Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Value of Our Own Stories

What is the value of a story well told? That depends on who the reader is. Not all of us will write something that will win a literary prize or bestseller status.

However in recent years, people have realized the value of writing down family stories, as a way of letting the future generations know what it was like to come to this country or tell what it was like to live and work in the not so distant past.

There are younger people growing up who have no sense of just how much the world has changed in the time leading up to their birth. Just as many people born in the last 40 years struggle to imagine what it was like to grow up in a house without electricity or running water or even a neighborhood without a fast food burger franchise or video games.

Telling your own story can be a valuable experience to help you get perspective on your own life, and it can also open a window for illumination for those who follow. Even if the only people who read these stories are your own family members, they can serve a valuable purpose.

Have you ever taken the time to write your own life story?

Maybe tackling the whole thing might be too big a task, so try this approach. Think about some of the pivotal moments in your life. Events that changed your life, altered your path, shifted your perceptions. Focus on those and then let the story unwind about what happened, why it was significant and how your life changed from that point on.

Look back at various parts of your life that were either particularly bad or particularly good. Look back at your achievements and how you felt about them. What might that indicate for achievements still in front of you?

Taking a look at your own story can offer you valuable insight into what works for you and why, and maybe even what might be the best way forward for you.

Doing this exercise is not intended to produce a best selling book. It is simply intended to bring some clarity and joy to your own process of sorting things out and using the advantage of long range vision to more easily identify strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and missteps. Discovery, joy, resilience and creativity.

Once you have written your story or stories, you have a tool in your possession that will prove useful. The time invested will be well worth it. If it turns out to be something you want to offer for sale on the internet, fine. If you want to try and get it published, fine. If it goes on you own website or blog, fine.

A good story contains benefits for both the writer and the reader. If you would like someone to help you with your stories, I have years of experience as a writing teacher and editor. I can help you get the ball rolling and I can also look over what you have and give you feedback which could strengthen your process and encourage you to keep going to unearth the stories that are like gold to you, valuable to negotiate your way in the coin of the realm.

The perspective we have now on events that have happened in the past may present us with the keys to our future. Often we need the clarity of time an distance to help us see. Then that sight turns into vision and expands our horizons and lets us see ourselves in the big picture. The realizations we get from writing our own stories can be highly effective, because they are uniquely ours, and we have the ability to use them.

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