Updated: Aug 8, 2022
I've been working with Archetypes for the past few years now, to inspire both my creative writing and my personal growth, and have found it to be so powerful that I thought - why not share this powerful tool with my fellow writers by offering weekly writing prompts inspired by them?
For those of you who are saying, what the heck does she mean by working with Archetypes? I'll back up.
What is an Archetype?
The APA defines Archetypes as "universal, inborn models of people, behaviors, and personalities that play a role in influencing human behavior."
Carl Jung believed that archetypes came from the collective unconscious. He suggested that these models are innate, universal, unlearned, and hereditary. That they can organize how we experience certain things.
And Carolyn Myss suggests that "archetypes are impersonal patterns of influence that are both ancient and universal. They become personalized when they are a part of your individual psyche and they provide the foundation for your personality, drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations, and actions."
Some of the main archetypes are the Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur. But there are endless archetypes that expand from there like the mother, the artist, the innocent, the explorer, and the rebel, just to name a few.
How do I work with them?
These wise souls exposed me to the concept that we all have these unconscious archetypal patterns of behavior, or systems, running us. In fact, anytime you find yourself saying something like "why does this always happen to me?" There it is. Your unconscious systems/patterns at play.
Some of our unconscious patterns of behavior are helpful (even life saving), some are holding us back (or have outlasted their use). But either way, the power is in identifying them. This way you can own and work with them, rather than them owning and working you. And this is where the power of working with Archetypes comes in: they are your ally in helping you identify and put language to exactly what those patterns/systems are and how they're influencing you.
How does this help me as a writer?
The answer to this question is two fold.
First, writers write what they know. So any time a writer spends, allowing themselves to dig deeper into the stories they are living, and find the powerful language to express it, is time well spent.
Second, the nearly 70 defined Archetypes I'll be sharing (again thanks to Carolyn Myss) are a veritable well spring of inspiration for story ideas and/or character development. They aren't a cheat to avoid doing the work. They're one of the many sources one can go to for universal truths that help you ground and expand your work.
How do I get my Weekly Writing Prompts?
Each Monday I'll be pulling a new Archetype out of the proverbial hat, and creating a few writing prompts to work with around it.
It'll be up to you, whether you choose to use it as a prompt for personal morning pages or as a writing exercise to see if you can form a new character or story around it. And then it will be further up to you whether you want to share what you wrote on the forum (but sharing is encouraged).
In order to sign up for the prompts, and have access to the forum, click here . There is no cost, we merely ask that you help us keep the Loving The Process forum a nurturing and inspirational space, for all levels of writers, by treating fellow forum members with kindness.
You can jump in at anytime. sign up now so you don't forget.
***Holly Payberg-Torroija is a writer/writing coach and founder of Loving The Process, a coaching program designed to support writers in getting out of their own way, so they can write the stories they were born to write. If you know its time to finally write that story, book a free consult by clicking here