From our earliest ancestors’ oral histories and cave drawings to art and plays and now blogs, videos, and podcasts in the modern era, storytelling is a core part of being human.
We all have a story to tell, no matter how ‘boring’ we think our lives are, the inmost core of our being yearns to tell the story of “us” to pass to further generations.
Drawing on this innate human desire, Author and Artist, Mitzy, founded National Write Your Story Day in September of 2017 to inspire and challenge people to write their own stories down, whether it be on paper or a computer. This year, National Write Your Story Day falls on Saturday March 14th.
Beyond sharing our stories with future generations, writing your story has many additional benefits. In fact, studies have shown that journaling every day can relieve stress, help with brain health, and provide other therapeutic benefits. Besides that, reminiscing about the past is often fun and reminds us of great times.
Before you sit down to write, we thought it would be helpful to share 11 ways to get your creative juices flowing in order to help you successfully share your story.
Dig Through Your Past
Trust us, sitting down in front of a computer to type out a blog can be difficult, let alone your life story. A good way to get started is to flip through old photo albums and watch home videos. Doing this will give your memory a jump start.
Talk to Friends and Family
Another great way to get the creative juices flowing is to ask family and long-time friends to share their favorite memories they have had with you. You could even create a quick little questionnaire to send via email. You never know what stories you may have forgotten from the past.
Who is your story for?
Before you start writing your story, you should consider who it is for. If there is any sensitive information you want to share, you might want to change names to protect the identities of those involved.
What is your story about?
Consider what your story is about. Is it simply a memoir of your life, is there a central theme or lesson you want to share with others? Answering these questions will help you develop a plan for writing.
Use a Pencil and Paper
Most of us grew up in an era where a pencil and paper were the dominant writing tools. While they might not be the most efficient, there’s something very personal and nostalgic about using the pencil and paper that helps motivate us to write our ideas down.
Break out the Voice Recorder
Oftentimes when Hollywood portrays a struggling writer you may see random scenes with the writer speaking notes into a voice recorder for playback later. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes sitting at a blank computer screen can cause too much anxiety to write. If this is the case, it is always helpful to break out the voice recorder and start talking aloud with your ideas.
Sometimes memories or ideas come at the most random times. Don’t get caught without a way of taking notes. If you are serious about sharing your story, we recommend always having a physical notepad or even using your smartphone’s notetaking app to store ideas at a moment’s notice.
Your First Draft Won’t Be Perfect
Many times, writers experience trouble putting words on a page because they want it to be perfect. No one writes a perfect story on the first draft. That’s why being an editor is a professional career choice. Don’t be afraid to just start typing, even if you think it isn’t perfect.
Have a Scratch Document
Even though in the back of your head you know it won’t be perfect the first time around, it can still be hard to overcome that. We recommend having a scratch document that you type your thoughts and ideas into without the fear of being grammatically correct or on-story.
Tell Your Story the Way you Want
One of the best parts of writing your own story is that you get to own the narrative, within reason. Don’t worry about if people will want to read it. Simply share your story because it is what you want to do. That’s what matters most.
Your Story is Written. Now What.
Once you have written and edited your story, what do you want to do with it? Do you want to share it with just close loved ones or with the world? There are many options if you choose the latter. Several blogs host senior stories, or you could have your own blog created to share it. If you want to publish it, Amazon offers a service in which you can self-publish your memoir.
We hope these 11 tips to get your creative juices flowing has helped motivate your elderly loved one to start writing their story. If it did, we would be more than happy to consider putting a link to it on the Wiser Home Care Services blog. Simply click this link and fill out our contact form to share it with us.