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This is something I've been thinking about off and on for a while now, and it mostly comes down to accountability.

As we're growing up, we learned that sometimes we could dodge the consequences of our actions. A well-told excuse or lie might keep us from getting into trouble. (No, really! I swerved to avoid a cat and hit a patch of ice, and that's how I ended up in the ditch. Nothing to do with doing donuts on the backroads...) It continues well into college, as any teacher of freshman composition can tell you. (If certain of my students had been half as creative and clever on their assignments as they were with their excuses, they would have done much better in the class.) Even as grown-ups, many of us still talk our way out of tickets, offer excuses for missing deadlines at work, and so on.

With my diabetes, I found myself wanting to make excuses when I went in to see my endocrinologist. "Oh, I know my blood sugars were high that weekend, but that was because I was under stress, and I had a convention, and then...." Sometimes those excuses were true and valid. Sometimes I just hadn't been as careful about monitoring my blood sugar as I should have been. But I realized it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

Lousy blood sugar control will damage my body in the long term. My body doesn't care whether I had a really good excuse, or even a perfectly valid reason for that poor control. This week I've been fighting a cold, which always makes my blood sugars run high. That's not my fault, and I do my best to compensate, but the numbers are still high. I can either focus on why it's not fair and it's totally not my fault, or I can accept it and deal with it as much as I can. Easier said than done sometimes, but I do my best.

Writing is the same way. There are days I haven't been able to write. Sometimes for perfectly valid reasons, like various surgeries on my wife, son, and daughter over the past few years, or just the fact that I want to spend some time with my family. Other times, it's a less "noble" choice on my part. (I didn't have to watch Criminal Minds last night. I could have gotten at least a few more paragraphs written...)

The thing is, in the end, it doesn't matter. Unlike most day jobs, where you can dodge some responsibility, sweet-talk your boss, and so on, with writing you either write or you don't. You and you alone are accountable for your writing career. You can get advice and support, just like you can with diabetes management, but you're the one who has to do the work.

Decent metaphor, or am I stretching? :-)



Reading
Deathwish, by Rob Thurman
Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy
 Writing
Red Hood's Revenge


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cathschaffstump
Feb. 25th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
No, it works for me.

My Weight Watchers leader also suggests that "no one else put the doughnut in your mouth" philosophy is good for accountability in losing weight.

Accountability. Use it, or go into another career.

Catherine
seanan_mcguire
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Once you bring Weight Watchers into it, though, I have to offer my big WW philosophy: own your cheesecake. It's true that no one else put that doughnut in your mouth. It's also true that if you have enough bad days without doughnuts, eventually you're just going to eat one because you're being blamed anyway.

Sometimes, yes, you do have to watch the new episode of Supernatural, or go to the park with the kids, unless your deadline is tomorrow (in which case, you had a few too many unnecessary doughnuts earlier in the year). Sometimes, yes, you do have to eat that pumpkin parfait. Otherwise you'll get bitter and angry over the deprivation, and then you'll actually slack off more.

I like telling my WW leader where those five pounds came from, including precise nutritional data and how much better that pumpkin mousse was than sex.
jimhines
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that diets are often *more* successful when you build in the occasional lapse and allow yourself to splurge. Not often, but every once in a while...

It makes sense that this would apply to the writing as well.
cathschaffstump
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
I hear you!

I try to splurge once a week, just because it really helps. For me the splurge of choice lately has been a local pizzeria's deep dish Chicago style.

I've never had a food that was better than sex. TMI, I think.

Catherine
jimhines
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I decided I was going to figure out the combination of long- and short-acting insulin to allow myself to splurge on ice cream sundaes from time to time. It took some research, but I got there. It actually helped my sanity a great deal, I suspect...

On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza sounds really good.
cathschaffstump
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Can you have pizza when you are diabetic? At all?

Catherine
jimhines
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
You can have anything you want, so long as you calculate the insulin correctly. Some foods are trickier than others. Pizza is a known bastard, in part because of the high cheese and fat content. But it's another one I refused to give up :-)

7.5 units of insulin when I eat, and another 13 spread over an 8 hour long-term bolus. It's not exact, but with a little tweaking, it keeps my blood sugar under control for the meal. (However, this only works with the same pizza order from the same place. If we switched pizza places, I'd have a harder time of it because the food would be different.)
cathschaffstump
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Although it's oodles of months away, we'll probably want to talk to you about the kinds of foods you can eat/like to eat when you come to Icon.

Catherine
jimhines
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
How far do you think Chicago will deliver? :-)
cathschaffstump
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
Chicago could deliver, but you want the Zoey's deep dish pizza from Marion, which is a Cedar Rapids burb.

I'm just sayin'.

Catherine
jimhines
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Mm... donuts.

So what would be the writing-equivalent of the donut? :-)
cathschaffstump
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Reading a really good novel by your favorite author in one sitting. Yummy-yum.

Catherine

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