Aloha Writer’s Coloring Book Family,
Yes, I have dusted off “Yee Olde” Writer’s Coloring Book and I’m bringing it up to date. “The Writer’s Coloring Book” is getting an upgrade…. because I’ve had an upgrade. In the seven years (7 years?!?!?!) since I first published TWCB, I have been madly scribbling a novel. I’ve incorporated my old worksheets in the process and discovered I needed to make new ones that let me see my story elements — character arcs, clues, sensory details — and organize them into a tight storyline with lots of narrative drive.
During this time, I also went back to a daily meditation practice. I began studying the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza (more on that in blogs to come), and his work has helped me improve my health, manage stress, and focus on my personal development and creative goals. Along the way, I rekindled my interest in the tools of spiritual development — astrology, tarot, and Carl Jung’s shadow work — which contributed to a deeper understanding how who I am and how I want to live a good life in this chaotic world of ours.
I also used these tools to understand my characters and the deeper themes I am exploring in my writing. In fact, these tools helped me explore the inner lives of my characters, helped me weave a tighter narrative, and create a truly satisfying experience for my readers.
Thus, inspired, I created more worksheets for these different aspects of the storytelling process. And using worksheets is a great way to keep self-doubt at bay and that’s one of my greatest challenges. I often feel overwhelmed when I write. But filling out a worksheet isn’t writing, so that’s a relief — but it is still productive! Because once you’ve used the worksheets, you can make decisions that improve your story. Then you store the worksheets in a binder to refer to as you continue to write. These creative decisions build on each other, helping you stay organized and move through the process.
When I created the first iteration of “The Writer’s Coloring Book” it was a PDF that you could download, and then print yourself. But I also wanted to create a physical book. Back in 2014, self-publishing had become a viable option, so I decided to self-publish “The Writer’s Coloring Book” to make it available to a larger audience and to find out what it took to make a self-published book look like a “real” or traditionally published book. I spent many hours watching InDesign tutorials on what was Lynda.com (now it’s LinkedIn Learning).
After publishing the book in April 2015, I was in Los Angeles at a screenwriting conference. I walked into a workshop conducted by John Truby, a renowned screenwriting teacher, and script doctor. Listening to his discussion on genres literally blew my mind. His knowledge base goes so deep and his techniques made me feel foolish with my little coloring book. His “Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller” became my bible, and I took every class he offered I abandoned my coloring book and used his techniques as I worked on my latest novel.
But along the way, I kept reaching for my worksheets. And I created new ones based on my new knowledge of astrology and tarot cards. As wonderful as John’s work is, something deeply rooted in a western philosophical tradition – Aristotle, Socrates, Heidegger, and Nietzsche — but for me, something was missing. And that something is the mystical.
My big “aha” came when I realized that all the tools in the mystics toolbox: the tarot cards, astrology, runes, the I Ching – are all tools that help us access our personal unconscious and the deeper collective unconscious. And that, as a writer, if I want my stories to appeal to a worldwide audience, I need to conduct a conversation with the collective unconscious, which communicates in dreams, images, and symbols. My job is to unearth that raw material and then shape it into a linear narrative that an audience can read and enjoy.
Now, with the help of the lovely Alexis at Laugh Eat Learn, we’ve dusted off the website and set it up as a blog space to share all my whacky ideas on writing, storytelling, mysticism, and my creative journey. We have a shop filled with worksheets and colored pencils for now, with more fun things lined up in the wings.
That’s all for now, thank you so much for your attention. Be well.