open book and a blanket with life story overtones

Do you have a secret dream of writing the story of your life? An astonishing number of people do. (There are even some numbers on this. One survey suggested that one in five people would put writing a book on their bucket list.)

But the problem is that this dream too often stays secret, and unfulfilled.

There are many reasons for this.

Just as people grow excited about recording the story of their life, and perhaps of the lives that went before them - mothers, grandmothers, uncles and aunts - a dread internal voice chimes in. You are not interesting enough, the voice says. You don’t have the right stuff. Who wants to read your life story?

 This is the internal critic, and it almost always yells at you as if it has had too much gin. It says you are not good enough, clever enough, fascinating enough. So your dream is smashed, and you end up with regrets where there could have been sixty thousand words.

 

 Laptop and writing desk - life story inspiration

 The lovely thing is that the inner critic can be understood, and reasoned with, and tamed. It simply takes a little practice. 

One of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox is the Why. If you can tell yourself, very clearly and firmly, what your motivation is, you can start to overcome those internal hurdles. 

Why write your life story? 

The first and most beautiful reason is that it is a gift to the people who love you. 

One of the greatest sorrows when someone dies is that they take all their stories with them. You don’t just miss the beloved, with that pressing ache at the heart, you wish, more than anything, that you had asked them for one more story. Your own children and grandchildren will feel the same about you. 

Imagine if you could save them that regret. 

Imagine if you left them a book, so that when they have those waves of missing, they can take it down, and open the pages, and find you there, waiting for them. All humans need meaning and purpose, and that is a purpose that means the world.

Posterity will thank you!

There is another, broader reason. Posterity will thank you.

If history is written by the victors, it is also recorded by the giants - the great women and men who left their mark.

 Dream Out Loud on notebook next laptop writing inspiration

We moderns know all about Nelson, and Byron, and Virginia Woolf, because they left their stories behind them. But it would be equally wonderful to know how Nelson’s bootmaker lived his life, or how Byron’s housemaid lived hers, or what the flower seller who stood on a corner of Woolf’s London thought and saw and felt. 

A great liberation for the writing mind is to turn what seems like a negative into a positive. Your inner critic may say that your life is too ordinary, but it is the ordinary that will entrance future generations. 

 

One of the greatest innovations of the twentieth century was the Mass-Observation Survey. It was started on a shoestring budget in 1937 to record the everyday British life. Its founders did not want to know what the nobles and the statesmen and the sporting stars thought about things; they wanted to capture the experiences and observations of ordinary people in ordinary towns. Researchers and academics and novelists are passionately grateful for that radical idea, because they now have a rich archive of real people, living real lives. 

Don’t disdain the ordinary: it contains in it the extraordinary. 

The real question is Why Not?

 Why not written on white paper

And here is the final, resounding Why. 

You can write that story for your very own self. You mean something. You count. Your voice deserves to be heard. 

You don’t need to have won a Nobel Prize or been nominated for an Oscar to have something to say. 

You are utterly unique. Nobody has seen what you have seen, or thought what you have thought, or dreamed what you have dreamed. 

If you write down your life, it is a way of saying: here I am. This is my ground, and here I stand. 

You don’t have to lose your memories, as time flashes past you. You can recover those sunlit moments of childhood, and those complicated, frantic years of adolescence, and those joys and sorrows of middle age.

If you gather those together, and give them the dignity of words, you will see that you have packed more into your short human span than you might believe. 

You will remind yourself of all those times when you felt like giving up, but you didn’t. You will mark the deep friendships, and the great loves, and the wild passions.

Once you have your Why, you open the gate onto a wide prairie of possibility. You are free now, and you can gallop across the open spaces like a wild horse on a grassy plain. 

As that decision is made, you may have some practical questions.

You’ve got your Why and now you are asking ‘How?’ 

The good news is that there is an easy answer to that question.

 A sign on a building We Like You, Too life story affirmation

We are going to run a series of helpful articles about how you can get your book done. There are a myriad of possibilities, from teaching yourself to become confident with writing to getting a professional to write the book for you. We will cover all of those.

We will answer all your questions. Your story shall and should and can be told.

Image Credits

           

Desk laptop Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

 

Why Not Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

 

Dream Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

 

We Like You Too Photo by Yoav Hornung on Unsplash

 

 

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