3 Ways to Achieve Clarity Before Writing Your Story
Updated: Jul 3
Written by: Danielle Perlin-Good, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Clarity becomes a unique cornerstone within any creative project. Attaining a clear, focused vision is crucial in order to successfully complete your writing initiative. When we don’t achieve clarity, we can easily become frustrated, overwhelmed, and fearful that our ideas just don’t measure up to anyone else’s. Comparison syndrome can settle into our bloodstream, circulating throughout while reiterating that the initial idea we proposed just isn’t good enough.
Instead of repeating this vicious cycle, try using my in-house framework to achieve lucidity with your creative endeavor. When I work with clients privately, we utilize and implement this framework immediately so their writing, and their mindset surrounding the project, can become precise.
Decide on your Main Theme
Books, despite their genre, all have a main theme and sub-themes. Main themes could include romantic love, friendship, coming-of-age, abuse, spiritual journey, fertility, parenting, and much more. Within your main theme, you’re creating a promise to the reader. They venture into a fantastical journey and learn about your characters, their desires, their triumphs, and their tribulations along the way.
Some of my clients find that they actually have so much to say within several themes. When this happens, we discuss how they want to make an impact in the world and narrow down their themes. Authors can write more than one novel. Authors can write more than one memoir. Authors can write hundreds of books within all kinds of genres. However, each book encapsulates multiple stories that relate to one main theme and, usually, three to five sub-themes.
Journaling by hand unleashes creativity that’s not as easily accessible in other ways, according to a study performed at Indiana University. Our minds seem to have a more difficult time lying to ourselves. We are more truthful to our inner thoughts and perceptions when we write these ideas by hand. I’ll give you a few journaling exercises throughout this article in order for you to learn more about your writing project’s themes, goals, and who you want to impact.
Ten-Minute Journaling Exercise
If you have a million ideas circulating throughout your mind and are having trouble expressing yourself, try this ten-minute journaling exercise to recognize what you truly want to say in your book:
List three to five events that took place in either your life or your protagonist’s life that impacted, or altered, the future. When did these events occur? How exactly did they change the course of your, or your character’s, future? Who else was there?
Understand your target audience
I’ve heard aspiring authors discuss their books for themselves. In reality, the books we write are for the readers. If your answer to “Who do you truly want to impact with your story?” is everybody, then no one will be attracted to your story. Know that it’s okay to have multiple target audiences, but at the same time, it’s important to remember that by polarizing, we can magnetize. When conversing about popular books, it can be fun to see who is truly invested in the stories and who can’t stand to finish the book. It is crucial to not only understand this, but also be at peace with this knowledge—your book will have critics and admirers.
Ten-Minute Journaling Exercise
Your writing project, especially if it’s a book, is not necessarily for you. A common mistake I see in books is that the book itself discusses important events in the author’s life or characters’ lives, but our target audience, or ICA (Ideal Customer Avatar), is left wondering why they should finish the book.
How will your story positively impact your target reader’s life? What motivates this reader to finish your book? What struggles and achievements has your reader experienced? Most importantly, how will your story resonate with your reader? Who do you want to impact with your main theme?
"We just need to dedicate the time, energy, and effort to make this happen in our lives."
Decide on your goals
A goal is a profound result that occurs due to massive amounts of effort and work. You could have a goal of losing 25 pounds in 6 months (which I actually did achieve recently). You could have a goal of creating a successful and profitable business (also in the midst of achieving). I truly believe that when we tell ourselves that we can and will achieve an end result, we can make this result our reality. We just need to dedicate the time, energy, and effort to make this happen in our lives.
Ten-Minute Journaling Exercise
Think about your overall goal after you publish your book. Most importantly, do not compare your goal to anyone else’s. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to deciding and determining your overall goals with your creative project. The only wrong answer is not finishing your project due to procrastination, fear of failure, or comparing yourself to others.
When I work with clients privately, we set these goals from the beginning. If you have an outline and get to the epilogue, but then you don’t have a plan of action in place, fear may overwhelm you. You may become frustrated and even less clear about what goal you’d like to achieve by sharing your story.
If you have a goal of writing your book within a certain length of time, try working backward within your timeline. Ask yourself how many hours (or minutes) per day you could spend writing. Ask yourself what you’d like to accomplish once your book is published. Ask yourself if you’d like to become a public speaker, write another book, create and sell a digital course, or something else entirely. Write down if you see yourself self-publishing on Amazon and becoming a best-selling author. Write down if you see yourself landing an agent and traditionally publishing your book.
In order to achieve the utmost success with our creative projects, we must be clear on our main themes, our target audience, and our end goals we’d like to achieve. When working on your mindset, outlining your stories, structuring your manuscript, and building your author platform, we always come back to these three ideas: theme, audience, and goals.
If you do not have clarity, it is harder to become a successful author in the way in which you view success.
Danielle Perlin-Good, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Danielle Perlin-Good is The Written Legacy Coach. She helps entrepreneurs, coaches, and speakers elevate their credibility by unleashing their powerful legacies so they can transform and inspire lives. Since 2008, Danielle has edited hundreds of articles, books, social media content, e-newsletters, and more. She went from working overnight shifts at the Tribune Company to corporate digital marketing gigs, one of which was at Albert Whitman & Co., an esteemed children's publishing house. Danielle uses mindset techniques, exceptional editing skills, and visualization exercises to ensure her clients develop a beautifully crafted and publishable book that they will forever cherish.