Today's post is going to be a little different. Instead of focusing on the mechanics of writing, I'm going to dive into something more important: you need to tell your story. Here's why.
Your Story Matters
For a lot of us, this has been a rough year, a tiring year, a painful year.
Some years carry a heavier toll than others, and this is one of them. Yet in spite of that — or maybe because of it — there's something you need to do: tell your story. I know how tired you are. I know some of you don't feel heard. I know some of you might fear you don't matter.
Everyone's experiences are unique, and as we share our stories, our perspectives, our take on world building and character development, we actually expand other people's understanding. Characters in books can actually make us feel less alone in our own daily life.
Your Story Is Your Own
Your story matters because it is uniquely your own, and no one can tell it the way you can. Consider the advice of best-selling author Neil Gaiman:
[M]ake your art. Do the stuff that only you can do. The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that's not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we've sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
No one has your voice. No one has your thoughts. No one has your experiences, dreams, hopes, and fears. No one else can do this. Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, fantasy worlds or parenting blogs, your story — like fingerprints — is your own.
Your Story Requires Patience
Telling your story well can take time, and that's normal.
It's the same as learning a musical instrument or excelling in a sport. Anyone can do it badly; it's the folks who continue to study and practice who shine.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me: […] For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. If you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass
The ones who don't give up make good art. Don't quit.
Tell Your Story
If you read nothing else in this article, read this: get to work and tell your story.
It'll take time. Maybe not everyone will understand. That's okay.
Hear me: don't be afraid. It's worth the struggle. Be brave, fellow writer, and tell your story.
What's your biggest roadblock between you and your story? Let us know in the comments.
Take fifteen minutes and tackle the beginning of your story. This is your introduction; it's a chance to remind yourself why your story needs to be told. You might begin writing that story that's been on your heart for weeks, months, or years. You might even tell your own personal story, a glimpse of your life.
When you're finished, post it in the practice box below and don't forget to comment on three other stories!
Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.
Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.
When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.
P.S. Red is still her favorite color.