The Evolution of a Story
As I prepared for my first classroom presentation on the creative writing process, I retrieved the stack of manuscripts that sat on top of my shredder, awaiting their fate. Instead, I put them in a binder, along with my other manuscripts (all for the same book) to show the children how much a story evolves and changes during the editing process. The next day, as I showed the class my binder of edited manuscripts, their jaws dropped open. “Whoaaa!” said one child. “That’s a lot!” noted another. “How many are there?” asked another student. So, I counted them. 13. Whoa. By the time the smoke cleared, they totaled 20 editions.
Looking at the first manuscript and the final manuscript, they are barely recognizably related – perhaps distant cousins, at best. In one edit alone, 35 brand new rhyming lines were added, while some lines were omitted altogether, and many lines were tweaked until the wording felt and sounded just right. Twenty edits. And those were only the edits that had changed enough that the warranted a reprint. Twenty edits over the course of a few months.
Can you imagine if we could document our personal evolution in this way? How much would you have grown, evolved, and changed in the past month, year, decade? Whoa. If you could go back and read the manuscript of your life from then, what would it say? Sometimes it can be extremely healing to honour your journey and your evolution.
In the editing process of my second Children’s book, the storyline evolved so much. I realized that, in order for the story to evolve, I had to let go of some lines that I liked for the betterment of the story. Some lines felt forced, some lines just didn’t sound right, felt off, or stuck out like a sore thumb. All of them had to go. Did it mean I wasted a bunch of time writing lines that were useless? Not at all. It meant that I was witnessing my own evolution in the story.
In taking time to pause and reflect on how I felt about the story, while reflecting on what I truly wanted and where I wanted the story to go, layers of clarity began to surface... all I had to do was allow it the freedom to grow and evolve. Would I have gotten to the same end result if I hadn’t gone through the process of writing all those editions? I don't believe so. It was truly a process of evolution where removing certain lines led to a new idea, which opened up a different possibility, which allowed the story to become all it was meant to be.
In editing, I found myself hesitant to delete some lines. Isn’t it interesting how our attachment does that? Our attachments can actually stifle our evolution if we refuse to loosen our grip. Can you think of a time when you held onto something so tightly in hopes it would be coerced into being the perfect fit, when you knew in your heart it was never meant to be? Sometimes we need to learn the hard way.
In order for the story to grow and evolve into its full potential, I had to be willing to let some lines go. I didn’t know if those were going to be replaced at the time, or if they just needed to be cut loose. But I trusted that I knew what I had to do. I didn’t know what was going to happen, I just knew these lines were hindering the story. I followed my gut feeling whole-heartedly and the results blew my mind.
Now, I sit here reflecting on the possibilities for the evolution of my story that I would have completely missed had I not loosened my grip on what did not feel or fit quite right. Had I been stuck in my tunnel vision of attachment, I would have been blind to my intuitive pop ups and evolving ideas that were truly gifts to allow me to improve my story.
So is it with life.
As we evolve as humans, our desires change, our priorities shifts, and sometimes the things we used to want don’t align with our souls anymore. But what if we never give ourselves permission to change, revise, or edit our plan or our lives? How squishy and suffocating does that feel? To think that we never grow or experience personal evolution is ludicrous to me. If we aren’t growing, we are dying. And in our personal evolution, our personal stories (lives, careers, dreams, goals, desires) should be evolving alongside us too.
When we get stuck in attachment to everything in our lives -- from our jobs to our partners to our cars to the picket white fence -- we create tunnel vision for ourselves. This tunnel vision does not allow us to see all of the magnificent possibilities that are constantly opening up around us if we would only let go enough to be able to open our eyes. After all, your soul is totally rooting for you and your intuition has your back. If you would only let go of how the story “should” go, it can unfold and blow your mind.
What if you gave yourself permission to edit and revise your “plan” for your life on a regular basis? What would you change?
What if you were open to let go of the parts of life that just aren’t fitting right? What if you quit pushing the parts that feel forced? Would that feel different?
What if you let your heart lead, even just a little bit more, instead of being stuck in your head? How would that change your life?
What if you gave yourself permission to let go of how you THINK life needs to go, so that it can unravel beyond your wildest dreams?
What if you opened your eyes to experience the aligned possibilities that have been waiting for you? Imagine what you would find.
I invite you to reflect on these questions. If you feel the call to journal, give yourself 2 minutes per question. Let me know how it goes.
Honouring your Journey,
About the Author:
Kristin Pierce loves chai lattes, inspirational quotes, hunting down incredible kids books, and writing in rhyme. She is a Children's Book Author, Self-Awareness Educator, and Momma of two who is on a mission to spread empowering and inspiring messages about following your passion, thinking outside-the-box, and believing in your big dreams. She is the author of Your Inner Compass That Could.
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