196 – Narrative WIth Julie Helmrich

Why the story we tell ourselves is the most important we’ll ever tell…and the impact it has on our ability to manage our inner critic, imposter syndrome and to get our work done.

Dr. Julie Helmrich, psychologist and founder of Iron Psych specializes in change fluency and narrative, and is my guest this week, talking about psychological fitness for writers.


Dr. Helmrich’s site: https://juliehelmrich.com/

Writing prompt: https://storyaday.org/wow-customs

Ready to write today, not “some day”?

[Write On Wednesday] Weird Little Customs

Culture infuses everything about our world, so ‘world-building’ is an important part of our writing. Today’s prompt encourages you to build a story around a cultural oddity.

Image: gangster in a  police lineup
Man dressed as a 1920s ganster in police line up

The Prompt

Think about a cultural norm in the world of your story and explore its ramifications for your characters.


Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Weird Little Customs”

195 – Bumper Q&A Episode

In which I talk about why we do this thing we do, and answer the top 10 questions I get asked, at StoryADay (including everything from where to put commas, to how to submit stories, to how to overcome imposter syndrome).

Grab a hot beverage and settle in…


Short Story Structure: https://storyaday.org/framework

Imposter Syndrome: https://storyaday.org/imposter-syndrome/

The 3-Day Challenge: https://storyaday.org/3dc

Ready to write today, not “some day”?

Write On Wednesday – The Missing Package

The Prompt: Write the story of an inanimate object.

This prompt was inspired by a conversation with a StoryADay Superstar who had been waiting for a package to arrive for weeks. We speculated about what it had been up to on its travels, and now it’s your turn.

The Prompt

Write the story of an inanimate object


Continue reading “Write On Wednesday – The Missing Package”

194 – History & Your Story

Humans don’t just experience their lives. We infect each other with shared memories of how it felt to be watching historic events or a baby take their first steps. We transmit meaning through emotion, through story.

Getting good at telling stories isn’t trivial. It isn’t frivolous. And it certainly isn’t selfish…


This week’s writing prompt

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[Write On Wednesday] Nostalgia Foods

The Prompt: Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.

The Prompt

Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.


Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Nostalgia Foods”

[Reading Room] How The Trick Is Done by A. C. Wise

I liked this a lot.

It managed to be about magic and death and unrequited love and #metoo and revenge and yet have a lightness and beauty that I often find missing in modern stories, and which is hard to pull off with those themes.

Continue reading “[Reading Room] How The Trick Is Done by A. C. Wise”

SWAGr for January 2021

Welcome to the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group!

Post your goals for this month and let us know how you got on with last month’s goals.

Leave a comment below telling us how you got on last month, and what you plan to do next month, then check back in on the first of each month, to see how everyone’s doing.

(It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Did you live up to your commitment from last month? Don’t remember what you promised to do? Check out the comments from last month.

And don’t forget to celebrate with/encourage your fellow SWAGr-ers on their progress!

Download your SWAGr Tracking Sheet now, to keep track of your commitments this month


Examples of Goals Set By SWAGr-ers in previous months

  • Finish first draft of story and write 3 articles for my school paper. – Courtney
  • Write on seven days this month – Clare
  • Extend my reading and to read with a ‘writers eye’- Wendy
  • write 10,000 words – Mary Lou

 So, what will you accomplish this month? Leave your comment below (use the drop-down option to subscribe to the comments and receive lovely, encouraging notifications from fellow StADa SWAGr-ers!)

(Next check-in, 1st of the month. Tell your friends!)

193 – Goals or Getting From Here To There

In this episode I look at goals and why it’s so uncomfortable getting from where you are now to where you want to be…and how you can make it happen.


The 4 Steps to Reaching Your Goals

  • 1. Set a theme for the year and prioritize 1-3 goals
  • 2. Get clear on why they matter to you
  • 3. Celebrate every triumph
  • 4. Check.  in regularly with others

Download the Annual Planning Bundle now

Q&A – Description vs. Dialogue

Also in this episode I answer a question about whether or not it’s bad to write more description than dialogue.


Get The StoryADay Annual Review Bundle: https://storyaday.org/annualplan

Learn how to P. A. C. E. Yourself https://storyaday.org/episode094

Take the 3-Day Challenge: https://storyaday.org/3dc

Ready to write today, not “some day”?

Reach Your Writing Goals For Real, This Time!

It’s not too late to meet some of your goals for 2020 (or some minimum viable version of that goal).

This article is a companion to the podcast episode 193 – Getting From Here To There

Last Minute End of Year Tasks

  • Take an inventory of everything you’ve written in your life and see if you can repurpose/finish/abandon any of it.
  • Finish a single story
  • Send out a single story
  • Send a story out with holiday greetings

Remember: “At least I did that one thing” feels so much better than “I couldn’t even do …”

Getting From Here To There

Looking back at the past year might bring in some fear, guilt or pain because of what you didnt’ achievel.

And that’s fine….as long as you don’t stay there.

Goal setting is seductive and fun because it allows us to live in that shiny place in the future where we’ve overcome all our shortcomings.

The bit in the middle, however, is the tricky part.

Here’s what I’ve learned this year: change is uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be. And it’s ok.

Intellectual Vs Emotional Change

When we set goals and want to make changes, we know, intellectually that there are several steps we need to take.


Without a strong emotional story about WHY we are doing it, it’s much, much harder to get through that uncomfortable part in the middle. It’s much more comfortable to scurry back to the way we’ve always done things (of course it is!).

To make meaningful changes, you need to embrace the ugliness of the times you’ve failed in the past, and the emotional reason you want to move forward to a bright, new shiny place.

Use the StoryADay Annual Review Bundle to help you write that emotional story about each goal you set this year AND keep track of your motivation and progress throughout the year.

In the bundle:

Annual Goals Overview Worksheet (set your motto and top goals for the year)

PACE Yourself Worksheet (for each individual goal – with emotions! Listen to this podcast episode to learn how to use it best)

Serious Writer’s Accountability Group monthly worksheet

Triumphs Tracker (log your successes throughout the year)

If you’re the kind of person who’s stopped setting goals because you never meet them, let’s figure out why!

Use these planners to

  • Connect emotionally with the goals you’re setting
  • Build in some room for the other stuff in your life that will inevitably impinge on your writing time
  • Create regular check-ins with yourself and others
  • Remember to celebrate every win, no matter how tiny.

And more of all, keep writing!

Julie's signature