Writing and Sharing Life Stories

 

"We would not survive without story, for story defines our meaning and purpose, our identity, our goals and values-everything that makes life worth living." ~Lewis Mehl-Madron, Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story, 2010.

 

Consider joining one of my online spring Guided Autobiography workshops, beginning April 26 (Wednesdays, 7 pm to 9 pm CST) or April 27 (Thursdays, 10 am to 12 noon CST).  Spring is the perfect season to consider a writing workshop to learn how to write and share your life stories. Guided Autobiography can be a compass leading you to self-discovery through writing and sharing your stories. Each week of my 10-week workshop, you will explore a life theme common to all but unique to you. You will commit to writing two pages on each theme and then share your writing with a small, supportive group of writers. You will also be instructed in writing legacy letters for your loved ones, family, and friends, sharing your hopes, dreams, values, and a blessing for them. The benefits of participating in a guided autobiography workshop are many. Participants report the following:

  • Learn the art of storytelling & share your life experiences
  • Writing and sharing your stories helps you gain an understanding of memories; you will learn new things about yourself and see life differently
  • The writing process is therapeutic; you will connect with others and yourself by sharing the stories
  • You will begin to create a powerful legacy of your life story as a gift to family, friends, and colleagues
  • You may reconcile your past and resolve old resentments and hurts
  • Writing your personal lifestories is good for the brain. Research has shown that writing integrates different sides of your brain and helps to contain memory's chaotic and random nature (Myers, The Power of Memoir, 2010).
  • Stories are social "neurotransmitters" and facilitate communication between humans, much like neurotransmitters between neurons.

 

The first writing theme you will explore in my workshop is Turning Points or Forks in the Road. These may include a difficult life transition that created a new perspective for you. Examples of Forks in the Road include graduation, marriage, accepting a new job, becoming a caregiver for a loved one, living with chronic illness or disability, retirement, empty nesting, a time of betrayal, divorce, or grief.

 

A few of the sensitizing questions to explore with your writing (Campbell & Svenssonm Writing Your Legacy, 2015) include:

  1. As a child, turning points are often the result of our parents' choices. Was there a fork in the road that may have changed the course of your life? What were the circumstances?
  2. Education often opens doors and new opportunities for us. Was going to school a big step for you?
  3. Significant people in our lives affect us in many ways. What people most influenced your "fork in the road" experiences?
  4. Change can result when a turning point is reached. Do you regard most of your "fork in the road" experiences as positive? Did any of the negative ones become positive after the fact?
  5. We may not always choose the "right" road when faced with options. Have you ever made the "wrong" choice? What happened?

 

Come and join my workshop. Everyone has a story to tell!