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Write the story only you can write

What is your work in progress? If you’re thinking about what to write next, consider this: Write the story only you can write.

1. Did something happen to you when you were a child that stuck with you your whole life? A distinct memory that is decades old but feels like it happened yesterday? Mine this memory and figure out why you’ve held onto it all these years. Maybe it’s a question you wrestle with. Ask what meaning it holds.

2. Make a list of turning points in your life when something changed your direction, you lived differently, or looked at life in a new way. Turning points could include starting a new career, getting married or divorced, losing someone you love, or making a geographic move. Times of great change fuel inspiration.

3. What special knowledge or expertise do you have that might form a kernel of a story, whether it affects how you go about creating characters, building out a scene, or forming the basis of a novel?

4. What are you passionate about? What issues or causes excite you? Consider how you can meld this passion into a story.

5. Think about where you grew up and how it is the different or the same as many people you know.

John Steinbeck’s writing was heavily influenced by where he grew up in California’s Salinas Valley. Much of his writing is set in this region, including Salinas, Monterey, and the San Joaquin Valley. Steinbeck’s work during the 1930s also focused on many of the issues migrant workers and working class people endured.

What personal history, places, or memories have spurred your creativity?

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