Inspiration from the inside

Find inspiration to write a truly great story by examining the things that matter most to you.

Write Something That May Change Your Life

First, write down your wish list, a list of everything you would like to see up on the screen, in a book, or at the theater. It’s what you are passionately interested in, and it’s what entertains you. You might jot down characters you have imagined, cool plot twists, or great lines of dialogue that have popped into your head. You might list themes that you care about or certain genres that always attract you.

The Anatomy of Story by John TrubyWrite them all down on as many sheets of paper as you need. This is your own personal wish list, so don’t reject anything. Banish thoughts like “That would cost too much money.” And don’t organize while you write. Let one idea trigger another.

The second exercise is to write a premise list. This is a list of every premise you’ve ever thought of. That might be five, twenty, fifty, or more. Again, take as many sheets of paper as you need. The key requirement of the exercise is that you express each premise in one sentence. This forces you to be very clear about each idea. And it allows you to see all your premises together in one place.

Once you have completed both your wish list and your premise list, lay them out before you and study them.

As you study, key patterns will start to emerge about what you love. This, in the rawest form possible, is your vision. It’s who you are, as a writer and as a human being, on paper in front of you. Go back to it often.

Notice that these two exercises are designed to open you up and to integrate what is already deep within you. They won’t guarantee that you write a story that changes your life. Nothing can do that. But once you’ve done this essential bit of self-exploration, any premise you come up with is likely to be more personal and original.

John Truby. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller.

In ACT, the values assessment process serves a variety of assessment and intervention purposes. First, the client may become aware of long suppressed values. This process is motivational in the sense that the client may find major discrepancies between valued versus current behaviors. Second, the process of values assessment can help highlight a place in the client’s life in which everything is absolutely perfect and pristine.

Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl and Kelly G. Wilson. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change.