Maya Angelou said there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
You can learn how to plot a story. You can learn how to create realistic story people. You can even learn how to put emotions into words. You can also build up the endurance and discipline to get your butt in the chair and write day after day. All of that is teachable and figureoutable.
What can’t be taught is the burning desire to get your story into the world—that’s simply a part of you.
But if you wait too long to take any real action, that desire to write and create will start to fester. It’s gotta come out somehow. If you don’t get it out in the form of writing, it will push its way out in forms that are often destructive and painful. If you’re meant to be a writer, it’s your duty to do the work and write.
Here are 5 signs you have an untold story in you that needs to come out:
1. You often find yourself engaging in destructive behaviors.
If you feel even the smallest longing to write, there’s creative energy running through you. When that creative energy isn’t used to create, it finds its way out in destructive and often painful ways.
Any self-sabotaging and self-destructive behaviors (which are defined as any actions that hurt your relationships, job, finances, goals or whatever else means something to you) are a major indicator that you have an untold story inside you that needs to come out!
The way to stop destroying is to start creating. The act of writing will take all of that destructive energy that’s caused you so much strife and pain and turn it into something powerful and purposeful. It’s a truly magical process.
2. You worry about leaving a legacy.
We live. We die. And then most of us are soon forgotten.
If you agonize over the thought of simply being forgotten one day, it’s very likely that’s the story inside you begging to come out. The world needs your legacy. The world needs people who are willing to take risks and lay their stories down in stone.
You owe it to yourself and to the world to pursue that drive. Do the work. Take the risks. Create your legacy.
3. You can’t stop thinking about it.
When you really, really, really want something, the thought of it is always around. Sometimes it hangs out in the back of your mind, like that box of clothes you’ve been meaning to donate or that stack of library books you still need to return, silently nagging you each time you walk by it. And sometimes it’s at the front of your mind, screaming and demanding your attention, often so loud you can’t focus on anything else.
If there’s a constant—and often infuriating—drip in your mind to one day take the plunge and write, you need to start now. If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it.
4.You haven’t found satisfaction in any job, hobby or endeavor yet.
If you’re a writer at heart, you’ll never find a thrill even close to the one writing brings. If you haven’t found satisfaction in any job or hobby you’ve tried, it’s because they’re not the right fit.
That’s not to say if you have tried to write and it didn’t feel good that it was the wrong thing. Any job, no matter how destined you are for it, will at some point feel bad. It’s just part of it.
If writing is your calling, it won’t always feel good, but it will feel right.
5. You have an active imagination, and it’s not always used for good.
An active imagination is obvious in children, showing up in the forms of magical stories and imaginary friends. But it doesn’t always come out so innocently in adults.
If your mind likes to be dramatic, filling you with worry and anxiety about the future, or if you find yourself gossiping about others and making up stories about their lives, you have an imagination that’s not being used in a healthy and productive way.
Energy—especially when it comes to mental energy—is not infinite; we only have a limited amount of it. If you’re meant to write and tell your story but you’re not taking the action, that active imagination is probably trying to find an outlet in drama and worry. Don’t waste your mental energy on drama and gossip when you could be using it to create something true and real.
If you’re bearing an untold story inside you, you owe it to yourself to channel that energy into the act of creation. As you can see, if you don’t start using that creative energy for good it
could will get messy.
Writing, especially when you’re first starting, is scary, overwhelming and confusing. But it’s entirely possible to work through those negative feelings and get to the other side. It will feel much, much worse if you stay where you are—stagnant and unfulfilled.