Monday, January 19, 2009
I have to admit, I'm not much of a reality television fan. In fact, I abhor the whole idea of following people around, watching their every move, listening to inane dialogue about the "reality" of their lives.
But last week the only opportunity for quality time with my teenage daughter was to sit and watch television with her. Jennifer is a reality television aficionado. Among other important facts, she knows the name of, and can recognize, each of John and Kate's eight, threatens to turn me in to the fashion police on What Not to Wear, and was devastated when Hulk and Linda divorced, leading to the cancellation of Hogan Knows Best.
So I'm sitting there trying to have a decent conversation with her during commercial breaks of E! when I overhear that one of the winners of The Biggest Loser television show had regained over half the weight he'd lost and decided to start on the weight-loss program once again, hoping he'd be able to lose the weight he'd gained back.
I don't know about you, but whenever I hear or see the words "weight loss" paired with a triple-digit number, my ears perk up like a Yorkie on Ritalin and my presbyopia mysteriously disappears. This guy lost over 200 pounds—say, the equivalent of a middle linebacker—and gained back about 130—me at my dream weight!
Since turning forty either my metabolism has slowed to a lethargic pace or the cells around my belly, hips and butt have found a way of capturing calories, converting them into fat globules that they hold onto with the tenacity of a pitt bull. Seriously, I could survive off one butt cheek for a month. Since then, I've been on the search for the perfect diet--one that allows me to eat food and still shed unwanted pounds (see, I've even picked up the lingo.)
My attention zeroed in on the video clip, which showed Mr. Loser being whipped into shape by a team of personal trainers who, along with the viewers, watched every single morsel of food he ate and ran him ragged on a treadmill and bicycle. If you’ve never seen the show (and I hadn’t) picture the ultimate Boot Camp—Sergeant Carter chewing on Gomer Pyle, USMC (okay, I’m dating myself here)—and ratchet it up a few notches.
Sha-zam! That’s what I need, I thought—a Boot Camp for writers!
Right after the first of the year, I purchased Margie Lawson’s online course packet, Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors—Allow Writing Productivity and Creativity to Soar, as one of my New Year’s resolutions. I’d read through the introduction and promised myself I’d start the course right after I finished the synopsis for my second “Stroke of...” books for The Wild Rose Press.
The synopsis is done, so what better time, right? I frantically searched my hard drive and found the downloaded documents. I opened lesson one and the third chapter in the lesson was...you guessed it... BOOT-CAMP: ALL THE GUTS AND ALL THE GLORY.
I’ve worked my way through the first lesson and the similarities between The Biggest Loser and Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors are frightening. My responses to Margie’s questions helped me see that I need to push myself in the right direction (or have a good coach to push me) in order to meet my goals. I love to write, but I want to be published...multi, multi-published, in fact. And that won’t happen if I don’t discipline myself and do the things necessary to attain that goal, just like The Biggest Loser must in order to meet his goal.
For me, it means setting up a writing schedule that doesn’t get pushed aside because the dishes need washing or it’s inconvenient. I need to be more organized so I can better manage my time to include action items that push me toward my goal—query letters to agents and editors, self-promotion, taking courses that hone my writing skills. I need to set realistic goals and meet them.
Writers dream stories and then give them life by shaping words into a structure that transcends their humble beginnings. It’s hard work, this writing gig—damned hard work. So I guess the saying “nothing worth having comes easy” definitely applies—to losing weight...and to writing.