Right now, you are in the middle chapters of writing your biography. You are past the part where you are born and go to school and somewhere before the end of the book. The middle chapters are where things get interesting.
The middle chapters are the chapters when what the main character believes about herself is called into question, where she has to face some major conflict, and where she comes out on the other side better for having dealt with and dispatched her challenge. In a good book, there are a lot of middle chapters.
You may not actually be writing a book, but you are determining what would be the contents of that book, were you to write it.
A New Direction
What changes the direction of a story is conflict. Something isn’t right. The main character is challenged and must find a way to overcome that challenge, with or without the proper resources. Mostly without the proper resources.
The arc of your story can change whenever you decide that it is time to do something different, time to face some fear, time to defend some long-held-but-never-acted-on value, or time to set off on a completely different path than the one that delivered you to this moment.
Because you are writing your biography in advance, you get to create the conflict that changes the direction of your story. You decide what fear you face, what dream you chase, and what direction your story will take. You decide where you go next and how you get there.
Without dealing with conflicts and challenges, you don’t have a very interesting story. Jane woke up. Jane opened her email inbox. Jane responded to the requests that people made of her. Jane went to sleep. This isn’t a story anyone wants to read, and it isn’t what you should write.
Choose Your Own Adventure
You are writing your biography in advance. Even if you don’t actually write it, you are determining what content would go between the covers of the book.
- What do you want to write during these middle chapters?
- What conflicts do you need to face for your story to go where you want it to go? What decisions do you have to take?
- What is your story going to mean? What lesson is it going to teach others who are watching that story being written right now? Who does the character become?
He who is not busy being born is busy dying — Bob Dylan.
It is easy to read something like this, acknowledge that it is important, and do nothing with it or about it. I know. I have done it countless times. Take ten minutes and answer these question for yourself.
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