One of my goals this year (like many people out there) was to lose weight. Starting in January, I hit the diet trail...and I'm doing pretty well. While doing dishes yesterday, I got to thinking (as I often do...I really should do dishes more often - great epiphany zone)...
Being on a diet is a lot like writing a book.
Why? Well, I'll tell you :)
1. There are a lot of ups and downs
Some days you are going to get on that scale and see an awesome weight loss. And other days, you might see nothing...you might even gain. Even if you did everything absolutely, perfectly right, sometimes the scale just doesn't reflect all your hard work.
Same with writing. Sometimes everything just falls into place. Your prose is perfect, every scene is turning out exactly how you wanted, your manuscript is polished and gorgeous and requests are overloading your inbox. And other times, all that may be true but you still hear nothing but crickets. Even though you put in all the hard work, even though everything is perfect and there is nothing more you can do to help your manuscript improve, sometimes you still don't get the results you deserve.
So, should you quit? No! Because if you quit, you negate all the hard work you've put into it. No matter what your results are that day, you have to just keep at it.
2. Everything in moderation
I love me some chocolate. LOVE IT. To the point of obsession, seriously. Is it bad for me? No. Not in moderation. Are french fries, chocolate shakes, ice cream, brownies, donuts, chips, dips, pies, cakes (getting carried away here :D ) bad for me? No, they aren't. Well maybe if I eat them all in one day....every day :D But in moderation? No. These things are just fine.
Well, when it comes to my writing, adverbs are my brownies. Sentence fragments are my pizza. Long, rambling, complex sentences are my Doritos. Are these things bad? No. As long as I use them in moderation. A few here and there are great, a treat for my readers. Too many and I'm in danger of giving my readers an overload that will cause nausea and cavities. :)
3. Do what you don't want to do and get what you want to get
Do I want to exercise every day? No. Do I want to eat chicken and celery soup for lunch instead of the leftover pizza or Mexican that everyone else is eating? Heck no!
Will I get better results and feel better if I do? Yes. *le sigh*
Do I want to write every single day? Not always. Do I want to rewrite a scene for the 1000th time? Not usually.
Will I get better results and feel better about my manuscript if I do. Yes *le sigh* :)
Does this mean that you have to exercise (or write) every day, or pass up every single piece of pizza (or ignore the rewrite)? Of course not.
But...it's better for me, and the results I'm after, if I do these things at least a few times a week. Don't feel like writing today - fine. But write tomorrow, or at least the next day. Don't want to rewrite that scene right now? So don't. But if you want results, be sure to come back to it in a few days.
Stay tuned on Thursday for more ways diets and writing are the same :) Now if you'll excuse me, there's a nice steaming bowl of chicken and celery soup with my name on it :D