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Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

[Wyrd Words Weekly] "Why are you the right person to tell this story?" might be a trick question!

Published 23 days ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader,

One of questions that emerged from Story Scaffolding Live! last week was around a question that appears in my course materials and those of other writing coaches as well, as well as on several editor and agent submission forms:

Why are you the right person to tell this story?

I love asking this question because it gets to the heart of your bigger "Why" for writing the story--what it means to you on a personal and emotional level, moving beyond the events that happen in the story to the reasons why they happen and what they mean.

I believe we write stories to make meaning of the world, of our experiences, of our thoughts, dreams, and fears. But for this particular writer, the question itself was fear-inducing.

She looked at me and said "What if I don't know the answer? Or worse, what if I'm not the right person to tell this story?"

Her question stopped me in my tracks and I realized right then and there that I needed to revise this question going forward. Because the last thing writers need is another ruler to measure themselves with only to find themselves lacking. We already know that comparison is the thief of joy and if this question feels like one asking you to compare yourself to all the other writers out there, well, that connotation turns what I believe was a well-meaning query into a trick question.

I want to avoid that trap. Especially because what I really wanted to know is "What is your personal connection to your story?" She had a great answer to that question, of course, once we got those doubt demons to pipe down so that she could think about her story, and her connection to it, without the comparison, without the doubt and fear.

So let's try that again...

Why are you the right person to tell this story?

What's your personal connection to your story?

Spend some time this week mulling this question over, being careful to avoid comparison lest you feed the doubt demons. What insights does the question bring to mind about your story that might help you deepen it as you write and revise?

What I'm Reading

My son took a nature poetry class this semester. You may recall the story I love to tell about how, when he had his poetry unit in AP Language Arts back in high school, he quipped, "Why don't these poets just say what they mean? It would make this so much easier!" Yes, my poet-heart died a little when he said that, but he redeemed himself by really digging into Nature Poetry his freshman year of college.

He got to read one of my favorites, Mary Oliver, among many others. And since Mary Oliver was on my mind, my ears perked up when a friend recommended Joy Sullivan's latest book of poetry: Instructions for Traveling West. I picked it up this week and oh my goodness, it pulled me in from the first few poems.

I highlighted this line--on my Kindle, folks, I do not write in paper books!--from her poem, (Luck I):

"Of course the universe is full of deep magic, but I think most miracles can be traced back to someone's profound and quiet kindness."

It's just one of many gems in this beautiful little book full of tiny raw moments of humanity. It's been a balm each night before bed.

Have an inspired writing week!

Warmly,

Julie

PS - Have you ever wished you could visit Winnie the Pooh’s 100-acre wood, the Oxford of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or Harry Potter’s Platform 9-3/4? We might have a chance. My client, friend, and creativity coach Joni Sensel is trying to organize an adventure with TrovaTrip and the first step is to get 50 people to complete a survey about their travel preferences, like what time of year would be best. If you’re even a wee bit interested in taking a trip with Joni (or just want to support literary and kidlit adventures in general), please fill out the quick survey at https://trovatrip.com/host/profiles/joni-xksi3. Or check out her video about it at https://youtu.be/kc-cE1jdWug for more info. I'm definitely planning to try to attend as well and would love to see some of my regular followers there.

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz helps writers who dream of a life spent telling stories that matter slay their doubt demons so they can send their work out into the world with confidence. An active member of the writing community, she has volunteered for SCBWI, TeenPit, and Pitch Wars and is a member of EFA, the Authors Guild, and AWP. A social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Seattle, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers, and a couple of naughty furry familiars. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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