Who Moved My Cheese?

ROW80 Update: I have a perforated ear drum and Bronchitis. I’m on antibiotics and pain meds, have very little concentration, so I’ve simply let myself have a series of sick days. A little writing-related stuff has been accomplished here and there, but nowhere near my goals. But I’m OK with that… everyone needs sick days now and then.

There’s a bestselling book I’ve never read called Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson M.D.  It’s the story of four characters living in a “Maze” who face unexpected change when they discover their “Cheese” is gone.

I think this book became a bestseller because most adults (and even some teens… even kids…) hear that phrase and they understand exactly what the author means. Working towards a goal only to find that the anticipated prize is no longer available…

…or no longer applicable.

Our local Highland Games is this weekend. We’re not going. Once upon a time, we would have not only attended, but spent the last several weeks intensely preparing for the Scottish Highland Dance competition that is a major part of the festival. I had been anticipating this particular year for most of my life

My own daughter is old enough to get up on stage, bounce around and be adorable, and get a participation medal (or even better!)

But that cheese moved a while ago, and I stopped chasing it. When she was a baby and a toddler, she came to dance class with Mommy (I’m a teacher) and loved bouncing around with the big kids. But at age 12 mo and again at 15 months she had surgery on her back. She’s fine now… completely! But for that and other reasons, I stopped teaching Highland Dance. I consider myself on a break.

The cheese is still there. I’m just not chasing it. I’d always dreamed of the day when my own child would wow the crowds at the tender age of 4, having been in dance class all her life because Mommy was a teacher and it just came naturally.

But it didn’t happen that way. There were other cheeses that were more important.

Every year we face the financial strain of paying well over $100 to keep my dance teacher certification. Even though I’m not actively using it, I’m close to the 25 year point where I become a life member and don’t have to pay every year anymore.

So we keep paying it.

It’s also close to the time for me to renew my membership in Romance Writers of America, RWA. That one I am definitely using, although if I wasn’t a member I would still be able to do all that I do. I plan to also join Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA, although I haven’t done that yet either. For some people, $100 for a membership fee isn’t a big deal. For me, it is, especially when I consider that there are sub-groups of both professional entities to which I would like to belong as well, adding to the membership fees.

I sometimes have to make decisions about whether things that come up are an opportunity or a distraction. Proofreading for a year was a great opportunity, but it’s good that I’m no longer putting so much of my time and concentration into it. A few times, someone has suggested “Oh, you’re a writer/interviewer/whatever? You should do this _____!” and I’ve turned them down because it had nothing to do with the direction I want to go. A couple of opportunities I did take, and I will see those stories published in anthologies later this year.

One major change in direction was switching from concentrating on The Kingdom Come Stories to concentrating on The Pangalactic Sojourners. I think my hubby in particular was frustrated at that… after finishing my NaNoWriMo story back in 2010 he waited patiently for months while I listed to Beta Readers, wrote a query and had it critiqued, and ultimately decided the story was not appropriate for my first sale. It’s a good story, and may come out later if I can develop The Kingdom Come Stories into a series.

But switching to The Pangalactic Sojourners was more drastic than simply writing a different book in the same series, the same world. PGS are contemporary romances, faith-based GLBTQ stories.

So, apparently I moved my own cheese. Or rather, I saw another cheese dangling in a place that had a more direct route to grasping it, and made the decision to alter course. But that’s a dangerous thing to do… like when you leave one line at the grocery-store checkout because it’s moving too slowly, only to find that the new line is suddenly moving even slower. You would have been better off staying in the first line.

I’ve glimpsed a few other cheeses about… very tempting ones. And the longer I take to finish the task I’ve set myself, the more likely that the cheese I’m after will move.

So there are two things I must do. First, keep plugging along with the actual writing, and get it done. Second, re-evaluate as necessary, so I can be sure I’m still moving towards an actual goal, not just blindly forging onwards to nowhere.

…and maybe I should finally read that cheesy book…

The shortlink to this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-SS

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
This entry was posted in Commentary & Musing, ROW80, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Who Moved My Cheese?

  1. Mike Paulson says:

    To use your metaphor of finding the cheese in a maze, I’ve spent many of my adult years forgetting that there even was cheese somewhere. I just randomly wandered the maze, probably looping in circles countless times with no sense of determination, no attention to my surroundings.

    Last year, I caught my first whiff of the cheese in a long time. It’s out there, and I’m tuned into it. I’m still making wrong turns, and sometimes going in what seems to be the wrong direction, but I now know the cheese is there.

    I’ve had points in my life where the cheese kept moving, and I wasn’t sure which way to go. Now that I know, more or less, where the cheese is, I’m going to keep working my way toward it.

    Thanks for your extended metaphor about your life and writing career. I hope you continue to find your cheese!

  2. Beth Camp says:

    In spite of sick days, you’ve written a very thoughtful post here that links several useful ideas. One especially that I appreciate is how ROW80 participants share their struggles and achievements — finding that cheese! For most of the time, I see writers as goddesses of the pen, able to accomplish easily what remains a slow day-by-day commitment for me. I appreciate how you are setting priorities that fit your writing interests. Write on!

  3. Pingback: The Abandoned Blog | AmyBeth Inverness

  4. Pingback: Shiny! | AmyBeth Inverness

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