A Compelling Goal
By Bryan Cohen
I am a total nerd. Throughout most of middle and high school I played an extensive catalog of video games. Sure, some of them were the fun shoot ‘em ups that even the popular kids would play from time to time. Most of the games I played, however, involved wizards, warriors, and dragons. I loved becoming immersed in games like those in the Final Fantasy series that took 50+ hours of my time to complete.
Every once in a while, I start feeling the pull of these games and I am compelled to begin playing them again. The only way I am able to get myself away from their time-sucking grasp is to give myself a more exciting and interesting real-life challenge to face. To get away from a game centered on quests, I have to give myself a real-life quest.
I realized later in life that these games were so interesting to me because they were goal-oriented. I didn’t have many goals myself at the time, so I let Nintendo and Sony come up with them for me. “Find the special jewel in the mystical cave” or “create an antidote using a flower from the hidden forest” and so on. Sure, these goals were pretty silly, but they were clear and positive and I was confident I could achieve them. If you don’t have a compelling goal in your life, someone or something (perhaps even a video game producer) will come up with your goals for you.
It is up to you to design the direction of your life. You simply need to make sure the destination is exciting enough for you to put things like video games and other time wasters off to the side. In college, this compelling goal was to write, act, and direct in my school’s theatre program. I put everything I had: time, ideas, love, and anything else I could muster into every show I was a part of. Let me tell you, when a show went well, I felt a heck of a lot better than I did defeating an army of evil orcs.
Nowadays, my compelling goal is to write and publish my work to help and/or entertain people. If I ever feel sucked into a time waster, I just remind myself that my real-life goal is a lot more exciting and tangible. The first step in this process is to create an interesting goal to achieve. Until then, any shiny light of entertainment or ho-hum task given to you by someone else will be who you are and what you do.
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner.
He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!
To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.
Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.Creatively Stuck? Check out http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com
Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.