Hilarious and helpful Jon Acuff has an explanation of the human experience which answers the question, “Are you ready to tell your story?”
In his book called, Start, Jon believes that adults cycle through several stages in the development of any skill. If you take your first career as an example, you probably went through these stages:
STARTING, LEARNING, EDITING, MASTERING and GUIDING.
Back in the “old days,” –let’s say the 1950s–adults expected to only have one career. They’d learn the ropes, perfect their skills, and eventually train others to do the same. Then they retired and vacationed until they died. Simplistic, I know. The society perpetuated these expectations. However, in this day and age, adults may have more than one career, may start any number of activities, and become an expert at several hobbies or unique skills.
So, perhaps the reason you are ready to tell your story is that you have mastered something and are ready to share it! You conquered a major obstacle in life or have beaten a deadly disease. Maybe you’ve mastered “yourself” –I’m still trying–and are naturally moving into the next stage of GUIDING. In this state, you would be sharing your knowledge and lessons learned with OTHERS.
A famous theologian, Edith Schaefer, states in her book, THE ART OF LIFE, “There is titanic meaning in our individual afflictions…”
Edith believes each person’s experience in life is precious, and she recognizes the battle for good to win out over evil. To share our triumphs is to celebrate the good and the wonderful. You’ve been courageous. Sure, you faltered along the way, but you are winning the battle. Help someone else win their battles by writing about your own. You might have a unique voice to express your experience due to the unique situation or timing of your experience. You may be the only one prepared to tell your story. In fact, many people say they want to be writers. But few really do it. Why not you?
Finding the GENRE that is best for you is an exciting road of experimentation.
In Storytelling you are probably in the starting or learning stage, right? During this stage you would be spending some time and money for training to perfect your writing skills. The learning stage takes effort and perseverance. During the editing stage, you would be experimenting to find the genre that fits your writing style. Sometimes, what you LIKE to read is an indicator.
Let’s try to name all the different methods of capturing our stories:
Essay – formal style of preparing your ideas mixed with citations, reasons, examples
Blog – Informal or formal personal essays which can be both long or short
Vlog – video expressions of your expertise
Memoir – lengthy or short spurts which express your story with details of your backstory, your setting, others in your life that impacted your experience
Poetry – the name of this genre says it all
Creative nonfiction – a blend of fiction literary elements of setting, character, dialogue, mixed with history, background, persuasive RANGE: from journalistic narrative to short story or novel.
Devotionals – short works that bring the Bible to life with personal examples
Prescriptive writing – “how-to” informational articles, with yourself in mind.
Short story – writing your memoir, but hiding it in a short story with fictional elements such as carefully chosen point-of-view, strong setting and characterization, plot, narrative arc.
Writing from Hindsight