I was driving into work this morning, taking my normal route when I see a motorcycle policeman about 2 seconds before all of his lights lit up. I looked down and, yes, I was going 12 miles over the speed limit. So I got a ticket…first one in 37 years. Let me set this up for you…Northgate is one of the best roads in our city…great paving job, smooth, no potholes, 1 big hill, and a 30mph speed limit for about 5 miles. My commute on this road is about a mile and a half and the last tiny bit of that road goes right in front of the Catholic University which has crosswalks from the townhomes that a lot of the students live in. Just as you turn onto Northgate, there is a big hill that will have you up to 40mph by the time you hit bottom unless you use your brakes. Well, this morning, I wasn’t really paying attention to my speed…until I saw the motorcycle…so I didn’t apply my brakes like I usually do every day. I’m usually a couple of miles over the speed limit on that road but as soon as I can see the university, I am going 30mph…partly because of the crosswalks and partly because that’s where the police usually station themselves. Except for this time. I’ve already printed out my form for requesting to take defensive driving and found an accredited online class. I don’t have to pay the fine but I do have to pay $114.00 in court costs and $10.00 for my state driving record. That hurts! So, with the driving course, it’s going to cost me about $150.00 which is better than the fine plus court costs would have been. It’s a costly reminder that I need to watch my speed. Honestly, I speed too much and it’s a miracle that I haven’t had a lot of tickets over the years so I guess that I’ve gotten off pretty cheap if you divide $150.00 by all the times I’ve sped…pretty much every time I drive. We all need reminders to stay in line and on task. Maybe it’s stepping on a scale and realizing that we’ve eaten too many burgers lately. Or it could be getting blood work done and finding out that your cholesterol is too high or some other result is abnormal. There are thousands of reminders that we receive throughout our lives…some life-changing and others that are barely a blip on our radar. We pay rapt attention to some and absolutely none to others. Where I’m going with all this rambling is that, as writers, we need reminders too. Reminders to sit down and write, to proofread and edit, to learn more about our craft, to submit our writing for publication, to interact with other writers, etc… Unfortunately, there are no flashing lights for these things. We alone are responsible for that part of our writing life. Maybe put Post-It notes up all around the house or write it on the mirror with dry erase pens or put random notes on random days in our planner, on a wall calendar or on our phone, leave a voice mail for ourselves…there are so many ways to do it but we need to figure out the ones that actually trigger us to write. And we need to change it up occasionally so we don’t get too used to seeing and then ignoring them. Be innovative. And the really great thing is that none of these reminders is going to involve $150.00 court and defensive driving fees.
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