Stunt Writing: How to change your life in only 3 weeks

I’ve been taking the a noir class on the Canvas network, which I’ve been enjoying immensely, so when I poked around a bit more on the site and discovered a class called “Stunt Writing for Personal Growth,” (which just started yesterday) I immediately signed up.

I’m already a stunt writer, after all: I’m hooked on the thrill of writing challenges, from NaNoWriMo to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge to the 3-Day Novel Contest. But have I ever really thought about writing as a way to grow and change as a person?

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In the past, I’ve certainly used writing as a way to understand myself better, to explore my own thoughts and feelings, and even as therapy. I’ve always considered writing the way that I best work through issues and problem-solve, whether I’m writing notes to myself, creating To Do lists, or just scribbling away. I’ve kept journals, both public and private. I’ve written about a variety of topics. I’ve used my writing to speak to myself as well as to others.

But lately, my writing – and my life in general – has fallen into a funk. I rarely leave the house, due to a feeling that I have too much work to do, a feeling of being almost chained to my desk, and therefore don’t get much physical activity at all. I need to break out of these bad habits, and this stale routine.

So, modeling my proposal on that of the course instructor, Erin Jourdan, here’s what I’m going to do about it:

STUNT WRITING FOR PERSONAL GROWTH: Parameters

  • I commit to walking & writing for 30 minutes every day.
  • My stunt is focused around: exercising my body and my mind.
  • I will consider this aspect of my life from 3 different perspectives, one each week for 3 weeks.

WEEK ONE: Poetry – Daily Haiku

WEEK TWO: Prose – Postcard Stories

WEEK THREE: Podcast – Walking & Talking

#1 Write a short paragraph about what your stunt is, this will be your “plan of attack.”

I have become stuck in a rut, narrowing both my actual physical space and worldview due to the fact that I work at home. I rarely leave the house, except to pop out to the mailbox every other day, and the lack of physical activity is taking its toll on my body as well as my mind. I propose to break out of this routine by doing the following:

  1. I will wake up an hour earlier in order to head out for a daily walk, thus negating my “I don’t have time for exercise!” objections.
  2. During my walk I will take note of anything interesting I see, make to do lists for the day, interact with people or simply enjoy some music on my headphones as I explore my town on foot.
  3. I must walk for a minimum of 30 minutes, but my pace can be as leisurely as I like. I will also spend 30 minutes pondering and writing about the experience, ideally in a different place each day to further help shake up my routine.
  4. My writing practice will focus on breaking out of my typical storytelling modes, by using haiku the first week, postcard-length stories the second, and recording brief podcasts while walking in week 3.
  5. Writings will be posted on my blog, for accountability purposes.

#2 Create Restrictions: Removal, Consequences, Places, People, Research, Data, Change and Practice

-Change: I will take up daily walks.

-Removal: I will not stay cooped up in my house working all day! Instead I will remove myself from this boxed-in environment.

-Consequences: I will donate $10 to a cause I despise when I fail to go out for my daily walk.

-Places: I will walk to different places each day in order to circumvent boredom. Places to explore/walk to during the week include the library, bookstores, post office, grocery store, parks, restaurants, local boutiques, artisan displays. Places to walk on weekends include the beach, downtown, different neighborhoods, the mall, aquarium, Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, etc.

-Things: I will write haiku, postcard stories and podcast scripts as I go along.

-Research: I will investigate new places to take walks (and refer to http://www.frommers.com/trip-ideas/outdoor-adventure/11-great-walks-in-sunny-san-diego or http://www.carolmendelmaps.com/walking-tours/ for more ideas).

-Data: I will keep a log of my walks and writings on my blog.

-Practice: I will explore more of my city, and take at least one guided tour per week.

So…

What kinds of stunts will YOU participate in for the next three weeks?

2 Responses
  1. Cyn K says:

    I’m enrolled in the course, too. I’m working on my plan now and seeing others’ examples has been very helpful. Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Cyn, and good luck with your plan!