Celebrate the Stories That Matter to You
As we look to the year ahead, I want to encourage you to capture, share, and celebrate the stories that matter to you. Sure, this can be by writing a book, but it doesn’t have to be that big. The other day I recorded an interview:
… with my dad. I have done this dozens of times over the past 10 years. I pick a topic about our family history, and then just record our conversation. I have hours and hours of tape with his reflections.
The simple act of capturing that story allows me to share it in many small ways throughout the year.
I want to encourage you create and share the stories that inspire you. That may indeed be your story, but it may be one that you make up, or it could be you amplifying someone else’s story.
Don’t just assume you will get to it next year amidst your otherwise busy life. Prepare and plan for it.
It’s Later Than You Think
I encourage you to share your creative vision now, because it’s later than you think.
It’s later than you think, to create the body of work you hope for.
It’s later than you think, to affect the lives of others in a meaningful way.
It’s later than you think, to craft the identity you dream of.
In 2012, Bronnie Ware shared an article titled: “Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying.” She was a palliative care nurse who described what she learned from people in the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives. I come back to this article again and again in considering why we write, why we share, and the effect it has on people’s lives. These are the regrets she described people having in the final days of their lives:
- “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
- “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
- “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
- “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
- “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
When I work with writers, I often see them implicitly addressing some of these. They are seeking to express themselves more honestly, more publicly, and create a space in their lives that creates meaning for themselves and others.
If you are waiting to begin creating the vision of what you hope to share with the world, what are you waiting for?
No One Can Write Your Story Except For You
This past week I shared my podcast interview with New York Times bestselling author Thomas Greanias. What jumped out at me the most was his advice to writers: how they have a power that they often don’t fully understand. Unlike screenwriters and filmmakers in Hollywood, writers have greenlight authority on their own ideas, and also have final cut. He encourages you to use that power.
He ended the interview by saying, “Don’t lose faith and quit on yourself.” As this year winds down and the new one begins, his reminders are powerful: give yourself the authority to share the stories that matter to you.
Too many writers wait. They wait for creating to be easy. They wait until they feel they are ready. They wait for an opportunity.
But waiting means that you are rolling the dice. That your creative vision may never happen.
Recently, I became obsessed with this photo of a storefront from 1940, the one right in the middle:
It’s a bar, and the owner seems to be standing right in the doorway. What is his story? I have no idea. His story wasn’t told.
Here is a photo of the same storefront in the 1950s, the scene of a police investigation:
What is going on here? I have no idea. That story wasn’t told.
This guy took over the lease to the storefront in the early 1970s and in addition to the bar, he opened up a stage that was one of the few places in New York City where musicians could perform original music. His name is Hilly Kristal:
A few years later, these guys played a show there to some surprised onlookers:
The story of The Ramones is an incredible one: how these four unlikely guys from queens completely revolutionized music.
Today, this is that same storefront:
It’s a faceless street with retailers and banks. Stories aren’t being told here, instead transactions are being made.
I think a lot about writers and artists from the past, of the stories of their creative work. The power of story cuts across time. But there are two critical steps:
When I look at photos of the past and consider the lives writers and artists who inspire me, I realize the potential that we all have. That you can turn a typical storefront into art that effects a generation.
But I also feel an imperative: Capture, share, and celebrate the stories that matter most to you.
Right now is the best time to be a writer. Why? Because right now is your opportunity to write.
Don’t take that for granted. You can completely inspire someone with what you create.
The choice is yours.
Thank you for all of your support of my creative work this past year. I can’t possibly express to you how much that means to me.
P.S.: Here is the link again to my Creative Shift Mastermind: http://wegrowmedia.com/mm