How to Make Your Prose (&Your Life) Sparkle By Changing Your Internal Dialogue

WRITING TIP

Whether you realize it or not, you are always telling a story, usually silently as you move throughout your day. And your internal dialogue is incredibly influential in your life. The question is: are you sharing mindfully or mindlessly, responsibly or carelessly? 

Clearly, it’s not possible to control all the circumstances of one’s life. Would you even want to? I bet, even if you love to take charge, you would wilt from boredom if you actually could control (and thus predict) every aspect of your life. 

That said, I have discovered I actually have a significant amount of control over my responses to events. By learning to control my internal dialogue, I have improved my life and the quality of my writing. Guess what? If we “real” people have internal dialogues, then so do our characters! 

Learn to pay attention to your inner narrative through mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga.  In such practices, the challenge is to direct your focus on one thing – whether that’s a muscle group or the breath. As you do so, your mind will inevitably wander. Catching the mind before it goes off unattended is the key here. You can google meditation techniques for more info.  

The point is, once you catch yourself in the act of inner storytelling, then you can begin to have fun.  You can talk to your inner voice by looking in the mirror and actually having a conversation (it’s not crazy unless you don’t know you’re doing it!).  Without your awareness, was your mind saying nasty things to you? Shift the narrative.  Using focus-shifting exercises like Byron Katie’s “The Work” or any of the exercises in Carolyn Elliot’s “Existential Kink” can help you in this practice. Take control of your inner dialogue, and watch your life open in fun, new ways.  As Wayne Dyer used to say, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

In my experience, this is true in life and in fiction.

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