Coach Marla Beck

How to Discover What You Really Want to Write

by Marla

in brilliant mindset, brilliant productivity, brilliant writing career, brilliant writing life

Clarity Through ContrastAs any writer who’s coached with me can tell you, setting crystal clear intentions for your writing is a critical step to creating a satisfying writing life.

Let’s get you more clear about your true writing priorities.  Read below for a simple exercise.

But First, a Story…

The most glamorous job I could think of when I was a kid was to be a weather girl on the local TV channel.  I so wanted to wield that pointer (and the power) to advise you when to take your umbrella and head to the coast for a perfect beach day.

I’m glad I didn’t pursue that childhood dream. Now I live in Northern California, and I can’t imagine being a meteorologist here!  In the summer, the weather’s the same — day after day, the sky is clear, the sky is blue.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to a surprising canvas of deep grey clouds.  A few hours into the morning, the sky shook with a single, thrilling thunderclap!  When I lived back east, thunder happened all the time. It was no big deal.  But here in Northern California?  That thunderclap was big news, the talk of friends throughout the county.

In many ways, our human brains are conditioned to expect continuity.  Throw in something sharply different, and we really wake up our perceptions.

Michael Losier calls this principle “clarity through contrast.”  And today I’d like to teach you a simple way to use clarity through contrast to get more clear about your real writing goals.

What This Means for Your Writing.

Rather than talk, I’d like to walk you through an exercise.  So please: grab a piece of paper.

Fold it in half, vertically.  (You should have two rectangles.)

Label the left side, “The Writing Career I Don’t Want…”

Now set your timer for 7 minutes and write down every single thing you can think of that describes what you don’t want.

  • “shallow or sloppily crafted fiction…”
  • “pressure to produce writing I don’t really care about…”
  • “unreasonable deadlines…”
  • “clients (or an agent) who don’t get me or what I’m trying to say with my work…”

Note:  The key to getting really good results with this exercise is to not censor yourself.  Be thorough.  And be as petty or brutally honest as you can.

And Here’s Your Snapshot of What Matter Most

Now for the fun part.

After your timer goes off, unfold the page.

On the right-hand side of your page, carefully write out the opposite of each bullet point:

  • “thoughtful, well-crafted fiction…”
  • “getting paid to write what I truly care about…”
  • “writing on a schedule that respects my life and truly works for me”
  • “clients (or an agent) who resonates with my voice and style and craft…”

If you got honest and detailed about what you don’t want for your writing, you should have a richly detailed portrait of what you DO want for your writing.

Simple tool.  Profound possibilities.

Enjoy, and let me know what you discover!

Photo credit: Pete Guthlein c. 2014

If your writing career needs a jolt of fire, energy and inspiration, sign up here to learn 3 keys to renewing your creativity, vitality and forward momentum.  Get your free MP3 recording and 13-page transcript to download and keep.  It takes fire in the belly to go for your writing dreams.

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