That Was A Mighty Big Yak!

Yeah, so here we are six months later. Did I mention that procrastination was a big problem? I can offer a gazillion excuses — lots of work, an over-abundance of activities on the part of my twin teens, health woes, etc. — but the bottom line is that I simply didn’t do what I’d set out to do. I’m trying something new, however. Instead of beating myself up, I’m starting from today and looking forward.

So… I’m (back) at the start of revising myself, and I want to blog about my journey. This month, I’m doing Whole30, a 30-day paleo food template. This means no dairy, grains, legumes, sugar or anything artificial for the whole month of July. What can I eat? Meats, veggies, healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil), and a moderate amount of fruit. And what is this going to do for me? Probably put me in a really bad mood for a couple weeks while my body adjusts, and then hopefully a lot more energy and weight loss. I’m also hoping it will help my thyroid issues because the meds alone aren’t doing the job. If I think it’s working for me, I’ll continue beyond the 30 days. If not, I should at least have a better idea of what my food triggers are and which ones should stay out of my diet.

Day 1 was, as expected, pretty easy. I had one slip-up — I made myself a fruit smoothie, which didn’t contain anything I shouldn’t eat (it was just a banana and 10 raspberries along with crushed ice and water), but I then heard that smoothies are off the list for the next 30 days because they don’t want you drinking your food. I need to finish reading It Starts With Food so I can learn all those little rules that accompany the big ones. I ate fine the rest of the day, although I could have probably used more fat. The only strange thing about the day was that I couldn’t sleep last night. It could be completely unrelated, just a bout of insomnia, but I tossed and turned all night, finally falling asleep at about the time I had planned to get up.

I’m trying to decide what images to post as I progress. Pictures of myself to document the physical changes? A scary prospect! Pictures of the food I prepare? Certainly less scary, but also less personal. Or pictures of my pets, because apparently you can never go wrong posting cute animal photos on the internet. Hmmm…

 

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A Yak By Any Other Name

So let’s talk about procrastination. As in, I wanted to have this blog up by January 1st, but wound up not getting it done until three weeks later. As in, being easily distracted by shiny things, or even not-so-shiny things. As in, finding absolutely anything to do except what I should be doing, thereby putting even more pressure on myself to get things done.

YakI call this yak shaving. You have a pressing deadline and need to work. You clear off your chair so you can sit at your desk. Then you need to clear off the desk so you can find the keyboard. But as you’re sitting there sorting through a month’s worth of catalogs and bills (oops!), you realize that your desk chair is uncomfortable, so you decide that you can’t work until you have a cushion for the chair. You spend a day searching the web for a cushion, but none of them appeal. So you decide to make your own. Then you spend a day finding a pattern. And then another shopping for fabric. Then make the cover for the cushion. But everyone knows the best filler is yak hair. Next thing you know, you’re on a plane to parts unknown to shave a yak. All so you can have a cushion for your chair so you can get your work done.

Yup, that’s me. And no matter how cute the yak, it’s just a euphemism for procrastination. Which itself is usually, at least in my case, a euphemism for fear. I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of losing sleep over pending deadlines, which just increase the fear, the tension… and the stress eating. So one of my goals for this year is to look my yaks in the eye and get a grip on my procrastination.

In Revision

As a writer, I’m used to revising my manuscripts. My work is never perfect, so I play with scenes, rethink my characters’ reactions and tweak my plot — often to excess (at least in the opinions of my critique partners). In other words, I put a lot of care and thought into my books.

But in giving all that attention to my work, I often overlook myself as both a writer and a person. I don’t exercise enough — those are precious minutes that can be used for writing. I don’t eat properly — who wants to take time to make something healthy when it’s so much faster to grab junk. I take friends and family for granted in favor of spending more time with the people inside my head who are counting on me to tell their stories. I get so caught up in the mundane routines of working and taking care of my family that I overlook the need to refill the creative well by getting out and experiencing life and interacting with people. And oh, the procrastination! Much as I tell myself and others that all those games of solitaire serves as “thinking time” for my books, it’s really a fear reaction to avoid putting words on the page.

So the focus of my blog this year is on revising not just my work but revising Me. My body, my writing routines, my productivity, my relationships with friends and family. Everything is up for grabs. And to keep me honest and not let this become just another broken New Year’s resolution, I’m going to blog about it. I hope you’ll join me and share the journey!

 

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