writing on a diet

FOUR Challenge – Day 2. Creating more tension

Day 2Don’t judge me but I decided to geek out on the graph. Apparently I have too much time on my hands. Actually – you can judge me all you want. Day 2 kicked off rather late. I won’t go into the list of excuses including late night. As the graphical presentation shows, I’m doing ok and Im not as lazy as I like to think I am. I ran my 5km at the end of the day. I mostly ate what i was supposed to. Apparently I was supposed to eat a potato, and i forgot about that. By the time I remembered, I was too lazy to go to the store.

I should talk about my lame attempt at writing. 1500 words in about three hours. Am I lacking inspiration? I learned two things today.

  1. Create more tension – I have chapters where there is not a lot of action happening besides setting the scene. This is required here and there. However, the trick is how to maintain tension when setting a scene. This Blog on Six steps to creating more tension helped. Some genres are easier than others. In my story a little boy gets lost in town and my task today was to fill in a part of the story that has been missing although the rest of the story is written. I almost made it. One way I gauge how engaged my readers could be is by evaluating how engaged I am when i write the chapter.
  2. Forced accountability with critique groups helps a lot. I have a date with a friend on Tuesday and she’ll get me to finish the chapter before then.

In three weeks and minus 4 pounds –  I have to hand over a completed draft to the boy to read through….


The FOUR Challenge – Day 1

The 7 days Goal: edit four chapters, write four thousand words, lose four pounds, exercise 4km four times.

Day 1 of the Cabbage soup diet consists of a large selection of fruit and a large selection of vegetables boiled together to make Cabbage soup. I actually decided to commit to the diet mid morning. Luckily, I hadn’t really eaten anything.

I woke up bright and early at 6:30 am because my bladder was bursting and I’d tried to ignore it for some time. I’d like to say I got up early to get ready for this busy challenge filled weekend, but I’d be exaggerating – a lot. I’m learning Italian and so I spent an hour on a vocabulary app while in bed. I typically use this method to justify procrastination.

I’ve just moved to a new apartment in NYC and so there are a couple of apartment/closet straightenings that still need to be done. I’d budgeted a few hours this weekend to clean this up. So I changed into my running gear first. I always do this so I don’t use the excuse of the stress related to dressing up to go running as a way to get out of it. I charged my iPod (yes, some people still have those) so that I wouldn’t use the lack of music as a reason not to run. I’ve done this before.

I grabbed a plum and a coffee and started tidying up after unsuccessfully trying to convince my boyfriend (in Europe) that I needed new sunglasses. He said something like I have a pair already and that the other two we got last year I left somewhere (I forgot one in a plane and another one in a shoe shop in Mainz). He doesn’t think that I should get Salvatore Ferragamo sunglasses on 5th Avenue or any sunglasses anywhere if they cost over $20. I could start by discussing the advantages of having a long distance boyfriend (and my own job).

Around 10:30 am I took off to Central Park just around the corner and did a very difficult 4 km run. Day 1 (or 2) of the heatwave was already underway and it was about 90 degrees. To add to the heat stress, I may have run a grand total of 15 km in the past year (about 10 of them were over two days in June).

After the run, I wasn’t as tired as I was expecting given the heat, the low caloric intake and the exercise. I was high on adrenalin and lavazzo coffee.  I cleaned the kitchen, grabbed a couple of apples and then took off to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a bathroom scale. Yes, I didn’t have one. As much as I was concerned about my weight, I had no idea what it was.

Mid afternoon, I made the cabbage soup. Lots of vegetables, spices and herbs. I hate cabbage, but not enough to substitute it with something else like broccoli. I would have, except that at the supermarket, the broccoli looked like it arrived at the store for 4th of July. I ate the cabbage soup. Unappetizing as I expected. So I ate a large bowl of fruit salad for dessert. The diet shouldn’t be so challenging for me because I’m typically a “eat to live” person and so as long as I eat something it’s usually sufficient. Except when I’m stressed, then I get picky.

I started editing a chapter. Editing is tedious. I didn’t finish or come close to. Passive voice. I have a lot of that. I need to get that aggressive voice going. So I gave up and fell asleep. I woke up at 7pm and started writing. I wrote 1000 words. Its not 4000, but I have a week.

So far, my challenge is going well. Its easy on a weekend. we’ll see how  well it goes after I return to work on Monday.

Image from  Baju Muslim Tabaru.