When I started Weight Watchers, I made a list of all the great advantages to losing weight. I wrote it on the notes function on my phone. I’d pull out my phone and look at the list a lot those first few months. I added to it occasionally as I thought of something new. It was helpful to have a reminder of why I was making the choices I was making. And it made dieting less about what I was denying myself and more about what I was giving myself.
I did the same when I started working full-time again. I could pull that list out and review it those first couple of weeks when I really missed working at home in my jammies with my kitty snoring softly nearby. “Remember Carleen,” my list said, “you’re not just giving up all that time, you’re getting to learn new things and have steady income and health benefits, etc.”
Recently, I made a list of the reasons it’s important to me to finish my next novel.
I’ve been in the home stretch of finishing a manuscript to send to my agent for a while now. But the time is nigh. I gave myself a deadline: I’m sending this puppy August 2nd. Gulp. And to help me make that deadline I needed a list of reminders. Meaningful reasons like what the story means to me (why I started it in the first place) and how gratifying it would feel if it even touched one person. And less meaningful, but truthful, reasons like the Dorothy Parker reason:
“I hate writing, I love having written,” Ms. Parker said.
I really do love having written, and the only way I can enjoy having written is to, you know, write (or actually rewrite and edit).
Call me shallow, but another reason is so I can keep hanging out with cool authors. I’ve met so many writers I admire and enjoy, and I could no longer sit at the grown ups’ table and lift my glass with them if I didn’t finish. And I couldn’t keep interacting with readers. If I don’t finish this book, I won’t ever get to go to another book club meeting. And some book club meetings are pretty damn cool.
So that’s some of my list. What’s on yours? Why must you finish what you’re working on right now? If you have something fun, let us know in the comments so we can add it to our lists too.