Get 'er done.

Here was my plan:

1. Write a book.
2. While writing said book, hide it away from everyone else.
3. Tell Chris he couldn't read it yet. (And my Mom. And my friends.)
4. Have a launch party at Barnes and Noble in Union Square.
5. Go on a book tour.

I have never been attracted to the solitary aspect of writing, but I thought this was because I was kind of lazy. The reason I wasn't able to go away and write for hours and then go meet friends for dinner seemed, to me, because I wasn't trying hard enough. Or maybe possibly because I didn't really want to write a book after all. Writing a book is hard! Maybe it was too hard for me, I thought. Maybe instead I should go eat leftover pancakes with Nutella.

For a variety of reasons (some Skersh-inspired), I have come to realize that I am not a solitary writer. I'm not saying that I need to write next to someone or especially not with someone. But it has become increasingly clear that I need to share what I'm writing with someone... and fast!

My new friend Kelley and I are meeting after work on Monday, when I am responsible for showing up with a bunch of pages. Which she will read. And judge. And give me some honest feedback on. (Incidentally, she will be showing up with her new blog, which I would link you to if it were already created. So... create, K!)

Nothing lights a fire under your ass like a deadline, people!

And here's the other motivation: knowing that someone is going to be reading what I'm writing is making me focus on writing for her. I am not trying to write for every possible person, who might have millions of different senses of humor or tolerances for fiction or limited imaginations. I am writing for one reader. Kelley. It is that specific.

It strikes me that this is the heart of any kind of creative work, to feel as though you are not creating in a void, but that your little project will fly and be seen by other people. This is the amazing thing about a blog - that ten minutes ago I was eating pancakes and Nutella (oops... awkward...) in my kitchen and now I'm sitting in this chair typing about writing today and in ten more minutes, you might be reading it. Presto! Change-o! Instant audience.

We joined the YMCA earlier this month where you get a personal trainer for your first 12 weeks. You get to meet with the trainer four times and I had my first session a few weeks ago. I will say that I never in a million years thought I would want someone telling me what to do at the gym. It is hard enough to get myself to the physical location to work out, let alone voluntarily ask someone to harass me about going faster on the elliptical.

But guys, this Personal Training thing is so great that I now want one in every aspect of my life. The fact that I am going to meet my guy again tomorrow night and check in with him about my progress? Well, that has been some major motivation over the past three weeks. Except for the occasional Nutella-filled afternoon, I've been eating healthier and working out four times a week and feeling really great.

All it took was a commitment to someone ELSE.

So here's my suggestion. If you are working on something: a blog, a new job, a thesis, a painting, whatever - get a buddy. Find someone who also needs a bi-weekly or monthly check-in. The sweet thing is that you guys can have totally different goals. Get coffee with the girl who wants to write a cookbook and share your workout plans. Discuss your blog redesign with the guy who wants to get his apartment in better shape. It's just as cool to watch someone else progress while you're moving ahead too.

Whaddaya think?

1 comment:

Erica said...

I couldn't agree more! It makes you work harder because you don't want to disappoint the other person. It gives you mini deadlines (write a few pages) instead of HUGE PROJECT DUE (write a 300-page book). It makes it more social, too, so you're not just watching time pass as you hide in your apartment/house like a hermit.

anyone out there want to be my french phd thesis-writing buddy? (probably not, but always worth a shot ...)