January 14, 2014

Weighing in Your Writing by Pamela Mytroen

A while back I decided I needed to lose some weight. I stepped on the scale the next morning and took note of where I was at. The next morning I did the same thing. I carefully followed my ritual every morning for a full year, fully expecting to see a change in the numbers. I did manage to wear two perfect footprints into the rubber pad, but alas, I did not lose a single ounce.

The other routine I followed religiously was that I continued to eat all my favourite foods, especially my hot buttered popcorn and potato chips. Yet I kept hoping that I would see a new mark on the scale. What is the definition of insanity? Doing something the same way repeatedly and expecting different results every time? If I expected to see a change, then my routine needed to change.

So it is with writing. If we are not progressing, something needs to change. The same old routine is not going to magically produce results. I would love to wake up a writer with a published book and several more writing credits to my name but I have discovered it’s not enough to think, talk, and dream about being a writer. Strong desire does not equal amazing results. It’s not enough to ‘weigh in’ every morning and see if I have magically written anything in my sleep. Something has to change. Something needs to be sacrificed.

My writing strategy this past year was to write first and THEN check my email and facebook. It worked. I was able to have many non-fiction pieces published. Funny how just that one little sacrifice had to be made. My writing plan for this year is to give up that first golden hour after supper – from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. when the couch is calling after a day at work. I have started this routine and have discovered that once I get writing it is often 8:30 or 9:00 before I need a break. I am also part of a small facebook writing group. We write for 30 days and then choose our best rough work and send it out to each other for editing. We have had a few stalls but we’re still going and I find I am motivated to write just knowing that they will be waiting to see a piece.

These days when I weigh in my writing, and on the scale too (the popcorn machine doesn’t come out as often) I am seeing a new balance with more credits to my name.

What are you willing to give up to see change?

Pam Mytroen


  1. What a motivating piece, Pam. What you say is so practical and sensible and true. Of course, we won't lose weight or get published more unless we change something in our regime. Thanks for your sample of what is working well for you.

  2. Very practical and sensible--and sort of makes me wince because I know I need to make some changes. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

  3. Great ideas Pam,
    Yes - social media and email can go on forever. Good strategies - to get the "weight" off.

  4. Great analogy, Pam. I've done the whole weight loss thing with great results; now to apply similar commitment to my writing life.


  5. Thanks for stopping by, girls! It's always nice to "see" you!

  6. Small changes make a world of difference! So motivating!

  7. Pam, your analogies are great :) One change I've made this year is to write for 1/2 hour before breakfast. I can usually get 300-500 words written in that time, which adds up to 1500-2500 words in 5 days. I find the small changes often make the biggest difference. Perhaps it's because the small changes are easier to maintain over a long period of time.

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  9. I agree, Tracy and Ruth, small changes are very effective!

  10. Pam,

    Timely posting for this time of year when people think about their weight goals.

    I like how you brought the two 'w' words together in your posting: weight and writing.

    I have banged my head a few times over my lifetime wondering why I kept getting the same disappointing results.

    It's true, something has to change. And as the Heath Brothers will attest in their well known books, so often the changes we need to make are not as big as we think, but rather small ones. Small changes shift something that changes everything.

    I really like your sentence: Strong desire does not equal amazing results. So true.

    Thanks for sharing a most encouraging post.


  11. Apparently we have to re-visit our goals over and over. So I had to put away the chips and chocolate from the coffee table and put oranges there instead because I was falling back into old habits again! And I had to make myself write or do some writing tasks from 7-8 because I slipped. Typical, I think. We slip but if we re-visit and re-engage, we get back on track and we see the fruit of it.


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