When my friend, the brilliant writer and performer Elaine Blanchard, invited me to participate in “The Next Big Thing” blog roll project, I was delighted. I met Elaine at a writing conference back in the mid 2000s. We share a background of being clergy who have experienced challenge in the church. We also share a history of storytelling and a passion for writing for change. When I need encouragement to keep on keeping on, I call Elaine.
I probably should have called Elaine this week. I expected that this assignment would give me the opportunity to dream on paper about what’s next for me. Over the years, I’ve written several times about this kind of forward dreaming. I’ve talked about a popular exercise from positive psychology called, The Best Possible Self. In that exercise, participants write about their best possible selves and how they are living five or ten years into the future. I even included a writer’s version of the exercise in my book, Write-A-Thon.
When I invite clients and workshop participants to do the exercise, I always encourage them to try it multiple times. Why? Because the first iteration is always too close to our current reality and designed to please those we share it with. In the book Coyote Wisdom, Lewis Mehl-Madrona writes, “The first version of an illness story is highly edited for the audience. . . . We tell the story we think others want to hear.” He talks about how he helps his clients find healing saying that it will “involve telling and retelling this story numerous times, with frequent revisions.” (Coyote Wisdom, page 110).
When I tried answering the questions for “The Next Big Thing,” I had the sense that I was writing to please you, the audience, instead of myself. So, I’ll be taking these questions to my journal and answering them again and again and again.
I invite you to do the same.
Your turn: Answer the questions below. Change them to fit your life and dreams. Answer the questions again and again until the answers feel right.
Write big. Dream big. Live big!
1. What is the working title of your book (s)?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
3. What genre does your book come under?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
6. Is your book self published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Feel like sharing? And, if you want to answer these questions in your blog: go for it. Post your answers next Wednesday, tag me in your post, and then email me with the link, so I can add you to this list.