Writing about Your Life: Narrowing the Choices

English: Dew on a spider's web in the morning....

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All of us have a lot we could talk about, but what is God leading you to include in your book? There’s no magic formula to finding the answer. I had many ideas and just began jotting a list of possible events to include in my journal. That worked for me because I am a “list” person. I have sticky notes where I eat breakfast and check off my “To Do” list as I complete tasks. For some of you, that may sound too rigid and I totally understand. If you’re a list person like me, you’re probably nodding your head and saying , “Wow! There’s another person like me!”

Whatever your style, just get started! Some of you might like to do some webbing. That’s where you draw a circle, put your name in the middle and begin making a web of events that have happened to you over your lifetime. By the time you finish adding details that come to your mind, you’ll actually have something that looks like a spider’s web. How cool is that? You can add feelings to events, sensory details–what you saw, what you smelled, what you touched, what you heard–as you spend time letting your mind take you back to specific events.

Nothing is to be judged as good or bad. Everything that comes to your mind is important. Remember: You’re brainstorming! Some might call it free-falling. Whatever you feel or think, just put it down. Eventually you will find yourself drawn to certain events more than others as you continue to pray and ask God to guide you where He wants you to go. In my memoir, The Price of Pearls, I began by focusing on my early years growing up in a small rural community in Maryland. I wanted the reader to understand the values which shaped how I saw the world. I also wanted to set the stage for a critical event which hindered my ability to trust others.

I also knew early on that I was writing to encourage women and that my primary audience would be young adult women to those well into their senior years. However, I believe my story certainly appeals to men as well as women. Our journeys may not be the same, but we share common threads of disappointment, disillusionment, and hope for a better day.

Having said all of that, my hope is that you will write your story. As someone recently told me, “We all have a story.” Whether you choose to write for yourself, your family, or for a wider audience, it’s time to get started. In my next post, we will look at some of the other events I chose. Stay tuned. I’m excited that you chose to begin your writing journey!

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