Giving Up to Get More

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Today’s Ash Wednesday and for this good little Catholic girl, it’s always meant giving up something. Chocolate when I was eight, cigarettes when I was twenty, and that one (very long) Lent when I gave up my favorite adult beverage.

It was all about self-sacrifice and developing discipline; if one can resist the temptation of something little, like chocolate, imagine how much stronger one may be when those BIG temptations come along in life. And sometimes, giving up bad habits for a couple weeks could lead to forming better habits forever. So what has all this got to do with writing? I’m thinking that we can apply the giving up strategy to our writing lives. And maybe, at the end of the month and a half or so, we’ll break some bad habits for good:

The TIME Habit

If you’re like me, you have that one vice that sucks away your time. Maybe it’s piddling around on social media which you justify by calling it work when really, you’re just checking out the latest about Outlander. It started as a book, though (and that's an interesting story in itself!), so technically, it’s totally justifiable.

Anyway, the point is, we probably all have our Achilles’ heel when it comes to wasting time, whether it’s online shopping, social media, or Netflix bingeing. And all those wasted hours add up. So giving up the time we waste to make time to write could add five, six, seven hours or more a week. That’s a lot of writing!

The MONEY Habit

Much like time, we have our personal downfalls when it comes to spending our hard-earned cash. But it’s only one cup of coffee a day, you say. And I say, that’s $35, enough for a webinar. Fine, you say, what about those boots you keep buying? You could take a six-weeks class on advanced writing technique for what you spend on boots.

Noted. But then I say, are you seriously ordering more pillows (curtains, rugs, towels)? You could attend a writing retreat for what you spend on home décor!

So let’s stop this bickering and just agree that we all have some spending habits that have got well out of hand. And giving up spending money on what we don’t really need can free up funds for writing support that we always need.


Oh, this is a tough one, and now that I think about it, maybe I should have put attitude first. Because we all have a negative attitude we can give up.

There’s the “I know it all already” attitude. Or the “I’m not good enough and I might as well give up” attitude. Or how about the “How can THAT writer be so successful when I’m not?” attitude.

I don’t have all the right attitudes; there are times I shut down, sure I’ve heard all the advice before. Probably once a week, I’d rather take to my bed than put my writing out there again. And the green-eyed monster stalks my dreams, too.

But I do know the positive attitudes and I’ll bet you do, too. Like perseverance, open-mindedness, and focusing on my own journey, to name just a few.

So how about we start today? Choose one bad habit to give up and practice it daily. Share it with us in the comments and we’ll have a little accountability, too. And then come mid-April, let’s see if our self-sacrifice and discipline has brought more to our writing. It’s worked for me for more years than I’d like to admit, in the little things and the BIG ones, too.

Well, except for chocolate. I mean, even good little Catholic girls got to have something.

~Cathy C. Hall


Margo Dill said...

I tend to not finish stuff. So I am going to stop that bad habit and finish stuff!

Also, personally, I'm trying to either fill 1 trash bag a day or a donation bag a day from the stuff in this house! So a total of 40 during Lent--kind of a physical cleansing with the spiritual one that is also supposed to be happening!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Those both sound awesome, Margo!I'm giving up a couple bad attitudes I've got into the habit of carrying around.

Good luck to us both!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I've been a slacker lately. I haven't written on a daily basis in a while. I'm going to give up my slacker ways for Lent (and beyond).

Kathy Steinemann said...

Nice to meet another Cathy who's also an Outlander fan.

Excellent perspective. I've limited my time on social media. If I hit a temporary roadblock, I might allow myself a casual foray into the Facebook/Twitter jungle; however, it can quickly get out of hand.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Negative self-talk is my downfall. I'm my own worst enemy, a self-saboteur if ever there was one. If only that goal post would quit moving!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Sioux, I will hold you to that one!

Kathy, all work and no play make us dull girls, right? :-) But if I'm honest, it's not just Outlander. It's videos of dogs or goats or James Cordon singing with Paul McCartney. I'll do better. Probably. :-)

Lisa, yep, that's how we roll. We'll do better with that, too. Maybe. :-)

Renee Roberson said...

I have a bad habit of wasting time on things like social media and binge-watching TV that I need to give up for the near future. When I think about all the writing I could get done in that time . . . yikes! And by writing I mean my passion projects and not my day job, which is a different type of writing that doesn't bring me as much joy :-)

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