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Ask the right question … to get an amazing answer

Today’s blog focuses on life wisdom – how to overcome setbacks using powerful questions. I’m still writing my first novel, and lately, it came to my attention that there are chunks of it that don’t work yet. Some big changes are needed. At first, this seemed overwhelming and I began to ask myself… What if I don’t have what it takes? Why am I SO slow at getting my book done? What if it’s just beyond my ability as a writer?

Errr…

Of course I couldn’t get this far and then give up. I had to come out of rookie novelist mode and step into coach mode. To coach myself. So I chose to begin by asking powerful questions. Instead of focusing on the parts of the plot and characters that weren’t working I had to ask in the positive. Here’s an example:

Instead of ‘oh dear, the way my main character goes missing doesn’t seem feasible and doesn’t work very well,’ I asked ‘How else might my main character have gone missing?’

By asking a good question, I began reaching for an answer instead of getting overwhelmed and negative. My mind followed the question like it was some exquisite path taking it on some adventure into a magical land of possibilities. And I got a choice of helpful answers that made me want to keep writing and keep working at it. Result.

This type of questioning works across the board, not just for writers but for all things in life, I believe.

Here are some more random examples or powerful questions and their not-so-helpful counterparts:

Q: How could I support myself to eat more healthily? vs. I never have the willpower to eat healthy food.

Q: What else could I try to manage my time more efficiently today? vs. I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do today.

Q: What could I do to feel better around this person? vs. That person is so annoying and it’s their fault I’m feeling irritated.

Q: What’s one thing I could do today to be more environmentally friendly, vs. Climate change is happening and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Hopefully you’ll agree that asking those questions puts you in a more curious and positive mindset. I’m all about mindset in my writing and in most areas of my life. We can literally talk ourselves right out of things as well as right into things. Our thoughts are powerful things. We need to keep weeding out the bad ones and taking good care of the good ones so that they grow.

Try it Yourself

Now it’s your turn, to try a few of your own. If you find this useful, that is. To make a powerful question, remember it will have these traits: it is open-ended; it is curious in nature (think: interested and open-minded); it is clear and not long-winded. If yours is long-winded you might need to split it into more succinct questions.

Thanks for reading

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Susan.

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