Love Story

Never hate the story you are telling. It will be tempting to do so. There’s what you want, and then there’s what you’ve got, and you know the difference. It can be an extremely uncomfortable difference. It is a difference that will keep you up at night and have you staring off in the middle of conversations. It is a difference that will have you questioning your intelligence and skill and on the worst days your value as a human being.

And the more you love the story, the more you love what the story is trying to share, the more aware you are of this difference. And because you love it, you can’t chuck it. You might try, but the difference between trying to tell the story and giving it up is even worse. This feels like death. So back you go, and though it is your love of the story that brings you back, the difference remains; and when you feel that difference again, how tempting it is to hate the story because you just want to feel good again.

Except the only way to tell the story is to love it. To love this story in its current, unacceptable form is a trick of sorts. The storyteller must look past what is, training his storytelling eye on what will be, a thing that will be the shape of what he loves. It isn’t hard if you remember you’ve only ever lived in your imagination anyway. Things change there as quickly as a new idea, and there is nothing to hate because nothing lasts longer than a thought.

Hating a thought, however, will keep it around for a very long time. It immortalizes it on pedestal of evil, lest we ever forget. In this way, good storytelling is some of the most productive forgetting I have ever practiced. It is the only way to clear room for what I want most, and having found it, remember who I am.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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