You can’t reward yourself for not drinking by stopping off for a quick one with the guys after work. You can’t pat yourself on the back for losing 5 pounds by picking up a quart of Rocky Road on the weekend. I mean, obviously you can, because you’re a grown-up and you can do whatever you like. I am not your internet nanny, and my rules only apply to me. But if your life is a story, you don’t want to be erasing with one hand what you’re writing with the other, and then looking back and trying to make sense of all the scribbles and gaps.
A more sensible way to go about things is to pick a path that makes you happy and healthy and find ways to want to be on that path. After a very confused and muddled high school career, I figured this out sometime over the first few years of college, and what it means for me is rewarding myself for doing something I like to do by doing even more of it – which is probably what bulimics, kleptomaniacs and hoarders say about how great they feel when they indulge, so police yourself if you’re one of those. But because what I like to do is write, it means always having a number of writing projects going at the same time, so that if I burn out on one I can turn to another. That’s what I did today. I shifted gears to another project, just for the day, and as part of that project’s research here’s what I learned.
I learned what it takes to get a racing license beyond just the SCCA club license so you could, in theory, become a professional race car driver. I also learned what the medical requirements are and roughly the time and costs for the training, licensing, car, trailer, firesuit, helmets and other gear.
I learned the current cost and availability of a Hummer H2 and a Hummer H2 SUT (in fact I finally learned that the funny Hummer H2 with the truck bed is called an “SUT”).
And, seeing as all this was in service to a character, not to myself, I learned that I can still pound out 12 pages of script in a day when I have an idea worth working on. It was a good day’s work and I can now break out the Rocky Road.