How To Write The Future

28. The Key to Creative Success: The 3-Legged Stool: Getting the Support You Need

January 16, 2023 BETH BARANY Season 1 Episode 28
How To Write The Future
28. The Key to Creative Success: The 3-Legged Stool: Getting the Support You Need
Show Notes Transcript

”We all have blind spots. Our weaknesses and our strengths. And we need to hear about those weaknesses and strengths from other people who understand what we're up to because they too are up to the same thing as we are.”

In this episode of How To Write The Future, titled “The Key To Creative Success: The Three-Legged Stool; Getting the Support You Need," Beth Barany, creativity coach, and science fiction and fantasy novelist, shares her perspective about the key to creative success, the elements of the three-legged stool, and where the idea came. Plus she invites listeners to share their favorite podcast episode in celebration of the upcoming 30th episode.

There is also information on an upcoming event where Beth is one of the teachers in a masterclass called “Be A Bestseller 4.0, Write Your Novel With Confidence Summit” organized by Emma Dhesi.


Be A Bestseller 4.0
January 16- 27, 2023
For more info and to sign up go here:

Share your favorite How To Write The Future episode here:


The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers.

Tips for fiction writers!

This podcast is for you if you have questions like:

  • How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?
  • How do figure what's not working if my story feels flat?
  • How do I make my story more interesting and alive?

This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.


Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”

  • SHOW NOTES by Kerry-Ann McDade


Contact Beth:


The Key To Creative Success: The Three-Legged Stool: getting the support you need. 

I’d like to hear from you. 

Hey writers. I would like to hear from you. I'm closing in on my 30th episode for my podcast, How To Write The Future. And I would love to hear what is your favorite episode.


Maybe it's this upcoming episode, maybe it's a previous one.


Take a listen and let me know. Share your favorite episode with me at How to Write The


You can write me a note or simply leave a voice message up to 90 seconds.


I would love to feature my listeners' thoughts and reflections in my 30th episode, upcoming in a few weeks. Thanks so much.


And now, on with the show.




Hi everyone, Beth. Barany here for the How To Write The Future podcast. This is a show for fiction writers specifically, science fiction and fantasy writers who want to create optimistic stories. I really believe fiction is so, so powerful in how people perceive themselves and the world. And if we can change just a little bit help people open up their hearts and their minds into new ways of thinking and new ways of being, wow, we have a superpower. Writers, fiction writers, storytellers, we have an amazing superpower to help change the world for the better. So, thanks for joining me here today.


Today I want to talk about the key to creative success.


I call it the three-legged stool. Really it's about getting the support you need. Now, some people might think that this is off-topic: how does this relate to your theme of how to write the future, building positive, optimistic stories. And all that goes into that. And actually I would say, this is the 30,000-foot view to being a writer. Or if you want to say the global view or a global view.


Please recognize this is only my perspective. And you're welcome to take whatever is useful here, and leave the rest. And I trust that you will do that.


So when I was younger, and especially when I was starting my business helping writers, I really thought, if I learned one more thing, then I'll have my act together, then I'll succeed. I also honestly, still feel a bit like that as a writer, but less with a sense of urgency. When I was starting learning how to write fiction, I knew that I really needed to just start writing fiction. And yeah, that's absolutely what I needed to do.


Because it was so daunting at the initial stages to do that, I knew that I needed some kind of group accountability. So I joined a fiction writing group. So that I would put myself under a little bit of a pressure cooker, so that I would turn out pages.


Then when I started my business helping writers as a writing teacher and a writing coach and a creativity coach for writers-- As I started doing all the things you do to have a business, I realized that there are so many things I didn't know.


And then I started encountering this term: the unknown unknowns and discovering that especially for people in business who are looking forward, who are looking into the future, there always seemed to be these unknowns that they could not predict. And we've all seen it in the upheavals of the last few years. There always seems to be things that are gonna upend us as if we're hit by a sneak wave.


So I had this feeling: if I only learn one more thing, then I'll have my act together. Then I'll succeed. I'll be a success.


This kind of thinking basically ruled my every day. And often I didn't even know it. I didn't even know that it was driving me. And also it made me feel always incomplete. There's something wrong. There's something wrong with me. There's something I'm missing that kind of thinking.


But then as time went on and I really settled into my work of helping other writers, I started to relax, and realize that when I was of service, I would feel more fulfilled. I was feeling more fulfilled and I do feel more fulfilled. I am definitely the kind of person who's hardwired to be a teacher, to be a coach.


And until I got that part of my business actually happening, until I was actually serving people, I felt unsettled.


Both getting support from my fellow writers as in my peer critique groups-- and I'm still in a peer critique group-- and also working with writers, being a teacher, a coach, and constantly learning-- through books and lectures and meetings and all kinds of things, videos-- until I had all these three pieces operational, I felt something was missing.


So I've come up with this idea, this picture. I call it the three-legged stool of success. I'm coining it now. You heard it here now.


I have this three-legged stool in my house. It's black and white. It's white with black splotches. It looks like a cow, and it even has a pink udder on the underside of the stool. The stool came from my grandfather who was very artsy and had fun, quirky furniture like this in his house. And now I have it. So when I think of a three-legged stool, I think of this quirky little white black cow stool.


And I really think that as writers we need all three components.


First Leg: The Teachers


These three elements are: one: the teachers.


We need to learn all we can about our chosen art and craft.


Learning to be a novelist, frankly, it's a lifelong endeavor.


So who are our teachers?


Our teachers are the books we read, the courses we take, the people who have walked the path before us, and our own life experiences.


Those are our teachers as well.


So to be good as a novelist, we need to learn. And without education, it's hard to get better, and it's hard to improve on what's gone before.


So that's leg number one.


Second Leg: Our Readers (Those We Serve)


Leg number two specifically -- I see it as our readers. Those are the people we serve as novelists.


Or if you are also providing a service -- the people you serve -- your students, your clients, your customers.


As novelists, we get support back from our readers in the form of money when they buy our books, reviews, shares, any kind of support that they give us through how they talk to others about our work.


I truly believe that we write to be read.


So without having an audience, it can be hard to keep going.


And this is why I have a beta reader team, so I have people who can look at my pages before they go out into the world. And even in earlier stages of my writing, I have a critique group. And even earlier than that, I have some brainstorming partners. So I use and need feedback and support from those who will read my work and those who understand that others will read my work all throughout the writing process.


So that's leg number two. Those we serve, whether it's your readers, your clients, or my case, both.


Third Leg: Our Peers


And then lastly, the third leg of the stool is our peers.


We need to hear other people's war stories and success stories. But not advice. Advice -- that's what we get consultants and coaches and teachers to give us.


We need peers. We need peers who can hear what we're doing and read what we're doing and tell us what's working, what's not working.


And it's not because our peers know better than us. It's because they can see what we can't.


We all have blind spots. Our weaknesses and our strengths. And we need to hear about those weaknesses and strengths from other people who understand what we're up to because they too are up to the same thing as we are.

It's best to be with peers who are also working towards the same goals that you are.


So, for example, in my case, I write to be published. And so I want to be getting feedback from other writers who are also writing to be published.


So when I hear from people who are also in the thick of it, like I am, then we, as writers can be aware of what we're good at, and focus on that, lean into that, strengthen that. And then also notice where we might be weak and where we can improve upon, make decisions on how we want to improve on those areas.


What do you think about my three-legged stool? Let me know. 


So I'm really curious to hear from you.


What do you think about my three-legged stool model or metaphor of success? Did I leave anything out? What would you add if I did?


Also, what works for you? How do you think of your support system as a creative writer?


And lastly, what support would you like more of?


So I invite you to communicate to me through social channels, through my website, and also you can leave me a voice message at How To Write The Future dot com. And you'll see a one-click where you can leave up to a ninety-second message. I would love to hear from you on what is working in your support system as a writer.


Which of these three legs do you maybe want to improve on?


Do you need more education? Teacher support of some kind?


Do you need to connect and hear from your readers and feel supported that way?


Or do you need peer support in the form of a critique group or feedback? Or just a brainstorming buddy? Or even someone to swap war stories with who understands what it's like


Let me know.


Event: Be A Bestseller 4.0 with Emma Dhesi


Hey, everyone. I want to let you know about an upcoming event that starts today. It is the, Be A Bestseller 4.0, Write Your Novel With Confidence Summit. My friend, Emma Dhesi has brought together over 20 writers, creatives, and influencers for this complimentary training series on ways to structure your stories, develop plot twists, and manage your projects, hopefully rejuvenating, both your writing and your energy. This masterclass series runs from today, January 16, through January 27th, 2023. And I invite you to join along. I'll be one of the teachers during this masterclass sharing tips on world-building.


If you're interested, check out the link in the show notes or follow this link: Again, that's Or see the link in the show notes. This complimentary training is only from January 16 through 27, January 2023, for those of you who need to know those dates. So I hope you can join with us, and get started on your novel.


All right, everyone, write long and prosper.


I would love to hear from you.

Take a listen to one of my previous episodes and let me know what struck you, what you enjoyed. Which one is your favorite? Thanks so much. I look forward to featuring you on my upcoming 30th episode of How To Write The Future.