Welcome to the first official week of the Read My Hips Summer GiveaSway!
I’m a modern sort of gal, for the most part. I’ve got the laptop and the iPhone and all that jazz. But I’ve never been able to warm up to the idea of an electronic organizer.
I still need my good old-fashioned paper planner book and my favorite felt-tip purple or teal pen, so I can feel the ink gliding across the page as I take time to plan the greatness of my days. Control may be an illusion, but I’ve found that using a planner has seriously enriched my life, and I’ve kept one every year since 1991.
( <—– My first planner, 1991)
In fact, I wrote about that very first planner I purchased in Read My Hips, in a chapter called “We Were the Weight Loss Counselors”. I was working for a national weight loss center chain (where I learned about what goes on behind the scenes — and it might shock you).
While working at the weight loss center, I attended a nearby free seminar that motivated me to become the person I really wanted to be — not a half-assed weight loss counselor, but a writer. I wrote in Read My Hips:
The day after the free seminar, I purchased my very first appointment calendar. The kind a famous author would have. I started setting goals for myself…I started referring to myself as “a writer”, even if nobody ever read the stories I scribbled into dog-eared notebooks at three a.m. Being a writer was my dearest and most stubborn childhood dream. Within a month I had my first writing assignment for a local music magazine.
( <—— Awww…my first planner, inside. )
I took a step back and looked at my life, and realized I’d been drifting. And that was OK — after all, I was 20 years old and hadn’t yet found myself. But it dawned on me that this wasn’t the life I ordered. This wasn’t my dream.
I’d had a dream once, and it didn’t look like me in a phony white lab coat doling out vacuum-sealed packages of pot roast and congealed, gelatinous gravy. My dream didn’t involve encouraging people to delay pursuing their fondest wishes; framing their dreams as dangling carrots, as some-day rewards for having lost XX pounds.
The more I became motivated to live my dream now, the less comfortable I became with telling other people to wait until they were thin to live theirs.
Having a planner/organizer put me on the path towards doing what I loved. But also, perhaps ironically, using a planner taught me that the real fun, the true satisfaction was in the pursuit of my dreams — not necessarily in a goal. (Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that reaching the goal of selling my book was pretty fantastic too!)
Still, when I occasionally flip through the pages of my old planners (and yes, I keep them all), I can’t help but smile, because I remember how much fun it was getting there. Getting here. Just moving forward, having a purpose, getting ideas and acting on them. Learning along the way, getter better. Wow, there’s nothing more fun than that — getting better, smarter, stronger.
That’s why the first prize in the Read My Hips Summer GiveaSway is a Weekly GRID Planner from BusyBodyBook.
Aren’t they CUTE?!
I love the BusyBodyBook GRID planner because it gives you more than just individual days — it gives you several columns within each day. So you can divide the day into separate spaces for family members (so you can see any potential conflict between your yoga class and little Joey’s soccer practice), or divide the day into separate categories of activity, like Exercise, Food Prep, Writing Time, etc.
For those of you who’ve already read Read My Hips, this latter example of categories (“Exercise”, “Food Prep”) might remind you of something you read in a chapter called “Glory Davis Made Me Believe in Personal Transformation”. Remember this?:
One night that autumn, I lay on my twin bed, on my stomach, up on my elbows, with a clean notebook page before me and a blue ballpoint pen in one hand. I began taking a thorough inventory of my flaws, literally from head to toe. Hair, eyebrows, skin, nose, ears, lips, teeth…I scribbled a long list of everything that needed to be perfected physically, then added wardrobe and personality at the bottom. Then, to the side of each physical feature on the list, I made a smaller checklist of steps I could take to improve it. I tore other pages from the notebook and created daily and weekly schedules incorporating these steps – hundreds of steps — working them into time slots before and after dinner. It was a rigid, full, and unforgiving regimen. I was developing a personal boot camp on my way to total transformation.
I suppose you could say I was primed to be a planner-user from a pretty young age. Even in junior high school, I was breaking my life down into tiny components of bigger goals and scheduling them into my week.
But there’s a big difference between then and now. When I was in eighth grade, my goal was to be “beautiful” — beauty according to the pop culture standards of the early 1980s. I wanted to fit in with a bunch of snot-nose kids who didn’t know jack about what really mattered. I wanted to be like the glossy pink-lipped girls I saw in ads for tampons and Love’s Baby Soft on the pages of teen magazines. I wanted to look like a guest star on Hart to Hart.
But that was long before I knew what I know now. Life is about so much more than looking like the latest “it girl”. And beauty has a much broader definition than we’re led to believe on TV.
So this prize is a tribute to the pre-planner me who so desperately wanted to fit in and who scheduled her time around inane things like reshaping her nose with artistically-applied eyeshadow in the chapter “Glory Davis Made Me Believe in Total Transformation”; and to the 20-year-old me who gained the wisdom to walk out of a sleazy weight loss operation and strut toward her most heartfelt goals in the chapter “We Were the Weight Loss Counselors”; and to every woman who was ever a girl like me, and came to know that the true value in her life has nothing to do with looking like a runway model.
I hope you’ll be one of the lucky three winners of the BusyBodyBook planner!
So, how do you enter?
Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org including:
– your name and mailing address, and
– tell me in 10 words or less about one thing you’ll be using your planner for.
– write the word PLANNER in the subject line of your e-mail.
– send the e-mail by midnight EST on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
Other things you should know:
– I won’t share your e-mail or mailing address with anybody else.
– By entering, you agree to give me the right to use your first name and last initial and the one thing you’ll be using your planner for on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail to others. (In other words, Mary, you might see me tweeting that “Mary G. is going to use her planner for shopping lists!”)
– Three winners will be selected at random.
– Winners will receive their prizes by mail within 30 days after winners are announced.
– I will announce the first names and last initials of the winners on my blog on Friday, July 15, 2011, and winners will also be notified by e-mail.
Good luck, everybody!