A Road Map to Your Story

I opened my phone to Google Maps and input the address of my destination. I knew exactly where I wanted to go but had NO IDEA how to get there. My trusty app offered me numerous routes with various options in distance, time and cost. I still didn’t know how to get there, even Google was NO HELP. I needed step-by-step directions. 

Knowing where we want to go and how to get there are two different things, especially in our writing. You have a story to share and are called to tell it, but how? How do you get from “you are here” to “you have arrived at your destination”? It’s a journey! 

A journey is defined as “the act of traveling from one place to another.” Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If that logic is true for life’s journeys, it is true for your writing journey as well. The journey of your story begins with a single word: start. Today, I would like to share a road map that will aid you in reaching your story’s destination, making three stops along the route.

  1. Your Story: “Starting Route.”

    As you begin this journey, you need a map to tell you where things are located along the way: the different sites to see, places to stop and adventures to take. Think of your story similarly, but instead of a map, create a timeline.  

    Write out your story from start to finish on a timeline. 

    This step is vital, and taking the time in the beginning will save you time in the writing process as you will be able to highlight events and recognize detours and pit stops more readily. This will help you write seamlessly, creating smooth transitions from one topic or event to another.

    You will likely have multiple stories within your story. Viewing your timeline, you will see similarities in topics, issues or themes. Those themes can then be developed into substories, chapters or books. Plotting your timeline will spark ideas and provide content for your writing. 

    Remember: You cannot print what you have not processed. Part of creating a timeline of your story allows you, as the writer, to be sure you have fully processed the events of your own life and are ready to share them. 
  2. Her Story: “Rerouting.”

    As you review your timeline, you will find places to MERGE with your reader. Think of it as carpooling; you want her to become a passenger on this trek.

    This is when you recognize and reach her “felt need.” 

    As she reads the words of your story, she sees herself and her story. You have connected to her heart and can begin rerouting her toward God.
  3. His Story: “You Have Arrived.”

    The destination of your journey (and story) is God. All roads lead to Him.

    The real story is His story.

    You want to take your reader to the place where she can know that what He did for you in your life, He can do for her. As you navigate your story from start to finish, point her to Him.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote says, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” and your story is a journey worth sharing. As you move from one stop on your story road map to the next, you connect the dots for your readers and invite them to journey with you

For His Kingdom,

Tracie Gunther Nall

Are you ready to take the one step that begins your journey? Share in the comments.

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