Resources for the Writer’s Journey

This week’s Writing Your Destiny theme is using our resources wisely, and today I’d like to share some resources that have been valuable for me that might help you navigate more gracefully through your journey as a writer and a person.

Latest edition of The Writer's Journey

The first resource is Christopher Vogler’s book  The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Storyteller and Screenwriters.

I first read this book many, many years ago, maybe even 20 years ago when it first came out in 1992.  The book can be a wonderful resource for you as a writer, and provides an excellent template for structuring stories. Vogler goes into great detail describing a hero’s path that many stories follow.  The basic flow occurs in 12 stages:

Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD, where

They receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE.

They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but

Are encouraged by a MENTOR to

CROSS THE FIRST THRESHOLD and enter the Special World where

They encounter TESTS, ALLIES, and ENEMIES

They APPROACH THE INMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold

Where they endure the SUPREME ORDEAL.

They take possession of their REWARD and

Are pursued on the THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.

They cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION, and are transformed by the experience.

They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.

Some people write stories and screenplays from their very beginning using Vogler’s structure.  I’ve been writing my novel first, because I don’t want to be limited by the structure, but now that I’m editing, I’m looking at how my book fits Vogler’s structure, and seeing if my novel could be enhanced by incorporating this structure.  I’ve also used this model in a more unconscious way when I developed a green business program for the City of Chicago, but that’s a longer post, which I may share some day. One of my favorite Martha Beck books

One of my favorite Martha Beck books

The second resource I suggest this week is Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck, which has a shortened version of  a change cycle condensed down to four stages of:

  1. Death/Rebirth
  2. Dreaming and Scheming
  3. The Hero’s Saga
  4. The Promised Land

Both books are really helpful when you feel like you’re stuck or know that you’re ready to transform to the next level.  Perhaps, you’ve been doing a lot of work and don’t know why you can’t move forward.  Sometimes you’ll realize that you’re in a stage where you have to complete certain task before you can move forward and these books can help.  It’s good to see that it’s a very normal to be tested.

Which brings me to the importance of having allies.  To move through life, we need more than just inner strength, most of us need external help.

With both these resources in mind, I’d like to suggest that you spend some time today on looking at your resources, particularly your allies and alliances.   How are they working for you?  Could you use some new ones?

Sometimes, grace presents us with people in our lives just when we need them, and sometimes they are only meant to help us for a short time.   Other people are allies for life. I call these type of allies — Destiny Partners.  I’ll be writing more about Destiny Partners in weeks to come.  Today, I want to suggest that you look at all of your allies, both short-term and long-term.

You might ask yourself some questions:

  1. Who are the most important allies in my life at this time?
  2. What type of ally do I need in my life, who I do not currently have in my life? The new ally you need might be a romantic partner, a business partner, a better boss,  a writing buddy, a dog.  Anything.
  3. Which of my allies bring greater ease into my life?

Don’t be afraid to look for new allies, or ask for help from your allies.

With that spirit in mind, I’d like to make a request of you, my blogging ally.  If you like my posts, I’d really appreciate having you click the Facebook Like button on the right hand side of this page.  It’s a pure vanity thing on my part, but it would make me happy to know that people receive value from what I write.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog for being my allies on the writer’s journey!

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