The time has come the Walrus said . . . to speak of many things . . .

You're showing to the rest of the world, whether you know it or not.

You’re showing to the rest of the world, whether you know it or not.

Writing, I think, is not apart from living.

Writing is a kind of double living. 

The writer experiences everything twice.

Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.    – Catherine Drinker Bowen

The 2014 Life Journaling Class I began in early January has concluded–and damn–it felt good to participate.

I achieved my goal: To return to that deep state of unrestrained, concentrated paper-talk that I’d been missing.

All of the different prompts that session leader Susannah Conway offered to us 5 days out of every 7 fascinated me, even though I did not do them all, nor did I do them in order. The choice was always ours, as it should be.

Many were incredibly imaginative, and some downright dangerous and way too exposing, but staying parked in the SAFE ZONE is no place for serious writing.

I must admit to this one here and now: as it’s been one of the coldest, snowiest and toughest winters we’ve had in Iowa in several years, I could not get enthused about trying the one exercise of laying buck naked, spread-eagled across my bed, contemplating the various parts of my body and then writing about said personal revelations. It’s hard to think straight when your nibs are freezing and begging for a blanket.

Please don’t be offended, Susannah. I did understand the purpose of that one, but dang, woman–it was simply too cold for compliance! (Maybe next summer when the cat is busy watching birds out the window and the hubby has gone out for a solo Harley ride or something . . . we’ll see–)

She offered us one final list of prompts to carry forward as we move away from the group, and there are both gut-wrenching, difficult suggestions as well as light-hearted, fun directions to go. I am grateful for such a list.

It contains 50 solid, honest questions and prompts, and they offer vast amounts of fodder not only for personal journaling work, but for creative essays and stories–fiction and non-fiction alike as far as I’m concerned.

As I read through them a lot of thoughts began coagulating for me:

Have a conversation with your 90-year old self.

Write a letter of appreciation to someone who annoys you. (Oh, hell no! . . . but a good writing exercise if ever there was one . . .)

What turns me on? (Is this something you want your kids to read after you’re co-habitating with the earthworms? I wonder how many people would have the guts to write this down in a notebook and not destroy it.)

The secret I could never tell anyone. 

Write a letter to your first love.

The things I’ll never do again are . . . (oy.)

If I dared to say what I really think . . .

I chose the following from her list to close this post out for today:

10 memories I’d like to revisit – 

  1. Sitting on that old wood bench in Montgomery, Iowa on a July night watching the free outdoor movie with my family. There were stars overhead, crickets chirping in the grass, my folks–lighthearted and relaxed. There, of course, is ice cream before we drive home.
  2. The night I was married. I believe I forgot to tell my folks thank you for my wedding. Damn. All family and friends that we cared about were present. That doesn’t happen very often.
  3. Shopping in Wright’s Five and Dime with my kid sister. I want to walk down each aisle and remember all those fun things we used to wish we could buy. And I want to stand over that penny candy counter one more time.
  4. I want to pause inside the big doorway to my dad’s welding shop and watch him repair those colorful farm implements again, and then I want to drive home to supper with him. Our family of 6 always sat at the table and ate meals together. I remember the pecking order; it wasn’t always peaceful, but so what.
  5. Saturday nights in July and going uptown to take in all the happenings, and eating cheeseburgers at the Sunnyside Café with Mom—and one of those thick REAL chocolate malts.
  6. Christmas Eve 1960. Christmas was always good for me.
  7. The winter of 1962. Snow days—lots of them that winter. My sister and I baking and sledding and feeling warm inside our house—and sleeping late in the mornings. “No school again today!” I can hear my dad saying it.
  8. The summer of 1969 at Pike’s Point. Warm breezes blowing across Lake Okoboji and going steady. The life of a pampered teenager and loving it all.
  9. Girls’ week in August at my mother’s house. The four of us. Fresh peaches and cream for breakfast. Shopping and ordering pizza and watching rented videos. Nothing but play time. A week’s worth of harmony.
  10. Drinking Constant Comment tea with Mom in her living room until the wee hours of the morning, and catching up on everything and anything, and laughing until we dang near wet ourselves sometimes!

So . . . for those of you who think you’re  too smart, too busy, too talented, too sophisticated to spend any time with yourself, a pen and a lined notebook, I dare you to give it a try.

I don’t believe any one person couldn’t find something of merit in a little time spent examining where they’re standing now, where they’ve been—or what they think might be waiting down the road for them.

No one is that well put together. No one.

“I don’t care” days.

"Caring."

“Caring.”

I rented the first season of the Downton Abby series on my way home from church yesterday. I’ve been meaning and meaning—and meeeeeaning to do this.

Last night I crawled into bed, with a slice of my husband’s birthday cake waiting on my nightstand, and proceeded to indulge myself.

The first episode appeared mean spirited and dark as I observed how all the service staff were sniping at each other and it felt grim, and I thought—uh-oh . . . maybe you aren’t going to get into this as much as you thought you would. But I hung with it, of course.

By the end of the second episode I was catching on. By the third episode I was hooked. Cake finished, I watched the fourth episode, at which time my lightly snoozing husband woke up, looked over at me and said—‘you know . . . maybe you could turn it off for tonight?’ Usually he doesn’t mind if I watch TV in our bedroom, but then it was past 1:00 a.m.

And to be honest, if he hadn’t woken up, I know I would have watched all three DVDs of it last night—and then gone to sleep. Monday morning needs be damned.

It is that level of freedom and focused intensity that I made my goal for the month of January.

I cannot wait to resume the watching at some point today.

I have journaled a ton of pages since last week’s blog posting. After the end of the holiday season I declared the month of January, “Bec’s month. Only.”

Yesterday’s started like this:

“I’m having an ‘I don’t care day’ and I like it! I recommend it to anyone who feels the need or desire for such a day as this. 

There has been so much sad news this week—friends with advancing cancer, a friend burying her all-too young husband this week because of cancer, more dementia turning up in people I know. Every phone call or email brought sad news, and no matter how much I cared, or how hard I tried to find the right words to comfort these people, I couldn’t help any of them. 

I heard an ad on the television tonight: “Farmers always look forward.” (Thank God, they do, or the rest of us would get terribly hungry in a short amount of time.) 

This 6-week journal project has had me doing a lot of looking back and re-examining, but I expect to satisfy some as yet undefined need for doing that—and then I expect to be more than ready to stop it. And I will know when that moment arrives.” 

I don’t care days are a rare treat for me, but I plan to take more of them, and I wonder that all of you might enjoy exploring the benefits they offer as well.

I caught myself humming to myself the other day. Whoa. Involuntarily humming. I didn’t choose to do it—my body simply let it loose.

I’ve chosen to consciously observe how I was spending my days. Oh, my . . . the repetitiveness of it all. Make the bed, clean out the cat’s box, check today’s task list—make those calls—get that paperwork signed today!—scope out some more story resources, clean the cat’s box (again), start the washer, we’re out of milk (again), send out that meeting notice, make airline reservations- or not?, those bills HAVE to go today or they’ll be late, what was that submission deadline? (you missed it) . . . meh, meh, meh.

Believe me, it doesn’t mean I stop caring; it means I recognize when the ol’ Care Meter has gotten too full and is about to burst.

I acquired a new journal this week, its pages populated with sayings of the Buddha. I find Buddha sayings to be fully accessible to the reader because they are clear and concise. (Whose purpose does ambiguity ever serve?)

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.   -the BUDDHA

I started this Monday morning off with another piece of chocolate cake. And I’ve made a date this afternoon to park on my nice big bed and finish season one of Downton Abby.

All my other stuff will get done at some point. My friends and family know how much I care about them and their heartaches, and my own mind and body have been telling me how much they appreciate that I wised up this particular winter.

I do like this living in the moment stuff.

How about you?

“J” is for Journal; “T” is for Thawing

Image

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”

-Albert Einstein

In last week’s blog post I told you about the 6-week long journaling class I’m taking with writer Susannah Conway, and I promised I’d offer up “bits and bobs,” as Susannah puts it, of the experience.

Six years ago, a writing friend introduced me to the trendy idea of choosing a theme word for each New Year, as it related to our writing life/goals.

My log list reads thus:

2008 – persevere

2009 – believe

2010 – continue

2011 – expand

2012 – push

2013 – (no word chosen)

2014 – reassess

That blank in 2013 is probably the reason I signed on to do this life journal class. I can’t tell you why I didn’t choose a word last year, and frankly, it wasn’t until I started writing in my classy new journal for this session that it occurred to me. Life turned bizarrely hectic, messy and sad in 2013. That I didn’t have presence of mind to choose my word is proof.

Susannah provides us with many prompts and suggestions each day from which to work in our journals. Journaling longhand is not a new concept for me, as I have a number of them in process on my shelves. But the idea of working in a cyberspace classroom with 79 other women from around the world in a common vein added the touch of discipline and connectivity I realized went missing last year. That came out in my writing this past week.

It’s startling what your mind and hands lay down on the paper while you look on, and honest journaling will take over like that when you finally cut yourself loose.

Little wonder then that my gut chose the word reassess, because clearly there was a need. (I still can’t believe that I didn’t at least try for a word in January 2013. Ah, well.)

You see the colorful, but messy array in the picture? That’s my creative notebook journal in process. That is the second part of this winter adventure. Others are calling their notebooks their creative dream journals.

I have a pretty good handle on what my dreams are. It’s these blasted U-turns and detours life keeps handing me and mine that need sorting through.

My 3-ring journal will be titled, Life View, and it will contain pictures of family and friends, pets, beautiful party tables, skies (I love sky pictures), food (of course!), ticket stubs, handwritten notes and cards from friends, journal fragments, and various other bits of my writings; even some of my poems. Elizabeth Bishop I am not, but, hey—this is my journal after all.

I’m not real artsy-fartsy when it comes to the paper crafts/ scrapbooking concept, and I was not even going to try this 3-D part of the course, because after all—I am a writer. I was planning to dive back in with one ink pen in hand, and two more in my back pocket and give it everything I had. But Providence evidently thought it would be good for me.

Allow me to report to you: I think Providence was right, and I think I’m in love.

The play time with my 3-ring binder and all those doodads, stickers, fancy scissors, multicolored card stocks, and the drawing up of page layouts all while looking at pictures of my family, my friends, all those fun times we’ve had already . . . I mean, come on! It’s positively engrossing. Not to mention, cheering.

Observing where you’ve come from goes a long ways in helping you reassess where you go from here.

And then there was this revelation: the other night, as I wrote and played, it occurred to me that my head, heart and soul were thawing out.

Whether we freeze up to protect ourselves from the hard times, or to make ourselves be strong role models for the sake of those around us could be a topic for debate.

All that I can tell you today is that it feels good to have the ice breaking away, and I owe this to a new journal, a group of honest, like-minded women on the other side of the pond, and a whole lot of brightly colored clutter scattered all over my dining room table.

I know there are people who think they don’t need to do any of this self-examining journaling crappola, but people, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

You may never be the same.

Einstein nailed it. Out of my clutter, I am finding simplicity, and from there I will be able to reassess.

Talk to you next week–

Are you EXCLAIMING!! yourself to death?

I realize that most people, when they think of Washington, DC, probably wrinkle their nose, or at least scrunch some fold in the memory area of their brain.

Granted, we all can’t be consistently happy with what does, or doesn’t get handled by the U.S. Government in Wash DC, but if you’ve ever read any history, you’ll know that the people have never been–nor do I believe will they ever be–really happy with their governments–U.S. or not.

But in Washington DC there are wonderful museums and monuments and libraries and things that serve as testaments to the fact that in spite of such statements, we’ve come a good piece and we do continue on, and I cannot wait to take it all in.

This weekend I leave on a muchly-desired guided bus tour vacation headed for such sites. And before the 9-day tour concludes, I will also get to walk the ground at Gettysburg and visit the crash site of all those courageous souls of Flight 93 during the time of 911.

Of course when one is going to be gone there is preparation work to do. Deadline writing had to be turned in, interviews in place for right after I return, yard work/house stuff/errands/arrangements, you name it.

By the time we are done preparing to go on vacation, we r-e-a-l-l-y do need it!

Notice that dang exclamation mark?

Wellllll . . . there’s my real rub today.

It occurred to me—while on my most favorite-ist bike trail the other night—that as of late I seem to be living with a constant exclamation point chasing me.

Exclamation point: n. A punctuation mark (!) used after an exclamation or interjection of sudden, forceful utterance.

Maybe that’s not so good—at least not as much as I appear to do it.

I have high hopes for this bussed vacation. Someone asked me (and they were wrinkling their nose, by the way) why I didn’t just fly out to the sites I wanted to see instead of “taking a bus?” (much wrinkling by now)

Because if I have to deal with air travel and all that that has declined to, I’ll have even more exclamation points chasing me!!

Do Not Want That.

I won’t have to deal with searching for directions, or places to park, or places to stay, or obtaining tour tickets or finding guides, or any of that.

I get to sit back and anticipate the next item on the itinerary. (I had to resist the urge to use an exclamation mark here—twice.)

An old-fashioned lined journal and a notebook will go on the bus with me. The notebook has a picture of famous pirate Jack Sparrow, aka Johnny Depp on the cover. Another traveling buddy of mine gave it to me the summer we took off for a girlfriends’ travel week. And pens. I’ll take pens. The laptop is going, of course, for use at night in my hotel room only.

I get to sit and stare out the windows while someone else does all of the driving and have interesting – if not unique – conversations with people I’ve never met, and journal freehand—just because I can.

In the world of writing, the exclamation point should be treated like it is a fine rare wine. Drink very little—or none at all.

When I receive a piece of communication that is filled with exclamation points I feel like I’m being shouted at. I don’t like being shouted at. I’m going to guess you don’t either—so why do it?

I said I felt like I’m always being chased by an exclamation point?

When I made my list of to-do’s for this week in planning out what all I have to get done, I promised myself I would not put one exclamation point behind anything on my daily clip boarded task list that I keep on our kitchen island.

I have been making daily plans lists on a kitchen counter ever since my high school days, but it’s in these last several years – and it is interesting to note that since I took on my freelancing writing life—that that screaming exclamation point has pushed its way into my life so consistently.

This is not a rant against freelance writing. It is a rant against the way I’ve responded.

Would you believe I had to think consciously to not tag any exclamation points onto this week’s tasks as I wrote: fertilize and water everything, water the church flowers, pay all bills, get Derek’s birthday gift, use up those bananas, finish those last two articles and submit, try to transcribe one more interview, look for a new gold chain, get Lexi’s new food . . .

I am so looking forward to my trip where I won’t be shouting at myself about anything.

My hope is that when I return home, I’ll remember how to continue avoiding too much shouting.

Could your life and your writing use less shouting, too?

The Novel-T of a Labyrinth

Don’t knock me until you’ve tried me.

If any of you have ever walked a labyrinth, I would enjoy hearing about your experience.

I took my first walk several weeks ago after completing a novel critique session. Will I give myself away if I tell you that it was 95% positive, but I let the 5% negative rule?  

I needed to cool my jets so I headed out for a walk and I found myself standing at the entrance to the retreat center’s labyrinth. 

I did a quick study of the overall path and started in, thinking it should be a piece of cake as I took my steps, one concisely in front of the other, around and around, following the bricked-in path. 

Sneaking peeks out my peripheral as I walked, it seemed that the center was close and I thought I’d reach it in record time—and then I came to the first blocking brick barricade. 

You have to back up here and try something else, because this way is closed to you. 

I’d been mulling over some of the critique commentary as I walked, and as I reversed my steps, looking for another path, there it was: 

Lesson No. 1: This path is exactly like writing – and finishing – a novel. 

We start into a story that’s been buzzing around our skull bone for a while and we keep putting the words down and things appear to be going amicably and oh!–we’re going to be so clever and pick this thing off in a designed timeframe inside our head bone. The path winds along with completion j-u-s-t around the next curve—there’s a brick blockade (that really is only as big as we allow it to be—but it takes us a while to get this through our head)—and the second lesson presents itself: 

So near—yet so far. You’re going to have to try another path, my dear. You haven’t got it right yet.

At one point I stopped because I came upon a doggy pile, and I thought: “How disgusting that someone would leave that here,” but a closer look revealed it to be a dried clump of sod from a lawn mower. 

Lesson No. 3 – Always take a second—or third–look before you judge too quickly. 

On and on I went—stopping to examine patches of clover—just in case there was a 4-leafer in there.  

Lesson No. 4: Do not look for, nor expect easy miracles to show up before you. 

So I paused again, restudying where I was in relation to where I wanted to be thinking I might be getting close to the center, only to discover I have to follow the  large circular swath completely back out and away from the targeted zone because there’s no way I can get into the center from where I’m standing. 

It seems counterproductive and it feels taunting and cruel. 

“But—I was almost there!” 

No. You were not. 

For those of you reading this who haven’t tried to write a novel, this is what it feels like. 

You think you’ve finally nailed it, and then in comes new and different comments, and you know you have to think on them for a while. Mull them over—see if there is merit—or not. 

And there are times you want to quit. You want this damnedable task you picked out for yourself to be over.  

But you don’t have the courage or the sense to quit.  

My measured stepping continued and I actually started to feel better. I became aware of how unaware I’d been to even the bird song going on around me, and I considered it a real accomplishment for me to become that unaware for a while. 

Pretty soon it seemed like I was getting closer to the center and would finish the winding path, and there it was again—hidden by some grass—yet another brick blockade. 

Nope. If you step over us, that’s cheating.

I didn’t want to cheat so I picked out a different route. 

By now, the whole pattern became clear to me, and it felt normal to nearly finish and encounter yet another obstacle. 

I continued the methodical stepping, glancing around to see how far I’d come—maybe peek ahead to see how much farther, and then I realized I was only a few steps away from the center. I’d made it. 

I was breathing slower and calmer. I would honor the 95% and contend with the 5%. 

And I was so glad I didn’t cheat—or quit. 

I turn around to begin the path out, and as I wind and turn and step my way back from whence I came I’m thinking, “Yeah! You got yourself into it and you can get yourself out of it.” 

There’s a reason for all of it. Trust me. 😉

Leave Godzilla at home.

A room with a view.

In the August 10, 2012 issue of THE WEEK magazine, editor-in-chief William Falk writes about the hold that the Smartphone-iPad-laptop techno Godzilla has on our lives—at work and on vacation. Pair this with the typical American work ethic these days and the picture begs for serious examination. 

A short excerpt from Mr. Falk:  . . . not long ago I would have found it unthinkable to work while on vacation . . .I recall glorious two-week sojourns where I had no contact with bosses, employees—even friends . . . But that was before I traveled with a Smartphone, an iPad and a laptop . . . 

Read his brief, astute editorial at: http://theweek.com/article/index/231444/editors-letter-tech-masters-or-tech-slaves 

Last week I attended a writer’s academy/retreat located in the sticks—and glorious sticks they were! 

One-hundred and fifty acres curled around the bank of Chub Lake, complete with wooded walkway across a marsh covered in water lilies that leads to a hill where we could sit in a swing and look through the trees overlooking the lake. This retreat center offers five miles of hiking trails through woods and wildflower prairie land, a labyrinth, swings, picnic tables and fire pits placed throughout the grounds, along with three meals a day prepared by someone in the kitchen who knew about “Mom cooking.” 

There wasn’t a burger, French fry or pizza in sight the whole time. 

We enjoyed smashed cauliflower served with roasted pork loin topped with a spicy and sweet raisin sauce. There were roasted vegetables, and wild rice side dishes and tender pot roast accompanied by real mashed potatoes (with just the right amount of lumps) and interesting green salads (no iceberg or macaroni salad allowed). There were desserts—cranberry bread pudding and hot caramel sauce . . . fresh blueberry crisp—not too sweet—and real whipped cream for topping. And breakfast was ready at 8 o’clock every morning.

We had 24-hour access to the dining room where hot water and tea or coffee, iced drinks (no sodas on the premises – impressive!), granola bars, fruit and yogurt awaited us if we wanted it, not to mention bars, cookies, M&M’s or nuts snacks that appeared on the counter just for us between lunch and dinner—and late in the evening before bedtime. 

I mean—come on—who couldn’t handle this?! 

I took plenty of work along–(yup—I did)—just in case. I even took one freelance project draft copy; looked at it once and put it away. This was my fiction-editing and creative writing retreat and I wasn’t going to screw that up.  

What I did: 

  • Ate smashed cauliflower – for the first time. (It looks like mashed potatoes, but with fewer calories.) 
  • I attended a short chapel session every morning in a sanctuary with 3-sided window views of woods, lake and prairie. 
  • I went to a couple of writing sessions on poetry and flash fiction—141 character flash fiction. It ain’t easy, but it was fun playing around with it. 
  • I enjoyed quiet, uninterrupted time in my private room ticking off edits on the novel. Yea! 
  • I walked a labyrinth. Timely it was, too—right after a critiquing session that left me a bit displeased—at first. I was back to breathing normally by the time I completed the labyrinth.  (Additional blog post to come on this. Finishing a novel and walking a labyrinth are first cousins. Six pages of handwritten, single-spaced journaling shot from my brain.) 
  • Over meals I visited with interesting people; the majority of them older than me. People who’ve been to Haiti and Ethiopia and Israel and know of the Palestinian struggle. People who are exceptional writers, poets, essayists and published authors. Not one person dragged out their Smartphone or Blackberry in the dining room during mealtime. Not one. 
  • I filled my digital camera with pictures of the marsh land, and videos of the sounds of the wind through broad stands of tall cattails, and the breeze around the creaking wood swings placed among ash and aspens, cottonwood and bitternut hickory trees. These videos will be fun to view next winter, when the snow comes. 
  • I slept with my window screen open at night so I could watch peach-toned moonlight while raccoons scratched around in the dirt below, looking for something we human types might have dropped during the day. The stars had the night sky all to themselves. No ambient city light invaded from any direction.  
  • And I pitched the novel to an editor who gave a presentation. I didn’t know I was going to do that. She agreed to take a look at it.

 What I didn’t do:

  • Didn’t post to or read Facebook, LinkedIn, or check my blog. 
  • Didn’t spend any time on the cell phone except to let my family know I had arrived safely. 
  • Didn’t read any editor, agent, publishing world blogs, newsletters or other “do’s and don’ts” emails pertaining to the writer’s path. 
  • Didn’t look at world news headlines. 
  • Didn’t watch TV until the last evening after the retreat concluded. I had to see how the Olympians were doing. 
  • Didn’t count calories. 
  • Didn’t use the laptop to journal. I wrote with a pen—and often—sitting outside. 

I’m back home with another freelance job to complete, and dealing with article sources who can’t—or won’t—follow through for me on a story assignment. There’s a stack of bills to pay and the laundry is in piles in the hallway—and I am eager to get the novel query package into the mail to that editor. 

Returning home is always good. Don’t get me wrong. The whole concept of what home is, is what makes me tick in the first place. 

But Editor Falk makes a good point. When you go on vacation—or retreat—you need to make the conscious decision to be there. 

All of your electronic toys and phones,  as well as the rest of the world, will be there when you return.

Marshlands don’t need to hurry.

We are never too old to do a report card

A writer's development path

 

Resume, or vitae–they both mean the same thing. A summary of one’s personal history and employment experience. 

Everyone trying for a job in today’s market needs one, and it is quite the task to put an effective one together. I tend to believe that everyone should try putting one together at least once in their lifetime if merely for the experience of the exercise itself. 

As I sorted through my bookshelves a few weeks ago I turned up a lot of folders, notebooks and tablets that I’ve accumulated from spirituality, creativity, women’s and writing conferences, training sessions, workshops, etc. I keep notes and resource materials religiously and I decided I wanted to see what my path looked like since I turned in the direction of an intuitive and creative writing lifestyle. The picture at the top of the blog post is what I produced from that process, and it was not only revealing, but empowering. I am extremely fond of that particular word. I believe it to be a word that will take us great distances when we become regular friends with it. 

Formal resumes must meet certain specifications to catch the eye of future employers today. You have to “spin” them to read properly for the job you are targeting, so you mustn’t necessarily put everything that helped shape and prepare you for the sought-after job on your formal resume. 

That’s why I like this new document format that I dubbed the “personal development plan” so much. It is a form of report card for your eyes only, and you can lay out a document that will allow you to analyze quite personally what you have—or have not—done that has shaped the zone you occupy currently. 

It allows you take stock of all the effort you’ve made since commencing the current career path you are on . . . or the one you hope to be on after you complete the “must earn pension check first thing”—or the “I don’t want to wait until it’s too late thing . . .” You get the idea I’m sure.  

I like it done in chronological order by month and year, with the earliest thing you can remember—first. Once you have it all together, sit back and study it with honest eyes. Really look at the dates and their spread. 

  • What years did you show great progress? 
  • What years did you not take any forward-moving steps at all? 
  • Why? 
  • What was going on that kept you from doing so? 
  • Will you allow that to happen again? 
  • How do you feel now that you look back on it? 
  • Are you smarter? (If you answer yes!–great. If you answer with anything else, explore that maybe?) 
  • What do you think needs to happen next?
  • Who might you call in to assist you?

This isn’t just for a writer. It can be for anything you want to grow or change. 

It can also be the pat on the back you might need. Perhaps you feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels and not making any headway? A document like this might be just the thing you need that allows you a little personal brag time as you plot your next step. 

How about trying your own report card?