Posted by on February 28, 2021

Crafting a storyAfter spending three months editing, rewriting, and trimming my novel, I have discovered some similarities between the craft of writing a story and the craft of living a life.


And I wanted to share some of my observations with you.


Crafting the Story through of Hard Work


The first and potentially most discouraging is the amount of hard work involved. We think good stuff flows naturally, but that’s not my experience. When I worked as a teacher’s aide, the kids were asked to share a saying. One girl shared a quote from her grandfather that has stuck with me. “Good things take time.” I think we can also say, “Good things take work.” It’s natural to want the good thing through the easiest means, but that’s not where excellence abides. Long hours, missed parties, and a lot of frustration have peppered my three months of edits. And that’s how it is in life, too. If we want change or a better job, to lose a few pounds or have a better relationship, we must put in the effort and work at it.


Edits are part of the craftCrafting the Story by Listening to Others


Another similarity is the need for other’s input. It’s imperative to have some trusted people read my stuff and help me see the holes. This used to make me cry, but not anymore. Now, I go back and do the hard work and fix it. Or I hear what they say and then move on. (Not all advice is good advice.)

The same goes for writing a healthy, whole life. Other people will step on our toes, disagree with us, point out our mistakes, and offer guidance, and that’s okay. I guess my point is when I’m the only one reading my story, I don’t know for sure if it’s doing what it’s supposed to. I need help to see the flaws and the strengths. Same goes with life. If we live in a vacuum, we’re liable to think we’re brilliant masterminds or utter failures. Other people can hold up a mirror and help us with the truth.


Crafting the Story and Listening to Yourself


And the last story craft/life craft similarity is the importance of paying attention to your own heart. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read what I wrote, had a nudge I needed to change something, and ignored it only to have a smart editor or reader point it out. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. It’s never good to ignore the stuff that bothers us in our writing or in life. I’m not saying to make a big deal about every twinge in your gut. Just don’t dismiss it. It could end up saving you time and heartache down the road.  


The Best Story for Your Life

Crafting a good life is a lot like writing a good story. If you want it to be exceptional, you will need to work at it. And you can’t go it alone. Wise counsel is crucial. And as you do the hard work and listen to counsel, you’ll also learn to listen to your gut. It’s a circle of sorts. All three work together to craft a better story than the one you wrote yesterday.   


How’s your story going these days? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or write me a note. I’ll write you back!


And just for some fun, here’s a little 1D


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3 years ago

You are spot on!! We recently attended the best life celebration (memorial service) for a dear friend I have ever been to. When leaving I said to his wife, “That was so beautiful.” And she said, “He wrote that service by how he lived his life. So inspiring and positive. “ Which is exactly how he lived! Thanks for your wise words and deep thoughts, my friend.

Susan Simpson
3 years ago

I so appreciate these keen insights, Mary Beth. In my experience, one of those three components is so often lacking. Thank you for sharing this excellent encouragement.


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