How to find your true stories

To celebrate the start of the next session of my Writer’s Circle this coming Monday, I’m sharing a free series on “How to Find the Courage to Tell the Stories You Are Longing To Tell.”

Today’s third post in the series continues today with thoughts on “How to Find Your True Stories.”

  • To read the first post in the series, “Why It Requires Courage to Write”, click here.
  • To read yesterday’s post, How to Spot the Stealthy Smokescreens that Stop You From Writing, click here.

How to find your true stories

While I’ve said that it’s more important to write ANYTHING than not to write at all, it’s also important to be writing the words and telling the stories YOU are here to share. Yet often we aren’t clear on what we want to write about.

Sometimes this is fear masquerading as creative apathy and confusion, as we discussed in the previous post.

It also has to do with not giving ourselves permission to explore what it is we truly love and want to write about.


Very often the stories we are secretly longing to write are stories we’ve told ourselves that we can’t write for some reason (see the first post in this series for more on this subject). We need to shift into allowing ourselves to discover them.

Here are some ideas about how to get clear on the stories you are secretly longing to tell:

  1. Remember.

    One of my favorite tools for helping people rediscover themselves is to have them look back at their childhoods. So often the things we loved as children are lifelong loves, passions that we invariably give up and forget as life goes on. What did you love as a child? What sparked your imagination and curiosity? What games did you play? What kinds of stories did you love? What were you naturally drawn to engage in?

    It took me a long, long time to finally give myself permission to write science fiction stories, but it’s a constant love of my lifetime — and it was right there waiting for me all along.

  2. Brainstorm.

    If you have the seed of an idea — even just the tiniest, littlest, glimmer of an idea — brainstorm about it. How many different ways could you tell that story? What genre would you love to express it in? What could you combine it with to make it even more interesting? Don’t take anything out of the mix too soon — let yourself freely create.

  3. Engage, LIVE, Look, Explore.

    Be engaged with the world. Get out into life and see what’s happening. What catches your eye? What are you intrigued by? What do you always come back to? What pisses you off? Write about it. Brainstorm about it. See what happens. Where does it take you?

  4. Read, Watch, Listen.

    Notice what you are feeding your mind. Have you mixed it up a bit lately, read, listened to, or watched something you don’t usually explore? When you give yourself a chance to break out of your shell, you may see something you haven’t considered before. The sparks of ideas are just waiting to be discovered.

  5. Daydream, Fantasize.

    When it comes to discovering story ideas, one of my favorite questions of all time is, “What if?” What if you combine two seemingly different elements? What if it happened a different way?

    Also, give yourself a chance to just BE. In our busy world, we need time to just stop, daydream, and mull over what we’re experiencing. Even if the big ideas don’t “pop” in those exact moments, the act of allowing yourself space will make room for those notions to appear at just the right time, usually when you’re not even expecting them.

  6. Pray, Ask for Guidance.

    When I wanted to start writing my sci fi screenplay, I had no idea what to write about. I knew I wanted a strong, female lead, unlike anyone I’d quite seen on the screen before, but I didn’t know what to do with her. So I started asking for guidance. I said to the Powers That Be, “Please help! I could use a really good idea here.” And one arrived.

  7. Experiment.

    One discovery I’ve made time and again about writing is that very often I figure out what I want to write by doing it. I know my writing voice has strengthened simply through the act of writing regularly. Write to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it — you’ll discover so much you didn’t know!

Your turn

What does this spark for you? Share your responses in the comments.

And stay tuned for the last post in this series coming your way tomorrow, “How to Make Writing A Whole Lot Easier.” Watch for it on the blog or subscribe here.

About the Writer’s Circle

I inspire writers to find the courage to share the stories they are secretly longing to tell but are afraid won’t be heard or welcomed. If you’d like company on your writer’s journey, I want to invite you to join the next session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle, which starts this coming Monday, February 20th. In the Writer’s Circle, you’ll find the peer support and accountability you need to find the true stories you are longing to tell.

Registration closes THIS THURSDAY, February 16th.

Find out more and register here:

“The practice of doing the writing on a daily basis has opened up insights and heightened clarity of what’s next in my whole life.”

The Writer’s Circle is an invaluable tool for creating and maintaining creative momentum. I was blown away that being a part of this Circle has opened me up to tremendous insights and heightened clarity of what’s next in my whole life! I loved seeing myself and my fellow participants gain insights, refine our writing practices in ways that truly serve our writing, embody ‘writer’ as an important part of our true and purposeful identities, and see the ‘incidental’ personal growth that can’t help but happen. I’ve noticed that I’m less distracted once I sit down to write, that I am almost always surprised at what I’ve written and the story that’s unfolding. I’m also seeing that the practice writing on a daily basis (in this case, it’s fiction) has opened up insights and heightened clarity of what’s next in my whole life.

~ Lydia Puhak, Transformative Coach, Mentor and Sensitive Idealist,