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Make It Up

Fact or Fiction?

Gathering all the facts is the first step to solving a problem, however as I stated last time: Don’t stop there (See: How Could It Go Right?). For any goal or desired outcome that hasn’t yet come to fruition, balance your pragmatic side with a healthy dose of fiction. If something you’re after feels too big to be real or simply unlikely, make up a story about how it could happen. The story might be a little “out there” or could actually feel plausible to you. All that matters is that you make it up.

What's the Point?

This fiction writing exercise is part of the Now What?® program1 and initially, people often say it feels foreign. After all, the last time you were instructed to write a fictitious story may have been in sixth grade. Yet engaging your imagination in this way can be a short cut to solving problems and to noticing opportunities that have previously been disguised.

When Anita, an IT professional, realized she needed to work in a less stressful environment, she wrote a one paragraph story about being invited to teach children dance at the studio where she took classes once a week. Interestingly, that is exactly what happened and Anita did teach at that very studio for a few months before accepting a new job within her field with a different company.

The reason for writing fiction isn't necessarily to have the scenario happen literally, but very often the story will underscore something for you, bringing some information to the surface about what you desire or informing you of a new approach to take.

Just today as I sat down to write this article, I was thinking about a well-known figure whom I'd love to meet and maybe even do business with. I imagined a conversation with him and in this case my fiction was spoken out loud, as if I were talking to him on the phone. (Any of you who know me personally will have no problem picturing me talking to myself in my office.) When my overactive imagination was done, the result was this: I decided to write a letter to him. My fictitious phone call inspired a specific action.

Whether your made-up story happens in real life or not, it can open you to possibility.

Write the Script

What challenge is on your mind? An initiative you’re leading? A job² you’d like to have? A potentially difficult conversation that you hope will go well? Name your desired outcome and make up a story about how it could happen. If this were a scene in a movie that you could write, direct, and produce, how would it go?



  • Go for writing five fiction scenarios. It may be hard at first but once you start, you'll get on a roll. The stories only need to be about a paragraph each.
  • Be as outrageous as you want! You can mix it up with some very outlandish stories as well as some that involve a more common scenario. Anything works, as long as it's imaginative.
  • Be playful and let the story write itself. Don't try to force the outcome or have it make sense.

Warning: Writing fiction may result in talking to yourself out loud or smiling for no reason. Should this happen and if met with an inquisitive look, just say: “Oh nothing, I was just thinking of something.”

Life isn’t a science. We make it up as we go.”
Al Hirschfeld

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

¹Now What?® is a registered trademark of Laura Berman Fortgang. Learn more about the program here.

²Read this recent post from the Now What?® Coaching Blog, in which Laura provides a great example of writing fiction and describes how it impacted one CFO's job search.

© 2010, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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