Life writing - why bother?
When it comes to writing about yourself, you may wonder, why am I bothering? Who is going to be interested in my life and what I have to say?
You may be surprised.
Telling stories about ourselves is almost as old as time itself. We've been doing it since we dwelt in caves.
Back then, we drew pictures of our surroundings and activities - drawings of the animals we saw every day, the ones we killed for food, sketchings of our environment including aliens from space (or so some believe - and they could be right! Now there's a story).
As time went on, we perfected the art of verbal storytelling, and of course began writing stories, making history.
We write because we have something to say that holds meaning for us. We want to share this with others. The telling helps us make sense of our world, who we are, and our place in the big scheme of things.
Being human, we embellish, invent, we make up stuff. We can't help it. We create story.
For example, say I took a walk on the beach. I could tell you that, and you might go, 'OK, so what?' But if I add a few little 'embellishments', I can engage your interest.
If on my walk I actually saw a little fish leap out of the shallows, I could tell you that I saw a much larger creature, possibly a big shark, I couldn't be 100% sure, thrashing about, perhaps chasing a stingray, and you would probably be more interested in what I have to say. I'm not exactly lying because I did see a fish, and I'm a bit vague about the identity of my larger fish - it may have been a shark and it might have been chasing a stingray - but hey, it's more interesting, and of course fishermen/women often enhance their stories about the catch of the day ...
But hey, I'm not suggesting you totally fictionalize life story writing, make up stuff about your life, nor invent people that never existed, or attribute actions to real people that they never actually did, or tell me about situations that you never found yourself in, ever (and some published 'memoirs' in recent years have indeed been largely fabrications, take James Frey's A Million Little Pieces ). I think there is some leeway to be creative, and there's a genre for this called 'creative non-fiction' that allows us to use a basis of truth in our story telling, but have the freedom to create around that.
Being creative, adding colour, clarity, vibrancy, and interest to our life writing can engage our readers. They will be interested in what we have to say, and what we tell them might just resonate profoundly in a life-changing way.
I explore much of this in my Life Writing Workshops - join me and other 'life writers'? Please do.
I should say that writing is one of the best ways to express your thoughts and your passion. I really prefer writing than drawing. I also enjoy reading an article or anything that is related to writing, whether it is poem, biography or stories. There are lots of ways we can use in order for us to tell other people about our own stories. Readers will surely get interested to know something good about someone else’s life. I do even dream of becoming a writer myself because I would like to be able to inspire other people and make them believe that there is still hope in this world after all.
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