Good Morning, Friends.
Perhaps with the discord in the world, the real and hyped dangers we all face, to indulge ourselves on the page seems self-aggrandizing. If that is abhorrent to you, do not fear. Consider the time spent writing a form of relaxation or meditation as you reflect on what you’ve learned, where you’ve been, who left significant imprints on your physical and emotional being. Where did you leave tracks in the sands of time and who left their footprints on your life? No better time will you have than this day, this week, this month, to remember and to make your own unique fingerprint on the page. For as long as I’ve been writing, I write about what is important to me. Whether I write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or a post on facebook, or a short story, the urge to write rises from within my realm of interests.
First, take a few minutes to ask why you would not want to preserve your stories.
3 Reasons People Don’t Write (or record) Their Stories:
- Fear: Possibly the most common reason people give is they never liked writing in school, were not good in English, or they have nothing to say. Toss out that myth. Everyone is significant. Everyone. What you may wish to keep to yourself or that you are a poor speller is no excuse not to share yourself. Keep private what you wish to keep private and remember you do not receive a grade. Nobody except those you want to see or hear your words needs to hear or read them. You have total control. You do not have to write sentences or punctuate properly. You can even record an event by speaking into an app that types your words or by using bullet points. For example, maybe you’re writing about the worst Christmas. Consider using bullet points and list the events:
1974 or 2008 or any year being recalled.
- Received nothing but socks and licorice
- Slipped on the ice while shoveling driveway
- Ran off the road on the way to Grandma’s
- Team logo hat for Billy unraveled when he put it on his head.
- Grandma had heart attack (had knitted hat for Billy)
I once enrolled in a non-credit course titled “Drawing Without Fear” only because of the course title. Otherwise, I would have been afraid to take a drawing class. I’m no artist.
The next year, I taught a class in the same community education program titled “Writing Without Fear.” Basically, the course was an Introduction to Creative Writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, but more than half the class admitted they took the course for the same reason I enrolled in the drawing class.
Another myth we use for anything we don’t really want to do or may be afraid to do is lack of time. Really, we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. If we sleep eight, and work eight, we have discretionary enough to spend 15 minutes a day to leave a written legacy. If you doubt this, spend a week logging how your time is used. You will find, like I recently did, at least the time suggested to write your life stories. I found nearly two hours when I added it all up that I was not using for anything that mattered. And really, folks, isn’t that what we’re trying to do. We all want to matter.
- Faulty Thinking
“I never did anything outstanding. I just get up in the morning and go to work. I don’t have anything to say.”
To this, I answer “Balderdash!” You may have a piece of dry toast every morning when you rise. Black coffee. Oatmeal. Canceled the morning paper. Sit out back in good weather and watch for an airplane or a butterfly and before you know, it ten o’clock. Or, if you’re part of the work force, shower and get dressed, sit in traffic…and on and on and on. Go deeper.
Who or what do you think about? Where would you rather be going or what would you rather be doing?
And that is your first writing prompt. Right now. What would you rather be doing? What are you thinking about?
Look for additional posts and comments, writing prompts each week. If you wish to be notified when a posting comes up, just sign up and you will get an alert when new material is up. For those interested in writing a more complete memoir, or if you are more analytical, and organized, consider the following tips:
- Divide your life into decades and make notes of significant events as you recall them for each decade. Some decades may fill half a page of topics you recall: learning to ride a bicycle, graduated high school, automobile accident, birth of first child, etc. Add to the list or return to it and select one of the
topics to write about.
- Consider unusual jobs you held or your main vocation and write about unusual aspects of the job or what was routine about the days or nights that you worked. Write about your first job or your last job or your best job. Write about losing a job or looking for a job. With whom did you work? Who is/was the one who made people laugh? Who messed up most often? What was your dream job? What was on your mind on the way to and from work?
- What are/were the biggest obstacles you face(d)? How did/are you dealing with it.
- What was the best thing you ever did for somebody else.
- When were you most frightened?
These are just a few thoughts to get you started. For years, I’ve been an advocate for recording the stories of YOU and of YOUR EXPERIENCES. Make time, make a plan, and enjoy making a difference. You matter.