Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Saturday I had the privilege of attending a workshop presented by Debra Dixon. I wrote a review of her book Goal, Motivation and Conflict HERE and highly recommend it to any author trying to master the elements of fiction writing.
It was a thrill to finally meet Debra in person and to hear her speak. Her program was titled The Hero’s Journey. Based on the writings of Joseph Campbell (The Hero With A Thousand Faces, The Power Of Myth) and Christopher Vogler (The Writer’s Journey), this workshop outlined the twelve stages of any hero’s journey. These are universal structural elements that work together to create a cohesive, accessible story; click HERE to see a complete list. Debra provided thorough explanations of each element as well as numerous examples from books and movies. I am looking forward to analyzing some of my favorite books and films for the twelve stages and applying them to my fiction writing.
But as I was driving home from after the workshop, it occurred to me that each of us is on his own hero’s journey. Every day, we make a series of choices that cumulatively determines the course of our future. The alarm goes off; do I get up and hit the gym or succumb to the temptation to roll over and sleep an extra hour? I have two hours set aside for writing; do I buckle down and get to work or spend the time on surfing the web and catching up on social media? When it’s lunchtime, do I pop a frozen pizza in the microwave or have some fruits and veggies instead?
What would a hero do? Storybook heroes offer us powerful examples of what is possible when we step outside of our comfort zones and rise to life’s challenges. And with every victory–exercise instead of inertia, healthy instead of harmful, living with intention instead of passively whiling away the hours–our bodies, minds and hearts become stronger. Heroic effort is necessary in order to achieve the hero’s reward. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my happy ending. What about you?
May we all be the heroes of our own lives.