Something completely different

Jocelyn Doll

I got halfway through around six different columns this week about all of the different things that are going on in the world right now.

Though they started off mostly rational, they ended up being babbling nonsense.

The emotion ran too high, the ideas didn’t connect and I couldn’t say what I wanted to say within a manageable word count.

Worst of all, they all came off as either condescending, whiny or lecturing.

And I don’t want that.

So instead, this week let’s talk about something completely different, writing.

I’ve decided to write a piece of creative non-fiction for this year’s CBC non-fiction contest. Since graduating from university almost two years ago now, I have been meaning to branch out from journalism and write creative non-fiction but I haven’t had the time, nor the motivation.

For those who don’t know, creative non-fiction is using literary techniques like plot, character development and setting to tell a true story.

The guidelines are kind of gray, the genre is still developing but memoirs and biographies fall into the spectrum.

Telling true stories, you think I would have a pretty good handle on that since it’s my job.

But this is different.

I want to build scenes and put people in places and develop characters in a more in-depth way.

Mind you, the word count for these submissions is around 1,600 words, so that doesn’t leave much room for character development.

The stories are also hard to come by for me.

I don’t exactly have a lot of life stories to write about and entertaining or highly emotional things make for the best kinds of stories, fiction or non-fiction.

So I’m going to tell one of my dad’s stories.

I’m hoping that working towards a deadline will motivate me enough to get this done.

Surprise, surprise I am a very deadline driven person.

But we will see.

Sometimes asking people you know about personal experiences and feelings is even more intimidating than asking strangers.

I need to interview my dad for this story, and he said he would help me, but I have been putting it off anyway.

I’ll push through, though, it will be a bonding experience for us.

I think we should all ask our parents and grandparents more about their lives.

I will transcribe our conversation, and then I will sit down and write.

Hopefully the story will come easier than this column has.

It is going to be nice to sit down and write something and then have time to rewrite and have friends look at my copy and give me helpful hints.

It is going to be nice to have time to perfect my project before I submit it.

I’m trying not to overthink.

I’m trying not to plan out the symbolism that could be interpreted from the themes that I will be incorporating.

I’m trying not to worry that I won’t do the story justice.

I’m trying not to give up before I even start because I know I don’t have any chance of winning.

But the best way to do what you are passionate about is to just dive right in and do it.

That’s my challenge for you readers this week.

Join me in doing something you have always wanted to do but have been too scared to try.

My deadline is Feb. 28, make it your deadline too.

Good luck!