I'm a writer by profession, and I recently realized that writing a book is a lot like losing weight and getting in shape. Before I tell you why, let me stress the irony of that similarity - after all, one of the reasons I need to lose sixty pounds and set an exercise schedule is that for the past eighteen months I've spent a lot of time on my fanny, finishing two books, several essays, and a bunch of poems. But I digress.
So, how is writing a book like getting in shape?
You need a reason to get started and to stick with it. After all, assuming your book is longer than two pages, and your weight-loss goal more than two pounds, you'll be living this project for weeks, months, maybe a year or longer. I don't know about you, but to sustain that kind of effort, I need a reason. In my writing, I sometimes provide information, sometimes entertain, sometimes express my opinion. As I set about reclaiming my healthy weight and activity level, I recognize several reasons - I want to feel better, look better, be healthier, wear nicer clothes.
You need goals, big and small. Earlier this year I wrote about goals on my writing blog sheilaboneham.blogspot.c
and many of the same principles apply to weight-loss and fitness goals. I know that I won't hit every mark, but I also know that without something to aim for, I won't hit anything at all.
You need community. As I writer, I need advance readers and editors and proofreaders to look at my work and see what I no longer see because I'm too close. As I set out on this journey, I need a community of people who are on similar paths to pat me on the back when I do well, and give me a hand up when I slip, and, yes, who gently tell me to stop whining and keep going when I feel discouraged or inclined to quit. SparkPeople, and a few carefully chosen real-world friends, provide all of that and more.
So here I go. I just rejoined SparkPeople yesterday. I'm starting a new book this week. I have lots of little goals laid out for the coming months. The big one? To look lighter and fitter for my new author photos!