“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Rabindranath Tagore
At the moment I'm knee deep. Yes, I’m trying to cross, but the expanse seems too far. Not sure I can take another step without some help.
But I digress. Let me start at the beginning.
A student I mentored a few years ago gave me a Fitbit. You’ve likely seen these things on people’s wrists. They look similar to a watch, but rather than tracking time, they track steps walked, heart rate, and among other things, your quality of sleep. My student’s son set it up for me because I was intimidated by the gadget. Here was another bit of technology, something else I had to figure out.
As he set it up, Arthur asked what my step goals were.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I hear 10,000 is good.”
“Best practice is 12,000,” he said.
Who was I to argue with the 13-year-old genius?
And to my surprise I’ve loved using it. I look at it every morning, several times during the day and again at night before I go to bed. I want to know how I’m doing. Aside from daily stats it gives me a weekly summary. On my best day, I walked over 18,000 steps, on my worst, well just over 6,000. I know that when I clean my house, what with all those stairs, I can easily put in about 4500 steps. It surprises me that I suddenly care about something I never gave a second thought to before.
And what’s interesting for me is I don’t worry about how it tracks my movements or how it knows what time I went to sleep and got up and how many times I was restless in the night. Others are spooked by this technology. I simply look at the solid blue bits (few) on my cell phone denoting when I was actually asleep (typically from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.), and cheer that at least I got this much. I tell myself that I will strive to reduce those red lines of restlessness and wakefulness, but I’m not sure how I will accomplish this given the organizing and obsessing I’m doing at the moment, four weeks away from the 15th annual writers festival I produce.
When I see how well the Fitbit has done for my fitness goals and how it plays so nicely to my obsessive-compulsive nature, I know I need one for my writing. Maybe they could invent an attachment to the Fitbit I already have.
I could set daily and weekly word goals. It would keep my writing on track. I haven’t written a word towards my new novel in over a month. I know this because I feel it in my grumpiness, restlessness and my sense of guilt. I wonder if they could chart that on a new and improved Fitbit. Or maybe my natural tracker is enough.
Still a Fitbit for writing might allow me to see more clearly what I need to do and help me find a way to cross the sea back to doing it. As I said I’m knee deep. Perhaps that’s a good start.
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