Slowing Down – A Guide to Success?

As you know, my goal for 2014 is to get healthy. And stay there. After a successful weight loss a few years ago, I focused so much on my writing in 2013, my lack of exercise and eating right caught up with me in the form of 9 or 10 extra pounds on the scale. I know, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. However, to me it is. I don’t have any major problems with my self-image. I know that when I hit my 20s, my body changed, when I had children, my body changed. And it will continue to change. I don’t have aspirations to be a size 6 with flat abs and a six pack with arms like Jessica Biel or Cameron Diaz. My goal is to fit into my jeans so I am comfortable and be able to help my husband move the furniture around instead of just pretending to lift it.

I love to eat. I mean, really, who doesn’t? My biggest pitfall is probably macaroni and cheese.Yes, I am 34 but I can shovel in an entire box of mac and cheese if I didn’t have any self control. Don’t worry, I love my fruits and vegetables too. When it comes to self control, I remind myself of the phrase “It’s only food.” I need food to fuel my body. That’s it. It needs it to survive. My body doesn’t require a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream. It’s damn good, though. So when I want to binge on food, I think about what it’s worth. It it worth a few extra pounds and the frustration it will cause when I try to put my pants on to have this sundae? Or would it be a better choice to have a few almonds?

Let’s be serious, though. Right now I am eating taco dip. The sour cream, the seasonings, the tomato, lettuce, black olives and dipping into it with tortilla chips. It’s not exactly the best lunch. It was quick, already made, and if it wasn’t eaten today, it’d have to be tossed. So I went for it. And I don’t feel about about it at all. Why? Because I’m pacing myself.

In the past (and by past I mean just a few weeks ago), I would eat so quickly that I’d always have a second helping. Always. It wasn’t necessarily everything on my plate, but it was something (usually mac and cheese!). My weight gain has a lot to do with these second helpings. If I’d have just paced myself, I would have been full longer. I used to eat my lunch in five minutes. FIVE. It’d be down the hatch. An hour later, I was finishing off something left around by one of the kids, or going through the cabinets for chocolate. This all adds up. So I slowed it down. Now instead of five minutes, I take anywhere from twenty to an entire hour. I may open up the iPad and play some Candy Crush or read a book while I eat to occupy myself and put the fork down.

How does this relate to my writing? In November, I participated in and won NaNoWriMo. I speed wrote. In about 24 days I wrote 50K words. Basically, a novella. When I go back to edit it, I will basically be starting over from scratch. A complete rewrite. That’s fine. November was fun and I get a 50K outline, really, out of the entire ordeal. But I would never let you read what I wrote in November. It’s crap. Total crap. That’s what November is for. Quantity NOT quality.

April 1, 2014 is the tentative publication date for my new novel, Pieces of It All. It began as a NaNoWriMo book in November 2012. I wrote the 50K in 30 days and set it aside until January. Last year I rewrote it at least two times. I am now going through it and changing an entire story line and adding many scenes. With NaNo, I just wrote as quickly as I could to get as many words on paper as I was able. In this final writing of Pieces of It All, I am taking my time. There are moments I HATE how slow moving this is. I have friends publishing books left and right. Maybe not, but it feels that way. I have to remind myself that they took just as long to write their books. They may have just started before I did. Or they are more committed and disciplined with their writing time. I’ll finish it. Gosh, now that I have a deadline of April 1st, I sure hope so. I don’t want to push that back. With these edits, though, I am writing each scene more slowly, like I’m lifting the fork, taking a small bite, and setting it down while I process it. As I reread these new scenes or edits of previous ones, I know that they are so much better because I’m slowing down.

Slowing down doesn’t just pertain to food, or writing. It’s everything. We’re in such a hurry these days. Slow down. Take your time. Enjoy the ride.

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