The Question that Gets Deeper

What Do I Want?

In August, I had the pleasure of going on a writer’s retreat with the East Valley Authors chapter of Romance Writers of America. The speaker that day was the talented Shannon Donnelly, and her focus was on storytelling (which also included writing well-rounded characters).

What really stuck with me was something that I’m using in my personal life now. As I get older, and as the family dynamic around me changes, and as I spend more time getting comfy with the hour of 2 am during bouts of insomnia, I find myself dissatisfied with certain areas of my life; so Shannon’s story question became personal for me.

I asked myself the question. What do I want?

Insert Superficial Answer Here

When I ask myself that question and I’m at the Day Job, and it’s almost lunchtime, 99% of the time my answer will be the Beef Panang from Vic’s Thai. No, seriously. It’s THAT GOOD.

But when I  stuffed myself with Beef Panang and asked myself the question again, I came up with a different answer. And it got deeper (the way it’s supposed to) when I applied Shannon’s method of divining character motivation.

What do I want? – A life free of day-to-day financial worry. (And Beef Panang from Vic’s Thai.)

What do I Really want? – The ability to travel to foreign countries with my husband.

What do I Really, Really want? – To hit all the bestseller lists with my novels.

What do I Really, Really, REALLY want? – A successful career in writing that enables me and my family to live without the day-to-day financial worry, whether that career be in novels, playwriting, writing for the movies, or TV.

Of course, there’s a second part to this. Who am I willing to kill   What am I willing to do to get what I want? But that’s a post for a different day.

~oOo~

What about you? What do YOU want? Sound off!

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16 Responses to The Question that Gets Deeper

  1. Well, that beef panang sounds like a pretty good thing, I want some of that. And then I pretty much want what you do too, except I don’t want to write for movies or TV. Just books. They don’t have to be on the NYTs bestseller list, but that would be cool.

    Right now, what I really, really, REALLY want is for this stinking headache to go away. 🙂 And some beef panang.

    • Christine says:

      Oh Tameri! I, too wish for you a headache-free day. And – I’ll share the beef panang with you. HUGS!!!

  2. Your list sounds pretty good to me, except insert enchiladas from El Fenix in place of Thai food!.

  3. Julie Rief says:

    I’m afraid that when I got to “what do I really really really want” , I burst out laughing. Not at your thoughts but just that phrase. I could hear Shannon’s voice saying it again and again, and seeing in the context of personal life goals – my mind started screaming “NO NO NO NO NO NO!” Then I burst out laughing. Christine… isn’t it enough that our characters with their conflicts goals motivations setting dialogue etc takes up most of our life? Do you have to make it worse?

    • Christine says:

      Julie you make me laugh! And unfortunately, yes, I have to make it worse. Because unrecognized need leads to overeating of the beef panang. Or the El Fenix enchiladas. Or wasting time doing stuff that doesn’t get you closer to your personal goals. I’m not like some people I could name – I don’t have a five year plan, a two year plan, a one year plan, a six month plan, a monthly plan, weekly, daily, etc. But I do need to keep my priorities in order, and they need to be crystal. HUGS hon!

  4. robena grant says:

    Well, all this talk of food makes me want to reply LUNCH! It’s past 1pm and I’m still at the computer.

    But yeah, I’d say good health so that I can enjoy the writing, so that I can make money from the writing, so that I can have financial freedom, so that I can travel without scrimping and scraping, so that I can visit different locations to write about. Ha ha.

    • Christine says:

      EXACTLY, Robena! I’m kind of supposing my continued good health is a given, but…do you remember oh, several years ago now, the meme (before they were called that I think) that went around saying what would happen if those things you didn’t give thanks for went away? Such as eyesight, mobility, hearing…I remember nightly giving thanks for the continued good health of my body! Which reminds me, I’ve lapsed in that habit – must start up again. Do you hear me, body? Thank you for all you do and your continued good health, lol!

  5. Claire Merriam Hoffman says:

    Ohh Christine, I like the way you think.

    I would have to go with your really really really want too. And your the addition of good health. My new treadmill desk is helping with that but I still have a ways to go.

    One thing I would add: I want a balance with in my successful writing life so I can enjoy the travel with the hubby and the future grand kids….

  6. That question is so daunting, I wasn’t going to leave a comment. It’s scary because I’m quite content on many, many levels. Though these days what I really really want is to get this contract overwith. Writing has lost some of that burning in my soul. What I really really really want is to live long enough to enjoy my grand kids. Oh, an that’s where being grateful for good health each and every days comes in – I really really really really want that.

  7. Okay, sign me up for the beef panang. After that, a combination of financial freedom so I don’t have to second guess myself for chucking the old career in favor of writing, the courage to write what I want, when I want, and not let the pressure of deadlines, editorial expectations or anything else suck the joy out of following a dream!

  8. I want my son to find his way in life despite his disabling epilepsy. ‘Oh but that is not a wish for yourself?’, you say? Yes it is. Right now he is living at our house and renting out his condo for half what it actually costs to maintain it and we are footing all his expenses because he is not able to work on the heavy meds they have him on right now.

    So before the ‘I want to write my way to financial freedom and unlimited travel’ comes the very family oriented need to see my son well enough to find not only his life’s passion, but a place to feel useful–and to support his own needs.

    That and some lunch. It is after noon 😉

    “What do you really, really want?” – The Spice Girls

  9. Debra Kristi says:

    I would say your list is right on target – without the killing, of course. Well, I would be willing to kill characters in my stories. 😀 Okay, now I’m rambling. Financial freedom is a huge motivator for me, be it through the traditional or self-publishing route. Personally, I think a hybrid method is the way to go. Get a feel for everything and figure out what you love most. That’s what you’ll usually excel at. Theory is, if you excel then you have the best chances of making the most in that area.

    Expanding beyond that to my children…I want them to find their niche. Their happy place where they excel. I hope to be that better parent to make it all happen for them.

  10. beverlydiehl says:

    There are two kinds of writing success for me. One is, yes, financial/commercial success, and I’d like that, and am working toward that with heavy study of the industry, But I’ve decided to kick that can down the road; while I am going to continue writing, I’m not to going to push for publication until I have at least three completed novels that I feel are good enough.

    The second is the pure joy in writing, in crafting an amazing story and intriguing characters, whether it’s in short form or long, or in non-fiction. I’ve decided that even if I had the financial success of JK Rowling, if I don’t ENJOY writing, then it is still a fail. So to that end, I’m working on my craft, and not stressing over the money. Do I wish I had more money and less credit card debt? Sure, but I have a decent job, and even if I never achieve financial success as a writer, I’ll do okay. If I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, I really have nothing.

  11. Niki Chanel says:

    What I would like is peace and goodwill to children – especially the ones next door. Their parents seem to be very unhappy people and their constant, loud, unkind words are heartbreaking and deeply disturbing, and disruptive.

    Then I want Panang.

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