Many people say to me that they would love to write their life story.
They have lived a full and interesting life, overcome obstacles and trauma which I can only imagine; done amazing, heroic or interesting things or lived a life full of interesting people.
For quite a long time in my life, I didn’t think that I had the time to write. I had enough on my plate with a full-time job, two small children and weekends taken up by the children’s hobbies and family time.
But when I was finally able to set the time aside and prioritise – placed my writing in the centre of my life and let everything else dance around it – it made me the happiest I have ever been.
All kinds of obstacles hold us back from doing the things we would love to do and there are all kinds of reasons why we can’t do something. And at different times in our lives, there are different obstacles to overcome.
Life happens and often we just can’t find the time; there always seems to be something more urgent that needs to be done.
Does this sound like you?
The most common reasons why people don’t even START to write that book they have been meaning to write forever are:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of a blank page
- Lack of time
- Lack of confidence
- Overwhelm – where do you even begin?
- Resilience – sticking at it
SHIFT YOUR PERCEPTION
To overcome these barriers, I suggest that you change the way you think about your Life Story and begin to see it as a Creative Project rather than that huge scary thing – Writing A Book!
Simply by shifting your thinking, gathering images and anecdotes about your own life and those closest to you becomes a joy rather than a chore.
Once you have shifted your thinking, you can simply take one step at a time. Don’t set unrealistic goal and deadlines; remember, even for professional writers, life gets in the way. Take as long as you like but try to write consistently – daily is best, even if it is a a few notes in your notebook. There is no deadline, other than the one you set for yourself. Make it doable and realistic and remember that this is your story and whatever anyone else thinks about it, the only failure is not writing it!
My top tips 3 for getting started would be, develop good habits!
- Get a writing habit: try to write something every day otherwise it is too easy to put it off and lose momentum. You also create a fluency in the writing and it gets easier the more you do it, even if you are not a confident writer
- Get a notebook habit – write down notes as you think about them
- Beware nay-sayers and confidence destroyers; write your story with your own truth and write from the heart
I recently mentored a writer who set herself the target of writing 500 words (which is almost two pages) every day, usually at the same time of day. She developed what I describe as a daily writing habit. With some mentoring help, she finished that book in her own time and is about to publish a second book; a spin off from all her research. She now has a hobby for life and will continue researching, writing and publishing books based on her own life and the people she has met.
So remember: a page a day will give you every day will give you a 182 page book in just six months!
And here’s the best reason I can think of to Write Your Life
Since I became a Grandmother, I have become even more aware of a legacy, and a responsibility to record things for posterity. To tell my grandchildren not only about my life but about those who came before.
What else can I offer the children which their parents can’t? They already have love in abundance, joy in their lives and a safe and happy home; more clothes and toys than they can wear or play with; they are robust children and with the health care and education which await them, they will thrive. They will always have plenty of books and they have the internet and mobile phones from birth. The material world is theirs for the taking, steered by the love and guidance of parents, teachers, and our shared families and friends.
And so I would want to offer them something else; something that in its uniqueness, only I can do. I can write a book; not a children’s book but a book which explores the thoughts and memories of the Grandmother I have become through a life of ups and downs; a life lived like anyone, with pain and pleasure, hope and joy. Above all, a life of lessons learned. Because of course, we only really understand our own life when we look back down the years and it is then we see how far we have come, and just how much we have to say about it all.
I hope to share stories of their heritage and provide some inspiration for them to explore their own life. It will be a book for when they are older and I am perhaps no longer here to talk to the adults they will become.