This year for my birthday I took myself to a writing workshop.
I drove down to Providence, treated myself to a hotel and spent a day reminding myself how to give in to the craft.
Mostly, it felt good – except for the forgetting about the question part:
“So, what are you working on?”
It’s a killer at these things.
If you’re together, motivated, published, polished (etc.) you have a really great answer like: “my second novel,” or “a piece for the Atlantic.” If you’re me, you have an awkward smile and, “well, I have this blog…”
“Oh, is it a follow-up from your book?”
More awkward smiles and timid nods.
“Oh, so you don’t get paid for it or anything.”
This conversation played out this way a good four or five times during my birthday workshop, but then I started talking to author, Tova Mirvis.
“What are you writing?” she asked.
(Heavy sigh) “Honestly, I’m not quite sure. For more than a year, I’ve been writing this gratitude blog. I guess it’s about my practice of Thanksgiving. Sometimes 100 people read, one time 1000 people read it, sometimes 10 people read it – who are all related to me.”
“It still counts,” Tova said.
“It’s kind of like Weight Watchers for my creativity. I know writing and sharing are key to keeping me…not crazy…and at this point, if I go too long without posting, someone who loves me will ping me to get back at it.”
“You should write that piece for Weight Watchers.”
Tova’s suggestion stayed with me for the rest of the day, the entire ride home and the better part of the next two months…until one lazy morning in between innings of a living room baseball game with my son, Briggs, I turned on the TV and caught an ad for Weight Watchers.
All I could hear was: You should write that piece, after you drop this weight.
That Sunday I weighed 133lbs. The heaviest I’ve ever been since pregnant with Briggs (age, 6). Today, less than three full months on Weight Watchers, I weight 108lbs. The same weight I was three years before ever dreaming Briggs into being.
I have a tendency – maybe even a propensity to overthink. I very much want to know things. Where (exactly) I’m going. What (exactly) I’m doing. How (exactly) this will work out. It’s constant and exhausting and far too often results in indecision, or worse, in beating myself into submission.
On the other hand, when I go with how I feel…like writing and sharing, because it feels good. Braving a conversation with an accomplished author because it feels good. Taking a chance on a new approach, because if feels good – the directions tend to reveal themselves.
And that feels a whole lot more like engaging in good work, as opposed to just getting through the hard work.
Feel more. Do more. Hurt less….and then go shopping, because nothing fits. 😉
PS – This would be a great place for a before and after picture, but I didn’t take a picture the first day I joined Weight Watchers, because I definitely wasn’t feeling that. Instead here’s a song that keeps me motivated.