When I was thirteen I went for my first physical, I was always a bit of an overweight child, but the doctor was particularly concerned by my size. In a matter of hours I was checked for diabetes and heart conditions, and was given a rather stern lecture about the amount of sugar in a single can of soda (spoiler alert, it’s about what you’d expect). I always remembered that moment, but it wasn’t until I was 23, that I hit that Aha moment and decided a change needed to be made. It didn’t come from someone telling me I was fat (surprise, surprise, fat shaming doesn’t actually accomplish anything), nor did it come from a doctor scare. In truth it came from a random decision to check my weight on the scale.
No one can tell you when your ready to learn something, they can explain something to you until they’re blue in the face, but if you’re not ready to absorb it and to hear it, it won’t have any impact on you. In order to change you have to be in the mindset for it. Nobody can make you get there. There just has to be a moment when you realize and decide that whatever you’re doing, and your reasons for doing it aren’t helping you, and something needs to change.
But what does my change in eating habits and exercise have to do with writing? Surprisingly a great deal, because my issues with my writing are still a mindset thing. I can tell myself I have it figured out, and I know what my problems are when it comes to overthinking and overanalyzing everything, but knowing it isn’t the same as processing it on the level that allows you to make actionable changes. In the case of my weight, I knew that the weight I was at was not acceptable to me, I didn’t like it, but because I had for years stayed level in that same weight (gaining and losing two or three pounds periodically), I had written it off. It was not until I saw a number, much higher than I was previously accustomed to seeing that I became so shocked that I realized I needed to make a change, and fast. It adjusted my mind set on my eating habits and my exercise habits (or lack thereof), and I changed immediately. This is not to say that I’m by any means a diet expert, I’m not. I’ve managed to get healthier and lose a few pounds by trying to decrease my portions, decrease my intake of fast food, and increase my exercise. It’s boring, it’s not a fad diet, and the change is so slow you may not even notice it’s happening, but I realize now that were I not in the right mindset, not losing weight as fast as I’d like would have been a deal breaker for me.
In the case of my writing, this shock to the system came just this morning as I was looking over chapter 9, and I hit a wall so profoundly frustrating that I began to question everything that had lead up to that moment. Why was I here? What had I done to get myself stuck in this situation? I decided to go back to an earlier draft, and I found myself wondering what had been so wrong with this idea? Why had I been so quick to drop it like yesterdays news? Was I so sure I could make it better or was it something deeper?