It’s funny how so many people want to write a story these days, but don’t know what they want to write about. How does that work?
A lot of “aspiring authors” fail to answer this question honestly or don’t even take the time to ask themselves at all. There have been different responses though.
They want to produce a best-seller.
They want the world to know what happened to them.
They want to help people.
These are decent answers, but in order to establish more direction in the beginning, you have to go a little further in answering the why. You also have to realize that there are different ways to get creative and tell your story. It can be outside of the traditional, dramatic way of telling stories. A creative comedy about the tragic and/or not so tragic things that happened to you to show readers that one can rebound and laugh in the face of crappy occurrences.
It doesn’t have to be a direct connotation of your life; you can tell it through a fiction setting, using fictional characters instead of the actual names.
Doesn’t have to include an audience
You just want to do a memoir as a way of immortalizing your presence on this earth, which is just fine. Who knows? Maybe one day someone will come across your memoirs at a local library and find it fascinating. No audience involved.
Perhaps you just want to release your inner thoughts and feelings and write about the course of your life and what you learned. There are authors who have written an entire book just for their spouse as a way to recognize their appreciation after so many years of marriage, support, etc. A published work can just involve a release for the author and that’s it. No seeking of fanfare involved, just releasing.
If you want an audience, read on…
Who will read the story?
I’ve stated this time and time again and I think it bears repeating. Always know who you’re talking and writing to. It helps provide guidance for you as you develop your final product and it helps channel your voice better. Imagine if you were preparing a presentation on skateboards for a room full of elderly people (not that elderly people don’t skateboard, but…). Where would the connection be? How would that audience relate to anything you’re saying? (link to previous article about target audience)
If the story is based on you, dig properly
This can be challenging as different things happen to people over the years that cause them to shut down or block out what has happened to them so that when it’s time to release, they don’t know how. Remember purpose and intent – why you’re doing it and what the end result should be. If you’re letting go, let it be because you want to create more room for positivity in your life. This can be a sensitive path to take, which is why I consider spiritual foundation and support major factors. They can provide the proper guidance as to where to start and why.
Be able to describe what the screen door used to smell like
Bizarre header, right? But it got your attention and made you wonder, didn’t it? Well just a quick background story, the neighborhood I grew up in was pretty typical, but there were some characters of sorts that I knew from the playground or school. When it came time for me to hang out at their house I remember an indication of them keeping a clean or nasty house went by how their screen door smelled. And I was never wrong – the funky smelling ones always led to nasty homes that I know would not get my mom’s approval, so my first visit was often my last. Strange, but true. It’s specific and amplifies a human experience.
Be able to make that human connection with your audience. Don’t think you’ll make an impact by just saying what happened to you.
Stop it with the formalities. Be yourself.
If this whole story writing “thing” has been an agonizing challenge for you, chances are, you’re making it much more difficult than it has to be. Something as simple as setting 30 minutes aside to write a chapter or two while the TV is off could be your solution.The bottom line is, there has to be dedication and discipline, which may involve a sacrifice of a few things, for a while. You will definitely reap the benefits, it’s just a matter of how bad you want to have a breakthrough. At the same time, it can be a fun experience, from creating your characters to determining what the end of the story will be.
These are just some of the things I go over with my clients who I am working with to complete their story in writing. If you are interested in learning more, go here and we’ll be in touch to help you get started!
Now go and write!