So I joined Jeff Goins in a seven day blog challenge. His day one assignment? Write manifesto. Seriously. Hardcore much, Jeff?
But as I read the assignment on a quick break at work today I starting thinking. Yeah, me. Really. What is my writing manifesto?
And what do you know, I think all that thinking might have paid off. That’s what happens when you’re stuck on an almost broken train on the way home from downtown Nashville.
To help frame the assignment, Jeff suggested answering these three questions:
- What’s the problem?
- What’s the solution?
- What’s the next step?
All those questions are tied up, for me, in the power of story.
What is the problem? Well, which one? I’ll go big here-the loss or lack of hope, the death of dreams, angst, depression. Those are problems.
What’s the solution? That’s tough, and can be very individual, but I think can circle back to the power of story. What’s your story? What happened to steal your hope? What plot twist in your story can give it back? What’s your character arc?
What’s the next step? For me, writing. Writing is the next, and only, step. The only step that makes sense, that gives wings to that childhood dream.
The Power of Story
Yep, that’s it.
Don’t buy it? Listen to this-the first line from Charlotte’s Web (one of the most amazing pieces of literature ever written) “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
Folks, there is power there. Who can stop there? Who can resist reading the next sentence, and the next, and the next after that? Not me as a six-year-old, and not me as a fifty-one year old.
Here’s another. This is from Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art: The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked Children Only.
Words have power. Art has power. Story is the ultimate power, whether fiction or non-fiction. A well crafted story can change a life, often the author’s, but also the reader’s. Truth lies in story.
So come close, we’ve got some unpacking to do. Help me open that box to free those angels and dragons and unicorns. Let’s remember what we absolutely knew as children-the power of story.