Maybe you’ve heard a whisper urging you to start writing your story. Maybe others have encouraged you to begin, and deep inside you’ve dreamed of sharing what you’ve lived through, knowing within yourself that it’s more than the fact that others want you to write it—there’s a niggling that you need to write it. Maybe that beckoning began recently or maybe you’ve heard it for years. But maybe up to now, you’ve dismissed the possibility of putting your story down on paper, considering it a silly whim or pipe dream.

From my perspective, if there is even an inkling of truth to what I’ve just described, it’s well worth your time and attention to pause and consider why you haven’t yet begun and whether it’s time.

Our Inner Dialogue

Our inner dialogue can inspire us to begin to write, but it can also prevent us from ever starting or from continuing. I’ve experienced this firsthand—the “not beginning,” along with many starts, stops, stalls, and delays, which contributed to why it took so many years to birth Mosaic Heart. Currently, I’m back in those same actions and non-actions with my second memoir. Some of it is related to ongoing life and to contemplating the trajectory of my story, yet some has to do with those deeper reasons related to why writers don’t begin or why we stop ourselves along the way.

From my personal experience and after working with so many other authors, I’ve come up with a list of the “Top Five” inner messages, which have a lot to do with the voice of inner doubt and the inner critic:

  1. Who am I to think I have a story to tell?
  2. Who would ever read what I wrote?
  3. I’m not a seasoned writer—I’m not even sure I am a writer …
  4. Lots of people have experienced what I have, so what makes me think I and my story are special?
  5. How do I know it’s time to write? After all, life is continuing to happen and not every aspect of my story can be tied up with a neat bow.

Because the voices of inner doubt, inner criticism, and imposter syndrome can wreak havoc with our psyches, there are even more statements and questions I could add to this list. But I think these five are at the root of most others we might include. So let’s take a look at them one at a time.

The “Top Five”

1. Who am I to think I have a story to tell?

If you hear an internal whisper that keeps you up at night or interrupts your days, and it’s urging you to write, trust that this voice is real. Trust that it is trying to get you to pay attention. It is the voice of creativity, emanating from your highest self. It is the voice of intentionality. Not only is it important for you to listen to it, but it’s begging you to take action. This one little clue is a big enough reason to get started.

But what might you feel compelled to write about? Maybe it is a traumatic life experience that you not only survived but went on to transform so that you are now thriving. Maybe it is a painful life lesson that you struggled to learn, but learn you did, and you now have the perspective to share the entire experience with others. Maybe it is the stage of life you find yourself in today or a look back at the stages of life you’ve lived and grown through. Maybe it’s the vision you have for the future. What you feel compelled to share is most likely just what another person needs to hear.

2. Who would ever read what I wrote?

We need stories told by individuals we can relate to. There have been and continue to be amazing stories written by celebrities. If that “well-known” storyteller has been especially vulnerable in their writing, we can find ourselves relating to much of what they’ve written. Yet, sometimes we have a harder time identifying with their struggles and triumphs because of how they are portrayed publicly.

Stories told by people who could be your neighbor, your friend, or a colleague can oftentimes be more accessible. No matter who you are, though, the key is to tell your story as honestly and authentically as possible, revealing to us your inner landscape along with what you’ve lived through.

3. I’m not a seasoned writer—I’m not even sure I am a writer …

Well, maybe you’ve never considered yourself one before, but if you are currently writing or have the desire to write, you are becoming one now. It starts with your desire to write, along with establishing a rhythm to your writing practice. And if grammar, spelling, punctuation, and structure are not your strengths—not to worry. That’s why editors do what we do. We’re here to help you put your story in the best possible light—of course, preserving your unique voice in the process. We’re also here to help you find the deeper aspects of your story.

4. Lots of people have experienced what I have, so what makes me think I and my story are special?

Whatever may be brewing inside, whatever may be percolating and simmering, trust that you need to write it down and we want to hear it. Although the circumstances you’ve lived through may be similar to what others have experienced, your experiences, along with your way of seeing and sharing them will be unique to you. That makes your story special.

Believe it or not, you may be the one person to reach a group of people who have never been able to relate to another person’s story before. Remember, although many people might have shared a story similar to the one you feel called to write, we need many different versions, a variety of voices and ways of telling, as well as varying perspectives of our human experiences.

5. How do I know it’s time to write? After all, life is continuing to happen and not every aspect of my story can be tied up with a neat bow.

It goes back to that calling. Do you continue to sense an inner urging? Do pieces of your story run through your mind like a movie or audiobook? Do you hear yourself narrating those scenes? If you occasionally or regularly hear the words or the topics to write about, grab a pen and notebook or your computer and start writing.

Having a sense of where the story may ultimately land is important, but because our daily lives continue as we write, more may be revealed. Allow for that, whether it’s the continuation of the story arc or your deepening perspective as you have more distance from what you are writing about. The key is to hold softly to what you want to write and begin.

Listen then Begin

If you’re feeling that urge, listen. Are you being called to write about your life? Your family history? Your growth? Your life lessons? Your challenges? Your setbacks? Your past? Your present? Your future? Whatever may be calling to you, grab a special pen, a journal or spiral bound notebook, and let it flow. Or sit down at your computer and let your fingers do the walking (and the talking). Let it pour forth.

It may be a legacy for your family or it might need to get out to a broader audience. Only time will tell. Ultimately, you’ll know when and for whom your story is being written. In the meantime, get writing!

[If you are looking for writing support, please be sure to go to my Happenings page to learn more about current offerings.]