When Writing Feels Hard…

In which I’ve got blisters on my fingers…

In this episode I discuss the concept of discomfort in the journey of pursuing creative endeavors and explore the different types of discomfort, such as striving to reach one’s ambitions versus worrying about not having what it takes. I encourage listeners to embrace discomfort as a sign of growth and progress, and suggest a solid-gold way to make that less grim. I also invite you to the Story A Day Superstars, a supportive community for writers, and announce upcoming writing challenges and courses. Plus: a writing tip about making characters sound more realistic.

0:00 StADa133 When Writing Feels Hard

00:31 On Discomfort

13:02 StoryADay Support

14:37 My Annual Theme

16:11 Writing Tip on Character Voice


StoryADay Superstars: https://storyaday.org/superstars

Other Ways To Increase Your Joy Around Writing

Download the Short Story Framework:

Take the 3-Day Challenge

Sign up for the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Take the I, WRITER Course


Join the Superstars Group


Coaching with Julie

What Are You Turning Towards, this New Year?

In which I, rather unexpectedly, talk about dog training…

Are you setting goals for outcomes or simply turning towards your writing more?

Here are some ways I can help

Download the Short Story Framework:

Take the 3-Day Challenge

Sign up for the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Take the I, WRITER Course


Join the Superstars Group


Coaching with Julie


[00:00:00] Intro

[00:00:32] Where Are You Headed?

[00:03:16] Turning Towards Your Writing, Consistently

[00:05:12] Goals or GPS?

[00:06:26] More Successes

[00:12:02] No More Negative Voices

[00:13:54] Ways To Get Support from StoryADaym

[00:14:25] Short Story Framework

[00:14:35] The 3-Day Challenge

[00:15:51] StoryAWeek Newsletter

[00:18:50] I, WRITER Course

[00:19:39] January 5-Day Challenge

[00:20:18] StoryADay Superstars

[00:21:51] Coaching

[00:23:19] Wrap up

Who Do You Talk To About Writing?

When my fellow writer—let’s call her Amanda—popped onto my Zoom screen, she was hunched in her chair, listless, and slightly cynical.

For months, she’d been trying to work on her novel.

She knew what she had to do.

She knew the scene she wanted to work on.

She had a writer friend she checked in with weekly…and still she was spending her writing time checking email and looking at social media and feeling the self-loathing grow like a thorny hedge, choking out her creativity.

The Heart of the Problem

As we started to talk it became clear to me that the problem wasn’t with her work ethic (she’s worked as a writer for decades) or her identity (“writer” is central to her identity and she has no problem saying it out loud).

The problem was technical: she didn’t know enough about the structure of the story she wanted to tell; about reader expectations; about how to arrange her beautiful writing into a compelling, novel-length story.

And that is a problem that can be fixed.

But it’s hard to fix alone at your desk (or alone inside your brain).

As I asked more questions, and Amanda answered, I watched her sit up straighter, lean in towards the camera—she may have even clapped her hands in glee—as the true problem emerged.

What Happened Next

With the problem diagnosed, it was a snap for us to put together a plan of action to tackle it.

She’s ready to write, again.

Better than that, she’s excited to write again.

She was so happy she called me a genius.

Not A Genius

I’m (probably) not a genius.

But I am a coach.

I study and practice storytelling all day long.

And I ask really good questions.

Your Turn

  • If you’re stuck on your writing, and you don’t understand why
  • If you’re making progress slower than you’d like
  • If you don’t know what the next step is, for you

Do you have someone you can talk to about your writing, and who asks excellent questions?

Leave a comment and let me know

Networking Without Nerves, a conversation with Coach Larissa Sjarbaini

Crafting a writing life isn’t all about knowing where to put commas and how to develop characters. It’s also about engaging with other humans. This week I’m in conversation with Larissa Sjarbaini, a high performance coach, about how to do that and why you might want to, even if you’re an extreme introvert. And stay tuned for an opportunity to develop your own game plan for a writing life


Set Yourself Up For Success sign up now!

Short Story Bootcamp

It’s November and the writing blogs have all turned their attention to the novel. What’s a short story writer to do?

For while we love our novel-writing fellows, we lovers of the short story don’t always want to write novels in November.  Or maybe we’re just not in a novel-place right now. Sometimes we just want to write stories. Sometimes it’s just as hard to sit down and write a short story as it is to sit down and write a novel. And we get grumpy in November, when we’re forgotten about.

Well grump no more.

The StoryADay Warm Up Course is back, but this time it’s personal.



I’ve beefed up the course with personal coaching calls and expanded materials, without losing any of the awesome results-driven focus of the original course. This time you get at least one personal call with me as well as a Q&A teleseminar. You also get worksheets to keep track of your progress (and I’ll be asking to see them!)

That’s right, it’s a Bootcamp and I’m your drill sergeant, only friendlier. A friend-sergeant. A drill-friend. Something.


The course starts on Monday November 18, 2013. Three weeks later you’ll have:

  • 10 completed stories under your belt,
  • More story ideas than you can use in a month, and a method for generating them forever, so you need never again fear the blank page,
  • The confidence to know you can make writing an on-going part of your life,
  • Practice  and discovery of your best working habits.
  • Coaching that cuts through your excuses and helps you find a way to write every day, not someday.

Add to Cart

$147 $97
(until midnight Sunday, 17, 2013)

need more information?

But wait, there’s more

(Yeah, I said it)

Bonus Coaching Sessions

You can also add on four additional coaching sessions (one for each of the second and third weeks of the course, one at the end to launch you into the next phase of your writing life, and another one a few weeks later to make sure you’re still on track).

During these 45 minute sessions we can tackle:

  • Productivity
  • Creative blocks
  • Time management
  • Story points
  • Your plan for developing your writing career

And I will critique one of your stories each week, to review your progress and help with your writing development.

If you’re really serious about getting your writing life in gear, this kind accountability will make the difference between wishing and doing.

 Add to Cart Just the course? $147 $97

Add to Cart Add on the Bonus Coaching now? $147

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