Goals Refresher Part 3 – Creativity

“Let’s set ourselves up for our future selves to be grateful,” my favorite millennial recently said on her podcast.

It’s going on 7 months since COVID-19 upended our world. I took advantage of the forced time with myself to work on a few goals I’ve claimed to want to achieve for years. How am I doing? Let’s find out!

GOAL: BECOME A WRITER.

COVID-TIMES: Thanks to F&A’s goal-setting strategies, I create a three-pronged approach. 1) Write every day: short stories, scripts, blog posts, whatever! 2) Revise. Repeat. 3) Submit: contests, magazines, agents.

TWO MONTHS IN: I’m blogging! A few people read it! Thank you, people! I found Carrot Ranch and entered their 99-word contests and won one! I entered a short film contest and a flash fiction contest too – didn’t place in either but who cares? I entered! I found a scripted podcast contest via the Austin Film Festival that I was too late to enter this year, but am dying to enter next year.

MID-JUNE: George Floyd was murdered. Black Lives Matter took center stage. COVID continued to rage. My creativity seeped away, replaced by deep sadness, loss and anxiety.

TODAY: I see the culture changes coming. They can’t come fast enough. Breonna Taylor. Jacob Blake. We need our moral compass to right itself. Like many of us, I now live with the tightness gripping my heart. There’s work to do, but there’s room for my storytelling too. I need the outlet to stay sane.

I’m back to blogging. Have I mentioned how much I missed you? But so far, this is all I’ve done. I haven’t drafted any new fiction. I’m not revising the slew of unfinished stories on my laptop. I haven’t started the scripted podcast.

I’m so, so far from selling anything I’ve written. Looking back at my original goal, I see how unfocused it is. It’s such broad, bland goal. I need to reign it in, make it specific, and then figure out what the steps are to achieve it. For example, in reverse order:

* Sell something I write
** Submit for publication and cross my fingers it’s accepted
*** Draft, revise, revise, revise, revise…repeat
**** Find places to submit material. Review submission criteria
***** Build up a stockpile of creative material
****** Draft, revise, revise, revise one story at a time

Of all of my goals, being a writer is the one I claim I want to do the most, but have the hardest time doing. “The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.” This is absolutely true. When I write, that moment feels magical. So what’s my problem? Why don’t I do it?

Does this happen to you? How do you get yourself unstuck? Please drop a comment or send me a message. I’m grateful for any and all advice.

Electric Skin (a 99-word short story)

Hot bubbles swirled around Dominic. Strong jets of water targeted sore muscles above his shoulder blades, along his spine, the backs of his calves. Dom shifted against them, letting new muscles get pounded back to health. Wrinkled fingertips skimmed the top of the water. A bell rang. Dom heaved himself out of the jacuzzi. He trudged over to a small circle in the floor. Bright light illuminated its still waters. Dom braced himself. He plunged into the icy depths. Every nerve sparked with life. Rainbows danced across his eyelids. Dom pulled himself out of the chilly water and grinned.

END

I’ve entered another 99-word flash fiction challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. The challenge is to write a story about deep waters. Why don’t you join me? The deadline is this Tuesday, June 16. See you there!

Comfort Food (a 99-word short story)

One pound of lean ground turkey, one pound of 80-20 ground sirloin, one packet of McCormick meatloaf seasoning, one egg, one generous handful of Progresso Plain Breadcrumbs, half of a medium diced onion, one squirt of ketchup. It’s important to mix everything into the ground meat by hand, but don’t overdo it. Your grandfather and I added a twist: divide the mixture into twelve muffin cups. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Your grandmother always tried to sneak a half a meatloaf muffin without us noticing. She was so silly! I see both of them in you, my child…

END

I’ve entered another 99-word flash fiction challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. Why not mosey over there and give them a look-see?

Shield and Taylor (a 99-word short story)

I need a face shield.

Certainly, Ma’am. Will it be used for hiding? Protection? Disguise? Fear? Shame?

Hiding and disguise.

One of our most popular combinations. This suburban-camouflage balaclava is a best seller. Blend into any background whenever you can’t listen to the children for one more second. It comes with a flask for “mommy juice.”

It fits like a dream, but do you have anything for summer?

Here is our latest line of contouring makeup. All the rage with Gen-Z. ‘Look Carved From Marble.’

I prefer something less artistic.

I have a vintage catcher’s mask in the back…

END

I entered the Flash Fiction Challenge by Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I haven’t entered a contest in years! It feels really, really good to do something I said I would do. “A” activity for sure! Thanks to Jo Hawk The Writer for posting her entry on her blog – I’d never have found Carrot Ranch otherwise.

How are you doing with your coronavirus bucket list? Leave me a comment below or get in touch!