If you're a writer, then you already understand the power of story.
You get that stories are what make up our lives, guiding us about everything that matters most to us - from love to war. You understand we're intertwined with them. There is no life without story or no story without life.
But what you may not always remember is that the most powerful story you will ever tell is the one you tell yourself inside your own head about who you are as a writer.
It's the most powerful story because that story is essentially the screenplay of your life. It dictates what's going to happen in your life, just like a movie screenplay dictates the entire direction of the completed film.
Because whatever you tell yourself - day in and day out, good or bad - is what your brain focuses on to help you successfully create your vision (i.e., the screenplay) into your life (i.e., the film).
[DON'T BELIEVE ME? CHECK OUT THIS SCIENTIST.]
So if your story (i.e., the collective thoughts you think about yourself and your writing career) is the screenplay, think of your brain as the production crew making the vision a reality.
And just like a well-written screenplay is the essential building block of any great movie, your life story is the foundation for the life you've created around you.
If you're unhappy with the life you've created - if you have a struggle-filled, sad story about how hard it is to be a writer - it's time to rewrite your life story for success.
Step #1 - Outline for the writing career you truly want.
So what is your story about writing? For instance, my story was that I can't afford to write.
As a child, I was told that writers and artists essentially starved so I've found it difficult to focus on writing without feeling fearful that the time I'm spending is going to lead to my certain financial ruin.
Although it's a current fact of life that I have bills to pay, it's not a fact that I will starve if I'm a writer. There are many writers making comfortable livings from their craft. They come from all different life circumstances and make livings from their writing in many different ways. There is no real reason I can't be one of these writers instead.
But in order to do that, I had to rewrite my story about being a writer.
Because guess what? If you tell yourself you can't afford to write, then you won't even try to squeeze the time in to actually write. Your brain isn't going to bother wasting energy figuring out a solution on something you won't allow yourself to focus on.
So the first step I took to change this is to outline my dream career as a writer - exactly the way I wanted it. For instance, I want to be a TV drama writer. I wrote that down and outlined all the steps I knew to take from reading books about it, researching online and writing spec scripts.
If there's one thing I've learned working for the uber rich and famous in Hollywood is don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you want to be a New York Times best seller, then write that down. Want to have a million readers? Put it down. Whatever it is you want for your writing career (and this works for everything in your life, by the way), just put it down.
It's time to tell your brain what kind of life you truly want so it can help you create that instead of whatever self defeating story you were telling it before.
#2 - Write the story of your dream career.
You're a writer. Do your thing.
This step isn't just a wishful list of New Year's Resolutions. You need to breathe life into your outline. You need to write the best story you've ever written about your life as a writer.
Focus on the outcome and not so much in how you got there because you want to stay open minded to allow surprise opportunities to arise out of nowhere.
It also needs to be as specific as possible and evoke emotion. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your brain to spot the building materials (i.e., actions, people and opportunities) it will need to create the writing career you've always desired.
You need to see this story with so much detail that in your mind's eye it plays out like a film on a movie screen.
#3 - Read your life story often.
Once you've written your life story as desired, the daily reading is the most important step in getting your rewrite to successfully come to fruition. Your brain will only help you create the life you focus on.
So if there is a catch, it's here. You actually have to focus on it for it to work.
So keeping that in mind, your life story should be at least one (1) page but no more than five (5) because you're going to read it at least twice a day.
The best time to read it is first thing in the morning and right before bed. This is when our brain is most open to finding the needed solutions to make this story a reality. So essentially, you need to tell yourself this new story with the same daily persistence and emotion as you once told yourself the old story.
The more you read it and feel it, the faster it will become your actual life story.
For instance, part of my new life story as a writer is that I can afford to write and within a month of repeating this twice a day, my brain has indeed found the time to write. This weekly blog and my recently completed first draft of an original TV pilot is direct evidence of it working.
But I will have to continue reading the new rewrite of my life story and continue following the actions, people and opportunities the universe presents for my brain to act upon to build my successful life as a writer.
Fan me if you'd like to peek in on my writing journey.