Monday Motivation – Another Story Must Begin

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Monday Motivation – Another Story Must Begin 


For those of you who have listened to this podcast, you know that I absolutely love Les Misérables. And I don’t just love the book, I love the musical as well. In fact, I love the musical so much that I know every single word to every single song. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife, who will tell you the painful, painful truth, because I love to sing it and I am completely tone-deaf. 


Anyways, one of the reasons why I love Les Mis is the story of Jean Valjean. I discussed the impact this story has had on me on the “How Goals Saved my Life” Monday Motivation episode. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, so much from Valjean. 


To dive in even deeper, what I really love is Valjean’s transformation. The book, as is common for the style, spends dozens of pages on the passage when Valjean steals the silver from the priest, is caught, is shown grace by the priest, and then ultimately changes his life. (cue music) But the musical, while different in some ways from the book, does an incredible job of summing up Valjean’s internal turmoil with a single line when Valjean is confirming the metamorphosis that he must go through. He sings, “Another Story Must Begin.”


The point hits home because Valjean realizes he has to change, and that in order to change, he needs to end one story and start another. 


For some of you out there, just like Valjean, its time for a new story to begin.


At any given time, you are only living a draft of your life story. If it is your early draft, and you haven’t done the hard work of editing, it might be a really rough draft. It may not work, just in the way that the first draft of a story is often problematic. Maybe you have the wrong characters in your life, the wrong storyline, dialogue. 


But, with time and hard work, you can make edits. You can write a new story. You can change. 


In coaching, I am always asked if people can change. To me, everything I believe about the human condition, about the possibility of people as a species, rests on the question of whether you can create a new story of your life. My answer is a resounding, shout it from the mountain-tops hell yes. The entire platform of How Writers Write is solidly based on this belief. 


Think about it, as writers, we rip entire sections out of manuscripts. We rebuild characters. I just did this with one of my main characters, in the middle of my second rewrite, 300 pages into my manuscript. We do these things because we realize that those extra words just weight the story down, it keeps the story from being what it wants to be.  


There’s no difference in your life.


For some of you, its time for a new story to begin. Maybe the current version of you is a rough draft. Maybe you’ve gone through some edits, but to get to where you want to be, you’re going to have to rewrite yourself. If that’s you, sharpen your pencils and get to work. 


By the end of the book, what happens to Valjean? He goes on to live a new life where he is a good man. He cares for those around him. He clothes the poor, feeds the hungry. He begins a new story. 


Thank you for listening. If it is time for your new story to begin, but you don’t know where to start, I’m here to talk. Send me a note at brian@howwriterswrite.com 

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