Let’s find your story. For those times you don’t know what to write, here are ideas to find your story and build it into a piece full of life.
An excellent place to find your story is to look at your own life events and experiences. Now, I’m not talking about an autobiography, but using your experiences to lay the foundation for the story. We’ve all experienced something unexpected, something unusual, or life-altering. Telling those stories is important because they are uniquely yours to tell and will come from a place of truth.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”-Virginia Wolf
Embelish Your Story
When writing from experience, you can embellish your story, change major details, or take multiple events and combine them. For example: Did you love to make believe you were an astronaut as a kid? Building rocket ship forts and aluminum foil space helmets? Did you pretend you were flying through unknown galaxies with a sense of adventure, looking for the great unknown, trying not to get sucked into a black hole? Now, ask yourself how you felt when you moved away from your parents for the first time. When that happened, did you experience a sense of excitement and fear at the same time? Now, instead of leaving the nest, let’s make you that astronaut leaving earth and going to an unknown galaxy. Tap into the emotions and feelings of the life-altering event of leaving home and combine that with the childhood imagination of being an astronaut.
Dreams, Fantasies, and Imagination
If you don’t feel like you have a significant life event to find your story from, look to your dreams, fantasies, ambitions, and imagination. We all have them. Just pause and listen for them. Now, write about them. If you are still stuck… Get out there, experience life, and then write about it.
Part of stepping into your creative self is to leave your comfort zone, expand your knowledge and grow.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Another way to find your story is by Freewriting, aka Stream of Consciousness Writing. It basically means that you sit down for an allotted amount of time or word count and write. The goal is to get all the ideas out without focusing on organization, grammar, spelling, redundancy, etc. When you’re done, go back, read through your work, take what you want and edit it to a usable product. This may sound a lot like journaling; The fact that it is mainly ungoverned, it is. Somedays, it may end up as journaling due to a lot of distractions. The difference between journaling and Freewriting is that journaling focuses on your feelings and emotions, either about yourself or a certain situation. In Free Writing, you are writing more about the actions and happenings behind the situation, using the emotions behind your words to tell the story.
Most people have a favorite writer and find that their written voice may emulate them. I don’t recommend trying to copy their form or style. I also don’t recommend comparing your work to theirs. But I do recommend letting their work and the way it made you feel inspire and influence you. But let it be your story. In the end, it’s your unique perspective that will make your piece great. Let yourself shine through!
“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”-Tom Clancy
As always, carry your nothingbook for when creativity hits. Tap into that storyteller within all of us.