Saturday, September 22, 2012


At 3:30 this morning, Chris began his trek through the Ultrabeast in Killington, VT.
Oscar is headed over to be there when Chris makes it through the first loop, and again to cheer him on near the finish. Chris expects to finish about 6:30 or 7:30 tonight. Yes, 15 to 16 hours (perhaps longer) of sustained effort through an obstacle course set up in mountainous terrain.
Chris' journey has had me thinking about discipline. My life in the old house had space for pretty much only one exercise in discipline; struggling to take as few steps as necessary to avoid further damage to my ankle,  avoid infection (osteomyelitis to be specific) and avoid gangrene (my immune system is wonky from a long-ago spleen removal).
Now that I live in a wheelchair-friendly environment there is a HUGE shift in paradigm.
I am no longer completely stuck in the recliner. I can wheel around and spend 20 to 30 minutes at a task sitting upright (if I sit upright for too long or too often my poorly-healed hernia repair wound (about 18 inches long with a double layer of mesh) causes my abdomen to swell and a few intestinal difficulties may arise, up to and including blockage.  Having a reclining electrical wheelchair is wonderful for this, I can take a 'belly break' whenever I need to. This means I can go to my craft room and actually spend time working on things like art quilts and collage.  If I spend more time than that upright when I cannot recline, or in a situation where my abdomen gets tossed about a bit (riding in or driving a car or in my electrical chair jostling over uneven sidewalks, for example) it often takes a few days of rest with as much reclining as possible to return to 'norm'. This means I only spend that long time upright out and about a few times a week at most, and also means long trips need to have at least a day of rest built in at the destination before I can plunge in to the enjoyable part of the vacation.  I am hoping this particular restriction is reduced or completely disappears as I lose weight. Although this sounds a bit moany, I am attempting to lay out the parameters of my life. Of course sitting upright with my feet dangling or in a footwell causes some pain in my ankles, but pain up to a certain point is something I am used to and it is only a minor factor. I am more concerned with avoiding damage to the point I need further surgery.
Anyway, this means in some ways I practice discipline every day, to avoid complications.
Weight watchers, so far, is a breeze. The only difficulty is that I need to eat more than I want to (my normal intake is about half what they target for people in my weight range). Yes, I would much rather eat less than I want than more than I want. It is difficult to swallow when your body tells you to stop.
That being said, I have already lost two pounds as of Wednesday, so the system works. My weigh in day is tomorrow. It takes a level of discipline to determine and record the points of what I am eating, as well as to log the water I drink, the veggies I eat etc. But it's not difficult.
Working on designs is something I only do when I am feeling 100 percent. Thankfully, that is more and more often the longer I live in an environment that does not require me to damage myself.  At the old house I was running a fever most of the time as my body tried to heal from the unavoidable standing and walking. Here, I am much better off.  There is also no time constraint on the type of designing I do, and truthfully, although I do feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure when an idea in my head becomes a concrete physical object (and I love it when someone else enjoys my creation) designing is not something that is a dream of mine. It was sort of accidental and grew out of needing something I could do to bring in a little money until life got better. I enjoy it, but I enjoy knitting for myself without needing to follow or write down a pattern even more.  The same holds true for art quilting and collage. I enjoy it a great deal, but I am not driven to do it.
I think the area where I most need discipline is writing. I can only do the final polish of the reviews when I am feeling 100%. That would hold true for fiction, as well. When I post a blog it seems easier, although I do find errors slipping through no matter how many times I check if I am having an off day. (I have fibromyalgia, too,    of which the most annoying symptom to me is brain fog.)
I should, however be able to write rough drafts any day I want to. But I am not.
I think the only thing lacking is the discipline to do so.
I have wanted to write fiction for a very long time. In the past, I wanted it so badly I feared to start and fail. Although there is a small amount of that trepidation left, having written more than 270 reviews has blunted the edge a bit. I want to know if I can write a story that will touch peoples hearts.
I want to write something in the Urban Fantasy genre, as that is my absolute favorite genre to read, and I have a few kick-ass heroines lurking about in my head.
Again, the only thing stopping me is a lack of discipline.
The one kind of discipline I don't need for my current lifestyle is to do something at any certain time, every day. I don't have any externally imposed schedule for accomplishing any of my tasks. This is not as much of a blessing as you might think as it is all too easy to drift about from one non-productive time consuming activity to another.
 I think establishing a daily routine with set times for doing set tasks may be key to accomplishing my writing goals.
So today, I am going to read about the development of habits for discipline, the kind of discipline that will have me writing both reviews, and my fiction every day. I have read many an author's description of their writing process. I will expand that to a more general field, and begin to apply what I learn to my goal of finishing a work of fiction (and to getting 100 percent caught up on those reviews).
I used to manage the scheduling of jobs for a label printing department in a tri-state printing company. I should be able to schedule to achieve a long-held dream, as well as complete my obligations to write reviews in a timely manner. It just takes more discipline. At least that's my theory.
I likely will share some of the links to the information I find here, and of course any hints and tips from those who have mad skilz with scheduling to accomplish a dream are SO very welcome!.

(image is of a steam-punkish amalgam of typewriter and computer. Details available HERE. )

1 comment:

Don Meyer said...

Any time I start to feel sorry for myself, something pops up to show how well off I am. I admire your drive and resolution! Even if you don't accomplish everything, you will accomplish some! Including the weight loss! Go, girl!