Finding the Story by Finding the Reason


How my analysis of daily life helps me to discover plot and character traits.

Lately, my own personality quirks have afflicted me. How can I be the practical, rational, and organized working woman/mother/friend/wife  while also being the creative, expressive, unique writer? I have stewed for weeks about how I will ever find a rhythm between my daily life and my writing journey. How and when can I express myself accordingly. Who cares? Who is my audience really?

To some people, my life is a fascinating journey of perseverance and overcoming the odds. To others, they appear to care less. The more I dive into writing fiction, the more I see how my personal life is often hard to digest. I often joke that I will never write an autobiography because it would be too difficult to take in how one person has faced so many differing and challenging obstacles. I’d rather write a dozen fiction novels, each reflecting a bit of a single experience.

Unlike other writers or artists, I tend to avoid isolation. I want to interact and talk with others. I want to understand their perspectives, what drives them or slows them down, how they view their lives. However, hardly a social situation passes where I am not urged to tell at least a part of my personal story.

Some people don’t seem interested in talking about themselves, and will ask questions instead of giving answers. Yet, others seem to want to talk a lot, but of nothing with substance. Is it weird that I actually want to talk about something meaningful, something that could induce action or change in an effort to improve ourselves or take a stand on something important?

On the other hand, I can see how my insistence on a “productive” conversation can become exhausting at times. Trust me, it exhausts me too! I used to think what I was really looking for was making a connection, finding common ground. And you just can’t do that talking about the weather, or shopping, or the latest reality television series.

Which brings me back to my role as a writer and that I am realizing my analytic tendencies have more to do with storytelling than I give myself credit for. In this odd mixture of my personality traits, the writer within desires to look at my interactions with others from a practical, rational, and organized fashion because somewhere deep in my brain this will help me transfer the experience into a story. In a sense, this is my ‘storytelling method’. I pick apart a person, a circumstance, a movie, a politician’s speech–in an effort to tell the story. After all, without a reason and a motivation, there is no story.

Maybe this epiphany will only serve myself and publicly announcing it will just make me appear more abnormal to the masses. But for me, as I battle with what I thought to be conflicting personally traits, I am encouraged to finally see a way to combine all the things that make me who I am. And this will help me to become a grander storyteller for an audience that is authentically interested in what I have to say.

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