Why is it important to write your story? Answer: Because everyone’s life is unique and worthwhile, and everyone has a story to tell, including you. Let’s face it, you’ve been sharing snippets of your life in conversations with family and friends for most of your life. Storytelling has been an integral way of connecting with others for generations. Documenting your memories, vignettes of defining moments in your life, elements of your family history, your career/business journey, your travel adventures, a spiritual experience, or hobbies you are passionate about, is such a rewarding and fulfilling personal experience. It’s also the greatest legacy you can leave your family and friends, and a treasure for future generations.
In a nutshell: –
- Writing your personal story evokes memories of the important people in your lives, your experiences, achievements, your hopes, and dreams. You get to taste life twice – in the moment and in retrospect.
- The process is enjoyable and liberating. It can also be cathartic (healing).
- It will help guide you on your search for family roots – tracing lineage, social history, which may help to create a sense of identity with your predecessors.
- Wisdom. Reflecting on your story, you’ll gain perspective and learn from your experience.
- It’s a great way to connect with grandchildren, as they love stories. The process may reconnect you with more distant family members.
- You get to choose what’s included.
- You’ll create a living legacy with no regrets (e.g., I wish I had my parent’s story ………….but now it’s too late……)
- It’s a fabulous gift for the special people in your life.
- Your life, work experience, and your involvement in the community contributes to our cultural and social heritage.
- If you don’t write it, who will?
Where and how to start documenting your story?
Be selective. Choose your topic for example, Childhood memories, How I met your mother/father, Memories of my mother/father. Focus on one essential area of your life or family history at a time. Ask yourself, “which story is the most important one to tell? What excites me the most?” Contain your story to avoid becoming overwhelmed with the size of your project. Think about the reader, what do you think would interest them the most about your life or family history? Draw a timeline and tease out a structure for your writing project(s). List the major events and the important characters you’d like to include in relation to the topic you have chosen. Use lists and bullet points to ‘sketch’ out the parts of your story in a notebook, and document your ideas, thoughts and feelings as you go. Once you have a plan, it makes it easier to flesh out your lists of bullet points and ideas and transform them into sentences. Be authentic, use your own voice, your own words to tell the story in your own way. Finally, resist the urge to perfect what you’ve written. Remember, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.
Maintaining momentum with your writing project
Wishing will not accomplish your goals. Actions will. Commit to your writing project and make it a priority. Set intermediate goals to maintain your interest. Ask yourself, “what will I write by (date), to give to (name).” Schedule your writing time as you do other appointments, stick to it, and monitor your progress. Alternatively, consider joining a community group of like-minded people who: –
- Meet regularly to work on non-fiction writing projects.
- Create an encouraging, respectful, fun environment.
- Listen, and are prepared to give and receive constructive feedback and support.
Everyone has a story to convey. The good news is that if others can document their story, so can you. Reach out if you need a hand, I’d be happy to help. I facilitate ‘Write Your Story’ community workshops, seminars, and one-on-one coaching support for individuals on request.