Man, this book I am writing (The Healthy Deviant: A Rule-Breaker’s Guide to Being Weirdly Radiant, Resilient, and Good in Your Own Skin) is kicking my butt.
It feels like it’s taking for-freaking-ever, in part because I’m a slow, “perfect preparer” type, and in part because when I started, I committed to doing this thing while continuing to walk my healthy talk.
From commiserating with fellow book authors, I know that many don’t manage that.
Instead, while furiously writing and rewriting, they often stop moving, stop sleeping, stop eating, stop reading their mail, stop relating to the other humans in their life.
Some also acquire auto-immune disorders, migraines, insomnia, and anxiety problems. Or they start losing their eyelashes, like I once did.
I was determined not to let my own writing experience go that way. It’s just another example of “normal” that I’m not signing up for, thank you very much.
And yet: Every night, as I drift off, I find myself rearranging chapters. Every morning, I wake with the realization that I must rephrase some sentence or re-draft some illustration.
Some days, I put in so much butt time that I feel my butt is going to sleep.
Other days, I struggle with my perfectionism so mightily (we just released an episode of The Living Experiment on that!) that I can’t seem to let a single paragraph go. Sigh.
And then, every once in a while, when I’m not writing, I’m struck by an idea of such urgency and clarity that I feel I have to race to my keyboard to capture the thought while it’s still cogent. (If you’ve seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s great TED Talk where she describes poet Ruth Stone’s “running like hell” to capture a creative idea before it disappears, you know what I’m talking about.)
The good news is: I am making progress! I’ve got the Core Competencies and Backbone Practices of Healthy Deviance nailed, and now (for relief) I’m working on a light-hearted “Are You a Healthy Deviant?” quiz.
I’m posing some questions like these:
- Do you take a lot of proactive steps to safeguard your health, including some steps not promoted by large, authoritative organizations?
- Do you actively challenge or reject the health-sapping norms, social expectations, and values of our unhealthy culture?
- Do you sometimes encounter resistance, judgment, derision, or feel stigmatized as the result of your socially-odd but healthy choices?
- When you meet with resistance, do you just keep on doing your own healthy thing anyway?
Yes to any of those? Congrats, you’re probably some sort of Healthy Deviant (I’m characterizing a few different types).
For those of you who’ve been asking for a sneak preview of more of book-related content, I shall direct you, for now, to these resources:
- This feature article I wrote, The Making of a Healthy Deviant, that appeared in Best Self magazine in January, 2017.
- The “Healthy Deviance” episode of The Living Experiment podcast, in which Dallas and I discuss the topic in depth.
- A blog post I wrote last year (“Healthy, Happy … and Disappearing Fast“) about just how statistically unusual healthy people have become.
- My Healthy Deviant Facebook page, where I’ll be gathering and sharing more related bits and snippets as I go.
Finally, for those of you who’ve asked about Healthy Deviant t-shirts, yes, I’ve got those, too!
I’m giving ’em away free to the first 10 people who self-identify as Healthy Deviants, and at cost after that (open to suggestions on colors — I’ve got blue and black right now, in women’s and men’s styles, sizes small through extra large).
Thanks for hanging in there with me these past couple years (oy!), and for all your support and encouragement. I’ll have more news and more Healthy Deviant content to share soon.
Please follow my Healthy Deviant Facebook page to stay up to date on all that goodness. And subscribe to The Living Experiment podcast, where I talk about this stuff (with my super co-host Dallas Hartwig) every week.
Okay, and now: Back to writing.