It’s Sunday, and I’m mostly taking it off. “Off” for me is working on something fun while I’m watching television. Today that means a short story for the HIEROGLYPH anthology, a cross-fertilization between NASA and academia creating images of near-future space exploration. I’ve got a great idea for a Bradbury-esque story, and have been given the space to do it. This is great. Short stories are a “palate cleanser” as well as the fastest way to increase skill. I can always use both.
Right now, T and I have a dozen different writing projects: books in various stages of development or research, short stories, television and film projects. Wow. All contracted projects earning money, which is funny as hell because I DON’T WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL WRITER ANYMORE. Been there, done that. My goal now is to be an AMATEUR writer. A “gentleman” writer who does it for the sheer fun of it. THAT sounds like a real giggle. Because I love writing more than almost anything in the world.
I think that love came out in the “Writing and Social Justice” teleseminar we did on Friday for a hundred avid listeners. If you were there, you know how much fun it was. If you weren’t, then please listen to the replay:
The most important concept from the entire workshop (IMO) is the “Lifewriting” principle, which is simply that you use the SAME tools IN the story (plot, character, etc.) that you use to CREATE the story (the Hero’s Journey as your path of action, Understanding human nature to push through your own fear and lack of focus and writer’s block, etc.) and to guide your LIFE (using The Hero’s Journey to look at the entire process of your own life; body, mind, emotions) and to understand the market (the “journey” your readers are traveling in their lives, and how you can add to their resource) and your allies (editors, agents, producers…all have their own human issues, all on their own journey).
In other words, if you understand people and process you understand yourself, your characters, your audience, and your potential business partners. Concentrating on this core thread is the very core of “Lifewriting”, and everything I’ve taught over the last thirty years has proceeded from this insight.
EVERYTHING YOU LEARN MAKES YOU A BETTER WRITER, and EVERYTHING YOU WRITE MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON.
That’s the core of it.
See yourself as a character in a story you are writing. At the end of the story, that character has the love, the health, the career that they desire. What do they do next? What do they do this week? If they are totally happy with their progress–JUST KEEP DOING IT! Until you hit the “wall” (you always will) and then the way through is trusting someone to help you break “out of the box”. You will need new resources, allies, habits. You will have to push your way out of your “comfort zone.”
Just as in every story, you test your character to the limit, force them to learn new things about themselves of the world. If your story doesn’t push them, they don’t learn, and your tale is “flat”. If you don’t push yourself, your life is “flat.”
Think about your five favorite films, and ask what the point of maximum pressure was. It was probably within 15 minutes of the end of the movie. The hero/heroine has reached maximum internal or external resistance. This is their moment of truth.
YOU have experienced this countless times: you get 90% of the way through your book or story or script, and then quit. Or don’t rewrite. Or don’t submit. Or don’t immediately start on your next project. Or don’t re-submit when you’ve gotten a rejection.
What stopped you? Whatever it is, write your next story ABOUT THAT EMOTION. Give your character the same issue. Work through it. Do that, and your next story will not only be more honest, but you will have engaged your problem-solving mechanism in a way that, the next time YOU run into that issue, you’ll remember what your character did, and actually gain strength.
Remember that the special sale price on the LIFEWRITING TEN WEEK workshop expires at midnight tonight. There is a 100% money-back guarantee. If our approach to writing and life appeals to you, please don’t get 90% of the way to making the decision. MAKE IT! DO IT! NOW!
Here’s your link if you want to continue and deepen our conversation. This HALF PRICE SALE price is only available until midnight tonight, Sunday the 20th! www.lifewritingdiscount.com
Be the Hero in the Adventure of your lifetime!
Steve and Tananarive