My harshest editor weighs only 4.2 pounds. He waits for me each morning, eager to read over my shoulder. Occasionally he stomps the delete key, erasing whole paragraphs and forcing me to rethink a scene. A grumpy old man trapped in the body of a cuddly bunny, he always thinks I could do better, start earlier, and write more. Except for this Monday, when he wasn’t waiting, already annoyed at my lateness. Instead he sat on his litter box, lethargic and unwilling to move. I raced to the call the vet, frantic at what could happen.
For those of you that don’t know a rabbit intimately, here are a few common aliments and their outcomes:
|Torn Toe Nail||death|
I’m exaggerating but only a little. Rabbits are prey animals. They make wonderful pets and great writing companions, but veterinary medicine can only do so much to extend their fragile lives.
Is your writing a prey animal? If you hit a stopping point in the middle of a new manuscript does the whole piece die? What if you turn out a clunky, poorly worded sentence, is that a cause for certain death?
Is your health a prey animal? If you find that running isn’t for you, does that mean you give up on all your plans to start exercising? If you can’t find a healthy breakfast do you kill the rest of the day by eating bad-for-you-food?
I can only do so much to keep my furry editor alive. Healthy food in the right amounts, a clean living environment, and lots of love will extend his natural lifetime from one year to ten times that amount. Thankfully, healthy writing doesn’t have short lifespan.
Writing can be made stronger, through classes and workshops, or just plain writing more. You can resurrect works that have lain nearly dead for years by getting a fresh pair of eyes to make suggestions. You may need to amputate bad scenes or even cut away everything but the healthy subplots, but there’s always something you can do.
You can do the same for your health by not letting yourself be stopped by little problems. It’s fun to daydream about how much weight you’ll lose and how fit you’ll look when you join a new gym, but don’t let those dreams go because the membership is too expensive. Don’t stop yourself from seeking out ways to get enough sleep, relax at the end of the day, or eat a healthy meal. Find ways around problems instead of giving into them.
As of Monday afternoon, my editor was waiting for our usual after-work rereading session. The tummy trouble brought on by indulging in sweets cleared up before his vet could work him into the schedule. I don’t know how many more mornings I’ll have with him, but I know I’ll work hard to make as many of them happen as I can, the same way I’ll work hard to keep my writing and my health.