You’re always writing about yourself, whether you know it or not. The big benefit of writing about yourself consciously is that it makes all your writing much easier.
Not only do you have more ideas than you could ever use, you’ll unlock parts of yourself you’ve hidden away. That unlocking leads to unblocking — your writing will become more authentic, and powerful. You’ll silence your inner censors.
Back in the 1970s, I had a young family, and was into the hippy dippy crafty things which were part of that era. I baked our own bread, made macrame plant pot holders (our house looked like a jungle), and wrote, wrote, wrote… in my journals.
Looking back I’m exhausted when I recall how busy I was. I’m also annoyed, because I tossed out those journals when we moved to the country. (Sigh.)
Writing About Your Life Is Always Useful
Although I lost those journals, I gained a powerful habit: writing in my journals every day. It’s only now, many years later, that I can see how much that habit has helped my writing.
Since I know how powerful journaling can be, I encourage journaling in my writing students. Your journals (call them diaries, if you like) help you to come to terms with your past and present, AND they help you to build stepping stones to the future you want.
For example one of my students, Louella, skated along writing generic material. In our conversations, and her email messages to me, she was bright and funny. Her personality shone through. She had a wickedly snarky turn of phrase.
When I read the magazine queries she sent out however, they read as if they’d been written by a machine.
I set Lou some “life writing” exercises which I’ve used over the years and give to my students. In addition, I asked her to write two pages in her journal, every day. I gave her some journaling exercises too, so that she wouldn’t get spooked by the blank page.
The first life writing exercise was to create a timeline. Oddly, Lou couldn’t remember some years of her childhood, from ages seven to ten. We did some additional exercises; I asked her to do a short visualization before she fell asleep each night.
Something worked. Gradually, Lou’s writing unfroze. As she integrated herself into her public writing, her writing became much more powerful. She sent out queries — and they were accepted. She wrote the stories only she could write. Of course, they sold. Lou was being authentically herself. Her writing became fun and easy for her.
All the Ideas You’ll Ever Need (and All the Sales You Want)
I commend journaling and life writing to you. If you’ve never written a journal (diary, call it what you like), try it for a few months.
Our new coaching workshop, “Memories — Writing and Selling Your Life Stories”, will help.
Is this coaching workshop for you?
It may be, if: you’re not sure what you want to write; or you know what you want to write, but get stuck. It’s also for you if you want to write others’ life stories, as a family historian, or as a ghostwriter for others’ material.
Most especially, this workshop is for you if you’ve been feeling that there’s something missing in your writing. It’s therapeutic writing which heals, even though our focus is on SELLING your writing, rather than therapy.
Join us, we’ll have fun, writing together.