You may not feel your life needs changing. You may be sick of books about writing.
Both of those feelings, by the way, are warning signs.
Then again, you may share the belief that we can never learn too much, that we should never stop seeking to improve and evolve (like the word or not, that’s just “change” by another name).
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a book about writing that had the power to change your life? Or — stated just as validly here — wouldn’t it be great if there was a book about life that had the power to change your writing?
A book that might inspire you to rewrite the story of your life going forward? And at the same time, showed you the empowering principles of storytelling in a way you’ve never exerpienced before?
Because the pages that remain in our book are still unwritten. They are blank. Sometimes we forget that.
What if the lines between your life and your work as a writer melted away? If there was a book that could show how the structure and narrative principles of a great story have much in common with the structure and narrative principles of a rich and happy life?
You are the narrator of your own life. We forget that, too. Question is, will it be in first person, or third?
I’ve found such a book.
It was a New York Times bestseller, by the way, so I’m not pitching you an obscure little volume from some dark corner of the new age community. No, this is the real deal. Especially if you’re a writer.
It’s called A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, by Donald Miller.
What’s your story?
This book asks you to consider an important question, and in two realms: what are you writing… and, what story are you living?
It does it through the author’s experience of having written a successful memoir (also a NY Times bestseller, called Blue Like Jazz) that was optioned as a movie. When the producer came into Miller’s life to begin the scripting process, the author discovered an empowered writer’s sensiblity and the essential nature of story structure.
Donald Miller was blown away at what he learned. Not just about making a movie, but about how life parallels a great story in many respects. And how writing the rest of his life in first person could be the difference he was looking for.
His publisher, Thomas Nelson, wasn’t crazy about a book that showed how storytelling and living life were kindred philosophies. But being one of their top A-List authors, Miller prevailed, and the book went forward.
Much of the narrative is a real-time accounting of the process of adapting his book into a movie (that, in itself, is fascinating), and how, in doing so, Miller realized the story he was living didn’t conform to the principles that make a narrative story work, at least in an optimal, rewarding and productive way.
And so Miller began writing a different story for himself, one with spectacular results.
I encourage you to experience this book.
As a writer, you already know your passion for stories and your passion for life are linked at the very core of both pursuits. This book aims directly for that very personal place, and when it gets there, it will light you on fire.
Miller is a Christian author — nothing wrong with that — but if that is a yellow flag for you… not to worry. This is a book for everybody, from any belief system, and it isn’t selling religion. Not even close. What spiritual message you’ll find there — and you will find it there — is framed as the author’sown experience, and even the most cynical of readers won’t be put off by it. Indeed, this book is for them, as well.
Rather that this book being overtly spiritual, it instead reminds us that those remaining pages of our lives remain unwritten, and that we have the power to fill them with whatever story we choose.
Here on Storyfix I’ve many times encouaged you to write with courage and passion. Maybe it’s time we live our life that way, too.
Also, almost as a delightful sidenote, Miller’s writing is spectacular. His wit is dry and edgy, his heart open and his narrative as clean and crisp as it gets. If you’re looking for an example of concise yet compelling voice, an example of how a less-is-more sensiblity and unabashed vulnerability can serve a writer, this is the book.
Writing is life. Life is writing. We all fall somewhere on that continuum. Donald Miller has cast a bright and hopeful light on that path.
Click the image below to read reviews and the first chapter.
Click here to go to Donald Miller’s website.
Storyfix is an Amazon.com affiliate.