by Amy Jones
Everyone has a story
If this headline caught your attention, you’ve probably thought about this question at least once. You’ve also probably heard, “Everyone has a story to tell and a book inside them.” I am a firm believer that this is true. Each and every one of us has a story to tell. The question is do you want to tell it and how do you know when you are ready? You may have a desire to tell it to only a few select people, perhaps only family or anyone who has the inclination to read it. Whatever you decide, this series will provide some insight into helping you decide when, where, how and why share your story. It will also give you some insight into what it looks and feels like to tell your personal story.
Writing is incredibly powerful especially when we allow others to read what we’ve written; whether they are people we know or don’t know. There are numerous positive aspects of writing including: increasing self-esteem, healing, empowerment, mental and emotional processing, broadening perspective and a sense of accomplishment. There is something transformational about writing down your thoughts, reading them and then speaking them out loud. External validation is important. Writing is a great way to receive validation of life experiences and thoughts and to help us connect to others. It’s nice to know we are not alone on our journey.
How to begin
As is the case with a lot of us, I hit a difficult spot in my life at one point. When I go through a situation where I need clarification, insight or another person’s viewpoint, I tend to look for answers in books. Gaining wisdom from multiple people with varied backgrounds helps put things into perspective. I also enjoy the unique ways people express themselves through humor, serious anecdotes, quotes and relatable examples. After reading story after story, I realized I wanted to write my story too. The problem was I had no idea how to begin.
One day, the thought came to me to begin writing diary entries as I used to do in my teenage years. And so I started. I wrote about whatever was going on at the time. My thoughts, emotions, or just general impressions of life became my typical journal entries. After several months, I began to feel better; almost like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had no idea that writing would make me feel this way! The more I wrote, the better I felt. The better I felt, the more I realized I had discovered the power of writing. It was powerfully healing, powerfully liberating and, most of all, powerfully revealing.
So, let’s talk about you. Why share your story?
Ask yourself these questions:
Is your story compelling?
When I went back and read my journal entries, a strong sensation came over me. There was something about actually reading about my experiences, thoughts and feelings that resonated deep within me. Recognizing that my story is important was part of the process. I also knew that sharing my story would help my family, friends, acquaintances and others understand me better and provide some knowledge into who I am and why I have made some of the choices I had to make in my life.
Will your story help others?
Knowing we are not alone in our experiences provides comfort, no matter the type of those experiences. Have you ever listened to someone tell a story about themselves and think, “Wow, I feel so much better that I’m not the only one who has gone through that.”? Your story is going to help someone out there; you may not know who they are, and you may never know how many people you’ve helped. Accept the fact that, no matter what your story is, your story WILL help others. Once I began telling people my story, I received tremendous feedback about how helpful it was – not just from a relatable standpoint but also from a supportive standpoint.
Will your story help YOUR healing process, allowing you to discover peace and a positive direction?
The biggest part of your story must be selfish on your part. Your story must help YOUR healing process including discovering peace, a positive direction, an example of resilience and personal growth. This is all about YOU. Try writing diary or journal entries for 21 days and pay attention to how you feel while you are writing and then at the end of the time frame. Do you feel stronger, more secure, enlightened? If the answers are yes, then it will definitely help your healing process. If it brings up too much sadness, feelings of regret or stress, you may need to do some further exploration of these thoughts before making them public. Writing my story became the foundation for my healing process and led to huge, positive and life-altering changes in my life.
Why do you want to write your story (what do you want to gain or receive)?
What is the purpose of writing your story? Do you want to become a superstar? Do you want to sell 1,000,000 books and become rich? Are you doing it from a personal perspective for your own gain, health and healing? Are you writing it as a memoir for your family and friends? Are you interested in a new career path of writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer and don’t know how to get started? Drilling down into the WHY is probably the most important foundational question of writing your story. Keep asking yourself WHY until you discover the deep, true reason you want to it. This information will help you to manage your expectations of the process from start to finish. For me, writing is both therapeutic and the start of a new career path. Interacting and connecting with others through writing is both my passion and purpose.
So, are you ready to become a writer?
Are you eager to get started or are you hesitating? Either way, once you start to think about writing your story, the thought is always present until you do something about it. There are lots of ways to write and share your story; it is up to you to determine the how, when, where and why.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series when we will discuss how to get started in greater depth. The article will include writing software options, learning to write in your voice, writing styles and other important aspects of this journey. Please write in the comments section below if you have a specific question you would like answered and I’ll be happy to address it.
About the author…
Amy is a personal growth visionary, international speaker and author who lives and breathes one simple philosophy: live in the moment. For over two decades, she has inspired thousands of people; intent on helping facilitate their personal growth and self-healing process by creating opportunities for significant and lasting life changes through personal interactions, workshops and writing found on www.TheAmyJones.com
Amy is a highly sought-after speaker and her series Getting Rid of Possessions: It’s Harder Than You Think has the highest attendance in the history of the Generations program at Methodist Health Systems. She is the author of Better for Being Broken and co-author of Break Through with Johnny Wimbrey, Nik Halik and Les Brown.