100 Days of Fiction: I Stopped at Day 30

The acknowledgement that yes, I stopped working on the 100 Days Project after Day 30 is hard to ‘fess up to. I’d love white-pento share the reasons why it stopped, but anything I say about it would be excuses.

The truth of the matter is: I began to judge my results. Writing a fictional sentence on a sheet of paper and photographing it became a boring series of photos with no “artistic” value. I looked at all the other 100 Day projects and saw how, frankly, boring mine was.

Comparison is a tricky thing for all of us.

I know…life coaches are expected to show how perfectly we do things while we express and share how all out fabulous  our life is so that people will want to work with us.

The thing is, I am human. Yes, I am an amazing coach, but that doesn’t mean I am perfect. My view on being a coach, though, it that just like I share all the ways that my life is nourishing and loving, I need to also occasionally express a bit of the vulnerable underbelly of living, too.

To share only the sunny side of living would be outside of my personal integrity and authenticity.

Though the daily writing of fictional sentences stopped feeling motivational to me, it doesn’t mean that my desire for creating fiction tales has left me. I have stories within me waiting to make their way into the light, but for now, they are hiding in the recesses of my brain awaiting their turn to become a priority.

Ah, priorities. A bit of a topic change, and yet, not.

I am at the year five mark of my full time coaching practice and all signs are pointing to the need for me to restructure things a bit. I am not yet sure what that will look like, but it’s time to take a step back, take stock, and make some decisions about where I want to put my time and energy.

Like the stories in my head, different ways of approaching my business world are twirling around in my brain. Unlike the stories, though, these ideas are begging to be put into action in the near future. Because of everything that eats away at this precious time, the priority is still on a well lived, loving and nourishing daily life.

100 Days of Fiction: Days 13 through 21

This sabbatical has been interesting. And certainly has led to me learning a lot of big and little lessons. It’s been writingontheporch_041715harder than I thought it was going to be – harder to focus on my dream list of things I wanted to do, hard to admit to myself that I wasn’t prepared, hard to find out what my favorite restaurants are having as their special because they only update that info on their Facebook page…

But the thing is, all of these hard lessons have been good lessons to learn.

I’ve also picked up more than a little clarity around what I long for and what I need and what ingredients I am missing when it comes to actively cultivating and creating the kind of daily life I desire to lead.

More later on that – but for now, here’s the last week of snippets from my 100 Days of Fiction Project:

Day 13

Day 14

 

Day 15

Day 16

 

Day 17

Day 18

 

Day 19

Day 19: “Paula knew it was time to be a bigger person. ” #The100DayProject #100DaysofFictionByDebra

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Day 20

 

Day 21

100 Days of Fiction: Days 9 through 12

One day, I will tell you more about Paula….

Day 9

Day 10

 

Day 11

Day 12

 

100 Days of Fiction: Days 4 through 8

Though I am doing this project and some writing, I am officially on sabbatical so am not on the computer as much.  Here are days four through eight.

Day Four

Day Five

 

Day Six

Day Seven

 

Day Eight

And the Special Prompt Posted on Day 8:

 

100 Days of Fiction: Day Two

Happy hour was a curious animal that brought out all kinds of beasties. And the thing is, it didn’t matter what bar you wandered into one an average Tuesday anywhere or in any neighborhood across the south. The cast of patrons were always the same.

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There was the regular. Always in the corner spot of the bar. Everyone knew his name – be it Norm or Mark or Walter. He was a fixture, there. He drank draft beer and alternated that with the occasional shot. He knew all the bartenders and half the patrons by name.

There was the business suited woman sipping on a Merlot.  She kept her iPhone in her hand and, though she looked a little lonesome, she didn’t speak to the other patrons.

The pair of happy-go-lucky guys dressed in the male version of the business casual uniform: khakis and polo shirts with company logos over the left breast, drinking beer, planning their next golf game, and razzing each other over whatever sport was in season.

And then there’s the bombshell. A beautiful woman, though not classically so. She was vibrant and alluring, yet seemed clueless to her own  sexiness. She wore silky blouses and fitted tees paired with form fitting jeans and high heels, which she hooked over the bottom rung of the bar stool. Her eyes were bright and friendly, yet the most sensitive patrons saw the secrets deep within.

100 Days of Fiction: Day One

She pulled into the drive-through of Starbucks, her body craving a mocha. With an extra shot of espresso and extra whip cream. It had been one of those kinds of days where all she could think about was medicating the heartache with sweetness.

Ahead of her was a woman in a blue Toyota Carola with lots of curly red hair. She had one of those carrying voices that was not just loud, but sounded like she was always perky and cheerful. As the woman finished her order (an Extra Hot Caramel Macchiato and a Blueberry Scone), a giant dog with a slobbery tongue stuck his head out the passenger window. It was a Bernese Mountain Dog and he was grinning.

Dogs in cars always looked so happy. She longed to feel joy -or anything – that strongly again. Briefly she wondered if getting a big old dog was the answer to experiencing that deep sense of happiness.

But life was just too complicated to add a dog.

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

100 Days of Fiction

When The Great Discontent featured the lovely Elle Luna and introduced the 100 Days of Making, I was intrigued. luna-100dayproject-pledge1Though I didn’t know exactly what my project would be, I felt a deep call to do it.

It’s a scary prospect in so many ways. Committing to doing it would be committing to doing something for 100 days straight. It would mean that others would see me and possibly judge me.What if I slipped up? What if I lost interest?

And, with the project on Instagram, it would “have” to be visual, right? I am not an artist (my Mandala class has made that obvious). My photography is passable.  I’ve done month long photography projects (like In Plain Sight), but I didn’t want to to take 100 days of Coffee Photos, no matter how much I love coffee or photos. Because, photos are not my art. Words are my art.

But no matter how many ways I tried to talk myself out of it, I decided to commit. Because my heart asked me to.

What would 100 Days of Making something – anything – show me? About myself. About my body of work. About my process. About my muse.  What would surrendering to 100 days lead me to?

I wanted to do something out of my norm, yet something that would feel nourishing. My art is writing, yet I write all the time. The average week produces between 4000 and 8000 words of content.

I didn’t want to commit to 100 days of writing in my journal because often those words aren’t meant for anyone else’s eyes, and making it this project would taint my journal, a demon I’ve sought to banish for the last decade. I didn’t want to commit to 100 days of blogging, that felt like work, too. The thought of one more piece of consumable professional content per day felt like a prison, not a delight. And writing consumable content that was reflective of my business brand felt contrary to the goal of the project, which is to show up each day and commit to luna-100dayproject-pledge3the process, not fetishize the finished product.

Then it hit me: write fiction.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” –Rumi

Though I read a lot of great non-fiction and creative non-fiction. And though I enjoy poetry. What I most passionately consume as a reader when it comes to words is fiction.

I spend the bulk of my writing time deep within the bowels of non-fiction these days. I write blog posts and newsletter articles that directly support my coaching practice. I record recipes. I craft eBooks for subscribers with worksheets and exercises. I put my coaching tools to work in the form of courses. I write articles for YourTango and other websites. I ask the questions that need to be asked so that people can fall in love with their own story.

And the thing is, I used to write fiction. I used to write vignettes. I used to write short stories. I used to work on a novel.  And as I was pondering ideas for 100 Days of…. I realized I hadn’t written fiction for at least four years. The thought of writing fiction when “I have so much writing for work that needs to be done” felt frivolous and UN-productive.

Yet, it feels so right and aligned with the intent of the 100 Days Project.

Beginning Monday, April 6th, I will be writing fiction for 100 days. Some days may see full paragraphs. Others may see two. Many days will likely see a single sentence. I’ll be handwriting my fiction in a segregated notebook purchased just for this project so that there is no “cross contamination” in my journal or work papers.

If you’d like to follow along, I’ll be sharing my project over on Instagram  which I will sometimes post to Facebook or Twitter) and will be tagging it with the official  tag: #The100DayProject as well as my personal one #100DaysofFictionByDebra.

What would 100 Days of Making manifest for you? What would it show you? I’ll be looking for other 100 Days projects for inspiration, so be sure and let me know if you’ll be participating, too!