What is the Truth of your story?
OK, you’ve outlined your story and you’re getting ready to write your first draft. But something doesn’t feel right. You tell yourself that you’re not ready, that you haven’t done enough research, that the story isn’t thoroughly outlined, or that you are somehow ill-equipped to complete this endeavor and that you are setting out to do something that is impossible.
You’re not wrong.
It is impossible to write a story from your pre-frontal cortex. Your conscious mind is not going to get you to the end of your story. It will tell you all sorts of things that are designed to protect you from pain.
We can listen to resistance all we want, but we don’t have to believe it. Resistance is out to stop us from telling our truth on the page, and there is only one way to battle it. We must be willing to shed our idea of the story for the truth of the story.
Have you ever had the experience of telling a story for years, some episode from your life, and then, one day, realizing that the story was not entirely accurate? The facts may be correct; however, the meaning you made out of them was built on a series of assumptions based on your perception of the world. As your perception shifted, you suddenly saw the entire story through a new lens.
Give yourself permission
As you work on your outline, do you see how your protagonist has begun the story with a false belief? Be curious about what this is and how it gets reframed at the end of the story. Give yourself permission to question this belief. Notice how invested you are in it. To some degree, you have built a life based on this belief, and, therefore, you need it to be true. To allow it to collapse would mean being in unfamiliar territory for a while.
But that is OK. It won’t kill you. If you have written a story before, you may be acquainted with the experience of walking out into the world upon completion with the sensation that everything is new and different. Being a storyteller is humbling work. It takes continued willingness to drop our assumptions of the world in order to find a greater freedom.