2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 3

We’ve got our goals and a road map for achieving them. Today, we’re going to switch things up a bit. In fact, I’m planning to share a writing prompt every Friday during the month.

For today’s task, write about your happiest memory. Don’t worry about structuring the memory. Just write down everything you can remember. Then, you can come back to the memory later to fix it up, if you wish.

Here’s my happiest moment:

After weeks of false alarms and hours of sitting in a room as my wife went through labor, I still didn’t know how I felt about the baby-to-be. I was excited to be a dad, but it still felt like some kind of abstract idea–like how I’d be excited to win the lottery, but the idea is too abstract when you don’t have the money in hand. It’s still just a dream.

Finally, the doctor says my wife is not dilating enough and that they’ll have to take the baby by c-section. So they have me put on the medical gown, cap, face mask, and shoe coverings. Then we wind through a series of hallways, and it feels like a riding a roller coaster knowing this is about to happen for real. And I’m still not sure how I’m going to react. Of course, I try to comfort my wife, who’s actually experiencing the labor, but I’m freaking out too.

In the operating room, they put up a blind so that I can’t see the cutting and pulling and whatever else is going on. Instead, I focus on my wife who feels cold and sleepy, because of the pain medicine she was given. Since it’s my first time, I actually start to worry about her more than what’s happening on the other side of the screen. Then, we hear a scream.

A little scream, more like a grunt. And before I know it, I’m showing our little boy off to my wife. In a daze, I’m ushered out of the room as my son is cleaned and wife stitched up. I’m led to a waiting room where they’ll deliver my wife and baby and where our family is already waiting.

Then, it happens: the happiest moment. I hold my son for the second time, and I’m able to take my time and let it rush over me–that this is my son. I am holding my son.

It’s a little rushed, but that’s my happiest memory–that moment when I first held my first son. I could probably add more details with more time, but I don’t want to hold everyone else up while I work on mine.

Why bother writing a happiest moment?
This exercise was brought to my attention at a writing retreat a couple years back, and I think it’s great. The exercise of digging for our most intense moments can help us in several ways.

  • It may lead to a personal essay.
  • It might spark a poem.
  • It might help with a short story.

Even if you don’t use your personal happiest moment, it can instruct for writing an authentic moment in your story, essay, or poem. For instance, looking back on my happiest memory, I realized for the first time how detached and distracted I felt before the actual moment swept over me.

Maybe that’s what makes my happiness authentic. I didn’t go into the experience expecting it to be my happiest moment. If anything, I was terrified that I would mess something up, and–as I wrote above–I was more focused on my wife than the baby that would soon sweep me off my feet.

Anyway, that’s my happiest memory. Start writing yours today.

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 the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He edits Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing. He also writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He’s no longer married to the mother of his first son (mentioned above), but he is married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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