Write your story, enjoy the benefits

Notebook 'Write your story'

When you write your story, whether a page or two or a book-length memoir or autobiography, you can expect many rewards. They come both when you write and when you share your whole story or a part of it. Every life is different, and so each unique story differs from that of everyone else.

Why now?

Writing always gives me pleasure and it’s never far from my thoughts, although I do less now than I would like.

I’ve been thinking again about the advantages of writing life stories recently because a support group has invited me to work with its members who want to write their stories. I’m excited because in the new year I’ll embark on this new adventure.

My brief includes to teach, encourage and support people to write down their memories and stories. Together, we hope to produce a book at the end of the process.

My own writing includes two full-length memoirs, Other People‘s Country, and Elopement. As well, I worked as the project manager for the Spirit of the Streets Choir a couple of years ago when we produced the book, Spirit of the Streets Choir: Our Stories. Here’s a blog about how I came to work with the Choir.

Everyone can write a story, although a little encouragement and support helps the process. That’s why writing classes and groups or working with a mentor can be valuable.

Benefits to expect for yourself when you write your story

When you write your story, you can expect benefits for yourself and others. The act of writing can be very rewarding.

Above all, write for yourself. Here are some of the benefits you can expect.

Specific benefits

  • Writing our story is an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come.
  • Often it feels as if real life happens to us when we are planning other things. When we put our stories on the page, we begin to see in perspective the struggles, pain and disappointments and also the highlights of events in our lives. We begin to make sense of life.
  • Writing our story gives us an opportunity to see our weaknesses and, just as importantly, our strengths, talents and coping skills.
  • We might see patterns in our behaviour we may not have noticed. This can provide an opportunity to change the things we don’t like about ourselves.
  • If we understand our past, we can often change our future.
  • Writing our memories helps to understand our feelings, actions and reactions. In turn that helps us to make sense of events and find meaning in them.
  • Writing helps us to be compassionate, to forgive ourselves and others and to get on with the future.

Other benefits

Writing provides many benefits that are broader than simply making sense of our past.

  • Our creativity blossoms when we write. This spills over into other aspects of our life.
  • We become more playful.
  • We learn as we go and develop new skills as we write.
  • Avid readers feel as if they have joined the authors they love in this creative pursuit.
  • Writing your story gives you a purpose. It provides a reason to get up and get going every day.
  • Being involved in something important contributes to our overall health and well-being.
  • It keeps your mind active and this helps to ward off depression.
  • The sense of achievement during writing and when you finish can be a great reward.
  • Writing may seem like a challenge, but it once we begin it provides much enjoyment and fun, even escapism from our humdrum existence.
  • We feel more connected to others through sharing our stories.

Benefits for other people when you write your story

Writing only benefits the writer. Your story is a gift to others

  • Future generations, especially our children, benefit from our stories. They will know who we are, what shaped our lives.
  • We become part of history when we write, especially if our work gets published. We shed light on our times and concerns.
  • Our stories, whether published or shared with a small group educate, enlighten and entertain others.
  • People will learn from how we dealt with the issues in our life. They will use what we tell them to make their own lives better.
  • Professionals like doctors, nurses, social workers, welfare officers, can learn from our life stories.
  • When we work in a group of other writers, we encourage each other to be the best version of a writer they can become.

I’d love to hear of any more advantages of writing your story that my readers may add in the comments.

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