I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. –Revelation 10:10.
I love chocolate, but chocolate doesn’t love me.
It’s a confession I have to make. Once in a while, I get a hankering for chocolate. I know; its supposed to be a girl thing, but I suspect it hits a few guys too. The trouble is, I can’t stop with one piece. And when I have finished a whole bag of Snickers Minis–as I did this past weekend–my body tells me that I did a bad thing.
That was Sunday that I finished the bag. Today is Tuesday, and my stomach is still rumbling. As the Bible says, it was sweet going down, but agony later. Of course, the Bible wasn’t talking about chocolate, and I really want to use it as an illustration for something bigger.
It takes real discipline to be a writer. Oh sure, there are many people who talk about wanting to be a writer, such as the myriad retirees to who used to frequent my writer’s workshops when I was a book editor. Most of them have one book in them, if that, and if you reject it, they feel that their entire life has been worthless.
But a career of writing is a commitment that is based on delayed gratification. I know, because I fight it all the time. You have your chocolate in front of you–television, games, reading, even sleep–and you think, well, a little won’t hurt. But then a little becomes a lot, and you kick yourself because you didn’t get page one written yet. Despite how sweet that chocolate is, you have to put it away into the cabinet and close the door. Better yet, throw it away.
That’s not to say that you have to give up completely on reading, sleep or watching TV, although I know of many writers who have found that giving up TV not only helps them commit to writing, but helps their kids in school as well. But you have to learn moderation. If you can’t, that’s when you need to go to major changes in your life.
I started the school year with the commitment to finish a book that I am halfway through. I set aside two hours in the middle of the day to dedicate to writing. I am doing everything I can to make my life conducive to writing–except actual writing. But until I put words on paper, it’s all for naught.
I love chocolate, but I need to remember what it does to me when I eat it. And instead of that sweet that turns bitter in my stomach, I need to reach for something else.
Like a good salad.
One thought on “Sweet Agony”
I read a book once on time management tips for creatives and only then (after about 25 years of writing) did I learn that the amount of time I spent trying to write didn’t matter quite as much as the time of day I tried to do it. I am NOT a morning person, but for some reason I’m a morning writing person. I literally have to drag myself out of bed at 5:30 every morning so I can get two hours of writing in. But everything is so peaceful and quiet at that time, nothing has happened to pull me in a thousand different directions, my head is empty (in a good way!), and the writing just pours out of me. Later in the day, when life is swirling with tornado force around me, I focus on projects that are more technical and don’t require me to pull rabbits out of my hat. I’ve been working this way for a little over a year, and I can’t get over the difference it’s made.
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