When I write, I save each chapter individually. When it comes time to put it all together in a manuscript I’m always amazed, and most of the time overwhelmed, by how large the overall manuscript turns out to be. There is always far too many words and I’m instantly forced into what Steven King dubbed the “killing your babies” stage, where you have to remove anything that isn’t necessary no matter how much you want to keep it.
This weekend I put three of my books together into the manuscript format and I started thinking about how thankful I am that we don’t have to do this with our lives, and yet, we still seem to. Books are about staying focused on the main story. But our lives are not like that. We are multidimensional. We have multitudes of ongoing stories that continually influence who we are on a day to day basis. But our minds tend to be one dimensional, focusing only on what is taking place at the very moment. We often forget that there is so much more to ourselves. All those babies you absolutely hate to remove from your story because they feel so vital to understanding the characters are there in your own life just waiting to be nurtured with attention so that they too can become a stronger impact in your life.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your own struggles and forget all the good things. But if you take a moment and put your life together the way you do a manuscript you might find that your life is more amazing than you ever dreamed of. Instead of looking at what you have to focus on right now. Take the time to venture down all those other side roads that you have neglected. Call some old friends that you haven’t talked to in years. Take the time to see the places that were stepping stones in your life. Your back story is important so stop treating your life like a manuscript that focuses one story and remember you already have a lifetime of stories and many more to make. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover the answer to an old forgotten question that will help you spring forward into your own future.