The question for today is this: How long can you look at it without becoming ill?
As some readers race for the exits or hills, I call out: Hey, wait a sec! This really ain't that kind of blog any more than I'm that kind of dude. By "it" I mean your Moleskine or whatever brand of prompter or journal you use for your own inner trip. You won't get far without one, whether you're starting a novel, quitting smoking/drinking, going on a diet or beginning to work out. (From here on I'll refer to your Moleskine as your whatever.)
If you're human, then you know we all begin like gangbusters...then feel the wind go from our sails. We'll need to row a while, we know. And we're okay with that...we think. But every time, without fail--no matter the port of our choosing--the Sirens start to whisper: The journey's too long...You're not ready to quit smoking or work on your big novel yet...You're too busy...There's just too much stress in your life...Next year you'll be ready...
The worst of it is, you know better. You do! You know if you don't stop your footsteps--right now!--they'll take you to the corner store...where you'll buy those cigarettes...Or you know if you put off the gym for a week. Etc., etc., etc. You know what will happen! Yet happen it will--unless you learn a cool new trick to keep your whatever alive.
Let's start with the problem that all of us share: In repetition there is strength--but there is also boredom without some variation. My own whatever--my Moleskine--has five questions, one of which I tackle each day. And each question is then broken down into five parts.
Week one electrified me with its freshness and its promise: What Don't I Want? What Do I Want? (Chapter One spells out the details.)
Chapter Two livened things up just enough by getting more specific in my plans of action: What Are the Top Two Don't Wants That Can Most Impact the Rest if Corrected Now? What Are the Top Two Do Wants...? Etc.
I was beginning to see some real progress in my first manifestations. And yet...I needed to shake up the process somehow--or risk hearing the Sirens still louder. For the third round of five questions, I took (for me) a bad-assed move. For each of the five questions, I asked:
Where am I Still a Pussy and what must I do?
Now, I don't think of myself as a Pussy--or at least I never had. But for the purpose of this exercise I forced myself to do just that. In doing so I found myself pushing the envelope time and again:
--I went straight from third shift to the gym before going home for some shut-eye.
--I added protein to my diet to help fuel the muscular growth...and other needed nutrients to really get in me in the pink.
--Knowing I'd need money to finance my move in mid-summer, I refused to cut my hours at the second job.
--I forced myself to stay on track for completing the rewrite of The Suiting for online publication in August.
--I continued reading a mystery I'd committed to review.
--I worked harder at broadening my mastery of Twitter and being more fun to follow.
--I worked harder to become a better friend and ally.
--After too many years in The Desert, and too many nights alone, I spruced up, had my hair restyled., splashed on some Armani Code and opened my arms to rejection. Long ago, so they say, Babe Ruth had the record for homers--because he was fearless about striking out. I like to think the Babe is smiling as he watches the Rebster hit nothing but air.
But I'll sign off by sharing a secret: I see myself succeeding. And, with my whatever to guide me, I will.
Stay tuned for the breathtaking 4th Chapter.