Keeping Your Story Boat Afloat
Did you know that before my first manuscript was published, I received 32 rejections?
Thirty-two “no thank you”s. Thirty-two “we’ll pass.” Thirty-two “thanks, but no thanks.” That, friends, is A LOT of nos.
But fortunately, not enough to make me give up. And I say fortunately because, to date, I have also written 32 books!
Perhaps 32 is a lucky number for me.
It’s certainly a number I’ve learned a lot from, especially when it comes to keeping creativity alive and finding inspiration for building, nurturing, and sharing your story.
I don’t have 32 tips to help you along this journey, but perhaps these will help you launch your own story boat.
3 Things You Must Remember to Keep Your Story Boat Afloat
Know your why.
I find that when I’m in the creative process, it helps to remember why I’m doing it, what it’s about, and what the goal is. I maintain focus on the idea that my stories are like little boats, that I’m spending time crafting until they are finally shipworthy and ready to sail. My little story boats will have the opportunity to touch many people around the world and, I hope, leave them with something meaningful.
That’s my goal–to touch as many people in a meaningful way through my stories as possible. In the face of adversity, including multiple rejection letters, it can be easy to get discouraged with the process. Maintaining focus on that end goal helps me to persevere.
Talent is nice, but discipline is essential.
Writing is a craft and, like any skill, the only way you get better is by doing it. It’s one of those things that just takes practice. You train your brain to be open and available to the creative process. And that’s when the magic happens!
Sometimes I’m in my writing room working on a chapter for several days and can’t get a single good sentence, not one. And then suddenly, that next night or the next morning, it all suddenly happens. I wake up at 3:00a.m.and I know what I need to say and how to say it. I go right to work, and I can’t write fast enough!
That’s the miracle of it, when the creative process is magical. And I know that none of that magic would have happened if I hadn’t gone through the agony of the several days before that.
Write things down.
I know in this day and age there are countless options for taking notes. You can even dictate your notes into your phone or device and it will type them out for you. I appreciate the convenience of features like this and I even utilize them in many situations, but when it comes to storytelling, it’s all by hand!
Believe it or not, I actually handwrite every first draft of my manuscripts! There’s something quite wonderful about what happens with the hand and the brain together. When you write things down by hand, the neuroscience shows you really do capture them more as an embedded memory, an image, and it has a longer life. It has a deeper life.
I know writing an entire story by hand makes me slower, but it also makes me go more slowly through the story. It makes me feel my way through the story more intentionally and in a way where I can better connect with the undercurrents and dialogue of it.
Want to learn more about my creative process and how I keep my story boat afloat? Tune into episodes four and five of my podcast, Magic & Mountains.