There are so many ways to tell a personal story (non-fiction). A word, picture, song, dance, poem, conversation, a look on your face, book (fiction, memoir and non-fiction), video, art, tapestry, social media, presentation, recipe and the list goes on.
It starts with your experiences and without them how can you begin to share?
Experiences shape us. Every experience resides in our cells. Some stay suppressed, although we may think that we have worked them out, our bodies know differently, and we may end up with some kind of dis-ease. These dis-eases become stories for us to work with, in some way.
You may not become unwell, it may be that you are surrounded by events that affect you, family or friend and your involvement changes the course of your life. Others go on wild adventures, just because they can.
At some point, there is a call to write your personal story. I know when my spine fractured that this was a journey that I wanted to share. It took a month of journaling to get clear on why I would want to share this personal story.
It certainly had nothing to do with how to write a book. But I had a calling to help other people going through what I was – even though I didn’t know what the conclusion would be. I knew that I wanted to heal naturally and that I would find a way.
I look at stories from a perspective that says some are there for inspiration, some are for us to heal, expand and transform from, and others for content for something else, such as books where we can impact and inspire others.
It can be extremely confusing to know which is the story and where to start it.
When I look at my life there are so many things that I could write books on. you probably feel the same. To make matters worse I am interested in a wide variety of subjects, qualified or trained in all sorts. I have healed myself and dealt with many demons. It could get messy… I could be writing forever…
Where and how should I start my personal story?
Which part of your life’s journey, why that part and what is the point of sharing? Think about this – stories define who we are, how we make meaning and they can own us or we can own them. They also tell others a lot about who we are and they, in turn, can make meaning.
Stories are soul food. I needed to write this story first to help with my healing and then to support others.
Which story test
There are a few things that I do when working out which story and where to start it.
- The core message of my brand and business
- Relevance to my vision
Purposefor writing it
- The heart spot test (where vision, reader, content and strategy come together) – we will talk about this another day
Core message and relevance
When thinking about the story you want to share what is your overall core message? For me, mine is about inspiring others to discover who they are, find their voice and have the courage to write and share their story. While I have other books published what I didn’t have was the kind of story that I am referencing here.
This book is relevant for healing, teaching, coaching and because I am passionate about natural healing (and having my voice heard).
What is the core message of your book and how relevant is this story to who you are, what you do, where you are going or what you want to create?
Healing Osteoporosis Naturally takes the reader on a journey from understanding how their bodies (and life) became unbalanced and they lost bone density, through finding their root cause and creating a unique natural healing plan.
This is my
Your books purpose
You may be sharing a personal story because it will help you to do many things including aligning your brand and business.
Before you panic and think, but I want to write this story because I want to write my story and it’s not to build a brand or change the world – I just want to write it. Or it’s for my family. That is its purpose. The process of writing a book has a purpose, you will heal, change, grow and you will learn many skills.
What is your books purpose and what is the purpose of writing it?
Where and how to start your personal story
The question is do I go back to how I came to be in a position to be woken up? That is do I write about my life pre wake up call? Or do I start with the kick in the teeth? Ask yourself how relevant your backstory is to the overall story? Could you if you didn’t spend a long time leading in, refer back and weave in short snapshots of backstory?
Personally, I felt that it was more impactful to start with the shock of a fractured spine because the story is about how oblivious I was that this was going to happen. Osteoporosis is called the silent dis-ease and it can creep up on anyone – even you. I hadn’t realised just how out of balance I was.
Resist the urge to start your story too early.
This event meant that I had to physically stop and heal. I could hardly walk or breathe. Because of the nature of how this happened the emotional fallout was pretty intense and is one of the keys to the story. What is interesting is as I pick my story apart I can find many books I could write if I were involved with other kinds of businesses or wanted to change direction.
For the reader, where the story starts should leave them wondering what happens next, emotionally connects to them, raise more questions and address a need.
Later in my story, because I did go back in time to find out why, I realised that an accident was the key to what changed the course of my life. Could I have started the story here?
It depends on what the core message of your book is and how you want to build your brand and use your book.
Imagine that I am a nutritionist. I might have used my story for a recipe book rather than a how-to heal book. If I was a yoga teacher and breathwork healer I might have used yoga and breath as a way to show how to heal.
So many stories…
You see so many of us have so many stories. The key is to understand which stories are there for our healing and growth and which are there for us to share and inspire. Then to consider our core message, and how the books core message is relevant to our vision. Next to think about which stories should go in the book (core message and relevance). And then consider the purpose.
There are many books that are written for cathartic reasons which never see the light of day. I work with many people doing just this. These are writing to heal books.
I know from experience that these often morph your life path into a direction that you might not have consciously planned for. The truth is that was always your purpose and the book is the thing that often lights the way.
Should you write your personal story?
You can write a personal story for any purpose. It can be as a pivot out of what you are currently doing, you can use to build your brand and business, you can use it to heal, for your family and as a legacy.
Only you will know. Just don’t be surprised if what starts as a personal healing book turns into something you want to build a business around.
Courage will come as you write and heal.
Got a personal story that you want to write, but not sure where to start, book in for a call and let’s explore.