It has taken a lifetime to have all the experiences you’ve had and to learn all that you have learned from them – thus far. But it doesn’t have to take a lifetime to write about your journey and to tell the tale in ways that enlighten both you and your eventual readers. Whether you’re writing the story of your life – or about a significant moment or two – here’s what I recommend to my clients:
One Step at a Time
1. Let the process take you over! Whatever you feel compelled to share belongs in this early draft of your life story.
I describe this part of the writer’s journey as creating the ‘marble.’ Then together we can discern and reveal the deeper story ‘hidden’ within it that is seeking to be told. The authors I work with often discover a whole new light in which to view the story of their lives. This makes their journey all the more meaningful to them and their memoir that much more memorable to their audience.
2.Set a reasonable target date for completion of the first draft based on how much time you can devote to it each week – and how much you’ve already written.
Give yourself enough time so as not to freak out – but also enough pressure so as not to flake-out.
3.Create an unbreakable writing date with yourself – then prepare for interferences.
Making strong commitments seems like an open invitation to the Universe to test our resolve. So expect obstacles but create strategies for bypassing them. For instance, make your writing date late at night or early in the morning, whatever works the best for you. Or write on your lunch break. Or when the kids are napping. Just make sure to put your phone on mute – and only accept essential calls. Make your writing time sacrosanct and show up for the date.
4.Set the stage for your production: Lights, Candles, Action!
Be your own set designer. Create the place and establish an atmosphere that beckons your muse and inspires your inner voice to speak through you onto the page. Just don’t expect perfect prose in an early draft. I’ll help you get there later.
5.Create or join a writer’s circle in which you participate with others who are also ‘sounding the depths’ of their own life stories to discover and share more fully about themselves.
Set an intention together before every session to set the tone and affirm your direction. Then write in silence for 1-2 hours. Afterwards, every one can take a turn reading what s/he’s written and receiving feedback if desired.
Keeping at It!
6.To write or to record – that's a good question!
Whether they know it or not, anyone who can speak coherent sentences can write. And actually some of us write more coherently than we speak. Discover what works best for you: Do you enjoy telling your tale to an audience and recording it for later transcription and editing? Or does the process of taking pen in hand or placing your fingertips on the keyboard invite a profusion of ideas to tumble forth onto the page? There is no right way to write your story. Just get started. And if/when you’re feeling stuck – or all that’s coming out is static – get physical and do some things to change the channel in your head before returning to your writing.
7.Productive procrastination: How to make the most of avoidance.
It’s amazing how much stuff you can get done when you’re not doing what you think you should. After all, there’s only so much time wasting we can allow ourselves without feeling totally miserable inside. When I just can’t get myself in gear to write, I do everything else I can’t get myself to do under ordinary circumstances. Drawers and closets get cleared. Admin work that’s been collecting dust is sorted and completed. My home becomes immaculate through my avoidance. The moral of this story is – be kind and forgiving of yourself. You never know what epiphanies will come when you’re busy doing something (anything) else!
8.Catch the ‘deep see' pearls of wisdom’ in the web of your intention
The key here is intention. By setting the intention to Get It Done, and showing up at your writing dates – no matter what – you put the inner machinery in motion. Your subconscious mind then starts to work on your behalf by coming up with brilliant ideas you never even considered before, sparkling gems of wisdom that you didn’t know were part of you, memories of long-forgotten moments, and everything else you could possibly need to fulfill this task you’ve set for yourself – in no time. So, have your phone or notepad easily accessible to catch inspired ideas as they ‘occur’ to you day and night. For as the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Arthur Miller, so wisely noted:
“Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up to discover what is already there.”
I Wanna Hold Your Hand!
I’m looking forward to supporting your efforts every step of the way on this journey to greater self-discovery and expression. As you explore hidden or forgotten corners of your life – and weave them into the tapestry of your tale(s) – you may well undergo a significant healing and enlightening process that is of great value for you and your readers.
With a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology – and years of experience as an intuitive counselor – it will be my pleasure to assist you in gaining the greatest possible value from your investment of time and energy in the remembering and recounting of stories from your life.