Sunday, November 01, 2009

The middle...again

I've written here before about how writing the middle is the hardest part of writing a novel for me. But I'm realizing something: it's not just writing where I don't "get" the middle. It's everything.

I'm doing Weight Watchers. In my life I've either been a guilt-ridden food Nazi or a carefree glutton. Never spent time somewhere in the middle, where you mostly watch what you eat but also know life's too short to never have a margarita or a chocolate chip cookie. I've noticed WW is triggering my BE GOOD button, making me want to "beat" the points system by not eating them all. I have to force myself to dip into the weekly additional points WW allows. But force myself I will because I'm no longer interested in the pendulum swinging back and forth. There's got to be something between brown rice and water on one hand or death by chocolate and burgers on the other! Right? Right?

So I'm going to try dividing my points in such a way that every other day there's a little wiggle room for a treat. I'll see how that works. Cause the once-a-week-pig-out doesn't feel real great and neither does letting those points go unused. It's not sustainable over the long haul.

Oh shit. It's balance again. Or my lack thereof. Again. I am an all or nothing person. Either I'm totally obsessed with my current work or my netbook is collecting dust. What about opening it and working on it some, a little bit every day? Or working fiendishly Monday-Friday and taking the weekends off?

No wonder the middle is the hard part of the book for me to write! I'm comfortable being way over on one side or the other, the beginning or the end, hot or cold, black or white, and don't get me started on fucking "blue dog Democrats." (If you're a Dem, be a Dem for God's sake!)

I can see I've got my work cut out for me. Maybe I'll start a new blog about my challenges finding balance. Yeah, and I'll turn it into a book and a movie! And I'll do speaking engagements all about balance and the middle! My WHOLE life will be about being in the middle!

Yeah, I've got my work cut out for me. I am such a Gemini.


Therese said...

Carleen, you are a treasure. :)

I have some of those same issues. Not so much with writing, though. I'm dogged about writing the middle because I'm determined to get to that sweet spot where the end is breathlessly near. Guess my impatience trumps all.

Are you working from an outline? That might help you keep pace. I don't outline, but when I'm in the middle of a story, I do a lot of journaling, which keeps me highly invested in the work.

Hang in there!

Barbara Albin said...

Hold on. Remember it is just a diet! Don't let it rule your life, otherwise you will just go back to the old ways. You can't give up everything, trust me, life is too short! I am dieting now, but when I go away this weekend I am going to eat and drink! Are you exercising? I know it is hard to get out. Just try some old-fashioned indoor exercises,the kind old people like me had to do when we were in P.E. class (before Title 9). I wish I could help with your writing, but as you can tell I can't write worth shit! Also, please remember to feel good about yourself, your are beautiful, obviously bright, successful and have so much going for you. As for politics, I want to hang them all, although I probably shouldn't write that, maybe it is too threatening. I emailed Joe Lieberman (about him and his politics)and he emailed me back an entire page that had nothing to do with what I wrote to him. Maybe demntia. Stay well, Barbara

Vizionheiry said...

Weight Watchers Points

Let me help you clear up some things.I know you're doing on the Online program and don't go to meetings. You should eat all your daily allowance points each day. That's to maintain your metabolism.

You can also, but don't have to eat your weekly allowance points (35). If you don't eat these points, you'll lose more weight. But let's say you want a brownie one day or like you said, instead of depriving yourself a margarita, you use some of your weekly points because you will no doubt go over your daily allowance.

Some people divide the 35 points by 7 and give them 5 points each day. That's fine, but they will not lose as much weight. They've essentially bargained with themselves to give permission to eat more, just because.

So if at the end of a week, you have eaten your healthy guidelines each day filled your daily allowance points, but still have 35 weekly points, and add in activity each day, you're doing good. That's being in the middle.

The extremes are people who don't eat their daily points. People who try to stockpile their daily points. People who eat all their daily points, weekly points and more. Those are the extremes.

Carleen Brice said...

Therese, I don't really outline, but I make notes, lots and lots of notes. And actually the middle is a bit easier. I just have to think of ACTION to write in the middle, so it's not just all exposition.

Barbara, Yes, I do exercise and I whole-heartedly agree with you that if I go too crazy, I will go back to the old ways.

Vizionheiry, THANK YOU!!! That totally helps the whole WW point conundrum! And it makes sense.

Gina Black said...

I've just recently had a similar realization. Once the end is in sight, I fall apart and either lose interest, lose confidence, or lose drive.

Getting through the middle isn't so hard for me. It's where the rhythm of whatever I'm working on takes hold and I see it get richer and more interesting and discover what's really going on.

I wish I could suggest something that would be useful, but all I can think to say is to savor it--like the center of a chocolate cream candy.

I guess that means I need to enjoy the end too, instead of feeling so desperate and worn out at that point.

Anonymous said...

Hum, writing the middle? I guess I feel that I love all of my characters so well that I've got to write it all -- even the bad ones have some redeeming character traits while the good ones have many bad moments.

Carleen, you always intrigue me because I learn so much from you. You make me think and I like to think. May well approach the next few pages differently.


Bernice L. McFadden said...

I'm a Libra - I'm all about balance -- it's a hard thing to find sometimes - believe me I know --- don't be so hard on yourself - take it one day at a time -- and breathe...(sound familiar? *wink*)

debra said...

I am an Aries---if all else fails, read the directions.

Carleen Brice said...

Bernice, Yes, it does sound familiar and right on time. Breathe.

Debra, Directions? What are those? LOL

Carleen Brice said...

Gina, That's an interesting thing to know about yourself. Maybe you're afraid of finishing and finding out that it's good or not good enough?

Bonnie, You're such a sweetie!

Lafreya said...

I hate writing the beginning of my novels.

I'm on WW also and you may need to eat most of the weekly points and extra points or your body will think you are trying to starve it to death and as a matter of self preservation will shut your metabolism down and hoard your fat. Especially if you are exercising . Especially if you are an older woman.

I learned that the hard way after I lost thirty pound. After 10 weeks of not losing and even gaining while I was eating the same stuff and exercising I went to my leader and asked her what the deal was and that’s where I learn that they give you those extra point for a reason and it's not just to eat an extra dessert sometimes.

What I like about WW is that it is all about the tinkering sometime, it is all about learning about the ways of your physical body what it will do or wouldn’t do.

I'm a Taurus four feet on the ground, slow and steady forward but sometimes too stubborn and single minded to stop and recognize when something not working:)

Carleen Brice said...

Lafreya, Yet more good insight into weight and eating. You're helping me understand that each of us is different and we'll have to try a few different things on this journey.

I also love Taurus "four feet on the ground."

Elisabeth Kinsey said...

I just wrote a piece about German women, how the thin ones come off as not working hard, but they do. It's all hard, this balance thing. I think just striving for it gives you bonus points...kudos! :)

Anonymous said...

It doesn't sound like you're a fellow Libra!!

Barbara Samuel O'Neal said...

I was reading along, nodding...balance, balance, balance...and was composing my post which was really going to be, "Me, too!" and then I got to, "I am such a Gemini."

Me, too.

Hang in there. The middle makes everybody crazy.