Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Journey or Destination

Years ago, my parents went to listen to a Zig Ziglar motivational workshop and came home all jazzed up and enthused. My step-mom proceeded to give everyone on the office (they own a modeling and talent agency - which is a whole 'nother post on body image issues, btw), as well as my father and I a test generated by the workshop. Among the many questions, there was one in particular that stood out.

Do you see life as a journey? Or a destination?

I answered that I saw life as a book (this was about 15 years before I started writing), with various chapters that all build on each other. My father had a similar answer that was outside the box. We drove her nuts because she couldn't 'grade' us *g*

But this is a question that I've been thinking a lot about lately.

It's so applicable to life. To writing. To a healthy lifestyle.

Do you love the process of writing? The actual sitting down to the keyboard to pour out the words. Or do you love having written? The reading back over the words, the story, you created.

Do you love living a healthy lifestyle? Eating whole, low-fat, calorie aware foods. Exercising at a rate that either maintains or releases weight. Monitoring your thoughts and attitudes to ensure a healthy emotional state of mind. Or do you live a healthy lifestyle to achieve a goal? Eat, exercise and attitude are all focused on a result, either reaching a goal weight, or maintaining an ideal weight?

I'd love your input. Trish, Michelle and I are giving a Healthy Writer workshop at the RWA conference this summer and I'd like to include some stats from writers on this exact question. So... do me a favor - comment here, for sure! But because Blogger doesn't support (or really, I don't know how to do it here) a poll feature, can you pop over to my blog and cast your vote. Thanks!!!

Tawny Weber writes hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze. In January 2010, her novella, YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS, was out in the Blazing Bedtime Story anthology and her next full length Blaze,, RIDING THE WAVES, will be out in September 2010. Come by and visit her on the web at


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on April 8, 2010 at 9:04 AM said...

Tawny, I like certain aspects of the writing -- the generating of the ideas, the playing with the opening. I even like most of the writing. But there is always a point in the middle of the book (the muddling middle) when I'm not loving it so much.

I really thought about your healthy living question, and I think part of me still wishes I could just eat whatever I wanted. I just read through this morning's e-mail from Hungry Girl, and it was about Olive Garden dishes. So many of the things I love there are horrible in the calorie count department. My favorite dish, the shrimp caprese pastas, has 900 calories. The yummy breadsticks have 150 each. But she gave some healthier options on their menu that I'll try the next time I'm there. I think the getting to where I actually like eating the way I'm supposed to without having it so tied with the end goal of losing weight is also going to be a journey.

Michelle Butler on April 8, 2010 at 9:34 AM said...

I've been transitioning from a destination view point to a journey viewpoint in most parts of my life for awhile. I can be fairly goal-oriented, but too many times, I'd reach a goal and feel like, "Now, what?" Big deal, I made this goal. It certainly doesn't make me feel as happy as I thought I would be, and I might even feel lost for awhile until I found another goal to focus on.

Now, I'm very into the journey metaphor and try to learn to be aware of and enjoy each moment of the journey, whatever journey it is. It's part of trying to learn to "live my best life" to sound a little too Oprahesque.

I love, love, love the journey metaphor for healthy living as well because I don't think there is an end point. It is a lifestyle change for the most part. It is so hard for me to lose weight. I don't want to reach a goal weight (in fact, I haven't set on a goal weight), feel like I'm done, and wake up some day to realize I've gained most of the weight back because I backslid into all my bad habits. Also, this journey is about so much more than a number on the scale for me - so it offers more rewards along the way.

Michelle Butler on April 8, 2010 at 10:19 AM said...

Tawny, somebody else likes the book metaphor. From a work enewsletter:

Oprah Winfrey today is expected to announce that she will host a nighttime show on her new Oprah Winfrey Network, which she is launching next year with Discovery Communications. The show, to be called "Oprah's Next Chapter," will feature Winfrey as she travels around the world with people she wants to interview. The Wall Street Journal (4/7)

Tawny on April 8, 2010 at 1:47 PM said...

Trish, I'm with you - although my unhappy writing time is usually the first 3 chapters. After that, I'm pretty much in love with the story and it's flowing.

OUCH on 150 calories per breadstick. And how easy is it to have 3 with a meal? So easy. I'm rarely eating in restaurants these days - and when I do I always check the calories before hand. Like you say, it really makes you think twice about what to eat!!

Tawny on April 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM said...

Michelle, I have a friend who's goal was always to sell a book. She finally reached that goal and seriously - sat down with her husband and said "I did it. What now? I quit writing, right?" She was so focused on that single selling goal.

Its hard when we set such a pinpoint goal. "I will sell a chick lit romantic comedy by XYZ date." for instance - um, chick lit isn't selling, rom com is in the weeds and a specific date is often out of our control. But to set a writing goal of having a sustainable writing career (all definitions may vary *g*) or a health goal of reaching a goal weight and staying within 5 lbs of it for the rest of your life... yeah, those are workable. But are they destinations? Hmmm... not sure *g*

Tawny on April 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM said...

Hey, me and Oprah!! LOL- I love it!!

Heather Snow on April 8, 2010 at 11:52 PM said...

I'm totally a destination girl...I know, I know, it's not the healthiest (or happiest) way to be, but there it is. I believe journey is the way that I'm supposed to be if I'm going to have long term success (either writing or healthy lifestyle), but I haven't been able to get there.

I like the accomplishment, I just don't always enjoy the day to day. I wish I could find ways to change that...I'll have to give it some thought.

After I've finished accomplishing this one little thing, that is ;)

Tawny on April 9, 2010 at 4:43 AM said...

LOL - Heather, I'm so often in the same boat. I've come to realize that for goal focused people, sometimes making the destination huge helps. For writing, my destination is a successful career. That includes bestseller lists, dollar amounts, number of books and publishers per year... its all big huge picture stuff.

For a healthy life, its to be at a specific weight, yes, but its also to be able to sustain a certain health. To run up the stairs of my house (its 16 stairs from the front of my house to my actual living area) without being winded, carrying two armfuls of groceries, for instance *g*

I think loving the journey is really important, since thats where we actually spend most of our life. But for some of us, its the destination that motivates us much more powerfully.

so... how'd you do accomplishing that one little thing? *g*

Keri Mikulski on April 9, 2010 at 6:36 AM said...

With both (writing and living healthy), I go back and forth.. Most days I love it, but some dark days I don't. :) Great post!

Michelle Butler on April 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM said...

I don't know if you like reading nonfiction, but I highly recommend the book the Zen of Eating. It helps me focus more on the journey than the destination.

And, if you are the Heather Snow who is a GH finalist, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Michelle Butler on April 9, 2010 at 10:07 AM said...

Figuring out how to set the right goals for you is an art form all in itself. I've done the big destination goals - and they can work - but some don't at all - particularly if you can't control it all like the chick lit example you gave. I do not do well at all with goals such as, "I will lose 50 pounds by x date." I've had to learn how to come up with goals in terms of weight loss that work for me - and time commitments work. e.g. I will give it my all for one year to lose weight.

Tawny on April 9, 2010 at 1:20 PM said...

Keri, I think that's natural to find the inspiration and dedication have an ebb and flow. The trick is finding a way to make the loving it days work really well, and the darker days not sink us too much and derail our progress :-)

This, truly, is why we're all works in progress LOL.

Tawny on April 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM said...

Oh yeah, Michelle. Goal setting is a huge thing - an art form, really. I actually teach workshops on it, although my focus has always been writing rather than weight. I think in the upcoming one, I'll incorporate both, though :-) Because in so many ways, its the same.

Michelle Butler on April 9, 2010 at 3:37 PM said...

I need to take your goal setting workshop one of these days. I've struggled with setting writing goals for myself. Are you offering it anywhere soon? National in Nashville?

Tawny on April 10, 2010 at 1:14 AM said...

Beth Andrews and I are giving it online in June, Michelle :-D Heart of Carolina RWA -

I'm working on updating it now, since I've discovered some new angles and ideas for goal setting (outcome based thinking versus deadline based thinking, for instance) that I really want to incorporate :-)

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