by Sherri Stone
I have been a life-long dieter. Actually, a more appropriate way to say that is that I’ve been a life-long thinker about diets and losing weight. You know the syndrome:
• First resolution every New Year is to lose weight
• The resolve to eat less and eat healthy is never stronger than immediately following a pig fest when normal and comfortable breathing is impossible, and never weaker than first thing in the morning when you’re calling in a pick-up order for a trash plate – loaded – from the Waffle House
• You are convinced that the latest piece of excercise equipment is the one that will make you skinny – in 5 minutes a week – they promised!
• You have a drawer full of those special antioxident, free-radical, fat-busting pills that promised to burn fat while you slept. Someone has found the lost fruit with the magic essence and it’s yours for $19.95!
• You would love to exercise but you hate sweating and moving around too much
• Your diet discipline dissolves at the site of chocolate and the smell of good Italian food. Okay if we’re being honest, the smell of any food.
• Your exercise equipment doubles as a coat rack
It occured to me that good writing is in many ways similar to losing weight and getting in shape. Does any of this sound familiar:
• You have a shelf full of writing craft books but the spine has not been cracked on a single one
• Instead of sitting down to write you are drawn to your Facebook and Twitter pages like a stressed out woman to the Chocolate Gallery
• You avoid critique partners/groups like a fat girl avoids the bathroom scales
• Your dream to write is always there in the back of your mind – like a fantasy
• You can always find something that ‘needs’ to be done instead of exercising – I mean, writing
• You don’t like to sweat over your story, it would be so much better if it would just happen without too much exertion on your part
• You have multiple projects started when you had a flash of a great idea – you just haven’t finished anything yet
If either or both of those lists sound familiar you are not alone. What’s the solution? Remembering a few key points:
1. Every good gift comes from God – good health and the ability to write
2. It all belongs to Him – we are merely stewards entrusted with the gift for a little while
3. Just as we can lose our good health if we are careless, we can lose the opportunities to write if we don’t develop our skills
4. Each gift given comes with a purpose
5. Making the effort to be disciplined with our health or our writing is a self-perpetuating thing. The healthier we get the more we want to continue; the better we write, the better we want to write and learn.
6. It is a choice every day, and within each day many choices.
Discipline. We don’t like that word, but the truth is either we control ourselves through the choices we make, or we allow ourselves to be controlled by every whim and situation that occurs during our day.
Isn’t it funny that the hardest choice is also the most fulfilling and productive. A built-in reward? God is just like that, isn’t He.
7. That discipline is not from ourselves. We have permission to ask for it from the One who directs our paths, calls us to serve, and gives generously. Time to pray? Oh yes.
Sherri Stone is a medical social worker with hospice. She is learning about fiction writing, but is also collaborating with her hospice chaplain on a book about the hospice experience. This is her second year with ACFW. Connect with her at www.sherristone.net or http://www.facebook.com/sherrilynnestone or on Twitter @sherristone2.