Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writing Your Own Success Story: A Future-Historical

A good morning, afternoon, or evening to you (whichever applies at the time of reading). Today's post is just one of encouragement...something you should never be in a short supply of. That said, it's always nice to know where you can tap into an encouragement source when your local supply runs low.

Short of dropping a banana peel and other trash into Mr. Fusion, jumping into your DeLorean, and zipping off into the future, you just don't know how your writing future will unfold. But let's face it, we would all like to plan out exactly how our writing careers will blossom. Every writer runs into road blocks, writer's block, and dry spells. We all get discouraged from time to time or even wonder if we should be writing at all.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with these obstacles. Last year, when I was meeting with a group of writers on a monthly basis, I came up with this little writing exercise to help inspire and encourage them. The resulting writing project helped each one of them in determining what they wanted to do with their writing talents while yielding a source of future encouragement.

The Assignment: to write a "future-historical" about your writing success story.
The Basics: to write a fictional story as though you were actually in the future reflecting back at your writing career over the "past" twenty or so years. You are writing about how you want your writing future to unfold as though it happened that way from that future perspective.

These were the only two sets of instructions I gave. It was up to each person to take those two guidelines and form a story.

Let me say, the results were fantastic. Several of the members of this group were really able to focus on what they wanted to do with their writing careers. A few were able to brainstorm on novel ideas while they were actually writing about a situation about an idea that hadn't even happened yet (could be a time travel paradox here). I am always reminded here that The Lord works in mysterious ways.

I wrote about being interviewed by a reporter regarding my writing life just before I was to be interviewed by a cable news program. Another member of the group wrote about being interviewed by a national Christian radio program.

When all was said and done, I suggested that when they met the wall of writer's block, the mountains of discouragement, or the plains of blank paper, that they pull out this story and read through it in order to clear the forest so the trees could be seen. We all like to read about success stories...especially when they are our own!

NOTE: reference to my coined phrase "future-historical."
Future-Historical: events written about in the present, that at the time of writing, have not yet occurred from the author's time-frame or point-of-view. These events, however, will happen as the author has written. The plot-device by which the author obtains this knowledge varies.
future historical


  1. Great idea, Darren! I may use this in my goal-setting mini-retreat I hope to do during the next month.

  2. Thanks. I find it very useful to re-read when I am feeling down in my writing life.