We all have those people, the Uncle Sal who holds us all captive at the dinner table with his gift of describing something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. The business partner who can mesmerize the table of clients with words of wisdom that transforms lives. Or the husband who can get a room full of people laughing uncontrollably about the silliest observation. I am not any of those people! I can speak, and a lot! I can argue a point, object to an argument, and present a resound opinion. But to describe something beautifully, interestingly, or captivating was never my gift of gab.
THE GIFTS OF PROSE
My creativity flows through my hands, or in this case, through electronic clicks, not my voice. So, I struggled with the noble aspiration of becoming a storytelling. Did I have what it takes to be captivating, interesting, and awe-inspiring? I discovered that I did with the completion of my first novel. But when the task to write the second novel was at hand, I struggled with what it meant to be a true storyteller. Telling “a” story was far different from being able to continue to tell many stories. Fear crept into my psyche. Not with the usual worries of being good enough. I had the blissful naiveté of inexperience. When I wrote my first novel, I was carefree. I didn’t get caught up in ego, pressure of the industry, or expectations from others and myself. But as I delved into my second novel, anxiety crawled inside of me and kept good company with dread and trepidation Panic set in. Did I have more in me? Could I produce a second, a third, or twenty stories to come? Would I measure up?
Storytelling was the way people communicated throughout the centuries. It was our link to one another from generation to generation, culture to culture, keeping people, traditions, and ways of life alive. I am not carrying on the world. (I know I am not that important.) But the burden is huge, or the shame damning, if I could not live up to this noble trade. It sounds so simple: telling something that happened, what will happen, or how it happened–with drama, intrigue, a voice, a catchy beginning, a thought provoking ending, and lots of stuff in between. (Yes, I am being facetious.) But the reality is, not everyone is meant to be a storyteller. Was I a one hit-wonder, or a lifelong storyteller?
I knew I could write. I proved that with the completion of my first novel and some inspiring comments from agents who requested to see more. I learned what it took to be a writer. I had the gumption to keep pursuing even in the face of hardships and rejection. Drive was never a worry. I believed all that would take me on my journey to get published–the end prize! But as the years have rolled by, and the struggles of an industry has kept me at bay with publishing, I am still writing. Why?
DEFINING YOUR ART
Writers are varied. Some are poets, others novelist. There are journalists and copywriters, and others who write manuals for business. All hold meaning and value as writers. When I started writing, my goal was to be a published author. What that means today is dynamic. In the struggles of that goal, I discovered there was more to this writing gig than I expected. I love to write! In the face of rejections, I still write. I get excited to create new stories, new characters, new worlds. I write because it’s in me, a part of my soul. Maybe my Uncle Sal’s DNA passed down? Whatever the reason, I have discovered I am more than a writer, I have stories to tell. My purpose is not just to write but to add to the fiber of our civilization… the stories that make up a small part of who we are, left for the future to discover. It is my footprint like a painter, a musician, or a teacher who leaves a little of themselves in what they do to transcend into future generations. We all have our part in the commentary of who we are. I play my little part with storytelling.
KNOWING YOUR LEGACY
Noble or grand in gesture, storytellers leave a legacy. As writers we need to not limit ourselves through the process, or lose sight of the meaning of what we do because of the process. I thought my end game was to be a successfully published author. This industry can easily make us forget why we write. Storytelling has purpose. Don’t stop writing because no one “important“ is noticing. Storytelling is a destiny. Do, create, imagine, and put it out there for the world to take notice, even if it is one reader at a time or a thousand. It will transcend.