This is my book launch week, and as I go about letting people know that my memoir Where The Light Lives has now been released, it’s an occasion for reflection. My overriding feeling is – woohoo – let’s pop the champers! But in a quietish way. I’ve never been one for a big celebration. I guess that’s why I’m a writer, I prefer the quieter, introspective life. I am, however, very pleased that I made it this far because setting out to write a book and seeing it to fruition is an accomplishment and one I wish to acknowledge to myself.
Writing and publishing a book has been a pilgrim’s journey in perseverance, self-discovery, and personal fulfillment, and not without pain. It has been a mighty love affair, the kind a mother feels birthing her child and nurturing it, with all the devotion her fear and optimism can muster. However, I could never have imagined at the start of it all that it would so completely permeate my life and result in even deeper integration of my spiritually transformative experiences – my book’s subject matter.
Sharing the story of my healing from personal and intergenerational grief through my transcendental experiences has never been easy to do, but it was something I felt compelled to do, for myself, and others. You may feel the same way, that you just have to get your story out into the world because it really matters to you and to someone else. You may not even know who that someone else is yet, but you can feel them, nonetheless. They really want to know you because you hold a piece of their puzzle.
Language has never been my strength having been raised in a bilingual home with mish-mashed sentences, so I laboured over how best to tell my story, what words to use and when to write them; how much of my experiences, my emotions and vulnerabilities to share, and how my written words might affect the people in my life I care so much about. It was an elaborate process of self-evaluation that took me inwardly, and then back out again, changed, and humbled.
The power inherent in writing your story
Like thoughts and feelings, words are energetic. Used well, words unite us. Words enliven the imagination of readers in just a few sentences. It is a therapeutic process and a sacred journey, for the writer to write and the reader to receive the writer’s gift of words. I, therefore, encourage you to write – write freely, write with an open heart, with emotion, with authenticity, with meaning and share who you are and what really matters to you through your words. They have the power to transform you, and the world you live in!
Storytelling makes the world smaller and our perceived differences, lesser. In the stories of others, we often perceive something of our own experiences. Storytellers, through their words, hold up a mirror to us, sharing commonalities in the human experience. Storytelling is also a way to imprint the world we live in with our unique point of view. We all live life from a different perspective and so it is that everybody has a story inside them worth telling, a story different to any other.
Where to start when writing your story
You may choose to start writing your story chronologically, from a certain time, perhaps from your childhood, giving the reader background about your early life influences, or from when a significant event occurred and move forward from then. Or you may begin by writing down all the experiences you’ve had, relevant to your story, just to get them down, and then weave a story around them, connecting the experiences in chronological order.
Readers like to read chronologically though it’s perfectly fine to reflect upon the past, otherwise, it can get confusing. Your reader wants to be led along a path. They won’t have the finer details of your life that you naturally do, so be sure to join the dots for them, otherwise, they may meander off the path, and get lost in the wilderness!
My book Where The Light Lives took me five years to complete – I kid you not! It took me about two years to write the manuscript, which I did in snatches of time, whenever my baby had his day sleep or visited his grandparents, and my other son was at school, and at night. Then I spent another three years fussing over it!
I began my writing process by summarising my spiritual experiences – it was just a few pages long. Then I elaborated on each of these experiences. Later, I worked the experiences into a linear timeframe which meant I needed to re-write some parts, for better flow. I then weaved my life story around my spiritual experiences. It was perhaps a drawn-out process, but it suited me, and I developed my writing skills in this way.
If you’re a less patient person or you dislike fussing over things, I recommend you begin writing chronologically from the onset. Choose from where you want to start your story, and go forward from there. Otherwise, if you wish to develop your patience, go the way I went!
Writing can be a bit like renovating – you set off with an idea about how you would like things to look, you may have quite a good plan of how to make it all work in a timely manner, but there’s often something unexpected that arises along the way to slow things down or has you going off on a tangent.
Writing is like that, no matter how clear you think you are at the onset about what you want to write and how you’re going to do it. Eventually, the writing does you and from it, you receive amazing healing. Writing takes us into our deeper selves, into hidden crevasses, and there are unexpected surprises to enjoy and grow from. In the end, it all makes for a stronger, more interesting and personally rewarding storytelling.
The most important thing about writing is simply to get started. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece to begin with, or at all. Just tell your story. Be authentic. Put some emotion into it. Let it take you and your reader on a journey together. In the end, someone will want to read your writing – truly. And remember, be sure to watch out for the synchronicities that happen when you’re doing something that is so meaningful to you!
Have you been thinking about writing your story? I wonder what it is about. If you wish to share a little about it, please do in the comment box below. Is anything holding you back from getting started? If you are writing your story, is there anyone in particular that you are writing it for? I’d love to know!