Getting Published: Setting Achievable Goals

My life goals typically look like this:

  • Acquire matching socks.
  • Acquire fingerless gloves.
  • Buy a stupid mango and actually eat it instead of forgetting it exists and throwing it away two weeks too late.
  • Acquire fresh produce and cook a meal. It’s been a while, and I’ve gotten lazy at this.
  • Accomplish list of things required to maintain the frimbly facade of being an adult (including, not limited to: go to bank, schedule ophthalmologist appointment, research cars, probably call internet company?)

Basically, my lists are now-oriented. I’m not a big fan of Bucket Lists or Life Goals. Why? Because I want attainable goals that I know I can accomplish. I want to dangle the cookie just within reach, because then I’ll fight for it. I don’t want to hang the cookie on a distant star in outer space where I can only see it through a very expensive telescope that I can’t afford.

There’s a metaphor in there, I promise.

Anyway, my goal lists are always concrete and reasonable. This goes for things like basic human functions, and larger scale goals that are linked to my passions.

So when I set the goal as a wee child to publish a book, I knew I had a lifetime to do it. It was my cookie in the stars. But as I grew up, I broke that goal down into cookie-on-a-string tasks. Here’s a brief list of goals I set:

  • Write 100 poems and 100 short stories during high school.
  • When, among one of those stories, a premise had enough promise to potentially be a longer story, I set the goal of writing a novel.
  • I set the goal of finishing it while I was in high school. Two years later, as my high school graduation neared, I finished it with less than a week to spare.
  • My first year at college, I set the goal of writing my first NaNoWriMo book during my first year of college, where I wrote 12,000 words on the first day, and I finished the book by that January.
  • I set a goal to revise my first book and write my first query letter.
  • Then I read the entire Query Shark archives to actually learn what a query letter is supposed to look like.
  • I set the goal of researching and querying 10 agents.
  • After I graduated college, I had written three books, and I gave my first manuscript another pass on revisions.
  • Then I gave myself an end-of-year goal: apply to grad school for creative writing or get a job. I got a job as a technical writer three months out of college (which I love).
  • Instead of moving on, though, I entered Pitch Wars 2015 on the last day of submissions. I’ve talked a lot about my Pitch Wars experience here (and feel free to ask questions about it here), but a hop, skip, and boat ride away, I got multiple offers from agents. Then I got multiple offers from publishing houses. Then, suddenly, I had a book deal for two NAMELESS books.
  • But my goals didn’t stop there. Now, my goals have been things like:
    • Cut the opening 100 pages to 50 pages.
    • Write my first outline (it ended up being 13 pages long!) to guide my revisions.
    • Write an outline for book 2.
    • Do line edits for a friend’s book (which I’ve never successfully done before) ((and guys, she’s awesome))

Things are crazy. This place I’ve found myself is crazy. Setting goals makes it seem less crazy and stressful and makes it seem possible. It makes it achievable.

At times, it’s incomprehensibly and phenomenally lightning fast. Sometimes it trudges like dregs of unmixed hot cocoa: delightful and painfully out of reach. Sometimes its simplicity is astoundingly sharp.

Sometimes I get to write blog posts about the hundreds of tiny steps and goals, the relentless and torturous ambition, and the unending thrill of finally being so close to my sky-cookie that I can taste it.

And guys? It tastes like starlight.*

 

*not literal starlight, which tastes more like electric blue and unsaturated nebulas… so I’m told.

Writing Exercise: Shared Poetry (Campfire Style)

Think hot potato. Then think poetry.

That’s right, a really fun and probably terrible poem is about to burst into existence.

Here’s a writing exercise I did with my sister for funsies, and it was really really fun.

What you need:

  • 2+ people
  • 2 different colored pens
  • 1 or 2 pieces of paper
  • A timer (you can Google “timer” and get a really simple one)
  • A dash of imagination and adventure

Here’s the rules:

  1. You put the timer on for 30 seconds at a time.
  2. Start the timer! You each start writing a poem on your page. Hopefully you have legible handwriting.
  3. For 30 seconds, you write and write and write. When the timer goes off, finish the word you’re on. (Or don’t! You can cut off in the middle of a word if you want!)
  4. Trade papers! Start the timer again!
  5. Go back and forth like this until you’re about half way down the page. Now might be a good time to change the timer from every 30 seconds to every 45 seconds (or longer).
  6. When you get to the bottom of the page, stop! Or if you think the poem has ended or needs more space, feel free to keep going or stop early.
  7. Your poems are done!
  8. You each get to add a title to one of the poems!

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Leave an inch or two at the top of the page so you can add a title once it’s finished.
  • Leave an inch or so margin on the left side of the page in case you want to go through and add doodles or art or something later!
  • Use pens that have a different enough color so you can tell who wrote what.
  • Don’t forget to sign and date it! Sign it in the color you wrote with.
  • If you finish it and want to share it with us!
    • Twitter: tag us (@McRebecky and @MelAnn1313) with the tag #campfirepoetry
    • Instagram: @MelAnn1313
  • If you just want to let us know if this was helpful or fun, leave a comment here and share your experience!

Here’s what one of ours looked like!

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The final version, typed:
Except Nothing
the aroma of damp, decaying leaves
and crisp fall air with nothing,
nothing on the skyline except
except
except
maybe that’s just it — Nothing.
Does it frighten you?
You, who has spent time frolicking in fields
of death — graveyard flowers, cracking headstones,
trash left by those who couldn’t forget
the emptiness of horizons, the loneliness of what
once was, now only a void.
This is you.
Or it was. At least. Once. It was. I promise.
Death. You are Death. Right? Or have you
abdicated that title in exchange for a
new one. Are you Angel? My angel?
I almost feel the decay of winter
chilled against my fingernails, my toes. Is this–
this– the sky you’ve left for me?
Bleak, gray, unyielding to my cries and prayers?
Except
Except
It is not empty. I am not empty. I am Death, too.

Friendly Interrogation

Stuck in a plot? Feeling like your story could use some spice? Want to avoid cliches and plot holes?

Find your friendly neighborhood interrogator!

Seek out that special someone who likes to ask too many questions, and sit them down for some tea and cake and questioning. Ideally, pick someone who isn’t familiar with your story. And all the questions you find answers to, make sure they are reflected in your story!

The Plan? Explain the premise of your book or the basics of the plot.

The Goal? Have them ask questions. It’ll look something like this:

You: Hey, I’m going to explain my book/story/thing. Can you just ask any and all questions you have? The hope is to find anywhere I haven’t thought things through and build on things from there.

Friendly Interrogator (Fi): Sure. As long as there’s coffee involved.

You: There’s no coffee. Only tea.

Fi, narrowing eyes: Very well. Continue.

You: So my story is about this girl who lives on an island called Persill. The island is one of many in a place called the Endless Archipelago, where there are only islands, no continents. Persill island is home to the rare Evergreen trees, so-called because they never wilt or die. There are spruce trees, oaks, firs, maples… and they are all magical and always green. The leaves from one can heal scars, and pine needles from one tree can be brewed into a healing tea.

Fi: Like this?  *holds up cup of bitter tea that is decidedly not coffee*

You: You’re not going to let this go, are you?

Fi: *deadpan stare*

THIRTEEN MINUTES LATER

You settle back into your seat, several dollars poorer.

Fi, clutching cup of steaming coffeePlease, continue. Don’t get so distracted.

You: So. Trees. Always green. Some heal sickness, some heal wounds, and some are used to fertilize and ensure bountiful crops.

Fi: What kind of crops?

You: I don’t know. Probably regular crops? Like carrots and tomatoes?

Fi: I don’t think you grow those at the same time of year. You should probably research that.

You, taking notes: Research… crops… time of year…. got it. Now, all the archipelago islands are controlled by one government, and the king wants—

Fi, over steaming coffee: How does one government control that many separate lands? And why is it always a monarchy? Why not an emperor or a dictator or a Supreme-o Leader Numero Uno?

You: Well, I guess the king—

Fi raises an eyebrow.

You:—or the supreme-o Leader… would have to have smaller local governments in place. But anyway, he—

Fi: And why is it a him? Why can’t the leader of the whole world be a woman?

You: I guess I didn’t really think about that. I just sort of made him a king. Or supreme-o leader. I guess I could think about that some more.

Fi takes a slow deliberate sip of coffee.

You: So there’s this girl on the island. She’s hired as a climber with other kids because they’re nimble enough to climb to the tops of the really-really-really tall trees to harvest leaves and seeds and such. But Supreme-O Uno is demanding more and more of the Evergreen yields, and leaving little to none for the native islanders.

Fi: Why does the island need magic tree-stuff at all? Why does the genderless Supreme-o want it?

You: Okay, well, the island needs the Evergreen yields to make their crops grow, and the crops won’t grow without it. That makes sense, right? And Supreme-o needs the Evergreen because all the other islands are suffering without it.

Fi: I guess that’s cool. The Supreme-o isn’t being a selfish jerk. They just want their kingdom to succeed and survive. But why can’t they just transplant some trees to the other island? So EVERYONE can have bountiful crops.

You, ponderous: Probably… because… because the trees can’t be harvested or damaged, or else they stop yielding leaves and fruit and stuff. And Supreme-o’s ships are on their way to collect the harvest, but they’re falling behind. So Ria volunteers to join the dangerous group of climbers to help sustain her family and be prepared for the ships to come.

Fi, stirring coffee idly: What kind of ships? What era are we in? Is the internet a thing yet? How about steam engines or gasoline or nukes? I guess they wouldn’t have trains if they’re on islands.

You: Er… I hadn’t really decided what era we’re in. Something with ships. Which is… like… every era. But probably no Internet? But a loose industrial-era would work, I guess. Except instead of trains and coal and stuff, they’re focused on ships and aircraft.

Fi: You mentioned a main character? What’s so special about being a climber? Is it just a monkey race to get the harvest in time?

You: So Ria has to collect her quota for the harvest, and she ends up trespassing on the forbidden property of the island’s oldest family who refuse to let the island harvest from their trees.

Fi: How come? If they’re behind on quota, there’s a local government, AND the other islands are depending on it, then why would this family say no? And why wouldn’t the government MAKE them hand it over? I mean, have you even seen what Higher Power Folks do for natural resources?

You: It’s complicated. The family claims that they are the ones who grew the first Evergreen plants generations ago, and so technically ALL of the Evergreens belong to them. They struck a deal a long time ago to let the islanders harvest the trees, but only the ones outside their land.

Fi: But why does Parsnip Island let that restriction stay in place if things are so dire?

You, slightly frustrated: It’s Persill, not Parsnip, sassypants. And there’s got to be a reason. Maybe Ria doesn’t know why, and everyone else is too afraid to find out? Something dangerous or secretive?

Fi: You should probably figure that out. So what happens when she trespasses?

You: She gets startled when she sees something she can’t explain: a strange boy high in the trees. Instead of dark veins along his arms, they are green, like the veins of a leaf—green like the Evergreen trees.

Fi: Why does she not know who he is?

You: On a small island, just like a small town, everyone knows or recognizes each other.But the family who owns the Evergreen trees are reclusive. There are rumors, but no one has really seen them in a long time.

Fi, slurping noisily from almost-empty coffee cup: Speaking of islands. What’s this Endless Archipelago? Certainly it ends somewhere, right? What does that mean?

You: It’s a cool name.

Fi’s eyes narrow.

You, excited now: Okay… maybe it’s actually endless? Like a flat world that goes on forever. Or maybe you enter the fog at the edge of the map and appear at a different random edge? Or maybe you never come back. Maybe sending someone in a small boat into the fog is a penalty for crimes, like if you steal evergreen yield. And maybe that happened to someone Ria knew, or someone in her family. And maybe she faces the same fate if she fails to meet her quota or for trespassing?

Fi, smiling: There you go. Full of ideas now. You’re welcome. Hope you took notes. And we need more coffee.

How to be a Feminist Writer

fiw-01

It takes effort to be aware of and counteract prejudices. Here are a few steps you can take toward displaying gender equality in your writing.

  1. MATHMake a list of characters you have named, including characters who don’t appear on screen, etc. If you’ve mentioned a named character, put it on your list!
  2. IMAGINATIONImagine your main characters and secondary characters with the opposite or different gender/sex. How does it change the way you’ve imagined them?
  3. ACTION: Now, make changes based on your observations. Try to get an even keel on male vs. female characters, and changing a character’s gender/sex can add a new flare to your story.

 

1. Math

Tools of the Trade

One of the following: White board, Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet, Microsoft Table, or just a scrap piece of paper and pen

The Process

  1. Basically, make a table. Whether you do it in Excel, Word, or on paper/white board, it’s entirely up to you.
  2. Make two columns (or more if you have additional genders. Most common: Male and Female.
  3. By memory, start listing the characters who have names. You’ll probably start with the main characters and then move on to secondary, tertiary, and random folks. Try to be as comprehensive as possible.
  4. Go through, scanning your manuscript, and try to find all the names you couldn’t remember. I can almost guarantee you will find some.
  5. Look at your columns. Check to see if you have more names in the Male list than the Female. Or vice versa. I think you’ll be surprised to find that you probably have an uneven balance of characters.
  6. Let’s break it down even further. Put a box around the characters that are the main players in the story. Hero, villain, sidekick, etc. Box anyone who has screen time.
  7. Is the balance different? Maybe you have a lot of female characters, but all the major players are male?
  8. Let’s go again: Put a heart next to the names of people who fall in love or are otherwise considered romantically focused. Put a star next to characters who you consider to be strong. Put a sad face next to characters you consider weak or in need of rescuing.
  9. Take a look at how things are balanced. Have you accidentally given the male characters all the power and made the women the damsels? Are your female characters only interested in falling in love? These are traps we can fall into without thinking about it.

2. Imagination

Tools of the Trade

One of the following: If you’ve already made the Character Sheet from the 1. Math section, use it here! If you haven’t, you can just use your brain! No tools needed!

The Process

  1. Think about your main character. Think about your villain.
  2. Why did you decide to place them as their current genders? For example, why is the main character female and the villain a male?
  3. Often, I find that people default to having a cliche villain figure. Tall, dark, brooding male character who is evil for the sake of evil. But we must strive to make our villains as complex and interesting as our heroes, and that means asking questions.
  4. Why is your hero/villain their current gender?
  5. If you swap that character’s gender, what changes?
  6. Does changing the character’s gender fundamentally change that character’s identity or role?
  7. Does their behavior still make sense if they are the other gender?
  8. Go ahead and go through this same process with your secondary characters (especially if you have a lot of one gender from the Math section).

3. Action

Tools of the Trade

One of the following: Something to write with. Anything. That crayon under the couch.

The Process

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of the advice under Imagination comes from cliches in writing. We vilify bad guy and we make him a trope. Or we make a a damsel fall in love and get rescued by Hero.

Cliches come from the same place as prejudice: from not properly or complexly imagining others. To take steps forward, we need to do one thing: spend more time thinking and imagining characters/people.

  1. Instead of thinking about people, imagine a person. What does that person think and feel? Why are they doing what they are doing? Really try to get inside their head. If you give your characters—and others—a fraction of the time you spend in your own mind with your own life, then you’ll be surprised at how quickly they become more real.
  2. Walk through what happens when you change someone’s gender? If you want to change a powerful business executive from a male to a female, how would it change the way you write the character? Do those intense dialogue scenes now feel demanding and uptight instead of commanding and controlled? If so, this is evidence of gender bias that exists in workplaces, where people think powerful women are bossy instead of The Boss. So try to pay attention to how you display a character, and try to take steps to overcome those inherent predispositions. If you want to make a female character as The Boss, think about how you would write her as a male first in order to overcome unintended detrimental tone/content.
  3. Take a look at what you can change in your story. How many of the genders can you swap? Can you maybe add some balancing named characters in the future? Keep these things in mind moving forward!
  4. When you make a gut decision while writing, make sure you revisit it and ask why did I choose that, and could there be a more unexpected and original option?
  5. If the villain is a skeezy and sexist male, does making that villain a female make those traits seem uncomfortable and wrong? That might be gender stereotypes creeping into your writing. Don’t fall into the trap of making your male characters womanizing or creepy for the sake of making them villains. It doesn’t matter if it fits the gender; does it fit the character?
  6. Make sure you are writing and thinking with intention. If you make a decision, make sure you’re actively deciding it and not just letting the current of plot/life move you forward. That might sound like a lot of hard work. It is. It should be. Great writers and good people are empathetic and try their best to understand what makes a person do what they do.

In the end, you want your story to surprise people. You want readers to find your story original and fresh, and part of the way you do that is by making sure you aren’t falling into the easy traps of gender roles, cliches, and tropes.

Join Me!

For me, I almost always accidentally end up with more male characters than female. Most of them are side characters, so I try to even out the scoreboard where possible. While I’m doing that, I also try to make sure that I’m giving women jobs that maybe I typically ascribe to men. Like delivering bodies to a morgue or managing large finances or punching someone.

On the other side of that coin, I try to make sure the men characters aren’t all brutish or emotionless. Sometimes swapping genders is the best way to illuminate the well-worn path we’re walking on and to give us the foresight to jump off and go somewhere surprising.

Not Giving Up (on dreams and ice cream)

Deciding to chase a dream is the moment you decide you want a very particular kind of ice cream. And you go to the store, and you can’t find it, so you ask the sales clerk, and they’re all, “We don’t have that type of ice cream here.” Then you’re like, “BUT I NEEED IT.”

You can’t explain why, but you are wholly and utterly incapable of changing your mind. You want your ice cream, and you’ll sooner be in Antarctica on an ice cream farm before you give up your quest. (I’m pretty sure Antarctica Ice Cream Farms is where we get ice cream. I’m at least 2% sure.)

So you frown at the clerk, stomp out of the store, and go to the Freezie Something Store down the street. You demand your ice cream.

“Ooooh, sorry,” says the Scooper Gentlefolk. “It’s going to cost you a twelve-billion dollar education and divine inspiration and the left half of your soul to get that kind of ice cream. Are you sure you don’t just want lemon?”

BUT WILL THAT STOP YOU? No. No it won’t. Because your taste buds are on a mission. And you will not be satisfied with anything less.

What next, though? Do you go into student-loan debt? Do you say goodbye to that other half of your soul? Do you search the skies for the flowing cloak of the Almighty Muse? Do you throw a slushy at the Freezie Something Store and stalk off to find another establishment that sells The Ice Cream flavor you desire?

I can’t really answer that. Because people acquire The Ice Cream in different ways. They go to schools, they learn by experience, they dive into a baptismal fire (because The Ice Cream can’t melt, because it’s frozen by the power of indestructible analogies), they wing it, they work hard for their education, or all of the above. Some people need the sit-down education, and some people wake up after a lifelong career, sit down, and the Ice Cream magically appears before them. Everyone is different, and everyone’s path will be different, too.

 

No matter when your lifelong mission started (millenia ago, at birth, in 3rd Grade English when Teacher handed back your first A+ test, yesterday at the flea market when you found that very strange object, today when you suddenly began craving frozen Antarctic products, or tomorrow when a stray idea wanders into your home like a housebreaker (but for some reason, you invite trouble to stay, because why not?)), don’t give up.

Because after all that hard work? That ice cream will taste pretty freakin’ fantastic.

 

giphy

Care for a spoon? (http://www.giphy.com)

 

200 Things to Do When You’re Bored or Stressed

I have 200 followers! What to do? I did 100 Writing Tips when I hit 100 followers. What now?

I’m feeling pretty wise, so here’s a giant list of fun things to do!

200 things to do

  1. Inspect every inch of your room for spiders.
  2. Declare the room Spider Free.
  3. Establish Your Room as a Safe From Spiders Zone.
  4. Invite friends.
  5. Reorganize the shoes by the front door.
  6. Build a pyramid of shoes.
  7. Build an archway of shoes.
  8. Switch the shoelaces between two different pairs of shoes so they don’t match.
  9. Put flip-flops INSIDE the shoes. You know, to save space.
  10. Put feet in flip-flops in shoes. For comfort.
  11. Put flip-flops in dress shoes for a “business casual” feeling.
  12. Make a snowflake.
  13. Make ten snowflakes.
  14. Make it snow.
  15. Cut out pictures of Weeping Angels.
  16. Hide pictures of Weeping Angels around your apartment to scare visitors/roommates.
  17. Watch Doctor Who so you understand the Weeping Angels reference.
  18. Retrieve snowflakes and Weeping Angel cut-outs. Make snow angels.
  19. Tape a pencil to the wall.
  20. Don’t answer any questions about The Pencil.
  21. Imply to all visitors how important The Pencil is.
  22. Lay out clothes on the furniture next to you.
  23. Conduct a conversation with said clothes.
  24. Tidy up the pots and pans.
  25. Extract your favorite pot and wear it as a hat.
  26. Become Colonel Kitchenware.
  27. Don all appropriate armor.
  28. Declare war on Lieutenant Living Room.
  29. Search the couch for socks.
  30. Compile all Couch Objects into a beautiful sculpture.
  31. Name the Sculpture: “Stuff I Found There.” Call it Project SIFT.
  32. Light a candle.
  33. Contemplate fire.
  34. Conclude something philosophical.
  35. Regardless of conclusion, spend copious amounts of time and effort resisting the urge to light other things on fire.
  36. Invest in a fire extinguisher.
  37. Put out things you accidentally set on fire.
  38. Go find a snack.
  39. Go find another snack.
  40. Make the snacks compete for your affections.
  41. Reward the winner with a show of teeth.
  42. Write a poem in under thirty seconds.
  43. Read the poem backwards.
  44. Decide that poems are hard.
  45. Find the nearest window.
  46. Go to it.
  47. Look out said window.
  48. Count all green objects.
  49. Count all blue objects.
  50. Search the sky.
  51. Search the land.
  52. Search your closet.
  53. Find something unexpected.
  54. Inform the internet of your discovery.
  55. Phrase it like this: “I have located an elusive OBJECT in a PLACE. It was unexpected. #unexpectedobjects”
  56. Try to figure out if you prefer calling them “hashtags”, “pound symbols”, “number signs”, or “octothorpes.”
  57. Figure out what happened exactly 57 days ago.
  58. Plan your day as if it were a montage.
  59. Hum your own theme music.
  60. Do everything dramatically.
  61. Ignore the people who stare at you like you’re a crazy person. You’re not crazy. THEY’RE CRAZY.
  62. Dance. But don’t throw off the emperor’s groove.
  63. Cook a meal as if you are a robot.
  64. Realize you are not a robot and cannot subsist on nuts, bolts, and oil.
  65. Scrutinize the handles of the kitchen cupboards/drawers.
  66. Try to decide where those handles came from, who designed them, and if they’re part of a vast conspiracy.
  67. Create a vast conspiracy.
  68. Place yourself at the center of the conspiracy.
  69. Be paranoid. About everything. Especially that weird sound coming from the walls. You should check that out.
  70. Pretend to be a ninja spy, bent on recovering lost artifacts.
  71. Examine the nearest flat surface.
  72. Build a mountain and/or skyscraper out of all objects on said flat surface.
  73. Pick a perfect hiding place if someone were to suddenly intrude into the building.
  74. Pick a perfect hiding place if you were two inches tall and someone were to suddenly intrude into the building.
  75. Turn all the pictures/posters upside down.
  76. Be nonchalant about it.
  77. When someone asks why everything is upside down, pretend not to know what they’re talking about.
  78. Insist they’re seeing things.
  79. Insist they see a therapist.
  80. Offer to be their therapist.
  81. The next time someone walks into the room, tell them you sense a presence.
  82. Tell them you sense the presence of their ghost.
  83. Inform that person that, sadly, they died yesterday.
  84. Inform that person that it is strange they are still talking and objecting as if they don’t realize they’ve passed on.
  85. When that person punches you in the shoulder, jump away in terror and shout, “The presence is here, with us! Speak, O Mighty spirit.”
  86. Go about your day like normal. When said person sits down hours later, say, “Y’know, I know a guy who knows a guy who KNOWS A GUY… and he’s really good at helping people move on. Into the light and all that. If you’re interested.”
  87. Invent a method for protecting against shoulder punches from lifelike ghosts.
  88. Balance a pen on its tip.
  89. Proclaim to all that THIS IS THE EQUINOX, and it’s a VERY BIG DEAL.
  90. Don’t give anyone more information.
  91. Invent a cross-breed pet, like a dog-squirrel that will always and forever chase its own tail.
  92. Pick a short sentence. Try to say it backwards. “Sdrawkcab ti yas ot yrt”
  93. Build a new language.
  94. Sing a song about your new language.
  95. Sing the song IN your new language.
  96. Try to do a handstand.
  97. After failing at handstands, do a footstand.
  98. Congratulate yourself on a gymnastic feat of Awesome.
  99. Convinced of your Awesomeness, consider enrolling in gymnastics.
  100. Attend one class.
  101. Realize your mistake. You are TOO GOOD for gymnastics.
  102. Become a ninja. (See #70)
  103. Go on a quest to find a samurai.
  104. Get distracted by a puppy.
  105. RESIST URGE TO STEAL PUPPY!
  106. Steal puppy.
  107. Become notorious as The Puppy Stealer.
  108. Go on the lam.
  109. Spend too much time looking up kitten videos on YouTube.
  110. Practice laughing.
  111. Become an expert at Maniacal Laughter.
  112. Laugh maniacally in situations where regular laughter is expected.
  113. Go for a run.
  114. After twelve steps, start jogging.
  115. After three more steps, start walking.
  116. Give up.
  117. Develop a sudden and uncontrollable desire for lemonade.
  118. Seek out “Life” who, according to myth, gives people lemons.
  119. Demand grapefruit instead.
  120. Call a random person in the phonebook.
  121. Realize that you don’t own a phonebook, haven’t seen a phonebook in years, and that phonebooks might never have really existed.
  122. Present your friends with the following scenario: A rubber ducky versus a battleship. Who wins?
  123. Decide the future of your friendship based on their answer to that scenario.
  124. Buy a puzzle.
  125. Start said puzzle.
  126. Ask a friend to help with the puzzle, but hide three of the pieces.
  127. Put the puzzle piece in their shoe.
  128. Accuse them of theft.
  129. Quote your favorite movie.
  130. Quote your favorite movie in an Australian accent.
  131. Come to terms with the fact that you may never have an Australian accent.
  132. Play Hide and Seek.
  133. Hide.
  134. Go to get groceries while “hiding.”
  135. Try to pronounce the ingredients in your shampoo.
  136. When someone tells you to Google something, tell them that you are consulting The Almighty Goog.
  137. Pick a new favorite color.
  138. Pick a new most-hated color.
  139. Rename all the colors.
  140. Refer to everything as “The Most Glorious.”
  141. Tell your friend you want “The Most Glorious piece of toast.”
  142. End every sentence with “in the name of Cthulu.”
  143. Combine #140–142: “I want the Most Glorious piece of toast in the name of Cthulu.”
  144. Pretend the floor is lava.
  145. Avoid touching the floor at all costs.
  146. When you step on the floor, fall down in extreme agony, clutching your chest, proclaiming your last wish.
  147. Decide what possessions you would distribute in your Last Will and Testament.
  148. Decide what possessions you would like to be buried with.
  149. Decide what possessions will be burned.
  150. Imagine the room is upside down.
  151. Experience vertigo.
  152. Construct an obstacle course in your living room.
  153. Challenge nearest human to an obstacle course race.
  154. Win.
  155. Go outside and announce your victory to your adoring public.
  156. Acquire an adoring public.
  157. Buy a new toaster.
  158. Use said toaster to create the Most Glorious piece of toast in the name of Cthulu.
  159. Decide you want to paint a masterpiece.
  160. Realize you don’t have any paint.
  161. Paint a masterpiece using condiments.
  162. Mix mustard and ketchup for orange.
  163. Check the expiration date on all condiments in fridge.
  164. Discover what is at the back of the freezer.
  165. Find a beanie baby.
  166. Place said beanie baby on top of ceiling fan.
  167. Turn ceiling fan on.
  168. Announce to the world that you have broken the Longest Beanie Baby Flight in all of human history.
  169. Receive an award.
  170. Practice your “Receive an award” speech.
  171. Thank all of the inanimate objects involved.
  172. Go on an afternoon drive.
  173. Get lost.
  174. Ask for directions.
  175. Blatantly ignore advice and drive off in the opposite direction.
  176. Go on an afternoon “wild search for anything familiar so I can find my way home again” drive.
  177. Climb a tree.
  178. Pretend to be on top of a pirate ship.
  179. Shout “Avast ye land lubber!” every time someone walks by.
  180. Hide among the branches.
  181. Pretend to be the spirit of the tree.
  182. Go for a swim.
  183. Pretend there are sharks in the water.
  184. Exit the pool when the lifeguard yells at you for pretending there are sharks in the water.
  185. Get banned from the public pool for life.
  186. Go bowling.
  187. Only knock down one pin on each frame.
  188. When the game is over, shout, “I GOT A PERFECT TEN!”
  189. Decide what your favorite smell is.
  190. Go off in search of your favorite smell.
  191. Cook spaghetti.
  192. Reenact the scene from Lady and the Tramp. Alone.
  193. Become an expert at whistling.
  194. Gain notoriety for your whistling prowess.
  195. Go to Georgia and challenge the Devil to a whistling contest.
  196. Lose.
  197. Run away from Georgia and hope the Devil’s jurisdiction doesn’t extend past state lines.
  198. Run out of things to do.
  199. Go back to the beginning of this list.
  200. Do it all over again, but with one hand tied behind your back.

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