Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why?

Why do you want to lose weight?

Why do you want to write a book?

I think the answer to those questions are the key to sticking with it when things get rough. When the rejections start rolling in or the scale won't budge. When watching that TV show sounds so much better than working through that plot problem and the chocolate chip cookie smells soooo good your mouth waters.

Just like in crafting a solid character in our writing, we have to have a strong enough motivation to push us to face the things we don't want to face -and one strong enough to keep us on track (or haul us back on track) when we veer off. After all, when faced with the struggles and the roadblocks, knowing your motivation is often the only way through, isn't it?

So what's your motivation? How strong is it?

At one point, my motivation was the yearly National Writer's Conference so I could wear cute clothes when I saw my friends. Somewhere around May, after the workshop schedule was released, the loops would start buzzing about conference fun. Before I'd sold my first book, conference always became this looming deadline. I had to sell by conference. I had find an agent by conference. I had to lose weight by conference. To this day, I have no idea what I thought was going to happen if I didn't achieve those goals -and you know what? I never did achieve them in the way I planned. I never reached that "perfect weight". The first time I'd sent the agent goal, I fired her right before conference. And my first sale? I wasn't even planning on attending conference that year!

No, that particular motivation obviously wasn't compelling enough, was it.

I had to really think about what losing weight, what being healthy, what writing, all meant to me. Why did I want them. Why were they worth the hours of time, the tons of energy, the vast amount of emotional stress they'd require to accomplish? The answers were a lot deeper than I'd though they'd be - although I do admit, being able to wear really cute clothes that show off my fabulous shoe collection did stay on the list!

How about you? Have you ever tried to figure out what your motivation is? Is it big enough, strong enough, to push you through the roadblocks you might encounter along the way?

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 www.tawnyweber.com

7 comments:

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on April 22, 2010 at 9:14 AM said...

Good questions to ask ourselves, Tawny. I think my reasons for losing weight and getting fit are two-fold:

1. I want to live a long, healthy, happy life. I want to be one of those 90-year-olds who still gets out and walks every day. I don't want all the health issues my parents have. After all, I won't have kids to take care of me when I get old. I'll have to do it myself.

2. I want to feel good and feel good about myself.

As for the writing, I still want to be able to make a true career out of this book writing so I don't have to go back to life at a "real job." I'm still nowhere near replacing my job income from my last full-time job, but that's my goal -- to get there and beyond that point. I don't mind working hard, but I don't like set hours where I "have" to be somewhere. I like flexibility.

Michelle Butler on April 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM said...

Great questions, Tawny!!

Why do I want to lose weight?

I finally reached the point where I thought the weight was interfering in all that I wanted to accomplish in my life. I couldn't do what I wanted to do lugging all that weight around. (Remember, I started this at 215.4 and reached the 220s at one point.) As I've mentioned before, I was doing my annual evaluate the past year and set goals for the upcoming year in the beginning of 2009. I had not achieved my overall goal for 2008 and it looked much less likely that I would in 2009. (Still haven't achieved it.) I asked myself how could I make 09 a success. For years and years, I'd resolved to lose weight with little to no success. I decided to give it my all for a whole year and see what I could accomplish.

In the beginning, my approach was pretty practical and day-to-day. I did want to conquer my emotional eating, but that was way beyond me at first. Gradually, I started chipping away at that, and this journey has become very emotional and very healing. As part of my weight loss journey, I've figured out some of the ways I'm "messed up" and figured out how to react differently to my issues - basically, how to stop self-sabotaging. (Not that I'm perfect, but I'm much better.) I now see all that weight as pain I was carrying around, and as I get rid of some of that weight, I'm letting some of that pain go. It's so beautiful, and nothing is going to stop me from getting to that end. It's very slow, but I am learning to be patient and persevere.

Why do I want to write a book?

I've loved books and stories as far back as I can remember. There was a time when if you asked me would I rather give up books or give up people, I would have thought long and hard and may have kept the books. I've thought of certain books as my best friends. I've idolized all things to do with books forever, and some of my favorite childhood memories are of reading certain books for the first time or visiting one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's house and Louisa May Alcott's house. I've always had an active imagination and like to make up stories - particularly when they have a triumphant narrative. It's part of who I am. It was natural to start thinking about writing my own books. Joining RWA and meeting people JUST LIKE ME was so wonderful. I found my tribe. To be a part of that tribe, I need to write and pursue publication.

All that said, I still struggle with doing that writing every day, and I've never submitted. I'm very much a work in progress still on the writer part of healthy writer. I am figuring out more of my issues and hangups (same as above), and that has helped me get over myself and increase my writing productivity. Two of my goals for 2010 are to become a more disciplined writer (e.g. write daily) and submit something somewhere. I have a lot of confidence that I'll get there. It's just April.

Sally Kilpatrick on April 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM said...

I wonder what happens when you feel as though you don't have time to evaluate the "why" of why you do what you do.

Like Trish, I want to be healthy. I want to be able to race after my children and then wrestle with my grandchildren. I want to be able to walk circles around Paris when I'm retired.

As for writing a book, I'm not sure I can explain that. I have something to say--it started as me wanting to capture a little piece of West Tennessee forever, a piece that was dying and wouldn't be there for my children. Later, there were characters who whispered in my ear and told me to share their stories.

The problem comes in the discipline of the matter--on both fronts. I have to convince myself that writing is a job as well as a passion, because I'm too used to pushing my passions to the back burner for others.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on April 22, 2010 at 5:07 PM said...

Sally, I think your last paragraph is so important to explore. This is in our nature as women, and it's something we really have to battle in order balance that tendency with giving the appropriate time to ourselves and our wants too.

Tawny on April 22, 2010 at 7:24 PM said...

Trish, those are compelling reasons, for sure. And solidly defined ones that you can easily use to ask yourself 'am I on track or do I need to refocus?'

And baby, I hear ya on the writing goal *g*

Tawny on April 22, 2010 at 7:27 PM said...

Michelle, your weight loss story really is a healing journey, isn't it. You've learned so much about yourself, your motivations and your own needs along the way.

I love your writing goals :-) And yes, you will totally get there!

Tawny on April 22, 2010 at 9:41 PM said...

Sally, it IS a job *g* And Trish is so right, I think that habit we tend to have of putting our dreams and wishes last on the list is one worth fighting.

As for the time to evaluate... I think time can be stolen here and there. While running on the treadmill, think about why you're doing it. While stuck in traffic, instead of stressing, refocus on the question. I kept waiting for a window of time to sit and meditate and journal on the question, but it just wasn't going to happen, so these are the times I found :-)

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