Keep a diary, but don’t just list all the things you did during the day. Pick one incident and write it up as a brief vignette. Give it color, include quotes and dialogue, shape it like a story with a beginning, middle and end—as if it were a short story or an episode in a novel. It’s great practice. Do this while figuring out what you want to write a book about. The book may even emerge from within this running diary.
I think it’s totally possible to “follow my bliss” and be fulfilled.
But first, I have to demonstrate the brutal/ruthless honesty required to know myself—to know what my “bliss” even is—by tracking the evidence/tendencies that reveal not just my shining glories, but also my darkest failings.
Brainy Blessings Seems to me this prayer from Saint Thomas Aquinas is relevant for all of us! Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. [Note from me: There is more to the prayer. I narrowed it down to what most clearly spoke to me as a writer.]
“My clothes are fine.” I flipped to the new page in my Sports Illustrated.
“Your clothes are not fine. I can darn near see through the seat of your jeans and let me tell you, it is not a pretty sight from any angle.”
I reached around and felt my, well, my butt. “Okay, things might be thinning a bit back there, but that doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of my closet.”
“Okay, then, let’s start with pants.”
“My cargo shorts have served me well.”
“What part of ‘pants’ don’t you understand?” She rifled through everything that had stayed on a hanger. “We’re talking a piece of clothing that actually covers your entire leg.”
“I’m sure I have some in there.”
She pulled out a pair of tie-died Zubazz and glared at me.
“See? I told you.”
I’ve been dreaming up writing prompts for years. I just decided to add a little substance to a few of them as a writing exercise. They’re obviously not complete stories, but I’m giving myself [and anybody else] a chance to develop them further.