Life Is Your Story: Choose Plot Points Wisely

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:

Weekly chase 7_9

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?

Namaste, Divas!

©2012 Ilene Evans 




Life Is Your Story: Choose Plot Points Wisely — 16 Comments

  1. I love this line: “How many of these “busy” goals are weakening my plot line?” Wow! What a perfect question. I’m thinking my goal this week is to attach to joy. I often find myself nursing my negativity instead of attaching to all the joy that is in my life. I’m aware that my busyness keeps me pushing and pressuring myself as if the joy will come at the end of the process once I’ve checked everything off my to do list, rather than throughout the process. I’d like to be willing to change! What a wonderful start to my week – thank you! Great post!

  2. I think that we are all on the same wave length again this week – about the need to focus on a primary goal versus having goals that are all over the place. But I love how you’ve related this to building a story and that makes so much sense. So glad that you got a chance to read the Busy Trap. Reading that kind of made me want to smack myself on the head – that I create so much of the busyness in my own life.

  3. WOW!!! I love how you related your goal setting to writing! Makes perfect sense! And I love to be busy too…but then like you said some of my busyness is not worth my time. Thanks for the enlightenment!!! And I’m loving the plank challenge…although I sometimes forget to check in I AM doing my planks! 🙂

  4. I so hear that! I get very attached to my business and lose joy in the process. There are things I have to do and things I want to do, but in the grand scheme, there are very few things that need to get done with the urgency that I attach to them. Most of us just want to be happy, but we take really strange roads to try to get there. What’s up with that?

  5. The Busy Trap was such an eye opener for me! I have been ruining my summer through my frantic business! I need to slow down, bring it back to joy, bring it back to taking care of my family, nurturing my relationships, and doing things that I love.
    Here’s to a great week ahead – and hopefully more sleep for both of us!

  6. I think that one of the drawbacks of being a highly motivated person (which obviously we all are in the weekly chase) is that if we have one spare second of time, we try to think of how we can will it – because certainly there is something we can be doing with that time to improve ourselves, our home, our work, our family, etc.) And while in theory this is true, it leads me to become my own taskmaster. Man, it’s hard to slow down!
    PS – I have no doubt you are doing your planks!

  7. Great post, Irene! It’s so true, when we scatter our goals we loose focus. I think on several occasions I need to put the “blinders” on so I can block out distractions!

  8. Love these goals! I’m considering a vegan diet… It would be a major change for me but I would love to do it long enough to see how it makes me feel! Glad I’ve found your blog and I look forward to reading more. Have a great week!

  9. You know what cracks me up? The fact that we both, in some way, re-evaluated our goals and set them up to help us reach a bigger goal. You know what they say…great minds think alike. 🙂
    I love how you used creative writing to channel you goals…and I love your goals of course. I’ve noticed that so many of us have the same idea in terms of things we’d like to accomplish. That’s what I love about doing this with you all. <3

  10. For setting and getting goals, you may want to check out a goal setting app called GoalsOnTrack, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate.

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