Friday 21 June 2019

The Value of Telling Your Story

   Why do I write? There are so, so many reasons. Aside from the simple fact that I fell in love with it after first seeing The Fellowship of the Ring at 12 and then promptly reading all the books before the second film came out, I've come to love it only more as I've grown older. It might sound pretentious, or overly spiritual, but it has helped me to 'know' myself. I can recognise, through everything I've written - recurring themes, character traits, values, etc - what it is that is truly important to me, what disgusts me, what I won't stand for, and the ideals I want to share with the world. And in putting it out there, giving each of them names and faces, I'm better able to face up to the things I don't like about myself, and perhaps come to love them. Failing that, I know at least how to handle them. Case in point: "I'm 'Salus'ing again."
   But it also helps others. For many, it's just entertainment, but every now and then I'll write a character and a friend will just say "I can't count how many times I've felt like this, but have never been able to put it into words." Aside from 'Yay I'm doing something right!', I also begin to think that there's a lot more power in words than you would think. And it isn't limited to books, either, but to blogs, forums and community.
   'The pen is mightier than the sword,' and all that. As this guest post from a friend of mine outlines:

   There is a well-known quote attributed to Cormac McCarthy: 'each man is the bard of his own existence.'
    Throughout the course of our lives, all of us accumulate a wide variety of stories of all different types. Some of those stories are of a tragic nature, while others are uplifting. Some are funny, and others contain practical wisdom. Life is, to a large extent, about the stories we write (figuratively as well as literally), the stories we accumulate, and the stories we share with others.
   And yet, many people choose to hold their own stories back and hide them away, instead of sharing and telling them. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to share and tell your own stories, instead, be it in the art of prose, or the freedom of blogging.

They May Help Someone Who Needs It
   Life can be pretty tough, and all of us are bound to face more than our fair share of hardship, frustration, irritation, and confusion, along the way. Part of what that means is that we are all looking for answers to a wide array of questions, and solutions to a wide array of problems, as we go about our daily business.
   If you had a particular experience in life that was difficult for you and that you dealt with well, or moved beyond, sharing your story surrounding that particular event or issue might make all the difference in the life of someone out there who really needs help at this exact moment. Some communities exist specifically in order for people to share such stories, and so to help and support each other. Shift MS, for example, serves this role for people with Multiple Sclerosis, and those who care for them.
   Whatever your specific experiences and challenges of life, never assume that they are irrelevant or worthless. They might contain vital answers for someone else.

Storytelling Allows You To Reach A Deeper Level
   It's a truly wonderful and quite unconscious way of really getting in touch with yourself on a deeper level. Few of us really know ourselves - not just how we would react in certain situations, but how we each work in general. This is, in large part, due to the hectic lifestyles we now lead and the workaholism of us millennials. Not giving ourselves a chance to stop, breathe and think - even face our worries rather than distract ourselves from them - leads to all kinds of issues like depression and anxiety, all because we don't take time to know ourselves.
   We are all mysterious, even to ourselves, on a variety of different levels. Our emotions, dreams, impulses, and thoughts, largely seem to well up out of the unconscious without much input from our waking minds. One of the great journeys that we are all on in life, as a rule, is the journey of self-discovery and enhanced self understanding. The attempts to fulfil the charge of the Oracle of Delphi out to 'know thyself'.
   Storytelling allows you to really get in touch with yourself on a deeper level, and to unravel your own inner mysteries. This is especially true when you sit down to write your own stories, and particularly when you write fiction. This includes fantasy. There’s something about letting your ideas and inner worlds flow onto the page without censorship, that can bring a lot to the surface, as well as making worlds and characters more relatable and dimensional. 'Writing what you know' is an important part of story-telling. How can you tell a compelling story that readers will invest their heart in if it's entirely made up?

Connect And Spread Enjoyment
   Good stories make life a good deal more interesting and fun. It's a general truth - that’s why the film, TV, and fiction book industries are so massive and there is always new talent striving to get noticed (speaking of which: keep an eye on my author website for news on the second instalment of The Devoted trilogy - it's out on August 1st!)
   When you make a special effort to record, create, and share your own stories, you make life more interesting in general for yourself and potentially for all those you interact with. More than this, though, is that when you share your stories you also connect with others on a deeper level. They get to know a bit more about you, you get to know a bit more about them, and you share in meaningful experiences together. And that’s a valuable thing.


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