Choosing what is right for you by Beth Barany

Choosing what is right for you by Beth BaranyChoosing what is right for you… How do you choose what is right for you? I’m specifically talking about the world of a creative, of a fiction writer.

I face this question all the time. From how to spend my time to what part of my story process to focus on next. And more.


To choose, I need a criteria, and I imagine you do too.

Being a creative entrepreneur — where I have to make all the decisions myself — is no easy feat.

At first, I didn’t know how I was making decisions, nor what to base my decisions on.

When faced with the choice of whether or not to take a workshop, how to spend my creative time, or where to invest my earnings, I realized that choosing boiled down to priorities and values. (Which are two ways of addressing the same thing.)

What is priority to you? What do you value?

Is it creative expression? Freedom? Play? Family and friends? Or taking care of your basic needs of food, rent, and other essential expenses? Or something else?

I know there is or can be a very real tension between taking care of basic needs and the other items I listed. Many people refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But I wonder, and have wondered for a while if it isn’t a hierarchy. Or doesn’t have to be a hierarchy.

I work for myself, so I’m constantly juggling the need to bring in income with my need to be a fiction writer (creative expression is the core value here).

But my business doesn’t just fulfill my basic needs of taking care of my essential expenses. My business is also a vehicle for self-expression and fulfills another need I have, that to be of service.

My priorities, what I value, are creative self-expression in a serious and fun way; and being of service, in a serious and fun way.

I get to create both, and I get to choose how to do both.

So I also value freedom. Freedom to choose. Freedom to explore, learn, experiment, and grow.

What are your top three values? Does that show up in how you prioritize your activities? Can your values help you choose what to do next, or what opportunity is best for you? I think so.

Dig into your values and say more about what they mean.

Here’s an example: If I value self-expression in a fun and serious way, then I won’t choose a training that doesn’t reflect those values.

By serious, I mean rigorous, in-depth, full of practical applications as well as theory.

By fun, I mean playful, room for experimentation, the knowing that there’s no right way to do something, only useful ways, given one’s goals (which are different for everyone.)


1. Start by listing your top 3 values.
2. Drill down by describing what your values mean. One word probably packs a lot of meaning for you.
3. Test: Think of a choice you’re facing. What is important to you (your values) in that experience? If you’re not sure, make some guesses.
4. What do you notice about your criteria for choosing?
5. What do you wish you knew more of about the choice you’re facing?

At the end of the day, I think we’re talking about trust. Trusting your ability to make a choice. Trusting your instincts and trusting that even if you make a mistake, you’ll be okay.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what it’s like for you when you’re faced with a choice. Also if you’d like to share your top three values with me, I’d love to hear them.

If it’s a priority to you to deepen your learning on planning, writing, or editing your novel, then check out the sale we have going on now at Barany School of Fiction, 50% off until the end of the month. Only 4 more days!

To take advantage of this sale, you need to use the links in this post:

Sale ends July 31st 11:55pm PT.

Have a wonderful writing week.

Here’s to your creativity! Happy writing!



PS. If you’re curious to learn more about the courses on sale through July 31st, 2018, 11:55pm PT, then go here:

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