a peek inside the fishbowl

10 Mar, 2017

A new(ish) project

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Publishing/writing/career stuff

Some of my Facebook friends already know this, but I wanted to share the news here as well.

For the past year and a bit I have been secretly toiling away on a special project.

Longtime Fishbowl readers will be familiar with a family challenge I issued and undertook a handful of times starting back in 2006; we called it the Shopping Embargo. The Embargo is essentially about curbing impulse shopping and being mindful about the things we did buy. We’d pick a period of time (usually one or two months right after Christmas) and refrain from making unnecessary purchases for the duration. Well, on the tenth anniversary of the Embargo, Mark and I decided to challenge ourselves to a Shopping Embargo for an entire year.

YES. All of 2016!

While we were busy avoiding the siren song of the mall, I wrote about our experience and what we were going through at the time to form the basis of an e-book: what worked, what didn’t, what my triggers are, where we slipped up and what helped me climb back on the wagon. I learned so much about myself during this process. I know I’m not the only one who is overwhelmed by the STUFF we have accumulated over the years. I know I’m not the only one who hates storing and organizing and dusting all of this stuff. I know I’m not the only one who heads to the mall when I’m feeling crappy, or feels pressure to look a certain way at the office (with matching accessories, of course!). I also know how much money we can save by being a little bit more mindful about how we spend our hard-earned money.

I wrote every day (more or less) for the entire year. In fact, I am still writing! My hope is that the book will serve as a guide for people who want to shave down their personal debt and live a little lighter on the planet. I believe it will help people reevaluate their relationship with their belongings and shift a few of the dollars from items that will eventually just end up in a landfill to more meaningful pursuits. 

For the past couple of months, I’ve been editing what I wrote during our Embargo year and I’ve slowwwly started to look a little more deeply into the self-publishing side of things. I have three words for you: Oh.My.God. It’s slightly overwhelming and there’s still a lot for me to figure out before I start selling copies. (Like getting this thing proofread somehow, designing a cover, figuring out ISBN numbers, etc.) Sigh.

I am writing this post for two reasons. (1) In case some of you have any wisdom to share about the world of publishing. (I am all ears!) and (2) to let you know that I’ve set up an email list in case you’d like me to let you know when the book is ready to download. If so, you can sign up right here: http://eepurl.com/cv3S95!

One of my main goals has already been met. I have always wondered if I could write a book. I know now the answer is yes. :)

6 Responses to "A new(ish) project"

1 | Claudette

March 10th, 2017 at 11:48 am


I too am in the process of writing a book. Then I put it aside only to keep thinking about it and one day when I’m least available to sit uninterrupted I start to ‘hear’ my voice and I write and write…

I hear you.

Can’t wait to read it! Looking forward to it. And the topic to me in particular is very enticing! I love to purge (and should be doing just that right now this very moment).


2 | Brenda A

March 10th, 2017 at 2:21 pm


Good for you! What a year of learning (and discipline!)

3 | Laura

March 10th, 2017 at 3:05 pm


Wow, what an accomplishment just to do the shopping embargo, not to mention writing a book on top of it! Congrats and I look forward to reading it!

4 | Lynn

March 14th, 2017 at 12:21 pm


Can’t wait to see the final result! You should take Tudor out to lunch. She is a massive resource when it comes to self publishing, as she’s done it multiple times now. She can hook you up with ideas on formatting, platforms, marketing, etc.

5 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive I might be a little crazy about our bed linens - a peek inside the fishbowl

March 22nd, 2017 at 10:49 am


[…] bought a new sheet set. I’ve been waiting to buy something for over a year because of our Shopping Embargo and the pledge we made not to buy anything deemed non-essential. As far as I was concerned, as long […]

6 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive missing mojo - a peek inside the fishbowl

October 25th, 2017 at 2:04 pm


[…] took my vitamins, ate a good breakfast, and got dressed. I also spent a couple of hours on my Shopping Embargo ebook. I have had mixed feelings here. I’ve alternated between feelings of shiny confidence […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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