Like most women in the Western world, I’m no stranger to diets. I started when I was a teenager and tried to get rid of my bubble butt – unsuccessfully, for which I’m now very thankful. But at 15, all I wanted was a flat boyish behind, and not that round, sticky-out thing I was cursed with. Combined with my flat feet I felt like a duck, and who in the world would be attracted to ducks? Little did I know that 7 years later I would meet a passionate bird lover and hobby farmer, who actually likes ducks a lot – so I guess there really is a lid for every pot.
I haven’t dieted since I was 23 years old, just trying to live a healthy(ish) lifestyle. Suck it, diets! I feel comfortable in my body nowadays, and have made peace with a round butt, flat feet, and all the other quirks that make my body mine. However. I will never, ever forget the agony that is dieting. And it occurred to me the other day that writing can be a lot like dieting. Don’t believe me? Let me prove it to you!
1. You have thought about it for a long, long time. You know you want to do it. Finally, you are going for it!
You are a faithful reader. You have always loved books, and have been secretly dreaming of writing your own one day. You know you want to, and finally, the desire is stronger than the doubt and fear. You are going to do it! Your favourite pants haven’t been worn in over a year because they don’t fit. You go to bed each night regretting the food choices you made, and wake up each morning avoiding the scale and your reflection in the mirror. You know you want to lose weight, and finally you are determined: You are going to do it!
2. You are super motivated in the beginning.
Yes, you started! You are a few hundred words in, the words are flowing easily, this is awesome. You will become famous! Bigger than J. K. Rowling! Yes, you started your diet! You are super-duper motivated. This time, you will do it! You will get the body of your dreams, become the envy of all girls, and the object of desire for all boys. You will be perfect! Tinier than Victoria Beckham!
3. After a shockingly short amount of time, the first hurdle appears.
Yikes, this is harder than it looks. Turns out, writing is hard work. Who would have thought? Reading is so much easier than writing. My mind is a blank. I don’t know what to write about, and it’s only week 2. Yikes, I remember why I hate diets. This is hard. I’m so hungry! Reading about diets is so much easier than doing them. How can I keep going like this? I’m bored with the bland food, and I WANT FRENCH FRIES!
4. Where is the success?
Okay, I have been writing for a few weeks now, and nobody cares. I have submitted a few articles, but nothing has happened. Hello writing world, why aren’t you noticing me? Why aren’t I famous yet? Okay, I have been dieting for a few weeks now, and I only lost 5 pounds. Hello body, why aren’t you dropping the fat? I’m doing everything the diet told me to (okay, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten half a dozen donuts, but the secret to lasting success is cheat days, right?), and I should be halfway to skinny by now. Why aren’t I skinny yet?
5. You think of giving up.
This sucks. Why did I want to be a writer? I can’t remember any more. So much work for no reward, I think I’ve had it. Why don’t I just throw in the towel? I was perfectly happy not to write. This sucks. Diets suck. Is being skinny really worth this torture? Isn’t it just vain and shallow? Besides, I should be proud of my body, no matter what. Maybe I should just start to love my body the way it is. Be a role model for bigger girls, spit in the face of a diet-obsessed society.
6. You are consumed by self-doubt and jealousy.
How is it possible that so-and-so got published? Her writing isn’t any better than mine, is it? What’s her secret? How is it possible that so-and-so managed to stick to her diet and lose all that weight? She was fatter than me, and now she is way skinnier! What’s her secret?
7. If you stick to it, you will see results.
Despite all the obstacles, you stuck with it. And it’s starting to pay off! You got an article published, you are still working on your book, and you actually really like writing. You are getting good at it! Despite all the obstacles, you stuck with your diet. And it’s starting to pay off! You have lost more pounds, gained some muscle, and you actually really like this diet. It works!
8. You start to dream big – again.
Now that I know how it all works, I will become a best-selling author! I may be the next big writer after all! Watch out Paulo Coelho, I’m gonna get ya! Diets work! Who said they don’t? Look at me, I may be the next big diet success after all! Watch out Renee Zellweger, I’m gonna get ya!
9. You get setbacks – again.
I got rejected? Again? But why? What did I do wrong? Should I even continue my writing? I gained weight? Nobody noticed or commented on how much weight I’ve lost so far? Why? Should I even continue this @#&^%$ diet?
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. That means you are in for one hell of a roller coaster ride. You will have ups and downs, highs and lows, you will have triumphs, you will despair at times. And it never stops. Welcome to the fun house!