Day 3 – What Matters To You?

It’s time to write it down!

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Welcome back to this five day challenge.

Over the past couple of days (Day 1 | Day 2), we’ve taken some time to look at your role models in your artistic life, your fairy art parents.

You’ve identified who they are and what you admire about them, and analyzed the commonalities among them.

Today, we start putting together your Writing Manifesto, based on what you’ve learned. This is a guiding document for you as you work on play in your creative space.

And it works from project to project, from scene to scene. (Sometimes I get stuck on a scene and I can’t figure out why I can’t go forward and I realize it’s because it’s not following any of the principles that I’ve set down for myself as an artist.

Working on projects that matter, in a way that aligns with your values and inspiration, makes makes finding your voice so much easier.

It makes everything better.

So let’s get started. Are you ready?


Look at all of the notes you’ve made over the past couple of days about qualities in your fairy art parents that resonate most deeply with you.

(They resonate with you because they matter to you too. And once you’ve got that, I want you to write the words. In my.)

Step 2:


“In my creative life I will be…”

…then list the things that matter to you.

My Example

In my work I will be...

In my work and my life I will be OPENHEARTED, OPTIMISTIC, always looking for the HUMOR, even when it is dark. SKEPTICAL, but not cynical. 

FORGIVING of my work’s flaws. 

PROLIFIC and POSITIVE and always producing the next thing. 

Committed to the CRAFT (read lots, analyze and share, put into practice).

Committed to the COMMUNITY (past, present and future. Part of a lineage.) 

UPLIFTING (this doesn’t mean Pollyanna-is. Remember my mentors.) 


I create worlds I want to live in, and inspire others to do the same (not just on the page).

Julie Duffy

(Watch the video above at the 02:10 mark, for my explanation of how I came up with this)

A Writer’s Manifesto means that, with every project, you can if something’s not working, you can look and see where it’s not aligning with your values, where it’s not aligning with your strategy for your writing life.

The Decision Filter

Mine has become a decision filter for everything I do in my writing.

It’s easier for me to ignore the shiny objects that pop up, and the temptation to think I need something new to work on. One look at my manifesto and I realize maybe I need to make THIS project work the way I want to work!

I was really surprised by the clarity it brought me…and lots of other writers have told me the asme thing.

Write Your Manifesto Now

This part is going to take a little more time than what you did on the first couple of days of this challenge. And that’s okay.

Don’t work on it for hours, just 15 minutes or so.

Write down some of these things for yourself and to start creating that document in my writing life,

  • I will…
  • I will be…
  • I will not…
  • I will not be…

it’s not about writing out plans like “I will have a writing contract by the end of the year”. It’s about your approach.

Mine were about being upbeat and optimistic. Yours might be about being sincere and unafraid to write a sad ending.

Really dig for what’s important to you.

When you do, you’ll write the work that only you can write.

The work that people are craving.

You will have the voice that is unique to you.

That is going to make everything that you write better.

Focus on your words.

Sit with it, overnight.

Come back tomorrow, to find out what’s next.

Keep writing,

Julie (signed)

Leave a comment: how did it feel to record your creative values where you can see them?

32 thoughts on “Day 3 – What Matters To You?”

  1. When I write a story, I want to be in its world, and when that happens, it’s a precious gift. I am in another world, and that world is important. It’s a world I do not want to leave, not until the story has found its way to the best possible ending.

  2. I will be brave. “Open a vein” and pour out everything. Be honest. Tell the truth, be it scary or painful. Trust the process and hold nothing back.
    I will show up and do the work. Write. Draw. Create. Keep going even when it’s hard. (Especially when it’s hard.)
    I will be a teacher. I will be generous and share all that I learn. I will offer inspiration, encouragement and support as others have always done for me.
    I will believe that art matters, that it is as necessary as air. “I write as a function. Without it I would fall ill and die.”
    I will believe in me. I will trust my voice. I will believe I have something of value to contribute.
    I will continue to learn and grow through experience and experimentation and never be afraid to try something new.

  3. Coming in late….In my creative life, I will…always look for the door to other worlds, listen for the whispers that veer me off centre, and let them carry me to unplanned places. I will trust, and allow,. I will sit in my boat and let the river carry me; I will watch for the “cracks that let the light in”. I will always look fir the joy, the beauty and the magic.

    I will be… brave and trust myself. I will find a trusted group to read my work and encourage me and give helpful feedback
    I will not…discourage myself. Not try to write things that do not come from my heart.
    I will not be deterred by the non writers around me!

  4. I’ve written a list on my phone but I’m also hoping to create something more visual like a collage for my desk.

    1. In my case I’d have more chance of seeing it on my phone than my desk, but…

      I love the idea of a collage.

  5. It’s a bit scary to put this on the page.
    In my creative life…
    * I will use my talent instead of wasting it.
    * I will allow myself to be vulnerable on the page.
    * I will let psychology inform my fiction.
    * I will no longer listen to negative voices from the past.
    * I will no longer let fear stop me!
    * I will no longer deny that I am a writer.

    1. I LOVE this and salute you for not only doing this work but putting it out here, in public. You’ve got this!!!

      If I can offer a suggestion: how about phrasing these in a relentlessly positive and loving way (as if you were writing it for an adorable four year old who means a lot to you)?

      Something like:
      It’s safe to use your talent
      You’re strong enough to be vulnerable on the page
      Psychology informs your fiction
      You’ve released the negative voices from your past
      Fear can’t stop you
      You are a writer

      (P. S. You are the adorable child you’re talking to. It’s just that your shoe size is bigger now…)

    2. Good for you, Darla! I was terrified putting mine up but that’s the point. Own it. We are writers. It’sntime to own it!

  6. Coming in late !

    In my writing manifesto, I will enable diverse voices, contribute to a better world, reflect the good in the world, I will keep it brief, I will give myself the time for creativity and I will start .. as at Jan 2023 (dated to be sure to refine and review)

    1. I’d love to hear an update on this. How did 2023 go? What one thing improved? What one thing will you focus on for 2024?

  7. I will honor my muse by regularly finishing and submitting the projects that we create together.

    I will be writing and creating from the heart every day as a way of life.

    I will never doubt my creative worth because I dedicate time and focus to consistently fuel my leaps throughout the year.

    I will not be afraid to finish and share my unique voice with the world.

  8. In my writing life I will be observant of the comedy around me and transform it into something amusing and thoughtful for others to enjoy on the printed page. I would like to borrow ideas from the manifestos I see above, but I won’t, or if I do, I may not admit to manifesto mooching.

  9. My favorite question that surfaced from today’s work: Do I need to move on to something new, or do I need to make THIS project work the way I want/need it to work?
    I might tweak and re-phrase it this way: Am I trying to make this project into something it ISN’T in order to please somebody (anybody) else?
    That is truly the question.

  10. In my creative life,
    I will stay true to my originality and creative vision.
    I will remain an active part of a writing community.
    I will celebrate my curiosity.
    I will be forgiving of my flaws.
    I will permit myself to see the world in unusual ways.
    I will surround myself with objects and art that inspire me.
    I will be unafraid to break the rules.
    I will persevere.

  11. In my writing life I will be…
    open to finding story ideas from reading short stories, novels, essays, poems, memoirs.
    read at least a short story, an essay, and a poem each day.
    prolific even when I’m not happy with the way my writing’s going.
    read more.
    remembering it matters because I obtain joy from it (both reading and writing).
    I’ll inspire others.
    I’ll send things out even though that bores me.
    be part of a writing community.

    1. Great stuff (though I’d allow yourself a little flexibility on the reading goal. Might be discouraging to be too rigid…)

  12. I will be curious and willing to try something new, even if I’ll return to a previous effort.
    Accept my challenges with grace, humility and humour
    Commit to learning about craft
    Encourage others to try and be respectful and honest when asked about my opinion
    Build community
    Celebrate each other, create opportunities for expression and sharing
    Maintain focus, or find a way to refocus
    See writing as part of my overall health
    don’t succumb to thinking traps about external validation like publication as a yardstick for quality and success, instead do it because pleasure of creation outweighs the pain
    Have fun and play,

  13. Eye-opening and helpful exercise.
    Here are a few:
    In my creative life I will…
    -Be emotionally honest
    -stay open to mystery and doubt
    -acknowledge the mind, body & soul connection, the lived, felt, embodied experience
    -seek and point out beauty even (especially?) when it is hidden in the ugly parts of our lives
    Thanks for this challenge. It is helping clarify my creative focus.

  14. I will write as often as possible, do the weekly and monthly assignments for my writing groups, stay organized and focused, think creatively, stop reading about writing and instead will actually write.

    I will be creative, consistent, work outside the box, confident about my writing.

    I will not fall into the self-doubt trap, stop writing because I get stuck, fall if I stumble, flounder in misery because things aren’t coming to me as quickly as I expected, expect my writing to be at the level of the writing masters on my first draft.

    I will not be self-critical, allow myself to be overwhelmed.

    1. Great manifesto, Robert. I was just talking to somebody about how much patience we have to have with ourselves and our process.
      Good luck!

  15. This is a very powerful exercise. I am willing to see how it works on me. I sense that I have a lot to live up to, allow, in my creative life from the things that are important to me.

    1. I’m glad you found it powerful. I hope you’ll also be willing to see it as a process (not a test that you pass or fail).
      I love your use of the word ‘allow’. That’s important.

  16. As I read this assignment, I thought…..”I don’t need to do this, I have a manifesto from last year…..that’s good enough.” I even shut my laptop. Then I remembered that sometimes we resist the thing that we should be doing. So I wrote…”In my writing life I will be….” and a whole bunch of new thoughts and desires raced onto the page. I wrote a lot of different things, but the last two lines were.
    “In my writing life, I will push back against confusion and self-doubt. I will not allow self-sabotage.”
    Turns out that I need a new manifesto 🙂

    1. Fabulous. Love the ‘push back’.

      And thanks for sharing this. Sometimes we dig deeper. Sometimes we just know ourselves better, a year on!

  17. It frightened me, I think the way I do. It was like an out-of-body experience where I ask myself if I mean what I say.
    Although multitasking has been my strong value, I have experienced it messing up my writing schedule big time.
    Such will not happen during this exercise.

    1. Multitasking can be exhausting. I set a time limit on tasks when I have many things to do. I seem to be more productive when I do that.

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