The power of writing your story

Earlier this summer, I read an ebook by Claire be Boer titled Soul Writing: Why writing your story could be the most important thing you ever do. (You can find it here.)  The book and her site include exercises to spur memories and help them flow onto paper, inspiring moments, and the stories on many about the impact of journaling in their lives.

I’m fond of journaling, just have not mastered the practice of it. I do agree that writing things out – your current troubled thoughts, memories, dreams can help us in a variety of ways:

  • The practice of writing – Just making sure that you write every day is an important thing.  It helps you to develop your voice and potentially create content that could be published on a blog, magazines, or books.
  • The power of venting – Sometimes, you need to get stuff out of your own head, but maybe the right person isn’t around to listen – or doesn’t exist.  Putting it on paper helps, just as telling a person the story would, helps you to process your thoughts and feelings.  To root out what lies behind that initial wail of discontent.
  • The potential for privacy – Maybe there’s something that you need to process but don’t want to share with anyone else.  Your journal is for eyes only – and you make that call.
  • The marking of moments – Sometimes the little parts of the day are the most important.  The simple phrase someone uses.  A ray of light striking a loved one’s hair in the most beautiful way.  These little pieces can get drowned out in the daily grind or the crisis or stress of the moment.  Making a practice of recording life will make sure these bits aren’t lost.

It’s a powerful thought.

I’ve started to sit down myself.  Watch for a story soon about how that is working.


3 thoughts on “The power of writing your story

  1. It’s not an easy task, but having started writing my journal a few years back has saved my butt a couple of times when someone needed details on when I did something and how. But, more realistically, it’s just fun to go back and relive some of the better days.

    You’ll appreciate this: I started journaling because of a horse. At my grandmother’s funeral, they had screens around the funeral home rotating pictures from her life. One of those pictures was her standing next to a horse. It was obviously posed, so there was some significance to the horse (it was taken in the 30s when taking a picture of something was a big deal), but no one knows anything about that horse.

    I know she had a pig when she was little, I’d heard the story of loving and raising that pig until her father slaughtered it for dinner (my kids think they’ve got it bad sometimes), but never anything about a horse. For most of us, all we leave behind are our stories, and I wanted to make sure that my kids would never encounter a horse of my own…or the unconnected memory thereof.

    I’ll suggest what I use, which is Evernote. Cloud privacy issues aside, the wealth of systems using Evernote’s API to input data can be staggering. For example, everything I post to Facebook is automatically entered into my journal. If a pic of the kids was important enough to share with everyone, it’s important enough to share with future them. Similarly with Twitter and Foursquare (remember how I used to annoy everyone with the Foursquare? That was for my journal. Annoying people was just an added perk. 🙂 I can email in thoughts, share things from my phone directly, and using the web clipper capture whole web pages of info I need, rather than just a link that might someday go away.

    Knock on wood, while I haven’t captured every day as it happened, I have captured every day since I started and hope to continue doing so,.

    1. Oooh, cool idea to integrate the stuff you’re sharing socially anyway! I like pen and paper, but that would really enhance things. Then, when a notebook fills I could scan and integrate….

      Awesome story about the horse!

      Reading Henrietta Lacks actually got me thinking about sharing family stories a bit, because her kids were just not told anything about her or what happened. This brought up our own family conversations around what’s been shared and what’s “not talked about”. Don’t want that for whatever generations I leave behind…..

  2. Or, you could just snap a picture of each page in your notebook as you complete it. Another thing I do. Alas, my handwriting isn’t good enough for it to be searchable. 🙂

    Interestingly, while the horse was the impetus, the “not talked about” thing about her was my mother stumbled onto evidence that my grandmother’s parentage wasn’t what we thought it was, and not in a “we never knew she was adopted” kind of way. 😉

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