Writing Workout Winter 2016: Update #4

So, you may have noticed that it's been a couple weeks since I posted my workout update. Oops. 

I had some MAJOR life events happen. (Everything is fine, don't worry). But I got COMPLETELY derailed from my goals. The reading stopped. The writing stopped. The whole workout just got put on hold. 

I could've approached this in a few different ways:

  • I could've deleted the whole workout series and pretended it never happened.
  • I could've backdated everything and pretended that I kept trucking along, all perfect and flawless.
  • OR I could've told the truth. Life happens. You get messed up. You keep going. 

I couldn't control the events that messed up my schedule. I couldn't anticipate them, plan for them. It was purely a surprise and then forced "reaction mode." There was NOTHING I could do. 

And that is okay. Let me repeat: THAT IS OKAY.

Sometimes life has a funny way of messing with you. That is life. It will never stop catching you off guard, throwing obstacles in your way. It's an up-and-down roller coaster just like the stories you create on the page - it is WHY we write stories. 

To account for this, I had built in a buffer system. And I'm SO glad I did. If everything would've gone according to plan, my workout would have been complete on March 20. However, I made my goal to complete everything by April 1. Without this buffer, my workout would've failed and I would be dealing with the torturing internal editor telling me that I wasn't good enough and I would be paralyzed, unable to write. I'm not feeling this way because of the buffer system. 

So when this happens to you (and it's not IF but WHEN), do not let yourself get derailed from your goals and dreams. Let life happen. Deal with it. And then keep going. 

On that note, here's what I did this week.

What I Read: 

  • More Elena Ferrente (just a little bit left!)
  • How Writers Write Fiction Weeks #5 & #6
  • Burroway
  • FINISHED Lamott! (Check out the top 10 lessons!)
  • George Saunders: "Tenth of December"
  • Tobias Wolff: "Bullet in the Brain"

What Prompts I Followed:

  • It's nearly spring! That means flowers and growth and warmth, and also bugs. On that note, start a story about bugs. These can be fireflies, grasshoppers, gnats, roaches, mosquitoes, butterflies - whatever you want. Make your characters think about and meditate on whatever bug you choose. 
  • Work on your "third-person-ventriloquism" voice. George Saunders is so good at this, so use him as your example. Force yourself to write in third-person, but stay close to your character and make their voice shine through the third-person narrator. 

Happy Writing!