Friday, July 29, 2011

Quitters Anonymous


My name is Christy and I am a Quitter.

I admit, I am being silly, but, I’m also making a very important confession here. Over the past few months, maybe years, I’ve been involved in a self-defeating trend. I’ve floated along, not really paying attention. I’ve always taken the easier road. Now, perhaps with age, I’m becoming wiser, or, I’m realizing that Quitting doesn’t pay off.

The first glaring issue I have is that I have always been a few pounds over weight. I’m not obese, but I’m at an unhealthy weight. My family history is loaded with heart failure. Those relatives were also smokers, still, my eating has never been healthy. Bring on the Cheeseburgers and Fries!  I’d always say…. But my body is really paying for it now. 

A couple of weeks ago, I joined Weight Watchers, in secret.  I haven’t told my family because I don’t like a lot of attention brought to myself. (But, I’m willing to blog about it? I know, go figure…just hang with me, okay?)

Gradually, I have been working toward eliminating the foods that were not good for my body and bringing in more fruits and vegetables that are good for me. Last weekend, I loaded up my toddler and we went for a walk in our neighborhood. William enjoyed his view from the stroller, while Mommy panted, sweat, and wheezed from behind.
At work, I’ve made some additional changes. My desk moved from the 2nd floor of the office to the 4th floor. As many times as I can during the day, I am trying to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Never mind I’m breathless and my legs are killing me by the time I reach the 4th floor, I know I’m burning a few calories. A few is better than taking the elevator and burning none at all.

After two weeks, and just by making a few minor changes, I’ve lost 2.4 pounds on the Weight Watchers plan.

I’ve made a promise to myself to be diligent with my health as I am with my writing. This means, I am vowing not to miss a Weight Watchers meeting. I must track my eating and activity progress. Some days, tracking what I’m eating is painful. Yes, It would be easier not to write down the snack I had because it cost me 8 full points, but I’m lying to myself if I don’t continue to track. I’m only hurting myself. I’ve got to allow myself to fail, but the next choice I make will help me get back on track and succeed.

While I’m dealing with trying to get healthy, I’m also dealing with writing a historical romance. Let me tell you, I don’t know anything more about history than the average person. I have specific interests, though, and this is what I’m writing about. I know how to research topics, events, wardrobe of the era and all the other things that were the norm of daily life in the early 20th century. This period of history is easier to write than the 18th century, still, I need to make sure what I’m writing is accurate.
Research and writing takes a lot of time. Writers must remain diligent. If we have a day we don’t write, we must get back on it the next day.  And I find if I am not writing, I am usually thinking of the story to continue to develop it…
I must admit, I’ve thought of quitting. Becoming published is probably harder than losing weight. It would be easy to quit. The world doesn’t really need another author, does it? What do I have to say that’s more important that that gal or guy? I’m not that good of a writer. If I won or finaled in a contest, I’m sure that was a fluke….
These are the voices in my head…
Yep, it’s easier to quit…
But, will my stories leave me alone? Will I be able to handle being an unpublished writer forever? Will I continue to write stories just for me?
That’s no fun. I want to see my story, bounded with a spine and a magnificent cover! My name and my book’s title across the front. I want to share my success with others to help build them up….
None of this is easy.
It’s always easier to quit.
Because the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has helped so many recover from Alcoholism, I knew the basics behind the program would help me, a confessed Quitter. When I speak of Quitting, I mean to speak of the many dreams I’ve wanted to follow, but didn’t. The many times I’ve started an exercise plan and when the going got tough, I quit. The times I threw out food from the cabinets because it was bad for me, only to sneak to a fast food restaurant to buy a cheeseburger, fries and milkshake anyway.
Quitters Anonymous is intended to guide those of us who quit to find ways to follow through on the goals that are good for our lives. To set small goals. Keep moving forward toward our goals. Achieve small goals a little at a time and finally achieve the goal without quitting. 
It can be addicting to quit. It’s easier to quit at first, but in the long run, you realize that quitting begins to tear away who you are and who you want to be. It ends up leading to depression, even in the smallest way. We must realize and understand the emotional and mental causes that encourage us to throw in the towel. 
Below, I have taken the 12 step program for Alcoholics Anonymous and applied it to those of us who set a goal and then Quit.  Laugh out loud, I hope you will. But I hope, like me, you’ll find some things you do and make a conscious effort to stop the self-defeating behaviors.
 Your new goals whether they pertain to writing a page a day or losing a pound is to…
*Move toward the goal, no matter what;
*Quit quitting;
*Achieve success by achieving small goals.
Here are the steps for the Quitting Author:
(Some are the exact goals from AA, left alone because they also apply to Quitters)

1. Recognize we are powerless over failure, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity and write that novel.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our writing lives.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our creative writing wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character and allow them to strengthen the novel we were working toward completion.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings and help us finish the manuscript.
8. Made a list of all manuscripts we had harmed and became willing to make amends to revise and finish all of them.
9. Made direct amends to such manuscripts wherever possible, except when to do so would injure those manuscripts of our early writings that should probably remain hidden in the back of the closet anyway.
10. Continued to take personal inventory of our chapters and when we made an error, promptly admit it and move on, not waiver and become depressed over it whereas we never reach the next chapter.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out and become successful authors.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other quitters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

10 comments:

  1. Christy, I did laugh--at the part about the manuscripts we've harmed. :) But it's not just funny. You're so right! Quitting is a bad mindset we get into when we decide our dreams are too difficult to achieve. When we get negative feedback or rejection. When we hit difficult financial times and wonder how long we can go on.

    Good for you for doing something about it! Great job on the first two weeks of WW. I know you can do this!!

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  2. Christy,

    Good for you!! I know you can do this and I admire you for 'fessing up so publicly.

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  3. Thanks Missy! And keep mentoring all of us who are unpubbed... You're an inspiration!

    Thanks Edwina :)
    I'm probably a little foolish with my confessions, but I'm finding if I put it out there, I'm more likely to follow through.

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  4. I've always said there's nothing like a deadline to keep you motivated. But there's also nothing like posting your goals online!! :)

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  5. Christy--love this! And the world needs another author-you! You are a natural--remember that.
    Congrats on the ww success--

    You keep writing girl!

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  6. Good luck with your goals Christy! You've got everyone here cheering you on :)

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  7. Hang in there, Christy. Sounds like you're making some good choices!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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