Writer's Corner (11)
"You can't fail if you write; silence is the only absolute failure. Each sentence is a small success."
- William Hoffman
A life recorded is a life lived more deliberately. When we write about our daily comings and goings, we somehow are subconsciously aware, because it is being recorded, that our choices will be weighed by those who follow us and we tend to make better decisions. Writing does not have to be intimidating. Very few of us are Hemingway's, or Shakespeare's. However, writing our experiences, in our own voice, will make us alive to generations yet to come. Here in the Writer's Corner, you will learn how to engage through your writing, how to make your experiences come alive, and you will learn the power of the written word. Let us help you learn how to record your history, while you practice living deliberately. Remember, you are writing your story every single day as you live it.
"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." - Winston Churchill
I was so blessed to be able to go to LDStorymakers Writing Conference this year for the 3rd time. I went, knowing a little bit more about what to expect and what I wanted to learn this year. The classes were all so amazing and I wanted to share a few quotes and other wonderful words that I learned while attending LDStorymakers.
I am a reader. It's my favorite thing to do. I can lose myself in a book faster than anything, and ignore the world around me while I read. My favorite places are book stores and libraries. Sometimes I like to just browse, to see what titles grab my attention. That's what happened a couple of weeks ago. I was in the library and grabbed a book because the title spoke to me. The book was The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I was intrigued. I guessed that this book would contain a "bucket list" of books that one ought to read before the end of one's life. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Ten years ago, I self-published my first book, "The Accidental Gringo." It was a little thing, maybe 115 pages, but I read and re-read every word so many times it took up encyclopedic quantities of my brain.
At one point, I thought, "You know, I bet I've got entire chapters of this thing memorized." I sure was proud of how thoroughly I had fine-tuned that book.
"I would love to write. I just don't know what I'd write about."
I can't tell you how many times I've heard those words, mostly because I don't keep a tally. But it's a lot. At least as many times as I've heard, "There's never anything to eat around here."
Whenever I speak at writing or blogging events, my subject is almost always "Narrative Arc and the Writer's Voice." I love helping writers tell the story they want to tell, and giving permission to just go for it to anyone hoping to write.
In the coming days, I'm going to lay out a very basic tutorial in storytelling. Make no mistake, however: there are dozens of ways to tell a story. This is just one framework to use.
I once attended a lecture, which promised to reveal the heartbreak and hardship of the American dustbowl era. It was early in the morning so every person in the room wanted to be there. They’d made an effort to be there. Ninety minutes later a large majority of them were asleep. The presenter had killed his own presentation. There were audible groans in the room when his final words were these, “I had pictures and stories, but we’ve run out of time.” Epic fail! He had scrubbed his presentation clean of simile and metaphor. Forgive me, but that’s like telling me you took a photograph on a certain day with a certain lens using a specific camera setting without showing me the picture. Until I see the picture, I will not care.
“What's important is not the mechanical means of communicating but the spirit and joy with which your thoughts and feelings are put into words.” -Leonard L. Knott
Congratulations! So, you are writing a story!
Writing your story with descriptive details
Details can be the difference between an engaging story and one that is passively read and rarely picked up again.
Writing your story with a purpose and audience in mind
Before you begin writing, determine the purpose of your story. You do not need to have a serious purpose for writing your story. You may decide to write a story for its pure entertainment value. You may decide to write your story to preserve a piece of family history. Perhaps it is to clarify your thoughts about a particular subject, or to make your memories tangible. Whatever the reason, knowing why you are telling your story will help you stay true to it.
Recently, we featured an article entitled Grandma's Red Hair, where author, Stepper McCrery showed you how easy it is to record a family story. Today, we'd like to help you a bit more with something that can be a bit intimidating... Interviewing.
Writing your story with the help of others' perspectives and memories
Interviewing can be one of the most rewarding aspects of creating your story. Planning carefully will make it a wonderful and successful experience.