Several years ago, I had dabbled in writing fiction. During this period of time, I also began to teach fiction writing classes at our local community college as part of their summer learning series.
Next week, I return to campus to participate in the 2012 summer program, so I have dusted off my notes to review the materials I use with my students. While going through my lectures last week, I was reminded of the importance of a writer setting goals for the main character, and to pay just as much attention to how the main character goes about attaining his goals as he does to choosing an appropriate goal for this story.
Whenever you write a piece of fiction, you must narrow your focus to one character trying to attain one goal. Essentially, this is what your story is about. It's critical that you maintain this "one main character/one goal" focus, otherwise, your storyline will get too scattered and lose its form, and essentially weaken your plot line. Sure, you can have subplots which address additional goals, but their objectives must be supportive of the primary goal of the story.
It occurred to me as I prepared to teach that I could apply this "golden rule" of fiction to my weekly chase goals. I would first need to figure out what my story is about. Once I do this, I need to limit myself to one primary goal for the week and choose other goals that would compliment the primary one. Otherwise, I will get scattered and wind up going in too many directions at once, just like that main character inside the story with the weak plot line.
In the big picture, I know what my story is about. Therefore, I know my primary goal of this week and every week:
Some ways that I can support this goal in the upcoming week:
-Maintain mindfulness through meditation and practicing yoga.
-Run and continue my 13.1 training.
-Eat clean- the transition back to vegan went pretty smoothly and I love the way a vegan diet makes me feel.
-Do my plank a day and continue leading the challenge among my friends. I love the camaraderie we have created through the challenge, plus, the commitment to performing my own plank a day is a commitment to myself to be stronger.
I am my own worst taskmaster. I would willingly take on the burden of having to accomplish dozens of to-do's, necessary or not, because part of how I value myself is based on my productivity level.
The Busy Trap, an article published in the New York Times last week that Christine from Love Life Surf suggested, reminded me of my own “need” to be busy. But how many of these “busy” goals are really necessary or worthy of my time? How many of these “busy” goals are weakening my plot line?
Intellectually I know that when we take care of ourselves and live the life we love, everything else falls into place. The mind knows this and in time, hopefully the body and spirit will follow.
What is your story about? What goals can you create to support it?
©2012 Ilene Evans