I spend most of my weekends working as a director with a Christian Youth Theater. A typical show will have eighty kids that range in age from 8 to 18. As a director, I get to look at the big picture of what we want to accomplish and then help each kid do their best work to make that big picture happen. But these aren’t puppets, these are kids. So directing them must be about bringing the best out of each one of them individually. And at the end of it all, I am dressed in black, hiding in the wings, watching them shine on stage. I get so much joy out of it. I know I played a vital role, but I don’t need the applause – all I want is to see them bring joy to that audience.
Directing is a lot like Book Therapy. You’ve got this story to tell and you want to tell it in a way that’s going to have the greatest effect on your audience. A therapist can come in and help you find ways to make the story stronger, ways to make the characters more real, and ways to explore all the possibilities. Just like an actor can’t always see what the audience sees, a writer can’t always tell what effect their story is having until a skilled writer comes along and asks the hard questions.
And really, it can be hard. It’s natural for us to just want praise. It’s harder when someone comes along and says, “We’ve got some work to do here.” But it’s worth it. It’s worth it when you take a story to the next level and realize that you can impact your readers in new and amazing ways. It’s worth it when you discover tools that can help you grow. And it’s worth it when you finally get to share that story with the world. And at the end of it all, it’s still your story, your moment on stage to shine. But I’ll be the one in the wings cheering you on.