Today's prompt is taken from an article I just read in the July/August issue of Writer's Digest: "The Reluctant Risk-Taker's Guide to Filling the Creative Well." The author, Elizabeth Sims, writes that, "Great writing begins with an appetite for life." She then goes on to offer ways to challenge yourself - as a writer, as a person in the world.
Her first suggestion is to "Know thyself." Do this exercise... And then I encourage you to read the rest of her article. It's inspirational and a welcome change from the list of how-to-be-a-writer rules - a chance to open up and look for opportunity. Allow yourself to fall into this exercise.
I'm going to shorten the times of this writing. Sims asks the writer to spend an hour on two questions. In the tradition of Razor's Edge, I'm going to shorten it to 10 minutes for each question. But feel free to spend an hour on them if you are so inspired!
First: List your fears. What do they feel like? These may be anything from a spider on your windowsill to losing your job to speaking in front of people. Big or small, list your fears and the accompanying feelings.
Second: on a new page, Write about your wild side. What does she look like? Sims suggests looking to your childhood self if you're unsure of your wild side. Then Sims says to think about your wild side and see "Is it happy, or is it listless and neglected? Listen to it. What is it asking for?"
Now: look at the two lists. Which makes you feel better?
Sims says: "Remember: Fears are only thoughts, but the world is thrillingly real."
...and read the rest of her article as soon as you can, especially if you believe as she does that "Taking the safe path won't always cut it."...