James Prescott

exploring how words & stories shape lives

Discover The ‘Dance Of The Writer’ – New E-Book

Feature Box

Coming Exclusively This Week, A New FREE E-Book for Blog Subscribers, a book written & created in just 24 hours:

“Authenticity is fundamental to creating great work, as what we create reveals the truth of who we are”

‘The Dance Of The Writer: A Beginners Guide To Authentic Writing’ – coming Monday 1st December…& on Thursday 27th November to all those who’ve subscribed before that date (including current subscribers).

Get your FREE copy here:

The Book I Created In 24 hours (& How To Get It Early)

I was just having an innocent, fun Facebook conversation with some writers, making a joke. On a useful list of 31 things to do every day for a month to begin blogging, which someone had posted, ‘Write an E-Book’ and ‘Publish an ‘E-Book’ were listed on successive days.

All I said was

‘E-Book in day? Really?’

And that was it. A little light-hearted joke. But then, a good friend, Christine, challenged me. Why couldn’t I create a book in a day? And not just a hastily arranged amateur book, but a full on, professional, quality e-book.

Why not try it?

The Secrets You Find At The End Of Yourself

In recent weeks life has been difficult. This very weekend I had an experience which brought me to the end of myself. Issues with finances, work, health and relationships. I was sitting at home, but I wasn’t feeling depressed. It had gone beyond this.

I was just not bothered.

I mean this not in a lazy way at all. Nor in a negative, suicidal sense. But more like indifference. To life. Pressures with money, with bad habits, diet, work, career. Tough choices, pressurised situations. And I felt indifferent.

Maybe not too much of a surprise. Many struggle with this.

But what made me sit up and notice, was how little I cared about the things I am most passionate about. And it opened my eyes to a truths. Truths I already knew of in theory, but had never experienced in such a personal way.

It revealed the lies about where I – and many of us – put our security. And the amazing blessing of having it grounded where it should be.

What ‘Interstellar’ Taught Me About Writing

Last weekend I watched Christopher Nolan’s new film, ‘Interstellar’. It’s a film set in the near future about a group of people who have to travel into deep space, to save humanity. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen, and a powerful, emotive narrative. It’s epic in every sense of the word.

‘Interstellar’ is a demonstration of a master at work. It’s Christopher Nolan at the absolute peak of his powers as a filmmaker. Someone with total mastery of their craft, in every possible sense. The storytelling, cinematography, soundtrack, editing, and epic size of the movie are perfectly seamless.

‘Interstellar’ is a cinematic masterpiece.

And when I watched it, and reflected on it afterward, one of the things which stuck with me purely from an artistic perspective was simply this:

My main goal in writing is to leave a positive impact on the world. To serve others. But outside of this, my biggest hope is that I can master the art of writing and storytelling, in the way Chris Nolan has mastered the art filmmaking. To have the command over words and stories which Nolan currently holds over the art of filmmaking.

It may be my biggest test as a writer.

The film also convinced me of one other, crucial fact. That to become a master writer, I must become a master storyteller.

Why A Letter From Your Older Self Can Change Your Life (& My Letter)

I was invited recently to write a letter to myself. From a self much older (and hopefully wiser) self, who has lived out the story I want to live, who wants to invite the me of today to learn the lessons he learned, to be fully prepared for the life he has.

The challenge is to look forward. To think about our own stories. To think about what life itself means. To confront the truth of who we are, what story we are currently telling, and the urgency of our need to stop procrastinating & live the story we were born to.

Undergoing this process has brought lots of things in my life to focus. Who I am called to be. The story I want to tell.

It’s helped me gain a more realistic perspective on life, and inspired me to take action to get my story going. And later I’m going to invite you to take up this challenge too.

So, here’s my own ‘letter from an older self':

Dear 37 year old James,

I won’t ask how you are. I am you, remember. I know how you are. I remember reading this letter myself.

I remember the hopelessness you felt on the train that day.

Trust me James, you have a long journey ahead of you.

Yes. Really.

10 Life “Messes” with Potential to Improve Your Life: Part 3 (Guest Post)

Today we have the final part of Erin Brown Conroy’s popular series back to the blog, about finding purpose in the midst of our mess. It’s been a pleasure hosting Erin, and today’s post is as good as ever. Over to Erin:

The last two posts, we talked about five messes in our lives—and how we can turn those messes into triumphant stories.

Here are the final five messes to avoid…and how to fix them.

MESS #6: Saying “later” to something that needs to be addressed—and never coming back to it.

Too many of us have the ostrich affect, with our heads in the sand (and if ostriches had fingers, the fingers would be stuck in their ears, too, to keep anything “bad” from getting to us).

We get good at ignoring, hoping that problems will fade away.

Ignoring a mess, a problem, or an issue never helps, never solves, and never sets lives right. Never.

10 Life ‘Messes’ With Potential To Improve Your Life – Part 2 (Guest Post)

Today I’m delighted to welcome back Erin Brown Conroy back to the blog, in the second of her three-part series on finding purpose in the midst of our mess. Over to you Erin:

Last blog post, we talked about how writers use messes to create a good story. Messes can serve a purpose, making the Hero of a story learn, grow, and become story-worthy. The Hero’s messes can serve him well.

Our messes can serve us well, too.

10 Life ‘Messes’ with Potential To Improve Your Life (Part 1) – (Guest Post)

Today I’m delighted to welcome Erin Brown Conroy to the blog. Erin is a writer, author, musician, coffee-lover & mom from Michigan, and a good friend. Today and over the next two Wednesdays, I’m hosting a series of guest posts by Erin. Today she begins by introducing the topics & themes of the series. I’m sure you’re all going to be really impacted positively by Erin’s posts. Over to you Erin:

It’s a fact that novel writers deal with crap. Poo. Foo foo. Fodder. Now that I have your attention, let me explain. (I’m going to let you in on a storywriter’s secret.)

Where do the writer’s messy ideas come from?

What Miami Vice Taught Me About Identity

In the 1980’s there was a TV show called ‘Miami Vice’, about two undercover police officers from, surprisingly enough, Miami. The image & clothing of the police officers, and it’s location, gave it a particular image which made it an iconic show of the 1980’s.

Toward the end of season 2, one of the principal characters, Sonny Crockett (played by Don Johnson, left in picture), poses undercover as a drug dealer ‘Sonny Burnett’. This is a false self with his own backstory.

But when Sonny gets hit on the head and gets amnesia, he only remembers the identity of Sonny Burnett. So he goes ahead and lives out that identity, not remembering he is an undercover police officer, existing solely as Sonny Burnett.

He’s not Sonny Burnett. It’s not his true identity. However, he continues to live and act like he is. And this story, and it’s resolution, is a great example of a fundamental truth about identity. In the words of Rob Bell:

“What we do comes out of who we believe we are”

In other words, our identity defines our reality.