You’re my Favorite Story: Becoming a Book-Worthy Main Character

This blog post comes to you from the corner of my favorite coffeehouse in Franklin, Tennessee. I cradle a hummingbird latte against my chest and let the steam warm my cheeks. I gaze over the rim of my sticker-covered laptop, through the second-floor antique window. Beyond the glass, rush hour traffic trickles onto Main Street. Tourists congest the sidewalk and stop in sporadic clusters—I would lie if I said I’ve never bumped into them.

Franklin, Tennessee is a masterpiece of bucolic, hometown aesthetic. With an old theater, quaint storefronts and thick Southern charm, Franklin is a small town set perfect for novels and films . . . and it’s where I work.

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I intern at an office on Main Street and visit the local caffeine dealer at least twice a week. With my leather laptop case and favorite Italian sandals, I trek across town, pass the theater where I walked a movie premiere’s red carpet and the small greenspace that offered me haven the day my mom was hospitalized.

Once I set up my workspace at Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse, I email publishers, write book chapters and school papers until my growling stomach pries me from my laptop.

Onlookers witness my routine day in, day out. They eavesdrop on my phone conversations. They observe my habits and concoct theories of who I am, what I do, why the coffeehouse baristas know my name. To them, I am the protagonist of a story not yet available on bookshelves. From where I sit, they are the heroes of their own epics.

We’re all flawed and significant. We each face plot-worthy conflict, live vivid lives. We are main characters of our stories and supporting characters in the stories of others.

But there is more . . .

What if we’re not only main characters, but the characters we dream of being?

I’m not saying you must magically transform into the next Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen. However, I encourage you to jot down what you love most about your favorite characters and how you want to be remembered. 

If you are a writer, you have an obligation to the fictional characters you create. To write them a story worth reading, you must live a story worth telling.

Yes, I understand that’s easier said than done—you may be rolling your eyes at me right now. Here are some tips to help you get started:

-        Be Present.

Don’t watch life slip past you, rather be assertive. Set goals for yourself. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. And let yourself be uncomfortable in the name of adventure. You have what it takes to live a remarkable story.

-        Make Time for Exploration.

When you have a spare moment, do something out of the ordinary. Explore your environment. Live vivid.

-        Invest in Other People.

Society will tell you to focus on your own story, but living gains a whole new meaning when you invite people into your narrative. When you invest your time into helping them reach new chapters, you simultaneously step into new chapters of your own.

-        Lastly, Live by Your Values.

The best characters do not conform—they take a stand. If you want to live with similar significance, you need to do the same.

Thanks for reading!