Writing Your Life Story
Writing your life story is one of the most rewarding things you are ever likely to do in your life. It allows you to look at all the things you’ve done and experienced, people you’ve known, homes you’ve lived in, places you’ve traveled to, good times, bad times, the whole caboodle and revisit your life with the wisdom you’ve gained as you’ve got older.
As you look back on your life you may well spot certain patterns, things you always do in certain situations, people you always seem to get attracted to and reflecting on your life can help you to understand yourself a lot better.
Even more remarkable is the fact that once you start to write about your life, the very act of writing can liberate you from thoughts and feelings that you’ve kept hidden for decades allowing you to face the future at peace with yourself.
Writing about your life also allows you to share what you’ve learnt with others. You may have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, friends who’ve travelled with you on some of life’s journey and many who have no idea of the multitude of identities you’ve inhabited. If you doubt the value of doing this ask yourself this question: what would it feel like to have in your hands right now a book written by your mother or father that told you about their life?
For six of Albert (Bert) Facey’s children, when he died in 1982 in Midland, they were left with a remarkable story about their father’s life. A Fortunate Life was written by a man who taught himself to read and write and the fact that he had very little schooling didn’t stop him. ‘I have always believed if you want to do something you usually can’. The voice that comes through to us in Bert’s stories is of an ordinary, decent man who would always ‘have a go’ no matter how tough life was and his optimism and ability to enjoy life have turned his book into an Australian classic.
However, writing about your life can also be very daunting. Most people don’t think they are skilled enough to take on such a large project. If they try to imagine what writing a life story could be like, they’ll tell themselves that the chances of it ever happening are about as likely as signing up as a space tourist on Virgin’s Galactic.
Once you start to look at a list of negatives it can get longer the more you think about it. The chances of ever starting to write about your life, or indeed to keep on writing your life story if you do start, can seem doomed to end badly like the space tourism rocket, Galactic, which crashed in the California desert in October 2014 killing Michael Alsbury, one of the two test pilots on board.
However, there are some useful parallels between Galactic and writing your life story. Richard Branson didn’t plan, design and build a spacecraft by himself. He had help, actually a lot of help with a huge team behind him. He was asked after the crash if he’d thought about giving up:
"Was Virgin Galactic, and everything it has stood for and dreamt of achieving, really worth it? I got a very firm answer to that question immediately when I landed in Mojave [the HQ and Launchpad site]. From the designers, the builders, the engineers, the pilots and the whole community who passionately believed — and still believe — that truly opening space and making it accessible and safe is of vital importance to all our futures."
While you’re not thinking of taking on the challenge of visiting space you are facing the prospect of writing about your life and this is a big undertaking. If you want to make the planning and writing easier and avoid a crash landing which could potentially abort your mission, find someone to talk to about your plans, someone you can discuss your writing ideas with and who will be there to help and support you.
Clearly I would like that person to be me as I help people just like you to write their life story. Click on the button and send me an email if you’d like to have a chat about what to do next.