Last week, we covered some of the scary questions that arise when we’re writing memoir. Today’s question–What if My Story Doesn’t Matter?!–is one we all grapple with at some point. Some folks get stuck here, only writing a few words. Others feel the cold fear of this dagger as they’re getting ready to share their story with the world.
First and foremost: if you’re grappling with this doubt, it’s a sure sign that your inner critic is in charge. How do I know? Because I’ve battled this personally as well as helped countless other writers navigate this soul-sucking question.
And I’m here to tell you that this question is your inner critic’s attempt to keep you from putting yourself out there. It’s an artillery attack disguised as a checkpoint to keep you in line.
Your inner critic’s job, after all, is to keep you safe. S/he accomplishes that by stealing your thunder, squashing your dreams and keeping you from putting yourself out there.
Make no mistake: sharing your story—hell, even writing it—is going to send your inner critic up in arms. That’s why she’s pulling out the big guns here, bringing up all sorts of fears and doubts as a way of keeping you from moving forward. And the worst of the worst is the Does my story even matter? question. Because it hits at the heart of what so many of us struggle with, day in and day out:
Am I enough?
Hell, YES, you’re enough.
And hell yes! your story is enough.
Here’s what it really boils down to:
If your story helps even one person, then you’ve succeeded.
I don’t think there is a more important truth when it comes to writing and/or sharing our stories, truly. I believe this in the depth of my bones.
As Brene Brown says, we’re hardwired for story. It’s how we learn.
This, my dear, is my mantra. It’s also my rallying cry.
Cause here’s the thing: when we have the courage to explore our stories, we get to claim them. This is such a pivotal shift in who and what we are that I can’t underscore it enough. Remember: if your story changes even one life, it’s worth it. Even if—especially if—that life is your own.
Writing your story is one of the best ways I know to reclaim your power and reclaim yourself. For reals, my dear. I wouldn’t mess with you on this one. I swear to it on my 20+ years of writing and teaching experience.
Why is that?
Because the process of writing our story shifts something inside of us. It can be anything from a foundational belief to a shift in perception to a coming-to-terms with something we didn’t think we could come to terms with.
That’s the alchemy of writing your story.
It’s a bit like baking a cake: in the process of mixing, writing, reassessing and weaving together, something magical happens. The cake you put in the oven isn’t the same as the cake that comes out.
Something’s fundamentally different—whether that’s a renewed sense of possibility, an understanding of what really happened back there or clarity about where you’re headed next.
The real magic of writing our stories is that it blows open the confines of what we thought was possible.
Hot damn. Right?
Hope you have an amazing week!
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