I’m going to end this week by telling you a story, because – you know – that’s what I do.
Last weekend, I got a Fitbit. A Fitbit Inspire HR to be exact, which wouldn’t even have been on my radar, if not for John Scalzi mentioning his.
I got it for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that I was interested in its sleep analysis features, but I digress.
By this time last week, I had charged it carefully, strapped it on (not too tight, but tight enough so that it wouldn’t slide around on my writs – harder than it sounds, to be honest), and started looking at what it could do.
I set goals for activity, sleep, and, you guessed it, weight loss.
A week later, after what felt like *A LOT* of work, and watching all sorts of metrics,* I wake up after getting 7.5 hours of sleep** and I stepped on the scale to see how far along I was.
I lost two pounds.
Part of me was glad for the progress, another part was like: “That’s it??” Now don’t get me wrong, This is actually ahead of track. What sparked the idea for this post is that I Thought I should be farther along.
It felt like–no it didn’t feel like it, I did a lot of work this week and, without having a shred of evidence to support me otherwise, I felt like I should have been farther along.
At that point, I came to realize that I’m playing two games simultaneously.
The first is a long game – a game of miles. Under the current program, I won’t reach my target weight until October 2020 (assuming that I lose a pound a week).
The second game is a game of inches. A game that hinges on tiny, almost insignificant, day-to-day choices: Watch what you eat, don’t eat as much of it, get up and move a certain number of steps each day, etc.
Each of these choices have added up to those two pounds. And, as insignificant as an individual choice seems to be, it requires a small amount of mental effort which adds up to the feeling that there’s a lot of work going on. And there is a lot of work going on. This is just the first week, and it sure as hell wasn’t like flipping a light switch. I imagine that two months from now when it’s well on its way to becoming a habit, it will be a little easier.
Writing, the life of an author, is like that. You’ve probably heard it said that publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.
It’s a game of miles.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Lightning will occasionally strike, but you can’t count on it. Neither, if it does strike, can you count on it striking twice.
Someone (I can’t remember if it was Sherrilyn Kenyon, or Charlaine Harris) once said that it took them 10 years to become an overnight success.
It takes time. It’s a game of miles.
It’s also a game of inches.
Every day you make choices. Are you going to write? When? What? For how long?
Every time you choose to write, revise, plot, brainstorn, edit, worldbuild, etc., you are moving forward.
Those decisions add up, and they do require some mental effort – let’s not forget that. Time you spend writing is time that you’re not doing any number of other things.
But they move you forward.
The trick is (as I’m discovering with the Fitbit) is to focus on where you are, rather than where you think you should be. You can’t move anywhere from a nebulous “Where I should be.”
But you can move forward from where you are…
See you next Thursday.
*Apparently, this gives me the same bump of serotonin that I get from seeing “Likes” on Twitter, so I hadn’t been on there as much this week – so…bonus?
**I am also awake for close to an hour during the night. It’s scattered, to be sure, but if I want to get 7.5 hours of sleep, I’ve got to plan to be in bed for 8.5 hours.
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