Finding the Story in You
Don't Over Think It
For those who aren't writers, the idea of coming up with a story can bring on a serious sweat — because you're over thinking it. You're not required to come up with a short story that rivals Shakespeare, and your story doesn't have to have a complex plot or complicated characters. In fact, your story doesn't even have to have a beginning, middle, and an end. You can condense it into one moment in time and be just as effective.
Start by changing the way you define story. Technically, it is a narrative account of an event, either true or fictional. But in this case, let's think of it as anything that uses details, characters and events to become a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Anything that adds a human element to the information you want to share. It can be an anecdote, a joke, a metaphor, or something your grandmother used to say when she had too many gin and tonics.
Start a Journal
Sometimes referred to as a life journal, this type of journal is a place where you can document various aspects of life such as things that strike you as funny, touching, and aggravating. It’s also a good place to document joke and story ideas, as well as writing exercises to trigger the imagination. Keep one handy at all times.
Real Life Has More Material Than You Can Ever Make Up
If you just pay attention and get into the habit of looking for the humor and other emotions in life, you won't be able to write it all down in time. Listen to conversations on the bus. Watch how people interact. Pay attention to those times when you’re emotions are triggered. Find places where you can watch people like the airport or an afternoon wedding in a small southern town.
Recall Past Experiences
Think of your first job, your first car, or your first girlfriend. Also think of how you thought and felt as a child, and what life was like when you were growing up. Think about the lessons you have learned and you will find that the messages you have to share with the world have a story attached. These are the stories that color your life.
Just Tell It
Don't worry about how it sounds or whether it's good enough. Just tell it without fanfare. And don't add a bunch of unnecessary information or worry about what words you use or how they flow. The story will speak for itself.
Stories are there for the taking. Just look around to see what stories are waiting for you to share in your next speech.
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