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Steps taken on a Writer’s Journey

December 2, 2011

Steps taken on a Writer’s Journey was the title of the talk that I gave to the M.A. in Creative Writing students at Teesside University last night.  To begin with I asked students to state their writing goals and to focus on what they hoped to achieve as a result of completing the M.A.  I then used an outline from Christopher Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey to ask them to plot where they feel they are on their writer’s journey at this current moment in time.  Read below and select where you are on your journey:

Act One: Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting with the Mentor, Crossing the First Threshold

Act Two: Tests, Allies & Enemies, Approach to the Inmost Cave, Ordeal, Reward

Act Three: The Road Back, Resurrection, Return with the Elixir.

If you enjoy reading SF & Fantasy you will be able to compare this to the Hero’s Journey which Vogler covers in detail.

Next I talked about some of the highs and lows, opportunities and pitfalls of my first year as a freelance writer and introduced students to the idea of creating a ‘vision map’ to guide them on their journey.  Vision maps are a spiritual development tool that I first came across in Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualisation.  The basic idea is to take a blank sheet of paper, write one’s name and desired occupation/dream goal in the centre and mindstorm activities around it to achieve that goal.  Vision maps are often signed and dated with a clause stating: ‘May this or something better manifest for me at the most appropriate moment in time.’

This personal development tool was relevant to the presentation given by students that evening on contemplative and meditational writing.  I have used them many times as a career development tool and encourage you to create one based around where you see  yourself in 2012.

The next task is to identify seven steps to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.  This produced some lively discussion as students began to see the practicalities and possibilities of achieving their goals.

We ended the evening with ‘writing tips from the muse.’  This involves dipping into a bag of preprepared writing tips on angel paper (the nearest I can get to a muse), sharing the tips and taking them away to act on.

Today’s tip: Be prepared!


From → Creative Writing

  1. hvanderson permalink

    hi Judith, I was really inspired by last night’s workshop at Teesside: I came away convinced of the need for preparation and organisation so as to be able to make the most of opportunities and ‘luck’ which might come my way. The only problem now is not adding ‘planning’ to my list of procrastinatory activities (like my elaborate, multi-coloured, O’level revision timetable)! You did mention discipline and focus as well, I think…. Regards, Helen

    • Thank you for the positive feedback, Helen. As you know I aim to inspire and to help others to realise their potential. I wish you ‘luck’ with your writing goals. Best regards, Judith

  2. I like the idea of a vision map very much – I sometimes do something similar when I’m thinking about or planning a novel or sometimes when I’m stuck!

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