Encouraged by my parents and older sister, for as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed reading and writing. Inspired by my Form 1 English teacher Miss Kennedy, I sketched out my first novella – the tale of the week-long camping trip with our 20th North Coventry Girl Guide Company. I recall it was all very exciting as I’d never spent this long away from my family, and apart from family holidays, the only sleep overs had been with extended members of our family. As an impressionable 12-year-old, the camping adventure without my parents, miles away in the Forest of Dean, a historic national park in Gloucestershire England, marked the transition from childhood to adolescence. Independence and inter-dependence were encouraged. The notion of responsibility was fostered. We, (the troop), literally did everything for ourselves; erected the tents, took turns with the daily chores, built and lit the fires, cooked in the open air, fetched the water, did the dishes, went tramping the bush, and created our own entertainment. We relied on one another. The impact was immense. I had so much fun and learned so many skills. It was so easy to write about the adventure and the people associated with it and through the process I got to re-live the experience. Decades later, the very thought of writing that story it makes me smile as I reflect on my younger self. In hindsight, I learned that non-fiction writers immerse themselves in real life events.
In the years that followed my writing focused on developing individual and organisational capability in the workplace and the community. In this capacity I researched, developed and facilitated professional development programmes and resources. In my spare time I spent many years documenting my Masters and Doctoral theses. It was a very challenging and fulfilling career and I learned that non-fiction answers questions, informs, educates, motivates and solves problems.
Much as I enjoyed the process, it was such a joy to change direction in later life, meet new people in the wider community, and re-discover the art of writing non-fiction for pleasure. Interested in how others make a transition from one stage of life to another, I read widely on the subject, but I wanted to hear personal stories from ordinary everyday people, who were also on this life journey. Quite by chance, I began to capture the context of their earlier lives, their plans, the opportunities and the challenges they face and their lifestyle choices. It’s been a privilege to have met so many amazing men and women from all walks of life, who generously share their stories with me. Their stories, including the ups and downs many of experience on life’s journey, are inspiring. Their attitudes to life and their perspectives on ageing are insightful, uplifting and nourish the soul. They show us that life is a continual adventure, depending on your mindset. With their permission I shared their stories and through this process I learned that non-fiction storytelling is liberating and can make a positive and meaningful difference to one’s own and other people’s lives. Driven by a strong sense of purpose I believe non-fictional stories about real people, when shared, can change lives.
That’s why I write non-fiction, and why I facilitate workshops to encourage others to write.
Angela Robertson is an inspirational author, speaker and workshop facilitator. She encourages people, regardless of their age and stage, to continually expand their horizons, channel their energy into activities that matter, and enjoy life. In her ‘Older and Bolder’ books she shares inspirational short stories about everyday men and women who are flourishing in the second half of life. Inspired by their example, whatever our age and circumstances, so can we!
Do you write non-fiction? If so, I’d like to know what inspires you to write about real life events? Email me at Kiaora@angelarobertson.nz
If you liked this post and would like to read more, check out this website. Amazon.com: Angela Robertson: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
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