Writers often tell me: “My book has been whispering in my ear for a long time. I finally decided to listen to it.” That’s what our stories do—they invite us in and invite us to listen. As we listen to that small voice, a yearning comes over us to write down our memories. After all, they are special to us, they have formed who we are.
We ARE stories, we contain within us worlds of amazing adventures and soul stirring moments along with moments of heartbreak and soaring happiness. We have litanies of turning points and meaningful moments, and it is up to us to make them into a story that others can read and appreciate. But first, we must write it for ourselves.
But—I’m not a “Writer”!
Most people don’t feel they can write or somehow deserve to write down their stories, but rather than worry about that, the best thing to do is to BEGIN. Most writers ask these kinds of questions:
- Where do I begin?
- What about the input from family and friends?
- What is my truth anyway?
- Will I lose friends and families if I explore things that really happened?
- I don’t have any writing background—what if it’s boring or doesn’t make sense?
- My English teacher told me I couldn’t write.
- It might not lead to anything, so should I spend the time?
It’s important to keep an ongoing list of scenes that keep calling out to you, keep adding to the list of ideas that you have. Write these fresh ideas in your journal, and keep a list in the computer.
Think about the turning points in your life—the times that changed your life forever. You might write a memoir about these moments, or maybe you want to write a novel. Visualize special moments, noticing the colors, sounds, and aromas around you. Who is in your scene? What are they doing? What are you doing and how do you feel?
Sit down with paper and pen, or at the computer and freewrite—allowing the words flow, immersing yourself in what you see, feel, and know. Write for twenty minutes without stopping.
This method bypasses the critic and distractions that get in our way. Set a timer. When you’re done, you can feel happy and proud that you wrote that day! Do this three times a week, drawing from your lists. Soon you will have a body of stories, and the beginning of your book.