2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 10

We spent this week working up our query letters–and chatting on Twitter. But today is Friday, which means today is a writing day.

For today’s task, write about a sweet memory. It could be something someone did for you, something you did for someone else, or something you witnessed between two people. I know last week was happiest and this week’s is sweetest, so I promise we can get rid of some teenage angst next week.

Here’s my sweet memory:

For the first time in a long while, I missed the school bus. I lived too far away to walk and while I could do a bike, it would be super late (plus, I’d have to ride it back home–after track practice).

After worrying for a few minutes, I decided I should call my grandparents and ask if they could help. In a few more minutes, grandpa was outside honking the horn. Not in a mean way; he’s actually pretty silly most times.

On the way to school, he asked about how I was doing in school. “I’m doing good,” I said, which was a lot more true than saying I was doing great.

“I’m so glad,” he said. “Your mom works so hard for you to have a good education. I always wish I had a better education. It’s one of the most important things you can have. So you have options.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty good,” I said. He worked at a car factory, as did my mom.

Stopped at a red light, I could tell he was about to start talking about something that was uncomfortable for him. “I know your dad did some bad stuff with you,” he started, “and that you’re not talking to him.”

“Yeah,” I said, already feeling my defensive shell starting to raise. I’d recently come out to my family about a dark secret between me and my dad–and I still wasn’t comfortable talking too much about it with anyone but my mom.

“I understand if you’re mad with your dad for doing bad stuff to you,” he said. “But I also know family is the most important thing you have in life. If you don’t have family, you’re by yourself.” Silence. “I hope you can forgive your father someday.”

And I expected more, but that was it. He dropped me off at school and let me know he’s always around to help–and I was left with his message that he loved me, education is important, and family is important. No complaining about picking me up or having to tote me around; he helped me out, no questions asked.

At a time when I was struggling with so much (did I mention I was a teenager), my mistake of missing the bus actually led to one of the sweetest moments that helped guide me over the next few years.

While it took time, I did eventually take my studies much more seriously; and while it took even more time, I did forgive my father–and I have my grandfather to thank for reminding me what’s important without once telling me what I had to do.

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As with last week’s prompt, this story is a little rushed, but that’s the best way to attack a first draft. Just get down all the bones and re-visit it later.

Why bother writing a sweet memory?
We discussed digging into our memory banks last week. But here’s what I’d suggest doing now that you have two different memories.

  • Compare and contrast the flow of the happiest moment with that of the sweetest moment. Do the memories move at the same pace? Do the words you use change? Do you remember more or less details? It’s okay if there are similarities.
  • Consider what differentiates a happy moment from a sweet moment. Sure, many happy moments might be sweet; and most sweet moments might make you happy. But I know for my sweet memory, I wasn’t consciously happy at the time; in fact, I was probably a little stressed about getting to school on time.
  • Think of moments in stories you’ve read that are sweet and moments that are happy. They’re not always the same moments, are they? By analyzing how other writers tackle these moments, you can become more aware of how you treat them.

If you’d like to share your moment on your blog, remember that you can tweet a link using the #gswc hashtag on Twitter.*****

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robert_lee_brewer_1Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a fan of sweet moments. By the way, he was reminded yesterday that he’s now been with the WD team for 14 years this January; isn’t that cool? He’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems, and a few of his 2014 goals have been shared here. One of those goals is to write a story each week–regardless of length. Follow Robert on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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Check out a few recent tasks in this challenge here: