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  • Writer's pictureHolly

What’s Your Back Story?

As a writing coach, I hear the question “where do I even start” a lot, from both my brand new writers who are contemplating tackling a writing project for the very first time, and my seasoned writers who are needing a change and ready to go much deeper in how they approach their work. And to both, and everyone in between, I have the same recommendation: start by reconnecting with your own life story.

Allow me to explain by boldly asserting that, in my opinion, there is no separating the writer from the writing. The life story a writer is living, the hardships and triumphs they face, the lessons they learn, the world perspectives they develop, the people they are in relationships with, will always show up in everything they write. Even if they are unaware of it, even if they’re writing the most fantastical of fiction, it will show up. In fact, I hope especially if they’re writing the most fantastical of fiction, because great fiction always benefits from grounding in personal truth. (Star Wars, at its heart, is a father/son story, is it not?)

To put it more directly, what a writer knows (about life and people and themselves) is the raw materials their writing is drawn from, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, and therefore in my opinion, an unexamined life is akin to leaving valuable resources on the table, untapped.

I know the pressure many writers feel to just get on with it. To hurry up and create a product that others can read, and to get there as fast as humanly possible. But as a writing coach, talking to people who not only want to write, but who want to write truly great stories, the kind that really move people in one way or another, I am here asking them to consider slowing down and backing up a bit. To take that minute to dive ever deeper into their own personal stories (either again, or for the first time, as life is ever changing). To really get to know those raw materials they are working with. Develop some mastery over their ability to assess and express what they know for sure in this life.

Just like every great story needs a deeply developed back story to root it (whether that back story ends up being shared in the written story or not), so too does a writer need to dive deep into their own personal back story (whether they ever end up sharing those stories directly with their audiences/fans or not).

The sharing is not what’s important, the knowing is. The knowing and knowing clearly, will impact/inform, for the better, everything about the writing journey/career, from the stories a writer ultimately chooses to develop (write/publish/produce), to the dynamic conversations they eventually need to have with others (reps/publishers/audiences) in order to promote and sell their work.

For all these reasons, I created a workshop called THE BACK STORY to help writers accelerate the reclaiming of their life story. The Back Story Workshop invites writers to see their life story in a way they have never seen it before. With the support of 12 pre-recorded and powerfully evocative journal writing exercises, it walks writers, step by step, through the archetypal stages of a personal growth cycle.

As I said before, but bears repeating for those of you chomping at the bit to write those stories or screenplays you have in your head now, this may initially feel like a slow it down to speed it up proposition. But I can’t recommend giving yourself this gift enough. It’s an incredible foundation to build your lifelong writing journey upon (or to reinvigorate it). And it doesn’t have to be that slow. You can blow through the 12 exercises in a weekend (as many do in my Story Leap retreats) or you can do it at your own pace (1 pr/week,1 pr/month, you get to decide).

The speed you choose really just depends on how much resistance, mental clutter, or time constraints you might have blocking you from digging into your personal truth. Some have a little, some have a lot. Either way it’s worth it to dive in there.

As of now, this workshop is only available to writers in my year long program, but starting this fall, I will be opening it up for all, as an easy online purchase.

If interested in my year long program, click here to hop on my calendar and together we can see which, if any, of my programs are a right fit for you.

If interested in my upcoming do-it-yourself options coming in the Fall, make sure to click here to subscribe to my mailing list, so that you'll get announcements and exclusive membership discounts when they become available.

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