Make 2015 your year to write, Part three (plus a quick announcement!)

Welcome back to part three of our Make 2015 Your Year to Write series. 

In case you’re just joining us or need a refresher, in our first installment we began with reflecting on your writing life so far. Then we continued in part two by looking at the patterns and challenges you’ve faced this year, what you’ve learned, and what you might like to have done differently. 

Today in part three we’ll carry on by delving into where you want your writing life to be headed — and we’ll be doing some visioning work for that, which ought to be fun. :)

Remember, if you have questions, thoughts, challenges, comments, or problems, I’m your coach this week! Just post them in the comments section on the blog and I’ll be sure to address or answer them for you. (And if you’ve joined us a little late in the process so far, not to worry, just come on in and start following the prompts. If you want to go back to “catch up”, I’d suggest just picking one or two prompts from each of those days to start with. In other words, you have my permission to skip a few to catch up. :) )

Now let’s look at our part three work.


Tap into what you want for your writing life

We want to look now at what you want for your writing life. What it will be like. And how it feels to be a writer in your ideal writing life.

We’re going to put reality to the side for the moment (don’t worry, we’ll come back to it!) and explore what it is that you really want as a writer.

We’ll do this by working with three simple writing prompts today.  

1. What do you want your writing life to BE like?

What comes to mind for you when you think about what you want your writing life to be like

For instance, you might think about things like:

  • Where you are writing — what kind of space you’re in
  • How much you write
  • Who you write with (if anyone)
  • Who you are writing for (yourself, a particular audience, etc.)
  • What you are writing (genre, length, medium)
  • How often and regularly you write
  • What tools you use to write
  • What skills you use to write
  • How the people around you treat your writing

Helen, a Writer’s Circle member, shares:

“I would prefer to have more flexibility with my work schedule so that I can write first thing in the morning. After a long day at a non-writing job, I am typically too exhausted to immediately jump into a creative mode and start writing. I see a need to build more writing sessions into my hectic schedule.”

From my notebook:

“When I put aside my current reality, what I’d like is to have more uninterrupted time to write and to work. I’ve gotten good at writing in shorter sprints, but with a little baby in the house, I can’t quite call my time my own. It’s a reality I’m gladly willing to accept for now, but I’m also aware that as he grows, my dream writing life will be self-directed so I can follow my own patterns and rhythms more easily again. I imagine focusing more and more on fiction as well, writing scripts and novels, predominantly sci-fi with a little fantasy thrown in. I also love the idea of self-publishing and building my own small empire of writing projects.”


2. What do you want your writing life to FEEL like?

Now tune in a bit to how you would most like to feel about your writing life.

There can be a wide range here. As one of my colleagues says, “There are no rules governing your inner landscape.”

Here are some possibilities to jump-start you:

  • calm
  • centered
  • excited
  • well-connected
  • free
  • independent
  • collaborative
  • creative
  • inspired
  • grounded
  • taken care of 

From my notebook:

“In my ideal world, I want my writing life to feel calm, unrushed, and self-directed. I’d feel a sense of quiet alertness, an excitement brewing under the surface that carries me forward each day.”


3. What images flash into your mind when you picture yourself writing the way you’d most like it to be?

And now last, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and see if there are any images that flash into your mind when you picture yourself in your ideal writing life.

What do you see? 

Maybe you will envision yourself heading out to work in a special writing cabin at the edge of your property. Or writing at the beach in longhand. Or seeing yourself cashing checks from your writing sales! You might see yourself in meetings with producers in Hollywood. Or working in a room filled with other writers for a TV show. Or maybe just quietly writing a novel on your own in a café.

There are no rights or wrongs here.

One of our Writer’s Circle members shares:

“I would like my life to look like I am making a living from my writing, not writing for a living, not writing for heart like I am now. I picture myself on a balcony during a sunset writing with my fountain pens in a beautiful wire-bound book. I can see myself with a wall of multicolored story, slivers of notes pasted on the wall in a way that makes sense to me as I wind them into the tapestry. I see myself going on readings for and with amazing, generous fans, who challenge me to be my best without violating my boundaries. I can feel myself growing lush with worlds, the ideas bumping around my skull sprouting into full experiences for readers.”

From my notebook:

“In the long term, the image that flashes into my mind is seeing myself writing at a big, quiet desk in an old house with acres of land around it. Or by the beach, in a little cabin. QUIET and NATURE are obviously keys here for me. :)  In the short term, visions of writing in cafés pop into view, or writing in nature. I get the sense that more flexibility or portability with my writing is what I’m looking for.”

Again, there no right or wrong answers here, just whatever comes up for you. 

Close your eyes, see what comes, and jot your answers down in your journal or in the comments.


pen coffeeYour writing prompts for Part three: Writing life

Here are your writing prompts for part three, in one place so you can easily cut-and-paste.

Take them to your journal, chat about them with your writing pals, or just contemplate them when you can (or answer them in the comments if you feel inspired). 

Once you’ve answered the prompts, we’d love to have you share your insights, thoughts, or questions in the comments section.

  • What do you want your writing life to BE like?
  • What do you want your writing life to FEEL like?
  • What images flash into your mind when you picture yourself writing the way you’d most like it to be?

And be sure to come back for tomorrow’s post, where we’ll take a look at the gap between where you are right now and where you want to end up so you can start making real plans for how to get there.


A quick announcement

We’re now accepting registrations for the next session of my Writer’s Circle small group coaching program, which starts on Monday, January 5th. It’s a powerful program that offers critique-free and guilt-free coaching, support, and accountability for writers who want to consistently finish all their writing projects — all year long.

It’s the perfect support to hit the ground running in 2015, and it’s a great time to enroll and lock-in our current 2014 rates, which will be increasing after the coming session gets started. 

Registration closes on Friday, January 2nd at Midnight Pacific Time.

Find out more and register online at






  1. Fredrica Parlett says:

    Session 3
    • What do you want your writing life to BE like?
    o Although I work quite a lot, I would like to feel a stronger commitment or rather conviction that this novel is going to be what I want it to be. That would come from a clearer vision, even if I’m still in the unknown of writing it. I would commit to my writing time in advance, not just try to squeeze it in.
    • What do you want your writing life to FEEL like?
    o I would like it to feel more joyful, maybe more playful. I would like to not listen to all the doubts.
    • What images flash into your mind when you picture yourself writing the way you’d most like it to be?
    o I would like a stunned audience listening to me read my novel out loud.

    • Jenna says:

      I LOVE that image, Fredrica!

      Remember that usually the doubts are just the voice of your inner critic, which is trying to keep you “safe”. They aren’t actually grounded in truth.

      As far as having the conviction that the novel will be what you want it to be, I sure understand that. I think that it one of the greatest challenges of writing, especially early in our writing careers.

      I was recently reminded of this quote from Ira Glass, which seems apropos:

      “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

  2. Fredrica Parlett says:

    Session 4
    • What do you want to remove from your writing life?
    • Limiting beliefs – that’s the one that strikes home in Jenna’s list. How to do this I don’t know.

    • What do you want to add to your writing life?
    • Urgency and deadlines: again, how to do this?
    • A writing schedule: this I want to try – actually putting on a calendar when I’m going to write. I hope this won’t just arouse more resistance.

    • Jenna says:

      Fredrica, re: the limiting beliefs, we can do some work on this if you’d like to, just let me know. The first step is realizing they are not the truth, just limiting ideas that aren’t supporting you. Then you can start to look for BELIEVABLE replacements.

      We just talked a lot about creating urgency and deadlines on the last Writer’s Circle coaching call. My favorite method is to set some kind of expectation with someone else. The Writer’s Circle provides one layer of this. Another layer could be setting a deadline with an editor, or selecting a contest to submit to. Or telling your friends you’ll be holding a Finished Novel Party. The idea is to create as many additional levels of accountability as necessary that give you that sense of urgency and/or create a deadline for you.

      I love that you’re going to experiment with a schedule! If it creates resistance, see if there’s a different way to do it. In your shoes, I’d probably look for a natural rhythm in your day or fitting it against other scheduled things. On the other hand, I think you’re pretty good at writing every day now? Which means that you aren’t struggling with the “if” question that a writing schedule is so good at eliminating. The best reason to use a writing schedule is if you’re not getting around to writing, if you’re finding yourself struggling to fit it in or make it happen, or feeling stressed each day about when you’ll write.

  3. Nikki says:

    >What do you want your writing life to BE like?
    I want it to be productive. I want to be able to sit down everyday and feel that need to write, instead of avoiding it with constant stimulation. I have trouble “starting”. Once I start I’m ok, but I can hide from writing so easily. It’s not that I’m not excited about my projects, I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas I have. I want to be able to focus on a few projects and make good progress.
    >What do you want your writing life to FEEL like?
    I want my writing life to be fun and energetic. I want to play in the worlds I create. I want to feel accomplished and hopeful, like I’m reaching out to someone who needs to read my stories.
    >What images flash into your mind when you picture yourself writing the way you’d most like it to be?
    Public: Being at Comic-Con with fans, answering questions, signing copies of my work, and taking pictures with fans who cosplay my characters.
    Private: an organized office with index cards on corkboards along the wall so I can “see’ the flow of my stories. Corkboards with my research/inspiration pictures and quotes on another wall. A clear glass desk for my laptop and pads of paper, in front of a large window view of the ocean. A super comfy office chair that swivels and reclines. Clean. Neat. Like a blank page where I can spill my imagination all over it.

    • Jenna says:

      Nikki, so true! Sitting down and starting is one of the hardest parts of writing for so many of us. One of my favorite tricks is to use a timer, once I push the button I’m in “Go” mode. It sounds like doing some work on project selection will help you too? When we have a huge number of ideas it really does help to pick which one we will do “first”.

      I love love love the ComicCon vision — how fun and delicious! And what a great image for your writing space. Great work. :)

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: