My Journey to Become a Writer 03/16/2024 Post #76

Informative Image

My Home Economics teacher in middle school, Mrs. Manley (who we referred to as Mrs. Womanly when she wasn’t looking), was also in charge of instilling “study skills” in each student.

One lesson she drove home was:

Keep an orderly workspace.

She advised that having a clear desk and a cache of school supplies on hand would spare us from the stress of searching for things.

Mrs. Manley’s words were something I took to heart.

I know I do better when I’ve got my stuff and my schedule in a good working order. A lot of why I have felt so dismayed this last year has come from feeling like everything around me is in disarray.

Because it’s taking a toll on my health, I’ve taken this week to go through boxes and get myself more situated. Not everything is unpacked yet; but the progress has been helpful for my outlook, and I feel like I’m getting closer to being able to revisit my manuscript with a more clear frame of mind.

I think Mrs. Manley would approve of my time management; but seeking the approval of others is one of the things I’m trying to discard.

What Did I Accomplish Today to Be a Writer?

I did Day 76 of the 100 Words a Day Writing Challenge 2024 through LA Writer’s Lab.

I bought a lawnmower. Maybe that doesn’t sound like something that has anything to do with writing; but here in Wabash it most certainly does. I walked in and two old timers were sitting still on zero turn mowers chewing the fat. It turns out they are neighbors and know people that I do, so the talk turned fairly quickly to nicknames and local news.

I came to Wabash to tell stories about it, and because I love this place. I could have gone to a big box store to buy my mower and probably saved some money; but by shopping local I hit a treasure trove of small town tales just waiting to be uncovered.

How Do I Tighten the Theme of My Memoir in 2024?

This is the question I’ve been asking myself, and quite honestly, I feel like the answer has been evading me. I thought my book was finished; but upon realizing the word count for a memoir is usually between 70,000 and 100,000, I decided I need to take out a sizeable portion of what I’ve said.

So how do I do that?

In yesterday’s “Quiet Friday” writing teacher Al Watt reminded us that all the characters in our work ultimately want the same thing.

He encouraged us to ask three questions in each scene:

  1. What do the characters want?
  2. What is standing in their way?
  3. Why is it urgent that they get what they want?

By being curious about the answers to these three questions the action, narration, and dialogue can be distilled down to a common thread that runs throughout the text.

I’m planning to go through my manuscript again. This time I’m arming myself with a Post-It note reminding me of these three questions. Hopefully that will help me finish my manuscript in a more timely manner. Until then –

Thanks for reading what I’m writing,

Jody Susan

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I'm not sure what to say here: I once got second place in a dog-look-alike-contest? I know how to fold a fitted sheet? I'm pretty much a poster child for social backwardness - at least as far as social media is concerned; but I have some stories I think I'm supposed to share and am attempting to do that here, in this space.

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