After 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.
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.
Crafting 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.
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