Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Do You Choose?

Who are you as a person? What are your priorities? How do you make choices? What are your fears? What are your hopes and dreams?

It's useful to ask ourselves those questions. Once we know, we can decide whether those answers are working for us or whether we want to rewrite them—and thereby improve our lives.

If we're writers, it's even more useful to ask ourselves these kinds of questions. If we pay attention to our own emotions and emotional responses to situations and people, then we have material for our writing, too.

Example: What is it that has allowed you at times to rise above your fears and do what's right even if you were scared or it wasn't what you wanted to do? Knowing the answer gives you a starting point for how a character in your story might grow or rise above his or her fears. If you write nonfiction, then knowing your own emotional high and low points and what works for you gives you a starting point for realizing what will matter to readers.

EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT A WRITER, it is useful to ask this question! All of us find ourselves at times in situations where, if we could change so that we rose above our fears or past patterns of behavior, it would get us out of a crisis or make life easier in some way. If we know what lets us rise above our fears and past patterns, then we can consciously choose to make sure that whatever worked before is present NOW as we set about making changes.

Isn't it great to know that we CAN rewrite our lives? Just because we've always had a fear of heights or had trouble managing money or told ourselves we couldn't do X, Y or Z doesn't mean we have to keep being that way!

And if we are writers, just think of the fodder for setting up turning points for our characters or in nonfiction recognizing what our readers' concerns (and possibly objections) will be.

So what questions can you ask yourself this week? What changes could you make in your life if you did?


PS I'm setting up an online class on REVISIONS THE PRACTICAL WAY. (April 25 to May 9, $25). Full details are on my website April Kihlstrom.