A few weeks ago, I read a guest blog post ‘A Disturbed Girl’s Guide to Finding Your Why’ by Sacha Black, on Ula’s Monday Inspirational Series. She was discussing A Disturbed Girl’s Guide to Curing Boredom by James Howell which effectively inspired her to start writing. Her rationale behind picking up the pen was truly inspiring.
“The mark this book left on me was irritating, it incessantly weaselled its way into my mind and sung a mantra at me. It called me, reminded me that stories could be written that change people, that scar them, and make them question their values and moral fibre….
As it happens, Disturbed Girl is actually one of two books that helped me remember my dream.”
After reading Sacha’s post, I kept wondering what was my ‘why’ behind my writing. I started writing after a peak experience – meeting my dad’s side of the family for the first time at age 36. Trying to capture the event which seemed to imprint itself into every cell of my being, I started writing. But once the memory was committed to my computer screen, I didn’t stop. I kept going; and in those early days when people asked why I wrote the response was pretty standard:
‘It’s as if my soul wants me to write my story down. It’s not negotiable.’
Having written the bulk of my story in the last three and a half years, I still want to write. Why? Well, it feels I am at my most authentic when I write. It strengthens my muscle of speaking up. I feel heard and connected. Feeling seen is not terrifying. I’m feeling safer on the screen of my computer than anywhere else.
I read Sacha’s post on 21 September. The next day, I listened to Marie Forleo’s interview with Elizabeth Gilbert.
She was discussing the ‘why’ behind her new book ‘Big Magic.’ Half way through the interview, Marie asked Liz to talk about her experience of public speaking. Apparently, when she was asked to speak for the first time, she read from a piece of paper and didn’t make much eye contact with her audience. Since then she’s been on TED talks. She also spoke for 50 minutes on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. 25,000 people gave her a standing ovation. What I found most interesting though was the story behind that speech. She practiced it for six months. For four months she walked several miles a day, committing that speech into her bones (that’s how I memorise my presentations too, by the way).
Sometimes, people see the final product of our labour and have no idea how and why we started writing in the first place.
This is why I’d like to start a new series called ‘The Story Behind The Story’.
- I’d love to hear your big why – what motivates you to write in the face of [fill in the blank] – holding a daytime job; caring for your children; self-doubt; rejection letters; etc.
- I’d welcome the story behind a story you’ve written/published. How did you plot your masterpiece and come up with your characters?
- I’d really enjoy finding out about how or when you decided to start writing. How did you become a writer? What did it take for you to accept this ‘title’?
- I want to know your deepest longing behind your writing.
Hopefully, you get the idea.
Interested? Then please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.