You Have the Power

michelle-d-argyle-you-have-the-powerI hit a new peak in my writing – and in my life – sometime last year. It was like I had been climbing a mountain and didn’t realize I was in a foggy haze. Then, somehow, I came out of that fog and realized I was on the top of a mountain. I could see everything around me. I could see the peaks I had reached in years past. I could see other mountains off in the distance, even higher than the one where I was standing.

What was this peak?

For me, it was several things in succession. First, it was about the stories I wanted to write. I think the easiest way to describe it is that instead of holding a manuscript in my hands made of stone with a chisel pounding out the words, I was holding a piece of putty. It resembled a book – a manuscript – but instead of something completely solid, it was almost fluid. I saw it as a story, not a book, not a novel. It was something that flowed along the lines of storytelling rather than pounding out something called a book. I realized for the very first time how fluid this putty was in my hands – how I could pull pieces off and reshape them, how I could pound it flat, roll it into a scroll or a ball or a pyramid. It was three-dimensional. It was so much more magical than a pile of papers called a book.

Story.

It’s malleable.

You can delete scenes. Change characters. Cut chapters. Change the ending. Throw in a new beginning. You can rewrite the entire freaking book without even a second thought because you have that confidence and power that the story will work no matter what you do to that piece of putty in your hands.

When I realized all this about my writing, a new chapter in my life began, as well. I started down one peak and started hiking up to another. The fog drifted down below – and it has yet to permanently rise back up to where I am. It’s a nice feeling. It opened a door to me realizing that nothing in my life has to be set in stone, either. Most decisions I make are malleable. If I’m unhappy anywhere at any point, there are always choices before me. A good friend of mine once told meΒ if she’s unhappy with a publishing house, she’ll move on to somewhere else. If she wants a new agent, she can get another one. If at any point writing and publishing makes her miserable, she will stop and find something else in her life to make her happy because I certainly hope none of us are so one-dimensional that only one thing in life can make us happy.

That.

That is freeing.

I love the poster up above. I saw it on Facebook the other day, and it reminded me of this moment I had last year when I realized that I do have the power at any given moment to say THIS CAN CHANGE and it will not hurt me or the story or my life if I do not let it.

It’s an amazing thing to take charge of your own career and life with courage. Sometimes I forget this and fall into a pit of suckiness. I trip on a rock and black out for a second, or I let that fog curl around my eyes for a moment, but I get out a lot faster than I used to.

So I don’t know if anything I can say can get you to the top of that mountain faster if you haven’t already reached it. I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I just know that grasping my power as a storyteller has made all the difference in my attitude about life and writing. I hope you can experience something similar if you haven’t already. Understanding that your life and the stories you’re creating aren’t set in stone is an amazing thing. It allows you to view more clearly those other peaks you may one day reach – which will never be easy, but definitely worth it. It’s my hope that none of us ever underestimate that power.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

19 comments

What an inspiring post! Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I really needed to hear this today.

Derico Photography

LOVE this!! πŸ™‚

DanielleQ.Lee

Amazing post. You're awesome! πŸ™‚

Truly inspiring!Just saved to pic and put it on my "Inspiration" folder ;)Thanks for sharing!

Martin Willoughby

That was a wonderful post. Thanks.

Thanks for the post. I really needed it today! I've been in a fog for a few weeks now. I can only make myself edit or write one page a day (guess that's better than zero). I finally gave myself permission to step back from my writing and do something else. The fog has cleared a little now and your post has helped clear a little more. THANKS!

Thanks for the inspiration! Sometimes it's good to get a reminder of how we can take control of our writing and lives.

Cynthia Lee

If writing (and all its occasional frustrations) ever makes me miserable – I will just stop. I am continually reminding myself that I'm in this to see what I can learn from it, that learning is the most important part (for me).

Michael Offutt

I still need to climb my mountain. I want to say, Michelle that the picture you posted on your blog of you makes you look absolutely gorgeous…like America's Next Top Model gorgeous. However, if you sell out and write a book like "Modelland" by Tyra Banks, I shall never buy it.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Mary: I'm glad I could be helpful! Thank you for stopping by and reading. πŸ™‚Meghan: Yay! This definitely goes for any creative field, I think.And life in general.Danielle: Thank you! By the way, I love your pic. πŸ™‚Juliana: Isn't that picture just fantastic? Definitely should be shared and saved!Martin: You're welcome. πŸ™‚Taffy: Awww, the fog sucks. I know because I was just in it a little bit ago with Scales. I just can't seem to get far on that book and I couldn't figure out why. Writing this post has helped a lot. I wish you the best with stepping out of the fog!Janel: Yeah, reminders are great. It's just so easy to slip into complacency.Cynthia: Aww, yeah, me too. I've felt fleeting moments of unhappiness, but if I ever get in a true funk that won't go away, I know it will be time to change things in my life. Here's hoping we can all do that if needed!Michael: Aww, you're too flattering! I can say with a great amount of confidence that I will never write a book like "Modelland." πŸ™‚

I love how you make your point visually so even an idiot can easily grasp it. A few years ago the epiphany struck that I was the author of my own story, and now visualizing goals as peaks reaffirms that achieving them takes work. There is no ski-lift to life. If you did write a Modelland, I'm sure it would have snipers in it to make it worth reading.PS. The last peak I stood on was just last month in Colorado – Monarch Mountain! hmmmmm.

Thank you. As always, you encourage me to keep going. That's a power you have.

Julie Loden

Probably one of my favorite posts of yours, Michelle. I could easily visualize you looking out over the mini-peaks you'd climbed past. I love thinking about how far I've come. It's a great motivator.

And I borrowed/stole your power poster. Funny it has a butterfly on it. πŸ™‚

Anne Gallagher

Because I'm so old, I learned that lesson a long time ago. I gave myself 3 years to get this "writing thing" together. I'm not at the end of that time and find myself self-publishing, much to my surprise. Something I swore I would never do. So, yes, at any moment I am free to change my mind about any aspect of my life and be happy about it.

February Grace

Love the poster. That message is never more powerful than when you apply it to the story of your own life and not only your writing. That story is the most important of all. Thanks for the reminder.Another great post (and the new picture is really amazing…)hugsbru

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Charlie: Hehe, I need visuals all the time! I like to rely on them for a lot of things. I think I would absolutely put snipers into Modelland. Would make it so much better.No ski-lift to life? What is THAT about? *sigh*Better get back to work!Linda: Thanks! You are quite inspiring, yourself!Julie: I'd better put this one on my Writer Love tab, huh? πŸ™‚Anne: Ah, the lovely lessons we learn, right? I think, however, that you just reached that particular writing peak, didn't you? I remember you talking about it on your blog – how you read your book and saw sooo many things you'd never even glimpsed before. I remember thinking, "Anne has made it!" πŸ™‚Bru: This definitely applies to so many things. I hate to think of anyone ever stuck in concrete. Not true. For anything. Even in something so awful as a permanent mistake, attitude is still a choice, too. Thanks for coming by!

This is inspiring, the way a far-off melody entices through a place that seem hopelessly shrouded. May each new peak bring you joy to sustain you through the valleys.PS The poster reminds me of lyrics which are powerful to me:"We all can lose our way / That doesn't mean that's where the story ends." – The Magic Of A Friend

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Alicia: Those are lovely lyrics! And yes, it is like a far-off, enticing melody. The key is to realize that you can still enjoy it while you're heading toward it. πŸ™‚