This week, we’re going to do a little blast from the past, by revisiting Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
Having just seen Get Out! which I’ll be discussing in next week’s podcast– and which deals pretty brilliantly with the themes of race within a big genre movie, but pretty crappily with the concept of hypnosis– I wanted to look at a movie that looks at hypnosis in a truly profound way. And in fact builds its structure around hypnotic concepts.
All movies are hypnotic, and the best screenplays actually hypnotize their readers on the page, allowing them to forget that they’re reading (just like you do when you read a great book) and actually start to see, hear and feel every moment in the script on that little movie screen in their heads.
This means that all screenwriters are actually hypnotists– some are just a heck of a lot better at it than others. Which means that if you want to succeed as a writer, you’re really going to benefit from understanding some basic hypnotic concepts. Because your job is to help your readers– many of whom are not naturally creative people, and who quite frankly are bored to tears reading scripts– to slip into a creative state, and be able to effortlessly and viscerally experience your movie as if it were real, without having to supply any of that creativity themselves.
If you’ve taken our Write Your Screenplay classes at Jacob Krueger Studio, you know this is the real purpose of formatting. Not laying out your script in a “grammatically correct” way, but laying it out in a way that induces that hypnotic trance for your reader, lowering the barrier between fantasy and reality, so that they can experience your story as if it were real.
And if you’ve taken our Write Your Screenplay Level 2 classes or Protrack, you also know that structure is actually a hypnotic concept. A way of building fictional moments in a way that takes the character, and the audience, on a real, transformative journey.
Though almost all successful writers apply these concepts subconsciously, you won’t find them in most screenwriting books or the average screenwriting school. I actually learned about them from my Mom, Audrey Sussman, who is a brilliant hypnotherapist, who specializes in Anxiety, Writer’s Block and other creative issues, and who taught me everything I know about hypnosis, not as a way of changing my writing, but as a way of shaping my creative and psychological life, so I could become the person that I wanted to be.
But as I moved into my professional career, I was able to apply many of these concepts to my writing, with really powerful results. So before I share this gift with you, I want to take a moment to give a shout out to my mom. And if you’re curious about working with her or learning more about how hypnosis can change your life, shoot her an email at [email protected]
The Hypnotic Basis of Inception
One of the truly interesting things about Inception is that its structure is actually based upon the principles of hypnosis. In fact, the organizing principles of the dream within a dream within a dream structure of the film almost perfectly mirror the classical hypnosis training you’d receive during a basic hypnosis certification class.
Why is this important to you as a writer? Because as writers we all need organizing principles around which to structure our character’s journey. Usually we think of such structures in terms of acts and themes, but as Inception demonstrates, the truth is that almost any source of inspiration can become the organizing principal of your story: a question, a character trait, a work of art or piece of music, or in this case a classical hypnosis certification class.
As writers we are not only students of screenwriting, we are also students of the world. And the good news is: you can utilize the hypnotic principles behind Inception not only to inspire the way you create the structure of your own movie, but also to open up new avenues toward building your life as a writer.
So in this podcast, I’ll be discussing the hypnotic principles behind Inception, and ways of applying them to your own writing. I’ll also be describing ways that you can draw upon your own experiences to create organizing principles for your own movies– and harness those ideas to create unity for your script and profound journeys for your main characters.
Finally, we’ll be discussing ways that you can apply hypnotic principles in your life as a writer, in order to break through writer’s block, heal old wounds to your confidence, overcome procrastination, and create a better relationship between your writing and your editing brains.
So first, let’s talk a little bit about hypnosis. Both what it is, and what it isn’t.
As much as movies like Get Out! and stage hypnosis shows would like you to think that hypnosis is about mind control, the truth is exactly the opposite. Just like the techniques used on the dreamers in Inception, hypnosis can’t be used to make you do something you don’t want to do, or that doesn’t fit your belief systems. But it can be hugely effective in helping you do the things that you do want to do, but for some “inexplicable” reason, simply can’t.
That’s because hypnosis is really just a way of connecting to your subconscious mind– the part of your mind that controls your emotions, your nervous system, your instincts, your creativity, and yes, your writing.
The Standard Three Step Hypnotic Technique
Weekend certifications in hypnosis generally begin with a three step technique. The subject is brought “three steps down” into their subconscious mind, at which point a post hypnotic suggestion for the desired change is put into place. The subject is then brought 3 steps back up, and once they leave the trance, if it’s done right, the subconscious mind accepts the new suggestion as real, and their life starts to change around it.
You’ve probably figured out by now that this corresponds almost perfectly with the “three dreams down – three kicks up” technique the characters in Inception use to convince their subject, Robert Fischer, to break up his father’s company.
Just as the architecture of Robert’s dream sequence in Inception is built around around the people, image systems, and beliefs Robert holds most dear, so too is a three step hypnotic technique built around the most resonant images for the person being hypnotized.
Dream Research and Hypnotic Research
As writers, we begin our process by getting to know our characters– or better said, by connecting to the characters that already reside within our subconscious minds– the metaphors for the many parts of our own personalities that we’re exploring on the page as we write.
Similarly, a hypnotherapist begins their work by getting to know the metaphors, image and belief systems that resonate for their subject. For this reason, a classical hypnotic session using this approach begins with an interview, during which the hypnotist gathers images that have emotional power to the person being hypnotized.
For example, if you were using this method to help a blocked writer pick up the pen after a long period of procrastination, you might begin with images that are not even related to writing, but which capture some of the emotions the person wishes they had when they were writing.
The hypnotist would then induce a trance in the person, creating a dream like journey– a series of three images, three steps down into hypnosis, and three images, three steps back up– in which each image leads them deeper into trance, and closer to the transformation they are searching for, just like a dream within a dream.
With each step down, the value of the image is established, and with each step back up, the meaning of each image is deepened and adapted, associating that image with the change the person is seeking, and anchoring that change on a deep subconscious level– as if it had already happened.
The Power of Images
Movies are built around images, because movies are hypnotic. They carry us out of our own world, and transport us into the dream world of the writer.
Each sequence of images leads us deeper into trance, until we begin to respond to the movie as if it were real, feeling real emotions for characters we know don’t actually exist. We cry for losses that never happened, feel embarrassed for social gaffs that never actually occurred. Our hearts race as if we were standing in the character’s shoes– as if their fear was our fear, or their love our love. We root for them, we care about them. And we begin to care about their images system as if they were our own.
When Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, sees his children but cannot see their faces, we begin to long for their reunion just as he does. And when those children turn around and reveal their faces to him, it’s hard to fight the rush of emotion.
Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Images?
As a writer, you can use the three step hypnotic process to craft a profound journey for your character. Think about the images that most powerfully capture your character’s experience on the way down toward the heart of their journey, and how you can return to those images in new ways on the way back up in order to anchor and deepen the change your character is experiencing.
And while you’re at it, think about the hypnotic images that play in your own head as a writer. What images do you choose to focus on? What images are holding you back? And how can you revisit, deepen, and adapt those images in order to anchor the future that you are seeking? Whatever images you choose, if you get them right, your subconscious mind will respond to them as if they were real– just like you do at the movies.
Hypnosis for Writer’s Block
The following is an example of how this technique could be utilized to help a writer break through writer’s block, by constructing a three step sequence of images with emotional resonance to the writer.
Three Steps Down
For example, if the writer loved the water, the first image might be of them floating in the ocean, feeling incredibly free. The temperature of the water is exactly the temperature that is right, and as they float along it feels like the water is caressing their skin. In the distance, there is a dolphin splashing effortlessly through the water. The dolphin dives deeper into the water and they find themselves longing to dive down with that dolphin…
This image would lead them to the next sequence, just like a dream within a dream. Again, working with images that have emotional resonance to the writer. So if they loved children, we might bring them to a scene at a playground, watching a young child playing happily, creating dream worlds full of magic and creativity, so carefree and playful, completely in touch with their most creative part, just as the writer once was. The child invites the writer to join them…
This image would lead to the next dream within the dream. The third level down into the writer’s subconscious, and the third step closer to the transformation they are seeking. Perhaps they find themselves in a magical forest, where they are approached by someone they completely trust. This could be a religious figure, like the Buddha or Jesus, a mother or father, or a teacher that they believe in. The teacher leads them to a special place, a cave, a clearing, a secret room or chamber just for them. And inside this secret place is an old leather bound book, in which the secret they need to bring about their transformation is written… all they have to do is read the words, and they will already be transformed….
Those words are the post-hypnotic suggestion. The key to change, which the subconscious mind will act upon and accept. Just as in Inception, the hypnotist doesn’t even need to create the suggestion. They simply need to create the book, and the subconscious mind will populate it with the suggestion it most needs right now…
Three Steps Back Up
Once the post hypnotic suggestion is delivered, the hypnotist brings the writer three steps back up, using different versions of the same images to anchor the suggestion, and project a positive future for the subconscious mind in which the person can experience the positive results of the change they have made, as if they had already occurred.
So taking the example previously discussed, as the writer exits the special place where the book was hidden, they can already feel how the secret contained in the book has transformed them. As they find themselves in the magical forest, it’s like looking through new eyes… everything is so alive and magical. It’s like there’s a story in every branch, every leaf, every sound. Stories the writer is curious to explore, and excited to tell…
Their curiosity then carries them back once again to the playground, where they find themselves playing with the child, recapturing that childlike bliss that writing has always held for them, and always will, if they merely take the step today to open themselves to it. As they see the child’s smiling face, they recognize that face… as a younger version of their own. At that moment something shifts inside of them, some inner knowing, as they realize what that means…
…Ask that child, that younger self, if they would like to see the great future that lies ahead. And they discover themselves back in that ocean. Only this time the adult and the child swim together with that dolphin, effortless, happy, free. The dolphin dives, and the writer and child dive with him, together, swimming all the way to the bottom, where they discover a magical reflecting pool, in which they can see their own future.
And reflected in it, writer and child see the future that lies before them, the days of satisfaction as they work on their screenplay, the eager scribbling of endless ideas, a friend or trusted mentor guiding them, the completion of their first script, and then their next, and next, and next… a crowded movie theatre in which a movie plays. Their movie. The one that’s been waiting inside them, just begging to be written down. They can hear the applause of the audience. The laughter. Or maybe even the tears. They can feel the pride welling up within them…
“How did I get here?” asks the child.
“We did it together” the writer tells the child… and it all began with the step we took today.
The Power of Hypnosis
If you’ve read this script, you already have some sense of how the hypnotic process works. If the suggestions were right for you, you may have even seen yourself in that ocean, in that playground, in that magical forest, and in that secret room. You may have discovered your own post hypnotic suggestion waiting in your own book, or simply felt the feeling of knowing even if you no longer remember the words. And if these suggestions were right for you, with them you have already taken the first step of becoming the writer you want to be.
The images I used in this script are drawn from Jungian archetypes, but of course these images take on even more hypnotic power when they are shaped directly from your own symbolic systems, your own beliefs, and your own dreams.
It should be obvious by now that Christopher Nolan’s screenplay Inception is deeply rooted in the principles of hypnosis. Learning more about these principles may not only change the way you approach your own writing, but also help you understand new ways that you can break through writer’s block and build the writer’s life you’ve been seeking.
The Post Hypnotic Suggestion
Just like the idea, in Inception, that Robert Fischer’s father really loved him, a post hypnotic suggestion is an idea, delivered in deep trance, that the subconscious mind accepts as if it were true. Post hypnotic suggestions are incredibly powerful, in that when done right, they become anchored in your consciousness, and begin to bring about real life changes in your everyday reality.
As suggested in Inception, these post hypnotic suggestions only work if certain conditions are met:
- They are in alignment with the person’s beliefs. (In other words you can’t “incept” a kind person to be violent, even though you can “incept” a person who desperately wants to write to take action).
- The person chooses to accept the suggestion. This is why post hypnotic suggestions are more likely to work if they’re given by someone you trust– such as a respected teacher, a great hypnotist, or a person you can depend on (in the case of Inception, Eames masquerades as Peter Browning, the one person Robert truly believes in, to surreptitiously deliver the post-hypnotic suggestion)
- The suggestions, and the “dream” images used to get the person to them, are phrased in the right way for that particular person, using their own language, and their own symbolic systems.
The magic book used in the hypnotic script you just experienced is just one of many ways of delivering a post-hypnotic suggestion. Just as the classical three step model is only one of many ways of using hypnosis to bring about profound change.
How Are You Incepting Yourself?
The truth is, you’re delivering post-hypnotic suggestions to yourself every single day, in the words you say to yourself, and the soundtrack running in your head. And these suggestions can be even MORE powerful than the ones a hypnotist provides, because they are already perfectly aligned with your belief systems, come from a person you trust (yourself), and are perfectly phrased in the way that only you can say them.
In fact, modern hypnosis has moved away from the classical approach upon which Inception is based, in favor of a new, lighter trance approach in which the hypnotherapist helps the subject create their own suggestion, rather than taking on one that’s created externally.
Because it’s arrived at organically, it has much more staying power, and taps directing into the instincts and intuition and the subject, just as the organic approach to structure we teach at the Studio develops more powerful stories, because it taps into the instincts and intuition of the writer, rather than imposing someone else’s structure from outside.
So if post hypnotic suggestions really are this powerful– are so transformative, as suggested by Inception, that a person like Cobb’s wife, Mal will continue to accept them as the truth, even if they are not literally true– are so powerful that a person like Robert Fischer can heal his whole relationship with his abusive father based on a simple thought. Then it’s worth asking yourself, what are the post hypnotic suggestions that you’re giving yourself about your writing? And what effect are they having on your writing life?
So you now understand the 3 step structure used in classical hypnosis to hypnotically bring about a change.
Similarly the structure of the film Inception also takes three steps down, and then three “kicks” back up, to plant the post hypnotic suggestion of breaking up his father’s company in Robert Fischer’s mind.
The film begins in conscious reality, or at least what seems like conscious reality. Robert Fischer is in a plane, and Cobb builds trust with him by returning his “lost” passport, before inducing trance (in a very non-hypnosis way) by drugging Robert and entering his dream.
First Step Down: A Secret Safe
Robert finds himself in what he thinks is Los Angeles, where he is taken hostage by Cobb’s crew. Eames impersonates family friend Peter Browning, and convinces Robert that he has been tortured for the combination to Robert’s father’s secret safe– a combination only Robert knows. In the safe is his father’s last gift for Robert, a secret will that splits up the company.
Robert’s doubt of his father is so intense that even in a dream he can’t believe Browning’s story. Even on his deathbed, Robert’s father only had one word to share with him: “Disappointed”. Ultimately, the numbers need to be extracted at random from Robert’s subconscious before Robert can be put back to sleep for the next step down…
Second Step Down: Browning’s Secret
At the Los Angeles hotel, Robert meets Cobb, who tells him that he is dreaming, and that he is there to protect him. Once again using Eames’ skills of impersonation, they trick Robert into suspecting Browning, convincing him that Browning staged the kidnapping in an effort to prevent Robert from accepting his father’s challenge to break up the company.
This experience begins to cast doubt upon the story Robert has been telling himself about Browning, and about his father, and to shift his trust from one to the other. Desperate to understand, Robert enters what he believes to be Browning’s dream. As Robert is put back to sleep in the hotel room, he finds himself…
Third Step Down: The Father’s Secret
Robert attempts to infiltrate the snow fortress which he believes holds the secrets of Browning’s mind. After Mal’s untimely appearance and a brief misadventure in Limbo, he is rescued by Cobb and Ariadne and returned to the inner chamber of the fortress. Inside, he discovers himself alone with his father, at the sick bed where his father once expressed his devastating feelings about Robert in one painful word: “Disappointed”.
“…because I wasn’t you…” Robert tells his father sadly, sharing the story he’s been telling himself about his father’s words. “No, his father corrects him… disappointed that you tried.” And at that moment, everything changes for Robert… and he is ready to open the safe.
The Post Hypnotic Suggestion
From the moment Robert’s story changes, so too does every element of the way his subconscious mind perceives his world. And that’s why, when he opens the safe, what he finds is not just the will, but a symbol of his father’s love: the old pin-wheel from the photo Robert has always carried with him– his last memory of a loving relationship with his father. And with that pin-wheel comes the healing Robert so desperately needs. Whether the story is true or not.
It’s just like the book in the hypnotic script you experienced– the structure is provided by the hypnotherapist– or in writing terms– by the writer. But the suggestion– the meaning– is put together by the subject–or the audience.
To create a powerful change, whether it’s emotional or political, the writer must lead the audience structurally to where we want them to go– and give them the structure they need to put the pieces together in their own way– to supply their own meaning– the meaning they need to create a change in their own lives.
Three Steps Back Up In Inception
As you saw in the hypnotic script we used earlier, in classical hypnosis, at this point a hypnotist would return the client to each level of the dream, allowing to see how the new story they have accepted will forever change those images, and building toward an even more powerful moment of healing, which anchors the larger change the person is seeking.
To some degree, Christopher Nolan does this as well in Inception, for example, by allowing the snow fortress (and with it, the secret that was once kept from Robert) to collapse.
But for the most part, Nolan reduces the three steps back up process to a series of three “kicks”: Fischer and the team falling with the collapsing snow fortress, Arthur blowing up the weightless elevator in the hotel, and Yusuf crashing the van into the water.
But even though Robert the character doesn’t go through each of the three steps back up– as an audience, we experience the whole journey, witnessing each step down from a new perspective as we race back up toward consciousness…
From a character perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Because ultimately, Robert may not be the only one dreaming…
Just as Inception is built through a “dream within a dream” structure, it may also contain an inception within an inception. Just as Robert is being incepted to break up his father’s company, so too is Cobb being incepted to “take a leap of faith.” He’s the one we truly care about– in whose transformation we are most deeply invested– and through whose dream architecture we actually experience the story of Inception.
Is Robert Fischer The Only One Dreaming?
The spinning top at the end of Inception certainly leaves us wondering if Cobb is awake or simply at another level of his own dream. The question doesn’t have a clear answer, however the evidence that Cobb may in fact be dreaming goes far beyond the last image of the movie.
The most obvious evidence that Cobb may be dreaming is the “dream logic” that seems omnipresent in his affairs. Cobb’s big problem– that he needs to get back to America to see his kids– only makes sense within the dream logic world of the movie.
In real life, of course, Michael Caine could simply put those kids on a plane to Europe, and Cobb could see them without performing any inception whatsoever.
Similarly, in the real world, executives don’t buy entire airlines before even finding out they need a plane, nor can a simple phone call from a high powered foreign executive forever clear the name of a man wanted for murder.
It’s possible that this could all be dismissed as sloppy action movie writing, however within the context of the film, even Mal points out the problem of Cobb’s dream logic, when she confronts him with the fact that Cobb’s “real” world is a lot like a dream, in which he’s being hunted by governments, corporations, and mercenaries, just like a persecuted dreamer. Mal’s disturbing words raise the possibility that all of the characters in his world are in fact simply archetypal projections of his own subconscious, filling up the architecture of the dream he constructed, just like a writer’s characters fill up the architecture of our own dreams.
Is Cobb Incepting Himself?
What makes Mal’s theory most compelling is the way that the post hypnotic suggestion with which she wants to incept him, to “take a leap of faith” are repeated, again and again, by different characters in Cobb’s “dream”.
In the same way that a great writer, as a great hypnotist, will hit the same theme, again and again, through different characters, in order to help the audience create a “post hypnotic suggestion” of meaning for their experience, so too do the characters in Inception approach the same theme of “take a leap of faith” from one angle after another.
These words are first spoken by Saito, when Cobb (believing himself to be living in reality), asks Saito for a guarantee that he will be able to clear his name, if he effectively carries out the inception.
Saito responds: “You don’t. But I can. So, do you want to take a leap of faith, or become an old man filled with regret, waiting to die alone.”
But these words,“take a leap of faith,” did not originate with Saito. They originated with Cobb. They’re the words with which he incepted Mal when he convinced her to lay down on the railroad tracks. The words which she repeats to him, as she tries to get him to jump from the building. The words she carries out in action when she jumps without him– an image which is echoed by the completion of Robert Fischer’s journey, when he and Ariadne get their first kick back to reality, by jumping from the top of the building in Limbo.
Even the post-hypnotic suggestion with which Cobb intends to incept Fischer is a variation on this theme: an invitation to take a leap of faith in his father, and to believe that his father has taken a leap of faith in him.
Finally, in classical hypnotic form, these words come full circle when Cobb repeats them to Saito, after chasing him all the way to limbo to deliver the message to his friend: “Take a leap of faith”.
Internalizing The Post Hypnotic Suggestion
In this way, Cobb comes to accept and internalize his own post-hypnotic suggestion (just as Mal has internalized the suggestion Cobb incepted in her, and Robert Fischer has internalized the suggestion Cobb incepted in him). The question of course is whether the “leap of faith” he is intended to take is a leap from a building, or a leap of the mind, in which he chooses one reality over another, and accepts those children as real, whether they really are, or not.
Can The Words You Tell Yourself Really Change Your Life?
You’re walking down the street. You see a crack in the road ahead of you. You visualize yourself stumbling over it. Imagine the embarrassment of people watching you fall. A little voice starts in your head. “Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Don’t trip.” What happens? You trip. If you want to understand why, try telling a child “don’t look through that window” or telling yourself “don’t imagine the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man”. It’s almost impossible, right? That’s because your subconscious mind is just like a child. It ignores “don’ts” entirely and accepts only the positive parts of your suggestions: “look through that window,” “imagine the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”
What You Conjure Becomes Reality
Combine the words “trip, trip, trip” that your subconscious mind hears, the image that flashes in your mind of yourself tripping, and the genuine feelings of embarrassment that come with that image, and suddenly those words aren’t just words anymore. They’re a post hypnotic suggestion, delivered with all the power of the most convincing hypnotist in the world: you.
At this point, to the subconscious mind, these words exist as if they’d already happened. As if they were true already. As if they were unavoidable.
As unavoidable as Mal’s thinking that her life wasn’t real, once the post hypnotic suggestion was planted in her mind, by a person she trusted, using the image systems that they had created together.
As unavoidable as Robert Fischer finally feeling free of the burden of his father’s disappointment, once the inception of the post hypnotic suggestion of his father’s love was completed.
As unavoidable as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, accepting those kids as real, whether they actually are or not.
To your subconscious mind, there is absolutely no difference between what really happened, and the story you tell about it. Deliver the message in the right way, and the subconscious mind will react as if it were true, regardless of the facts.
Just like an audience will react with real emotions to your fictional stories, carrying both your character’s journeys and the message underneath them into their real world lives.
Sounds Pretty Scary Right?
Until you realize that even the truth of your true experiences is not necessarily true. That in fact the post hypnotic suggestions you are giving to yourself are just stories, like any other stories, and as storytellers, we can choose the kinds of tales we want to believe, based on the same objective facts.
Five people witness a car crash. And afterwards each presents an entirely different story of what happened. Even though they all saw the same thing. The facts don’t change. The only thing that changes is the perception of those facts.
Just as a writer can make small changes in the execution of a script adjust the value of a scene within a movie, so too can you adjust the stories you tell yourself about the events in your life, to completely change the value of what those events mean to you. So the questions become, not what is true, but what story are you telling yourself about the truth?
Robert Fischer’s Inception
In Inception, the father has been cruel to the son. These are the objective facts. But they are not the end of the story. The process of the movie doesn’t change the objective facts, it merely changes the story the son is telling himself about his father, from “my father is disappointed in me” to “my father believes in me, and is trying to inspire me to pave my own way”. Same facts. Different story. It’s not REALITY that changes his life. It’s the story he’s telling himself about it.
In Inception, after accepting a post-hypnotic suggestion from her husband, Mal tells herself the story that her real life isn’t real, and plunges to her death, losing the beautiful relationship she and Cobb have created together. It doesn’t matter whether the story she is telling herself is right or wrong. What matters is that she believes it.
In a way, the person incepting himself most powerfully throughout Inception may be Cobb himself.
At each step of the journey– three steps down, and three steps back up– someone tells Cobb to “take a leap of faith”. And by the end of the movie, he finally does, by telling Mal that she isn’t real, killing off the part of her he’s holding onto, and taking a leap of faith back to his old life. Cobb tells himself that his relationship with his children is real, and gets to enjoy it as if it were, whether the top is still spinning or not. Once again, it’s not reality that changes Cobb’s life, but the stories he is telling himself about it.
And of course the same is true with the stories you tell yourself about your writing. What if you chose to tell yourself you were really a writer? What if you chose to believe the dream was real? What step would you take to chase it today?
Take A Leap of Faith
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, I invite you to take a leap of faith in yourself. Check out one of my upcoming Screenwriting Workshops or check out our full 2-hours 7 Act Structure Seminar on Inception and take the first step toward being the writer you know yourself to be, today.