Don’t Tell Your Story

In my work as a publisher, I encounter many people who tell me they have a great idea for a book. I find fewer people who tell me they are writing a book. I find even fewer who tell me they have written a book.

But lately, I have encountered more and more people who have told me they have been told not to write about the very thing they believe they should write about: their personal experiences. They have been advised by editors not to relay their personal story. Curious about the reasoning they were given not to write, I asked them a little bit about their stories. I quickly discovered that these people were told not to write their stories because of what their stories would reveal about the church, about the world, and about how life really is.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we crave the story with the happily ever after. We balk and boycott stories that reveal the brokenness that exists in the world because somehow being reminded of the brokenness in the world, reveals the brokenness in ourselves. We find ourselves telling people not to tell their stories, silencing the brokenness in the world so that we too can silence the nagging reality of our own brokenness.

These would-be authors are often those who have been oppressed and silenced throughout history: women, children, blacks, immigrants. They tell me that the advice they’ve been given is that no publisher would ever publish a story so raw and controversial. I tell them, maybe you just haven’t found the right publisher.

I tell them write your story and send it to me. The world needs to know your story.