Telling Your Story: Act 2 – How to Write Your Story – The Short and Sweet Version

This is Part 2 of 2. Read Telling Your Story:  Act 1 here.

Many people find journaling and writing out their thoughts helpful, but then there are those of us who shudder at the thought. Writing, after all, can be difficult and writing about your own life even more so. But when I began my journey I really needed somewhere to put down my thoughts because they were very complex, and because if I didn’t they took out rent-free space in my head. Once on paper (or screen), I was able to gather some distance from whatever was bothering me and hopefully move on with my day and life.

Probably the best benefit of journal writing is the fact that once you go over them in the future, there are parts of you revealed which you might have forgotten. This can be useful information if you’re looking for patterns of behavior or anything that can aid your future development. There are, of course, also entries that will make you cringe, but I’m sure those will be offset by the funny bits, if not the increased awareness with that informs your future.

My suggestion is to start small. Describe your dream or make a to-do list in the morning. Try working through something that you heard that resonates with you and why, or write something that seems uncomfortable  to you and why. Use prompts if necessary to get into the habit of writing. And start small, and be gentle. Here are a few examples:

  • Describe your favorite childhood memory. What were the smells like? What did you see? Why do you think it’s your favorite childhood memory?
  • Name five things that make you happy right now.
  • What is your favorite pastime and why?
  • Who is your favorite author and why?
  • How do you like to spend your days off? What would your ideal day look like?

Photo by Reimond de Zuñiga on Unsplash

I realize that not everyone will be able to answer these and that some might even trigger painful memories despite the best intentions. Skip what doesn’t work for you and write what does. This is the other side of the coin. Use your story writing as the place where you can actually be truly yourself and say how you feel. Here’s where you can be as honest as possible without fear of judgement. Honesty is a form of bravery, and if you can put it down on paper, that’s halfway to getting recovered from whatever ails you. I was full of big emotions once I recovered, and although I was not a journal person – with my brain going a mile a minute – it helped me to slow down when I wrote things down. And when I started making notes for my memoir, that was a really cathartic process.

I don’t know what your story is, but I know that every story is worth telling. Whether it’s small or big – getting it out there means that you no longer have to carry burdens around and the happy memories are there to remind you, when things get dark, that there’s always the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.



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