"Stop being all of you."
That line comes from How to Train Your Dragon, a movie I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time last month. The movie centers around a teenage Viking named Hiccup (don't look at me, I didn't name him) who desperately wants to kill a dragon to please his father. The only problem is, Hiccup's not really wired for dragon killing. He's more wired for building dragon snares that never work and getting into scrapes that his father then has to pull him out of.
After one such mishap with a dragon snare, his mentor and employer looks at him in a rare moment of exasperation. "If you ever want to get out there and fight dragons, then you'll have to stop all this."
"You just pointed to all of me," Hiccup points out.
"That's it. Stop being all of you."
Hiccup laughs it off. But when his next attempt to fell a dragon results in burning down several buildings, losing the village's food supply to the dragons, and a major scolding from dad, his mentor changes his tune.
"The point is, you've got to stop trying to be someone you're not."
Hiccup stares at him in complete bewilderment.
But as the movie goes on, he discovers he's wired for something else--dragon training. As in training dragons. Literally. I won't ruin the whole movie for you, but he never would have discovered that ability had he kept pretending he was a dragon killer.
Like just about any other book or movie I come in contact with, it got me thinking.
Sometimes, writing or otherwise, there's a lot of pressure to not be all of us. Maybe we don't write in a genre that's super popular right now. Maybe our stories are very different from even the stories we love to read. Maybe the themes we write about aren't ones people seem to want to hear or even care about.
Wouldn't it be so much easier to just switch genres? Write what's selling right now? Write what people want to hear?
I vividly remember the keynote session from the second writing conference I ever attended (when I had slightly more of a clue as to what I was doing . . . I at least knew what genre I liked writing). The title of the session was "If John Had Not Written." The speaker donned a shawl (at least, it looked like a shawl, not sure what they called those in the apostle John's time) and acted the role of the apostle John.
His fictitious version of John was looking at all the other Gospels that had been written--Matthew, Mark, Luke. "What do I have to give?" he wondered. "Hasn't it all been written before? What's the use?"
The speaker removed the shawl for a moment. "If John had not written," he pointed out, "we would have never known about the wedding in Cana, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus' prayer for his disciples." Think about how much we would have missed!
The speaker continued, "What is the world going to miss if you don't write your story?"
What is the world going to miss if you don't write your story? If you don't be all of you?
Because in one way or another, we are all given a message to share. It's our choice whether we will be ourselves--all of ourselves.
But to change would be to not be all of me. All of who God wired me to be.
I mean, think about it. If every letter in the alphabet were exactly the same, we wouldn't have words, or sentences, or stories.
There is a perfect spot for all of you. That's because you were designed to fit a perfect spot, and a perfect spot was designed to fit you. Even if it feels like you're just building dragon snare after dragon snare with no progress. There is a dragon out there that is yours, and only yours, to train.
So go be all of you. Don't hold back. And go train your dragon.
*What's a dragon you're trying to train right now? (Metaphorically speaking, of course, although if you have a real one, I would very much like to know.) What have you been wired for? Share your adventures in the comments!*
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!