Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story?

This is a question that Patti Digh asked us during a recent day long writing workshop. What is your story? How do you become aware of your story, and then how do you change it if you need to or want to?

We all tell ourselves stories. Everyone does. All the time. We don't think of them as stories; we think of them as the truth, the way things are. We assume that everyone would say the same thing about the facts, the circumstances, the life. Yet we all choose what to say, how to say it, what voice to say it in, what to include and what to omit. Because we believe it, we tell it. And sometimes, because we tell it, we believe it. It works both ways.

To illustrate what beliefs might be driving us, Patti had us tell the story of our writing life in different voices. Pairing with a partner, one person was the speaker and one was the listener. We told our writing story as ourselves, as a five-year old, as a CEO, and as a successful, New York Times Bestseller author.

I heard how the story changed according to the speaker. I heard my five-year old talk about slights that I thought were laid aside years ago and how she doesn't like to be made fun of. My CEO surprised me the most—she delegates her writing life and lets other people write the blogs—she reads them and says, "That says it exactly!" My bestselling author talked more about hanging out with other authors than she did about writing.

Well, well, well. That is interesting!

Try the exercise. You may be surprised at what you discover. For myself, I'm going to stop delegating my writing so much, and sit down and give voice, my own voice, to what I want to say. I'm going to keep asking myself what story I'm telling in other areas of my life—not just the writing stories, but the weight stories, the housekeeping stories, the love stories, the relationship stories, etc.

How about you? What's your story?