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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are You a Storyteller or a Writer?

For me, writing is a tool for telling a good story.

Some people, like my daughter Deborah, are natural-born writers. Her first drafts are unbelievably well-written. If I could write like her, I would have written ten books by now. But I'm not like her in this gifting.

I am a storyteller, blessed with an active imagination. Stories flow through me as naturally as the wind blows through our big cedar tree in the front yard. I can see a story in almost anything. The beach down at Tubbs Hill is suddenly a pirate's cove with hidden treasure waiting for an unlikely hero to find. The mountain behind my house holds a secret no one has discovered—yet. Our road, that can be quite treacherous in the winter, has a landslide and the hero must seek shelter with his estranged wife for three days. Can their love be rekindled?

That's how my mind works, but can I sit down at my computer and type the perfectly written story? No, I can't. (I sure wish I could!)

This week I have rediscovered that writing well can be difficult. It takes a lot of time, focus, and discipline. While I have spent what seems like a million hours rewriting and editing my story, in less than a day's work, a professional editor can unravel a bucket load of mistakes and failings.

What does that mean for me? Work. Work. Work. And then some. But I am convinced it will be worth it one day.

Perhaps in the long run my imagination is better suited for the stage, but with some mental elbow grease and God's blessing, a novelist may yet emerge from this storyteller's heart.

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