“The only kind of writing is rewriting”- Ernest Hemingway
This year has held the continual theme of “the stories we tell.” The stories we tell both about ourselves and others. The beauty in narratives is that they give us control over our story. We are the authors.
As I’ve been developing this idea, a writing method my old research professor always told us about comes to mind. Write and rewrite. According to an article I read on the Master Class website, rewriting is “the process of going through a rough draft and fixing things that don’t work for you, whether that’s changing the word choice in a single sentence or cutting entire sections that feel like fluff. Rewriting is the part of the editing process that usually refers to the larger changes that comprise a whole new draft.” As soon as I read this, I instantly recognized the beautiful parallel of writing a story and intentionally changing the stories we tell about our lives.
Our stories are not linear. At times, it can feel like our stories are circular. As if life continually brings you back to the same place until you’ve recognized that there’s still some editing to do. I’ll call those circular moments our rough drafts. Sometimes we must fix the tone, edit the emotion, remove a character, add a chapter, and change the tone of our story. Most of the time, we must tell our story differently. In telling that story differently, we change the way we see things.
The stories we tell have power over us. They are the words we use to describe our past and eventually have an impact on how we shape our future. I know it can feel hard at times when we are in a dark space, but we must try our very best to be intentional about the words we use to describe our past. Are we victims or survivors? Did we fail or did we learn a lesson?
When you sit and think about your story, what feelings does it bring up? How can you rephrase those feelings to evoke positive emotions? What were those feelings trying to teach you? I don’t want to fall into the realm of toxic positivity with this article. I acknowledge and honor how difficult it can be to re-write your narrative. But today, I gently want to challenge you to sit with your story. Write and rewrite.