Writing About Your Life: Moving from Purpose to Action

Am I really supposed to tell my story? Okay, that question was settled a few months ago, but I found myself rehearsing that question over and over again until I picked up a notebook and started jotting down

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some ideas in it.  I knew I had a story to tell, but I had to quiet my insecurities. I wondered if other writers ever felt like me.  I wondered if my writing would be good enough. I wondered if I would be prepared to handle the mixed emotions which might accompany looking back at some of the issues which I had worked so hard to come to peace with over the years. I wondered if I could tell my story in a way which would respect anyone who was remotely involved.  Needless to say, I had a lot of questions.  But God had all the answers! He wanted me to let go and trust that He would guide me every step of the way.

I’d love to say that once I made up my mind to get on with my story, I wrote with confidence everyday, but that would not be true. Some days were easy; others were a challenge. I had to admit I needed God’s help every step of the way. I could not do it alone. I felt like quitting at least once a week, for one reason or another. In the beginning, I wrote at the end of my work day, which was not easy. I was a middle school counselor who dealt with some pretty emotional issues throughout the day. Most days I wanted to come home, collapse in my overstuffed chair, and take a nap. But purpose would not let me rest. I knew God had given me an assignment, regardless of my fatigue. At that point, I was excited and proud to tell others I was writing my story.  But I had to find the time to write.

My purpose was to encourage women that they could find hope for recovery through developing an intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Everything I  wrote would support that message. I was on a mission to help others.  In the process, God was on a mission to help me. You see, He understood me better than I understood myself. While I was convinced I was healed and whole, God knew I needed to understand more about Him. I needed to comprehend His unconditional love for me. And that, my friend, is an ongoing process. I still don’t have it all together, as much as I would like to believe I do. I am a work in progress.

Early on, I decided to write about the people in my life whose lives influenced me as a little girl. Understanding where I came from was crucial in helping me understand the foundation of my self-concept. Out of that desire grew my chapter entitled, “Faces.” I went back to my roots in a small town in Maryland. I began seeing the faces of various members of my family: my mother and father, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the like. I even remembered colorful people from my old Methodist church and certain mentors from various schools who touched my life. I began listing ideas as fast as they would come.  All the while, God was doing something special in me. He was reassuring me He had been with me all along, even when I didn’t know Him. What a revelation! I had to keep going! I knew I was on to something!

Are you believing that God wants you to write? By now, you have probably realized your purpose in writing. Now begin writing. Pray and ask God to help you every time you sit down. No matter how insignificant you think the idea is, just write. Some chapters will be longer than others. Just write. That’s okay. You can drop some things and add others later.  Some people like planning their entire book through an outline which goes from the beginning to the end. That’s not what I did. I basically started at the beginning of my life and listed some thoughts daily in my writing journal. Those thoughts then became a chapter. I later moved some chapters around to make the reading more interesting and captivating. We’ll talk about that later.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Insecure? Inadequate? Then welcome to the writing world! Great things are born out of frustration, pain, and challenge! Keep going! Somebody is waiting to hear your story! Trust me. I know!

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