Most of the people who visit this blog are writers or readers. That pretty much sums up the entire population because if you are not doing one or the other or both, you are probably dead. As readers and writers, we are very familiar with novel structure. It’s a series of chapters. You start with the introduction of a main character who experiences a transformation through a growth process that may involve mystery, romance, action, heartbreak, death, illness or exploration. The concepts are limitless.
Our lives can be looked at the same way. Everything that happens in our life is a “chapter” in our life. Do your characters change throughout a story? Of course, otherwise it might be a boring story. How about your own life? Is it boring? Exciting? Have you experienced sorrow or happiness—or in a great story—both?
Here’s the thing. Every day we write another chapter of our life. Just like in your books, your life’s chapters should build on the previous ones. Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Write yourself a new chapter. Do something new—different. It doesn’t mean you have to go jump out of a plane. Take chances—put yourself out there. Submit something to the IU weekly flash fiction contest. Call your local library and ask if you can do a talk. Call your local museum and ask if you can do a book signing. Who cares if no one shows up!
We need to keep writing new chapters of our life all the time. Think about your books that you write. Would your main character sit around doing nothing? Would someone read that book? We’re writers! Let’s live our lives as if we can write each chapter going forward. It’s not about circumstances—it’s about making the best of every opportunity.
Most people are satisfied with mediocrity. It’s time to start living life in the uncomfortable zone. It’s time to bust open and go all out. I know I’m tired of all of my own excuses. How different would things be if you (and me) had written 1,500 per day for the last 60 days? Maybe some of you did. If so, it’s probably comfortable. Find something that makes you uncomfortable. That’s how you can write new chapters in your life. The year is half over. Let’s crank it up so that at the end of 2013, you can look back and say, “That was the year that changed my life.”