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Orchids…

I bought this orchid for my mother for her birthday in May. It still looks exactly the same, except maybe the pink in the flowers is a little bit deeper. It obviously likes living on top of the dishwasher.

I find it funny how different things can be lying around the house – or your mind – for years, until they become so familiar you forget about them. It’s not until they move on – or get thrown out during one of my regular Feng Shui attacks – that you notice they’re missing. It’s not so much the object you notice is gone, more the hole that now exists where once the item sat.

I mentioned in the post I made last night, that for a variety of reasons, I became a writer who drank, not a writer who wrote. Today is the first official week completed of Dry July and I’ve not touched a sip of alcohol. Given I’ve set myself a goal to not drink for a year, it’s the first week of my real challenge. I’ve noticed one thing. When I sat down to write today, I automatically reached for my glass of wine.

Now, I didn’t want a drink of alcohol. I hadn’t thought of it. I just assumed it was there. When I realised it was cranberry juice – blergh – I didn’t throw a tantrum or get up and get a bottle of wine. I just went about my business and wrote. I wrote 6 pages of my new feature script that I will be working on in the coming weeks as I undertake the challenge of Screenwriting Stage 2 at the Sydney Writer’s Centre.

I have also noticed just how often I referenced drinking over the past few weeks in the lead up to Dry July. How automatic it has become for me to say “God, I need a drink” whenever I’m stressed or just plain tired. To have this month to kick start a healthier lifestyle is kind of exciting.

I know that there will be pressure points, social engagements, activities where not drinking will cause more pressure, and I’ll look for that glass of wine and find an empty hole, but all in all I think I’m handling it just fine.

I’m pleased. Prior to June this year, I hadn’t gone a week without a bottle of wine in probably 11 months. One bottle was a good day. Most weekends it was three or four while watching TV and wishing I was talented.

I’ve set up the challenge of a year without alcohol because I know if I do that, I’ll be able to do anything. Since I made the decision that July would be the starting point – meaning it ended 2 days before my 40th birthday in August 2013 – I’ve only drunk once, and that was on a night out with a friend – I mentioned that in the last post too.

My goal for this next year is to pull up my socks and create the world I want for myself to live in. I’m sick of making excuses. I do it all the time. It’s not that I’m not actually writing, it’s that I don’t know what to do with it when I’ve finished, or I’ve got no-one with any experience to read it, advise me on how to make it  better.

It’s not that I’m not writing, I’m just too tired to think on a weekend when all I do all week is think. I’m entitled to some relaxation time too.

The funny thing is I feel relaxed when I write. I’d forgotten that. I’ve been so busy making writing into a nightmare journey of self exposure that I’ve forgotten why I wrote in the first place. I’d forgotten the simple joy I found each time I sat at a computer and let the words flow freely. Each time I put a full stop at the end of a sentence. Each time I read what I’d written and thought “hmm not bad.”

I forgot writing healed my soul faster than anything else on Earth. Instead I created stress and worry and made sure I stayed there.

I sat under the house today, writing my feature script and looking at the bullet point list I’ve written for Hot Ice and what’s too happen. The first two points were fine, there’s a third point got replaced, three new characters I hadn’t expected appeared for their moment in the sun, but over all it seems quite sturdy for the first pages written in an hour and forty minutes.

I still worry I write too quickly, but that’s okay. It’s the way I write. I’m no longer entertaining the idea that fast writing is simply bad writing. Young at Heart was written in about 3 hours in total, including the step by step outline, drafting and editing. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s not, it gets edited again. The fact I write quickly however, is no longer an acceptable excuse for not doing it all.

I was going through some old pictures on Facebook today. I came across one taken about 2 years ago, after I’d gone through BodyTrim and lost about 35 kilos. I looked so thin. I’m a bit more cuddly these days, and have decided there is one major difference between that photo and now. It’s that I’ve stopped exercising.

My Cardio Twister I bought in a drunken moment at 3am from the TV sits in the corner of my bedroom and makes a rather attractive clothes horse. It hasn’t been used for it’s original purpose in two or more years.

I’ve decided that along with the no drinking challenge, I’m going to force myself out of bed on time in the mornings and take 25 minutes to sweat and swear at the overly perky American woman on the Cardio DVD who despite me disagreeing with her constantly tells me how much fun I’m having. Really, I’m not. It hurts, I’m not 21 anymore. I’ve smoked like a chimney since I was 17 and I’ve drunk like a camel for about the same time frame.

But there’s no gain without pain or something like that. I want to reach 40 healthy and in the best shape of my life. Hell, I want to reach 40. I want to 50 and 60 and possible 90. But lets get to 40 first.

Exercise has to become a part of my life. Just like writing does. The writing portion of my life is growing ever larger, ever more often. The exercise portion, not so much but that all changes tomorrow morning at 5am.

I guess the meaning of this post is that no matter where you stand in your current life, the only way to go is forward. I spent many years resenting what I’d done to myself in the past, and by doing that on a daily basis, I carried it forward until it invaded what was then my current.

For my future to be what I want it to be, for me to be who I see myself to be inside my head, I need to make some changes. Rock the boat, kick up a stink and generally be a pain in my own backside. There is no reason for me to hit 40 the same way I am now. I’m healthy – recent medical proved that – I’ve got no illnesses or plagues. I’m unfit, and I’m lazy. Both things that can be taken care of with some elbow grease and a pair of funky sports shorts.

Rebuilding my life into something I can be proud of is just like writing my script. One scene at a time.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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