Today we had our second writers’ meeting of the month, the one we call our “Think Tank.” The idea of it is to provide a practical venue for whatever we need—perhaps green lighting together, seeking input or critique from each other, or in some way applying what we’ve been learning. Following our meeting on Goals, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC) from our meeting two weeks ago, some of us have been working to apply it to our stories, as I wrote about doing last week.
To accomplish that, sometimes I’ve had to go to the very core—What does the Point of View character want in this scene? (goal) Why does she want it? (motivation) What is keeping her from getting it? (conflict). Those are the building blocks of any story that keeps the reader turning pages.
Today at Think Tank we had a chance to apply the concept to ourselves personally. First we went around the circle and expressed one of our goals for this year, whether for our writing or some other aspect of life. One, for example, is working to lose weight, one wants to connect with an agent, while I want to get beyond this revision and rewriting.
Then one at a time we had to verbalize our motivation, our why? Those were interesting, but most interesting was when we had to verbalize our conflicts—what is keeping us from our goal? An interesting collection turned up, with a fair amount of overlap. Most of us have work responsibilities, one has young children. We deal with interruptions of every kind, every day. Most of us simply have more things that we need or want to do than we have hours in our days, and everyone can identify with that. I know my ancestors worked harder physically than I ever will, but I’m also sure none of them were pulled in so many directions almost constantly.
We learned a good bit about ourselves today, some more than others. I invite you to take a few minutes to do the same, either alone or with a spouse or someone else close to you. Choose a goal, something you really want. Verbalize why you want it, and then take a good look at the conflicts which fight against your obtaining it. You may pick up some practical perspectives on changes you might be able to make to help you better reach your goal.