run those Segway tours.  Oh and I’ve always dreamed of being the female version of Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.  I want the truth!!!

The other day, writer and instructor extraordinaire, Mary Buckham posted an interesting article on Facebook about famous authors and jobs they once had. I also heard a story on the radio about some well known music artist (I can’t remember the name, which won’t surprise anyone who knows me) who sometimes dresses in sort of grubby clothes, complete with ball cap, and hangs out at a park tending to the landscape. The point was that during that time, he’s ignored. I thought this was interesting on many levels but for purpose this blog post, I thought it was telling that as a landscape worker—helping to make a park clean and maintained, he was ignored, but as a singer/musician, he’s idolized. I’m not trying to put down musical artistic talent.  I’m a writer, I can’t wait to have my artistic work be enjoyed and appreciated. But that doesn’t make the fact that I also have the job of my gym, or as a homemaker, any less important or vital. It certainly doesn’t mean I should give less effort to those jobs. Cleaning toilets is less glamorous that writing books, some days, but they still have to be cleaned and quite frankly, I believe they should be cleaned well.

So often we place some perceived value on jobs, making some more worthwhile than others.  Take the restaurant business.  From your hostess, to your server, to the cook, to the dishwasher … all play a vital role in the process.  Trust me, you don’t want that dishwasher to do a half-butt job because he’s ‘just’ a dishwasher but wants to move up to waiting tables. He needs to believe his job is just important.  Note to servers out there — tip-out well to your dishwashers, host/hostesses and bussers! Your tips wouldn’t be as good without them!

One summer, I worked for Sea World in the Food Services department. That was the fancy name for concessions. See, even they knew that people would likely be more proud to say they worked in Food Services.  Anyway, I turned 20 that summer and my coworkers who were 16 and 17 considered me old.  Like ancient. Most of the summer, I was assigned to work in the cotton candy hut.  I had never made cotton candy before. I don’t even like cotton candy.  In case you don’t know, basically you spin sugar in these huge metal drums until that fluffy sugar comes out.  Then you ‘hook’ an edge of the sugar-ring and flip it around the paper cone, sort of patting into the desired shape.  There are different speeds on the machine too. At first, I used the slowest speed and I had to pause the machine to catch up or to bag my cone of lopsided fluff.


Eventually, like I do in most things, I made it a challenge.  Could I keep it on the high speed? Could I make uniform, awesome-looking cones?  And the ultimate challenge, could I stay at warp-speed, spin, flip, and form cones AND bag, twist and tie my masterpieces without ever skipping a beat?

Oh, yes I did!  My hand to God, I’m still proud of that.

I’ve always taken my mom’s advice to heart. Every job worth doing is worth doing well. To give less than your best is not only short-changing the job, but in the end, you’re cheating yourself because your best effort is always worth it.

What about you?  What unique, off-the-wall jobs have you had?  Who wants to have a cotton candy making contest? Of course, I’ll have to brush up on my skills, since I do like to win.

WritersButt Wednesday: 5 things you may NOT be doing, and sabotaging yourself.


Hello WritersButt friends!  We’ve been together on this WritersButt journey since January and I have to tell you, I’m having so much fun! There’s pretty much nothing I love more than to hear from you all in the comments, on Twitter (#writersbutt), or on our Facebook page about how you are working to make the mind/body connection for your fitness and health.

As you know, I own a strength and conditioning gym.  Most people who join a gym or start a fitness program have a goal in mind, or many. The first thing I do when I meet someone is try to find out what his or her goals are. Once I know what their goals are, they become my goals.  Anyone who knows me well, and even not so well, knows that I like to get what I want.  So if you let your goals become my goals, and you’re willing to work, well, let’s say it’s a win-win situation.

After finding out what someone’s goals are, I ask what they’ve been doing to achieve them.  If what they have been doing were working, I likely would not be meeting them, so I already know going in that I have to find out what their doing, or most likely – what they’re NOT doing, that is sabotaging their efforts.

The majority of new clients I meet want to lose weight or ‘get in shape’.  In my head, I translate this to mean they want to, be smaller, be stronger, be less giggly, in the basest form; they want to look better naked.  If I ask them if they’d like to be healthier, have more energy, be more alert at their jobs, and accept their bodies, they usually say yes to that as well.

So, the very coolest thing is that if I can get them to focus the health, acceptance, energy, and strength part, the ‘look better naked’ aspect is almost always a welcomed by-product!

Effort and Commitment are always rewarded.

Now, here’s the deal. In most cases, and I do mean the vast majority, what people are doing in their pursuit of weight loss is the exact opposite of what will bring them closer to their goals. They are sabotaging themselves by what they are NOT doing.  Today, I’m going to give you my top 5 things that people are not doing which are holding them back from what they have said is their goal; to lose weight and get in shape.

1.    Not getting enough water.

As you WritersButt veterans know, I challenge you to drink 100oz of water a day. Is this an exact scientific number? No. It’s a nice round, even, easy to remember number that applies to most people.  I don’t think the old 8 glasses of water (8 oz each) a day is enough.  Is it sufficient? Maybe. But do you want just enough when you can be the over-achiever for your body and mind? Plain and simple, getting plenty of water has a ton of benefits ranging from weight loss, better skin, be more productive, mood elevator and even reduces the risk of cancer. Good news, this is the easiest component to fix. If you don’t have water within your reach right now, go grab a water bottle, fill it up and come back and join us. We’ll wait!

2.    Not getting enough sleep

I can already hear the rumblings on this one. You want to tell me that it’s physically impossible for you to get more sleep. I don’t want to argue with you. Consider this, your brain and your body needs adequate sleep to recharge. If you are not giving it enough time to do that, in all the different sleep cycles, you are negatively affecting your brain activity, memory, creativity and reasoning as well as your metabolism, growth hormones and appetite.  I did a whole blog on sleep. Might be worth a reread.

3.    Not getting enough fat

Yep, you read that right. One of the most common things I hear from people trying to get in shape is they cut the fat out of their diet.  Stop doing this! Your body needs fat. Your brain needs fat. Fat is not bad! When you see a product labeled low-fat or non-fat, run away screaming, waving your arms, warn everyone not to buy that junk.  Or, just pass it by for yourself. We can’t save everyone.  Seriously, healthy fats (notice I said ‘healthy’ fats) are a phenomenal fuel source for your body. It’s a slow, long-burning source of energy.  I like to use the analogy of a fire you’re trying to keep burning. Imagine your body is that fire. If you keep feeding it kindling in the form of processed, sugar-laden, food, it will flare up (quick energy burst) then die out fast (afternoon crash in energy).  But, if you feed it coal (raw nuts, coconut oil, avocados, plus protein like eggs, lean meats) your body will harbor that source of high-quality, long-lasting fuel and sustain that fire, your body, your energy!  Remember, if the fat has been removed from a product, it’s tastes like poop, so they have to add something in to make it taste like fudge again, so they pump it with processed sugar. Don’t go there!

4.    Not getting enough food

Just as common as not getting enough fat, many people sabotage their efforts by not eating enough food.  By and large to two nutritional mistakes are drastically cutting calories and only eating non-fat foods.  Our bodies are amazingly efficient. We want to survive.  Bring on a famine and our bodies will retreat and hunker down. When you deprive your body of the calories it needs to function, it goes into survival mode and it will start to conserve the best fuel source it knows.  Guess what that is?  Yep – FAT! So you cut your calories way down. Your body is like, ‘Dude, I’m starving, I’m going to have to hang on to these thighs for a rainy day, no telling when you’re going to give me an avocado again’.  I’m having a little fun here but I’m serious.  Would you expect that fire from above to keep burning if you refused to feed the flames?  Let me make one point though, I am not giving you the green light to belly up to the pasta bar and founder on macaroni.  Your body is still your machine, feed it wisely. Give it good stuff on which to run. Now, be reasonable and use common sense. The bottom line still is that you do have to burn more than you consume or at least make them balance to maintain. You burn more by moving more, being active, which brings me to my last point.

5.    Not moving enough weight.

This might apply primarily to women because men typically love to move some weight around but ladies … get in there and tap into your girl power. Our bodies are built to be strong. Remember, we are survivors! And if we want that firm, lean, physique, you’re going to have to move some significant weight. Don’t be afraid to lift weights. Can you hear that? I hear female voices telling me they don’t want to ‘bulk up’.  You are not going to bulk up! Read that last sentence again. Women are not genetically designed to build muscle that way. Ok, there may be a very small percentage, but I promise you, it’s small.  To look incredibly bulky and muscle-bound as a female, you have to take supplements (like steroids) to achieve this. Women, we are not meant to be weak, frail creatures! Lifting weight will help you to burn excess fat. Once that fat (through your healthy WritersButt nutrition) is reduced, and you’ve been moving some heavy weight around, what is left is a strong, healthy, fit, and completely awesome YOU! Trust me, it is incredibly satisfying to move heavy weight.  Try it!

I want to mention that even at home, if you don’t have access to heavy weight, your body is weight. You can do push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, using your body weight. I’m challenging you to use your body for more than just walking, elliptical, etc.  Get your biggest muscles involved. Make them work for you!


Challenges for this week:

*100 oz water daily

*3-5 Gratitudes in your journal every night or morning

*10 squats and 5 push-ups every single time you go to the bathroom  J Time to kick it up a notch!

Extra workout challenges:

3 rounds of:

10 steps of walking lunges

25 jumping jacks


As many burpees in 5 minutes as you can do.


Run/Jog/Speed Walk 1 mile

~~Every 30 seconds, stop and do 15 squats


Who’s up for the challenge?  Have a great week!

Noooo! Why does the cat get the bacon?

It seems a lot of us have had a rough week.  I know I did which is why I asked for a group hug on Wednesday.  Looks like this cute guy is having one of those weeks too.

Time to get this weekend started with a laugh!  Let your giggles bubble over and your joy fill you up!  And for the love of all that’s holy, someone get this guy some bacon!  🙂

Happy Weekend!

WritersButt Wednesday: Calling for a Group Hug. You in?


This week, I hope you’ll allow me to deviate from my normal WritersButt sort of post where I give you workout ideas and tips, nutritional guidance with recipes and all that good stuff.  I’m taking a break so we can have a {Group Hug}. I don’t know about you, but I could use one.

Lately I’ve been inundated with bad news. Not about me directly but about people I care about. My Facebook stream is filled with people who need support, prayers and love. A little closer to home, I have two precious friends dealing with cancer scares. Then this week has been the kicker with some truly crushing news.  A mother and daughter, who are local friends, lost their son and brother respectively, leaving 2 little boys without a daddy.  Literally on the heels of that news, I found out that a cherished friend from entire youth lost his 1 ½ year old daughter.  This news left me numb with heartache. No parent should have to bury his or her child.  If that wasn’t enough, I found out another good friend was in the hospital in ICU dealing with some scary health issues when she should have been at home nuzzling, admiring, and nesting with her newborn.

No Fair! Why do these things happen? It makes you realize that life is so vulnerable and it’s easy to feel defeated by fate. There are so many things in life over which we have no control. We aren’t supposed to have control over everything. Coming from this recovering control-freak, this is proof I’ve evolved after a lot of hard work on this issue.

But what about this life, our lives, which can turn on a hair-trigger and shove us down and kick us while we’re down there? How can we protect ourselves, and our loved ones, from heartache and tragedy?

We can’t.

It’s called the ‘unknown’ for a reason. It’s not supposed to be known. We can’t waste our moments NOW to worry about what might be.  That’s one of the reasons I ask you all to keep a Gratitude Journal. It gives you something to focus on throughout your day, small things that give you gratitude.  If we go through our day looking for things for which to be grateful, chances are, we’ll find them … or we’ll MAKE them!

I spent some time this morning reflecting on my life and how I want to live it, the sort of person I want to be, so that I don’t waste a moment of it, because each moment is a gift.

On that note, here’s my list of thoughts on how to enrich your life, your days, your every moment to bring yourself and others joy.

*Don’t waste moments: Time is not waiting for you.

*Love with pure abandon.

*Take joy in small pleasures.

*Make someone smile. Yours will follow.

*Allow yourself to feel pain, for you’re alive to do so, and it’s not a bad thing.

*Give your shoulder to someone for their tears.

*Ask for a shoulder for yours.

*Open your arms and unclench your fists to release your hold on things you can’t control.

*Wish on stars.

*Believe in your wishes.

*Give yourself the gift of dreams.

*Honor them by chasing them.

*Believe in them so much, so completely, that they become your reality.

Huddle up! It’s time for that {{Group Hug}}.

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