What Is It Worth To You?

Being at the RWA national conference must have triggered some deep-level thought processes I was unaware of.

What do you want? What are you prepared to do?

Here’s the story – I was a member of NYSC for several years.  I loved that gym and all it had to offer.  I’d  joined with a friend who later discovered that she would get a cheaper membership with her school district’s corporate membership, and she loved getting that bargain.  I tried every trick in the book but I couldn’t match her. She worked closer to home. I didn’t. She made more money. I certainly didn’t! Even with a husband who’d been tossed out of work, there was no mercy. Pay the price, or take a hike.

But, because her school district had negotiated a corporate membership, she had advantages I didn’t. And I was supposed to be happy. I wasn’t. I kept thinking about leaving, but couldn’t find a gym that would make me happier and I didn’t want to leave her behind.

Finally, when family finances forces her to reconsider the cost she was paying even then, we both moved to a gym that was closer to home and a lot cheaper to join. And it wasn’t the same. At all.

Being part of a gym that didn’t offer the machines I worked best on, had locker rooms on the first floor, didn’t have towel service, didn’t have a pool, or the showers I loved, or the soaps I enjoyed, or a sauna — those were losses I had to live with. I thought I could probably be happy. I was keeping a friend happy and saving money.  I should be happy. Right?

Wrong.  As time went on, I didn’t use the machines that were available. I was intimidated by the few aerobics classes that were offered. There were two classes I liked and no machines. Finally, in a Zumba class of all things (and I don’t really like Zumba), I stepped on my own foot and fell, and cracked my wrist.

I had to re-evaluate. Was saving money and keeping a friendship worth cracking a wrist?

And, after visiting my old gym this morning, I began to think – taking the easy way out on a gym membership, favoring the cheaper, closer gym that offers fewer classes and services is like taking the easy way out on writing. My former gym offers a new membership, just for teachers, and at a reduced rate (my former director fought for this with me and all the other teachers in mind).  It will cost $5 more a month and be a longer drive.  It will also give me back a facility I loved and benefits I’ve missed.

Yes, I will be re-joining the original gym.  And, in thinking this over, I come back to a central question: what is it worth to you?  What is writing worth to you, and what are you giving up to pursue this? When you are tempted to throw in the towel because of too many rejections, too many nay-sayers, too many days without making a word count or a meaningful connection to your work, what do you say?

Are you willing to pay the price?