by Julie, drinking gingerale and eating saltines in Somerville. T’is the season.
I recently became a certified life coach. Now, when I started to take the classes I thought that since I’ve been a teacher for years, worked in many capacities, mentored and run workshops, I knew everything there was to know. The classes would just be a piece of paper.
Boy, was I wrong.
For those of you who don’t know what life coaching is, think of it this way. It’s about setting goals and moving forward. There are times when it includes dealing with issues that are keeping you stuck, but it is not the same as therapy. Often therapists and coaches will work together, but the process is very different.
Which brings me to the topic of stories. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately.
Each of us on this blog is a storyteller. We revel in creating worlds, developing characters and creating plots that both delight and confound our readers.
But what about the stories we tell ourselves? The stories that we believe without challenging them? In the coaching trade we call these limiting beliefs. They can include “I’m fat”, or “I can’t sing” or “I could never write a book”. Think about this for yourself. What have you always believed and never questioned about yourself? What would change if you changed that story?
That shift can be powerful. When I work with folks, or do the work on myself, I enjoy seeing the change that shifts can bring.
I’ve also been thinking about my characters. What are their beliefs? Which of those beliefs are limiting? Does a strong sleuth, like Lilly Jayne, push past her limiting beliefs in the name of justice? Or has she worked them out already? Is that what makes her so aware of the human condition?
Is a character who is more aware of their foibles more interesting than a character who has them but moves through life unaware? As I’m working on book #4, I’m thinking a lot about that. What are the stories the characters have told themselves? How can other people figure that out? For me, this is adding another layer of complexity to what is already a fairly complex story.
Readers, do you like characters who are self-aware, or characters who are who they are and clueless about their impact?