Outrageous Requests

by - 6:55 PM


Debra Winegarten, Queen of Outrageous Requests


     Every Tuesday, in my Story Circle Network Work In Progress group, Debra Winegarten challenges us to make at least one OR, one Outrageous Request, and share it with the group. We all love hearing what women are asking and the results. Debra writes poetry, biographies of Texas women, and is an editor at and publisher of Sociosights Press. Now the Debster, as we fondly call her and as she often calls herself, is an expert on making OR’s. As part of her weekly challenge she'll list a few of her recent requests and the outcomes. Inspiring! The Debster is fearless, persistent, and eternally optimistic. If a request does not pan out, she immediately moves on to another.

     Here is an example of a weekly challenge:

     Yep, it's that time again, writerly sisters. The day you look forward to all week--with reportage of the places you've stretched yourself beyond your usual limits, reaching out with your words into the universe with specific requests in an attempt to bring forth bountiful miraculous occurrences.

     Inquiring minds want to know (or if you're like me, just plan nosy), so, how'd it go? What requests did you make? What happened as a result? What did you learn?

     Our requests vary and can be personal or related to writing practice. For example, one member asked for volunteers to read 35 pages from her completed manuscript.  She is ready to send the pages out to literary agents and needed some fresh eyes. This was a big ask because everyone on the listserve is busy and her request included a one-week turnaround.  She still got two readers! One member had houseguests that although she was enjoying their company, she was becoming exhausted by the constant meal preparations. She asked her guests to please take her out for dinner one night. They embraced the idea and good time was had by all!

     One of my best OR’s was permission to join a critique group. These women were a tight knit unit and had been together for several years. They mostly write fiction and I am deep into personal essay and memoir but I really liked and admired them, so I asked. To my delight and continuing benefit and growth, I am now a member of the Plot Sisters (www.plotsisters.com). I have received excellent critiques on the essays I shared and they are patiently teaching me to be an effective critique partner for them. I expanded my writing tribe plus now consider these women my friends. All because I made an OR!

     Perhaps you’d like to incorporate Outrageous Requests into your weekly planning? Taking the time to figure out what you want or need is the first step.  Figuring out who can help with that and summoning the courage to ask is the more difficult follow up step. Here is the good news; it gets easier each time! Even when you get a no, and you will, the resiliency to ask someone else or reformulate the need becomes second nature.  It is amazing how often the answer will be yes.

     So go forth this week, channel your inner Debster, and make an outrageous request or two. Here’s mine, let me know what you asked and what the result was. Now, go for it!

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