Among the many things I do in my spare time ( other than scrounging the house looking for chocolate) is writing. To which you will likely say, duh. Don’t you earn your living as an author? Exactly. But a funny thing happened on the way to getting published. I discovered that my passion for storytelling and creating fictional fun was spilling over into my real life because the creative techniques I was using to get my characters out of trouble were also working in my every day life.
Here is a for instance. One of the strategies I use to create real-sounding, lifelike characters who are three-dimensional and not caricature stick figures is to interview them, as if they were actual people. I’ll just sit right down in front of the computer, put on my Katie Couric hat and ask away. Tell me about your childhood. Was it a happy life? Who were your friends? What were the kinds of trouble you’d get into that got you grounded? How did you feel after your third grade teacher dumped your desk in front of the entire class? Did you like your parents? And out of this conversation, which of course is all taking place inside my over-caffeinated head, comes some fascinating insights and stories that literally spill onto the page. This is the point at which I know I’m not the writer as much as the designated typist.
Often times I’ll use this same technique to problem solve for my characters, to help them get out of the binds in which I put them (and if you’ve read my books you KNOW I get them into some real tough dillies). I’ll ask them questions like, who do you blame and what would you like to try but you’re afraid? It’s a great device for eliciting real top of the mind answers that are not being held back by anyone’s criticism or judgment.
One day when I was particularly stymied by a personal problem, I thought, hmm, I don’t know what to do about this. Maybe I should try interviewing myself and see if I can come up with any brainstorms I haven’t thought of. And guess what? It worked. When I allowed myself to just let it rip, let my thoughts pore out without worrying that someone might second guess me or call me a fool, there was an outpouring of wisdom and ideas that had never been on my radar. In other words, by giving myself an outlet for hearing myself think, I really did have the answers within. Talk about AH HA moments. This was huge!
Then I thought, how silly not to take advantage of the power of the written word to help with the stress I feel managing a family of three kids and a husband (make that four kids, lol) and a pressure filled career that involves deadlines and aggravation. So I started keeping a journal, not just filled with my entries, but emails that were meaningful, IM conversations with my kids, things that I would like to read and re-read later on. It gave me great perspective and made me feel good about the way my life is unfolding.
Anyway, it gave me an idea to create a hands-on workshop for moms like me who feel like the plate spinners at the circus. Every day represents another challenge to keep so many lives going- our partners or spouses, our children, our parents, our family and friends…. what if I could show them how to incorporate writing into their life as a way to stay connected with their inner voice? To listen to what is in their head and their heart so they have perspective and direction and LESS STRESS?????
This past Wednesday evening, I was thrilled to launch the first major workshop event called WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE. 55 women participated and I am so happy to tell you that they really thought the idea was wonderful. They were entertained, enlightened and left with the knowledge that they are certainly not alone when it comes to frustration, worry and every day challenges.
This is a very exciting program, if I do say so. Get in touch with me if you’d like to know more for your school or organization. I am also creating a program just for students because they have their own special challenges (if you’re taking organic chem you have my sympathy).
Email me at email@example.com.