One more story (Jennifer R. Hubbard)

I once posed a question to help people think about what to write now, first, next. Which idea, which project? A friend of mine said this question helped her, so here it is:

If you knew you could only write one more story in your life, what would it be? Write that one.

Chances are, that story will be the most urgent, the one we care about the most, the one about which we have the most to say.

This isn’t a foolproof approach—we may still not be ready to write that story. We may have more emotional processing to do, for example. But it’s a question that helps me focus. It helps me get to my best material, instead of waffling around trying to write something easier. Something that won’t ask as much of me. Something I can hide behind.

It reminds me not to waste time. Mind you, I don’t find time spent staring out the window or walking on the beach or doodling characters’ names “wasted.” I believe that a lot of what we writers call “procrastination” is really necessary stewing time, time when our brains work on stories in the background. But at some point, we have to write the story, or the story won’t get written.

And we need not worry about “using up” our best story. Chances are, after we write that most important story, another story will come along that will be the new most important one. Chances are, today’s story is clearing the way for others behind it.

If you could only write one more story, what would it be?

Jennifer R. Hubbard is the author of Try Not to Breathe and other novels. She loves books, hiking, and dark chocolate. She can be found at or on Twitter as @JennRHubbard.


  1. This is a nice approach. I've been thinking about that old phrase a lot lately--it's always later than we think it is. Hard to think we don't have an infinite number of stories to write, eh?


Post a Comment