When I first started writing my business memoir, there was one thing I was terrible at: SCENE.
Not because I didn’t understand the importance, but because it was holy fucking hard to remember what actually happened the eve of, say, April 17th, 1992, while so-and-so played a harmonica and Lucy Loo showed the boys her undies. WERE WE ALL WEARING BLUE? DID THE AIR SMELL OF DAISIES? HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO REMEMBER THIS AND WHY DO I FEEL LIKE AN ALZHEIMER’S PATIENT?!?!?!
So I became a gap-filler, writing grand summaries that would sweep you past all of the shit-that-no-one-could-really-remember-exactly-in-an-effort-to-just-tell-the-story-already.
There was only one problem: My literary agency was like—you back that train right up, mama. (My words, not theirs, though I wouldn’t be opposed.)
“Think of this as stepping stones across a river,” they advised, “rather than building a whole continuous bridge.”
The idea, of course, is the age-old concept of showing versus telling; hand-selecting snapshots of time that will tell the story itself, without you needing to barge in, take the mic, and tell everybody what really happened. (THANKS A LOT, BLOGGING.)
Though I can’t help but suspect that this is very good advice—and not just when it comes to writing books. How often do we try to hurry it up, and just build the bridge, already? How often are we going through the motions to get there, without actually taking stock of where we are?
Your life, like a book, is created scene by scene.
Your business is built the same way.
You won’t make millions by telling someone you will.
You’ve got to earn each dollar, one by one—and recognize that the way you spend your time, every single day, tells the real story.