Thursday, April 24, 2014

On Choices (or, Why I Don't Have a Six Pack)

Recently, a friend posted a "fitspiration" meme that got my hackles up a little. 

This is it:

Now, I don't see anything inherently wrong in that sentiment--a person who trains his or her body is showing dedication, patience, persistence, and a host of other positive traits that have nothing to do with the end result of "attractiveness."


You know what else takes dedication, patience, persistence, and a host of other positive traits?

Writing a book.

Writing several.

Pursuing publication.

And here's the rub--doing so has left me with less time to pursue other ends.  Like working out.  Before I had a child, I did work out multiple times a week, hard.  I did cardio.  I went to a gym.  I had a dedicated schedule and recognized the other people who had the same schedule I did.

Now I have a choice.  I work, have a child, have a house, and writing is important to me.  Here's the truth, in a nutshell--you can't actually do it ALL.  You can do most of the things you decide that you value, if you budget your time and work your tail off.

It's like that old adage about college: You can have a social life, good grades, or sleep--pick two.  But you can't pick all three, all at the same time.  You can't do it all.  Not this week.

Nope, you can't do it ALL.  Just the stuff you decide you value the MOST.

Guess what?  Being as fit as I can be is not, right now, on the top of the list of things that I value the MOST.

I value being healthy.  I value cooking healthy meals and taking walks and doing core strength exercise while my kid stacks blocks on my imperfect plank position.  But I don't value having a six-pack over finishing my latest draft.  I don't value Michele Obama arms over wrapping up revisions with my agent.  And I definitely don't value looking hot in a swimsuit over getting my book on a bookstore shelf someday.

It's ok to value elements of your life differently than other people do.  Everyone's goals and talents and life situations are different.  Mine revolve around writing and my family and a few choice hobbies.  Yours might revolve around music, or your career, or fitness, or restoring your house, or rescuing abandoned ferrets.  Tons of passions out there.  But pursuing one thing over another does not mean that you are any less dedicated, passionate, patient, and driven than someone with rock-hard abs.

So, why do I think authors are amazing?  Not because they have published books or a stack of drawer novels.  Because they're dedicated, disciplined, patient people with more than the usual dose of determination and self-respect.  A finished draft shows me work ethic.  A revision shows me passion.  Keep writing, because an author is so much more than how good his or her stack of drafts looks.


  1. Not to mention, you certainly can inherit a great physique, or at least the ability to gain muscle and lose weight more easily.

    In some ways this meme - coming from a male perspective - is way more offensive to me than FitMom could ever be.

    1. Absolutely, Cassidy. So much is genetic--I get that no one is born with a six-pack, but there is an inherited component to physique.