100 steps out the comfort zone


One of the best things about Teachers Write is the inspiration from guest authors. They always offer a new way of looking at previous work, works in progress, and fresh new work. Today’s Quick-Write from Anne Marie Pace is a prime example. Her “100 steps” exercise won’t put much of a dent in your fitbit goal, but it pushes you to think differently about who and where you are.

As I thought more about it, I saw a connection to yesterday’s Monday Morning Warm-up. Among many ideas for getting your writing mind going, Jo suggests writing something that makes you uncomfortable. The 100 steps would put me in several uncomfortable places: the backyard of an abandoned house, a middle school parking lot, several neighbors’ yards, etc. I thought about my main character, one who sees the potential for criminal behavior in himself, and channeled his point of view. What kind of criminal behavior might be inspired by each of these settings? Some of the ideas that came made me pretty uncomfortable. I don’t yet know if I am brave enough to develop them, let alone share them.

Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of this excercise was when I asked myself, “What if my character is female?” What kind of trouble would she find? What criminal acts could she be inspired to commit? I’m playing with gender and age and considering race and ethnicity, each revealing different layers of trouble.

There’s no story yet, but a lot of pieces. A lot of uncomfortable pieces! This is fun!


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