Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Change Up The Plot

A few months ago I wrote about starting a new journal that only has 70 lined pages, much shorter than my other journals. (Click here to read full post.) I made the point that the journal can serve as a short story. My goal was to pack a lot of living into a few pages.

When I was down to the last 12 pages (front and back) I noted in my journal entry: "I don't have a lot of time remaining to add to my short story. Is there something I can do that will propel my story forward? Is there a sudden change in the plot?"

Isn't that how a good book reads? You're going along thinking that you know how everything is going to turn out, and then bam! You're thrown a curve ball. You didn't see it coming. And it changes everything.

For the next couple weeks I lived with the intention of changing up the plot. I said "yes" to more opportunities. I slept naked on more nights. I reserved a lakefront campsite and cooked a delicious shrimp dinner over the fire. I zoomed down the longest and highest zipline in North American. I initiated courageous conversations. I delighted in being in the moment. I let it be known, this is who I am and this is what I've come for.

A couple weeks later I savored the experience of writing my final entry in the short journal. I met my goal—I had packed a lot of living into a few pages. By being intentional, by changing up the plot, I put forth the extra effort to write an interesting story—one that is too good to put down and keeps getting better.

Retirement is the perfect time to pack a lot of living into a short story—a new story that gets more interesting when you change up the plot.