Wednesday, January 1, 2014

When writing daily is like eating healthy

I don't do New Years resolutions, but as it happened I made one that pretty much coincided with the new year. I was walking around New York Monday thinking how hard it was to go back there. It's where I grew up partly, and I lived there later, but I have few friends and roots left there. I find in psychologically difficult to go in anymore. Still, I knew it was the right thing to do, and so I forced myself to go in and meet a friend for lunch. I had had the whole week off, but was still stressed from work, even dreaming about it at night.

Anyway, as I was walking down Eighth toward my friend's office, it occurred to me that if I focused on only TWO things this coming year besides parenting--that is, two things concerning me and only me--that I could keep myself sane and moderately content. The first thing was about food, the second about writing the novel. It occurred to me that if I regarded the writing like the food, I'd do well.

Let me explain. About a year ago I started following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan. I'm not a diet proselytizer and not the "food police" type, that's not what this is about. It was just something that worked for me--until I fell of when work started. I decided that during my ten days off, I would reboot it, do a lot of cooking, planning ahead so I would stick to it again once school started. So I did.

One of the people interviewed in the Eat to Live book had said something like, "I stayed with the food plan, the way of eating, no matter what. Even when my son was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Even when I lost my job. Even when my father was hospitalized. Even when the basement was flooded." In other words, she stuck with it even in the face of a litany of disasters.

So, as I was walking along Eighth Avenue, I was recalling this, and thought, you know, if I thought about my novel writing this way, I would stop the excuses, and just do it, every day, no matter what. If I keep my focus on those two narrow but important goals, and banish everything else, I think I can do it. I just have to keep remembering that.

It worked for me that day in New York, too. Feeling anxious as I sat on the train in, I told myself, just think of it as a place to write. Have lunch with you friend, then stick along the Eighth Avenue Starbucks and other coffee places and work on your novel. Stop thinking about everything else, just do it. So I did.

 (Then on the way back to Penn Station I tripped a curb and early killed my laptop, but fortunately nearly killed my knees instead. I think at this point I'd rather kill my knees that kill my novel drafts).


  1. The mark of a true writer- hurt me rather than the words! :) Tho I hope your poor knees are okay. *ouch* And this is my mindset this year too- no excuses!

  2. No excuses is a good way to go about life, I think. Thumb's up!

  3. A brave and ambitious plan. Bet you can do it!