We Are All Storytellers
Fiction, non-fiction, short or long; we all tell stories. We tell the story of our day to our spouses/roommates/families. We tell the story of why we’re in a job we hate, or working at what we love. We tell stories about our health, stress, success, failure, breakfast. . .you get the idea.
I was thinking about a certain story I tell myself about writing. It goes something like this:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved books so much she decided she wanted to write them. She started drafts of many books but rarely got beyond the first few pages. With the help of a very supportive mother, she eventually finished and self-published a book before she was a teenager, even selling it to a local children’s bookstore. But because that was the only one she finished, she didn’t see herself writing books anymore. All of her story ideas melted away within a few hundred words, and the desire to keep going dissipated. She found a new love, theatre, and only wrote in her journals and for school.
Her writing was always complimented by teachers and earned good grades. In the back of her mind, she believed that she could pick up writing again someday and be good at it. She continued to read and discovered a talent and liking for editing. She thought that maybe she wasn’t meant to write but to help other writers shape their words and launched Lady Myers’ Wordsmithing.
At first she wanted to help anyone with anything: College papers, resumes, cover letters, books, you name it. Then she caught wind of the rising indie publishing movement and narrowed her focus to working with indie authors. She started working with clients on editing, formatting, marketing, and everything else that goes along with being an author. This was fun and fulfilling (and certainly challenging), but there was a nagging sensation that she should be writing, too.
Of course, she was writing for her business, through blog posts and newsletters. She still journaled. She still felt she had a gift for writing. But she doubted she could write a book or even a short story. What had seemed so reasonable as a child now seemed presumptuous and arrogant. Who was she to start writing now, without spending years studying and honing her craft? What if she never lived up to the standards set by teachers, parents, and friends who told her she was really good at this?
And so she resisted. She decided that before she could write anything, she needed to learn a whole lot more. She learned about story structure and outlining, which appealed to her logical side. She came to appreciate good storytelling more and more, even as she despaired of having enough creativity to do it herself. She attempted National Novel Writing Month, and while at first excited about her story, couldn’t get it going.
She still heard that still, small voice of encouragement within, and was brave enough to confront the inner demons that had her convinced she wasn’t good enough. The demons tried to trick her, laughing at her ambitions one minute and chiding her for not pursuing them the next. It seemed she couldn’t win, which is what they wanted her to think. She stood her ground and exposed the truth, that it didn’t matter how good or bad her writing was. It didn’t matter if she wrote just for herself or for the world. It just mattered that she wrote, because it felt right. Her life was her story, and she was going to write it her way.
What is Your Story?
You have similar stories. Stories you’ve told yourself so often and for so long that they seem like fact. Pick one and rewrite it the way your inner hero/heroine would live it. If you can’t find your inner heroine, borrow one. You can write it anywhere you like, any way you like, as often as you like.
If you are comfortable, leave a comment sharing the story you are going to change, or which hero you would like to star as you in your story, rewritten.
We are all storytellers. Choose your story wisely.