A girl and her notebook

IMG_1003It’s school supply time, and I bought a notebook.

A sparkly pink notebook from Target.

There is truly nothing like an empty notebook–all those pages, waiting to be filled. It’s college-ruled hope. It’s a world of possibility, neatly bound by strong, black tape.

WHAT, PRAY TELL, WOULD I USE IT FOR?

On the first page, I wrote “Book Ideas.” I jotted down five. Like, literally five five-word descriptions.

On the second page, “Blog Post Ideas.” That page is currently empty.

Instead of writing this notebook off as a bust (as I normally would’ve done), two-and-a-half weeks ago I flipped to the back page, wrote down my weight and measurements and started keeping track of however I felt that day–fitness, food, or mindset-wise.

I started tracking how many steps I logged each day. During the first week, I realized I’d gotten lax about hitting my 10k daily goal, so I made that my focus.

The second week, I hit a few emotionally blue days. Instead of running for the chips and/or cookies and/or hurling my notebook into the garbage, I wrote through those days. I told my notebook how I felt and why I was feeling that way. Instead of eating my feelings I wrote them down.

Through my little journaling exercise, I’ve realized I tend to go off plan on the weekends (who doesn’t?), I eat when I’m stressed and procrastinating (i.e. about 87% of my life), and I love to sabotage myself withe salty foods the day before weigh-in. But I keep writing, learning, and readjusting.

How many pound have I lost during this little experiment so far? +.8

Yeah. I’ve gained weight.

But I’ve also been able to look back at my notebook to figure out why I’ve gained weight. I’m realistic about what I’ve done. I don’t yell, “Khaaaan!” at the universe without holding myself accountable for my own actions (or inaction, sometimes).

Weight loss, like publishing, can feel like watching paint dry. Nothing ever happens on your time table. It’s a lot of trial and error. A lot of hard choices you can only hope will pan out. In both, there’s some luck involved–but you can’t rely on that.

You do everything in your power, write the best book you can produce, workshop the hell out of a query, edit that book into a shiny diamond, market it to the masses by following all the rules.

And…you get rejection after rejection, or your editor tells you this wasn’t what she wanted, or your book gets horrible reviews and/or flops, sales-wise.

At that point, you can chuck it all in the garbage and give up, or you can take an honest look at what you’ve done and reassess. Maybe you could’ve used a critique partner, maybe your first five pages aren’t so great, maybe you, introverted one, actually need to suck it up and network–a prospect that sends me diving right for the chips, honestly.

Instead of saying “I can’t,” blaming the universe, and giving up, you can be proactive, put in the work, and figure out how you can do better next time.

It’s why God created sparkly notebooks from Target.

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