Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing Your All-Important Life Story

I feel moved to write a short encouragement to you regarding your personal story.  Do not leave this world without telling people who you are.  I have taken a shot at it.  It, like my life, is a work in progress.

My course at Elon University yesterday (I am in a life-long learning program for people over age 55) was about writing your life story.  It was taught by a past Elon Chaplain who specializes in this subject.  

To get started, he encourages prospective writers to begin by writing paragraphs about memories that matter.  Additionally, he asks such questions as: what places have you called home?  Who were the key people in those places? Who were your mentors and what was their story? What key events shaped your life?....within your family or friends, and what national or world events? Recall a moment when you found your own voice, spoke up for yourself, and in doing so announced a perspective to the world different from your friends or family.

When did your life take an unexpected or unwanted change? Was that change harmful or beneficial in the long run? We're encouraged to explore vocational choices, our faith perspective and core values, skills that enriched our lives, special trips/vacations we took, special interests/hobbies.  He encourages us to reflect upon our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, matures years, our families and professional life, our intimate friendships. We are encouraged to be open and honest and to think about the big questions. Where have we been?  What have we done with our lives?

And very importantly to me, we must reflect on, nearly daily, and make a part of our story, what are we doing with our lives now, and where are we going.  What are our plans and dreams and goals for our lives going forward? How will we continue to be the people God would have us be?  How will we continue to enjoy and enrich our lives, the lives of others, and contribute to a better world?  

Again, I encourage to you to begin this process. Reflect. Maybe begin by telling your story to a trusted friend. There is a great deal of help on google under 'how to write my memoir.'  Happy reflecting. Go tell your story.  Final tips:

Why write about your life?

12. To find you: You won’t know how brilliant you are until you see yourself on paper where you’re honest, not judging yourself and no one is watching.
Write to hear your voice.
11. To find the next step on your path: To consider where to go next, it helps to understand how your past choices got you to today.
Write where you’ve been.
10. Because there is value in remembering: You write, and you remember. Writing pulls from places we don’t visit in our daily lives.
Write to remember.
9. Because you’re bound to learn something: Writing about your life gets you to wondering why something happened, or how you got this way.
Write to dig deeper.
8. To feel better: Your story may have some pain in it. On the page the fear is gone, the sting relieved.
Write to get through the tough parts.
7. Because you have a lot to be grateful for: You’re fortunate—in your family, living in this time, being loved.
Write to tap into your gratitude.
6. To pass on some enlightenment: You’ve learned a lot in your experiences, travels, and relationships. You’re a warehouse of wisdom.
Write to share your message.
5. To show the rest of you: There is more to you than spouse, worker, sibling and friend. You have opinions, feel passionately, and live with your heart.
Write to show your full self.
4. To share the strength and the failures: If you decide to let someone read your writing, (and you don’t have to) you just might spare your reader having to learn the hard way.
Write to share your story.
3. To get your side of things on the record: There is always someone who tells a version of the truth that simply isn’t how you remember it.
Write to tell it your way.
2. To leave a piece of yourself behind: Our writing lives on, is savored and treasured by others and has a depth of connection our loved ones crave.
Write to leave a piece of yourself for someone.
1. Because you can. We are the only species that can communicate this way. Studies prove that the physical experience of pulling our stories, finding our words, and sifting through our memories releases the bliss chemicals, helps center us.


  1. Bob, I'm glad to read your encouragement of writing about one's life experiences. You offer several powerful reasons to do so!!

  2. Thank you, Richard. Your were the inspiration and presented a compelling class! BG

  3. This is something I have wanted to do but have not figured out how to even start,,,thank you Bob.


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