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?


About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

15 thoughts on “What Is It Worth To You?

  1. Great post Susan!
    I’m feeling that lately with my writing but so many other things are starting to take precidence when all I want to do is focus on writing.

    It’s like going on a diet . . . I have to give up something in order to get where I need to be.


  2. Hey Loni — We always will do what feels most expedient, even if it takes away from our writing. I do it, too. In this case, I favored a friendship over what probably was consideration of my fitness goals and, ultimately of my own health. Bad move! Moral: sometimes, you get to be first.

  3. Great questions, Susan! Sometimes it’s not a question of doing what you want to do; it’s doing what you have to do. Frustrating, maddening, seemingly pointless sometimes, but in the end…hopefully…a sweet spot.

  4. I think I am paying a price for my writing. I’m 26 and my friends will ask me to go out for… whatever, and I think I can’t go out tonight I have to write that scene that’s been plauging me all day. I know they are thinking that I am becoming a weird hermit but it’s okay because I am determined to show up one day with a copy of my book for them to see.

  5. Yes. RWA National workshops seemed to all have that same underlying theme: The Price and Paying It – toss all the things that get in the way of writing to the side of the road, or as my mom likes to say – under the bus. Otherwise, you can’t blame anyone but yourself for not accomplishing what you are striving to accomplish.

    I really like this blog post.

    1. Denny, someone said yesterday that I seemed “more focused than usual” since this conference. I see it bleeding out into various areas, and pray it will continue. Does this mean I need more conferences?

  6. Susan, I ask myself that question all the time. Usually when I’m in between writing. Time and again, I always come back to the same thing. I want this and when I’m not writing, I miss it. I work a full day, then spend my free time writing or on writing related business. And even if I never sell a single story, I’d still be doing it for me. Because I want to. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that! 🙂

    1. Casey, you are exactly right. I especially like being productive enough to NOT get to the point of missing it. Like I do right now, having not been to the gym in a month. Shall I bring my swimsuit when I go tomorrow to join again? Or my notebook?

  7. Being a personal trainer, I hear you about the attachment we get to the familiarity of our workouts. We get to know the machines, develop a routine that we enjoy–or at least one that we know works for us–and we get cranky when that routine is disrupted. We are definitely creatures of habit.

    This turns out to be a good thing, both with our exercise regimen and our writing. Once we develop a habit, we are hard pressed to give it up. I say, steadfastly pursue your habits. Don’t let anything stand in the way of you and the things you are passionate about. I may have to force myself to exercise and then force myself to sit down and write, but when I do, I am never disappointed.

    1. You are so right — I didn’t truly realize how much I missed it until walking through NYSC today. I did that machine! I rocked that one and that one, and oh boy, I get to use a UBE and a rower again? Wow! And the steroid corner (heavy free weights) is now a personal trainer “suite”? Bring it on…
      Oh yeah, and we should be enthusiastic about writing, too! Which is why I’ve enrolled in the “Productive Writer” online course through FFnP. But that’s another blog post…
      Thanks for your comment, you are always a thoughtful friend.

  8. Great post, Susan-Mermaid!!! And this is right where I am. I need to start making some decisions about my writing and where I want to go.

    Also, I’ve been with the same gym for 6 years for a reason! I love it, it motivates me and I thrive there. 😉

  9. Great post, Susan! I’m glad you made the decision to return to your old gym. It seems like you will be much happier that way. Sometimes, I think it takes being away from something for a while to understand how important it really is.

  10. Susan, first of all let me say I now love New York! I love the streets, the harried intersections, the way everyone on those streets moves to the beat of their own drum and the timing of their own traffic signals! I can honestly say I understand now what it means to say a city has its own heartbeat. And I have no doubt that your gym embodies that entirely! I’m glad you made the decision that was best for you!

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