How To Tell Your Story

How To Tell Your Story

I started blogging in 2008 as a way to get my random thoughts (or as I call them, my Mind Mumbles) in a centralized location. I journaled my prayers in a notebook on my nightstand, but the other thoughts and experiences I had during the day had no home, other than in the folds of my faulty memory.

I started blogging to keep a digital record of life’s happenings, big or small, so I could look back over the years and remind myself of everything from the seemingly insignificant to the monumental moments.

I wasn’t sure when I started blogging all those years ago, however, I had any legitmate story to tell.

That all changed in 2013 when Harlynn died.

Not only did I have a story to tell, but I had an intense desire – almost to the point of physically aching – to get my story out in front of the world. My blog happened to be the easiest way to make that happen.

As I started to write in those raw, unfiltered moments, I began to get feedback I didn’t expect.

People weren’t just reading to find out what was going on in our lives, but they were reading because they resonated with the way I wrote.

I had no clue.

I had always loved to write, but I viewed it as a personal hobby, and not anything that would matter to anyone else.

I was wrong.

Over the last few years, I’ve received response after response of how my writing spoke life into someone’s situation or circumstance. All because I made a decision to follow that ache, and tell my story.

You have the same opportunity.

I want to share with you a resource from one of my writing mentors and teachers, Jeff Goins. A year ago, I signed up for his writing courses and they were transformational for me. His mentorship led to the development of my website, my writing purpose, and was the key to my content production. He taught me the who, what, when, where, and why of my own  writing.

And he can teach you, too.

Tribe Writers is a course that will help you accomplish:

  1.   Identify your true writing voice and start using it in all your communication.
  2.   Build a platform through mastering the art of blogging.
  3.   Expand your reach and find your 1000 true fans.
  4.   Publish your work and start making your first $1000 as a writer.

Jeff not only provides invaluable teaching, but his enrollment bonuses do more than sweeten the pot. The bridge the gap that stands between you simply wanting to write your story, and actually getting it done.

I’ve read his books, seen him speak, attended his webinars, sat in on his coaching calls, and taken his courses. I can tell you Jeff knows his stuff. And you can know his stuff, too.

Telling your story seems overwhelming when you don’t know where to start, but I can confidently recommend you start by signing up for Tribe Writers.

I’m frequently approached by people I’ve never met who tell me they feel like they know me, and how I’ve helped them. Simply because I wrote. I shared. I was transparent.

It’s one of my favorite things about writing. I never know who needs to hear the message, but I always know it needs to be shared. Sometimes it’s weeks, or even months, before I realize it had even the slightest impact on someone. Since implementing the concepts I’ve learned in Tribe Writers, however, that influence has grown and impacted the lives of so many people.

I can’t force you to sign up for Jeff’s course, but I can ask you to consider what you’ll miss if you don’t sign up now. Will it be another year before you get your story told? Someone needs to hear what you have to say. You may not realize it, or even believe it. But it’s true. Tell your story. Let Jeff help.

This post contains affiliate links.

What Good Am I?

I’ve fallen behind from where I wanted to be with my book-writing, but I’m still plugging along. It’s at a slower, less productive pace than I was aiming for, but it’s progress, nonetheless.

What Good Am I-

One thing that has really surprised me in writing this book is how much I’ve forgotten about my own marriage, and life in general. All of these memories and circumstances that have been crowded out by new memories and circumstances, have been finding their way to the surface of my mind. I’ve found myself reminiscing about a lot of my past experiences, what they were, who was involved, and how they might have contributed to the person I am today.

Along those lines, there’s been a giant dose of self-consciousness heaped upon me, especially in moving forward with the book.
“Oh dear…I did that.”
“Oh gosh, I forgot about how foolish I was when I….”
“Ugh, I was hoping to never remember that again…”

These are some of the thoughts I’ve wrestled with as I type along, hoping to impart wisdom on relationships and marriage to anyone who might read it one day.

And “wrestled with” is putting it lightly. My emotions have taken over in an all-out brawl at times as I recall choices I made, people I hurt, or promises I broke.

Many mornings I’ve woken up with some great ideas, only to talk myself out of them. You can’t do that because you lost credibility when you ____(fill in the blank with something from my past)____. No one will listen to you, because they’ll remember when you said, “___(fill in the blank with something hurtful or unfounded)___.” 

I’m constantly talking myself down. I struggle, also, with whether or not I’m being narcissistic in this venture. Why would anyone trust I have anything helpful to share about marriage, or life in general? Why, when we live in a world where everyone wants to be heard, do I think I need to be heard above any single one of them? How does my message benefit anyone? What hasn’t been said before? I don’t research, I don’t counsel, I don’t have any degree or letters after my name that credit me as any kind of authority on marriage, or relationships.

What good am I?

I slink back in my own little shell, being a mama, a wife, and employee. I have nothing to offer other than what’s before me. What I’m required to do well in. My worth is counted in my pre-programmed tasks. I loaded the dishwasher today – score! I kept Little Man from bathing himself in yogurt today – score!

Honestly, some days, that’s all I can manage. But that’s not all I was created to be, and certainly not what all of my days were meant for.

Those self-deprecating statements, those triggers from my past that hold me down in a pit of unworthiness, and those burdensome chains of doubt and insecurity are all gifts to me from the father of lies. He wants to hold me in bondage. He wants to shame me. He wants me to forego healing, and cling to hurt. His business is keeping me out of the business of helping others, and of helping myself. His business is ruining marriages, and anyone who tries to build them up. His business is destruction.

The other morning, as I was reading my Bible, I read this passage from Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

I’m a crier, admittedly, but I only remember crying fewer than a handful of times with regard to scripture. Until I read that passage. I surprised myself with how choked up I became. This beautiful depiction of God’s omniscience nearly did me in. He knows me. He knows everything I’ve done, everything I’ll do, and still, He lays His hand upon me.

He doesn’t reject me. He doesn’t show me every way in which I’ve failed. He doesn’t tell me I’d better not pursue anything better than what I have right now because what I’ve done in life prevents me from deserving more.

He lays His hand upon me.

When you’re at your worst, scared you’ll be unaccepted, shunned, dismissed, and you’re embraced instead – you know unconditional love. He doesn’t want to condemn me – He invites me to continue on with Him.

He knows everything. Everyone. Eternally. It’s not my story I’m telling. It’s not my mistakes or shortcomings I’m proclaiming victory over. It’s His story. His glory. His purpose.

He lays His hand upon me. And I keep writing.

So I Want to Write a Book…

“Spit in one hand, wish in the other, and see which one fills up faster.” That was what we heard every time we “wished” for a new toy, or new clothes, or something new and exciting (read: fleeting and forgotten about ten minutes later) while we were growing up.

My entire childhood, I took it to mean something along the lines of, “You’re better off wasting your time than your dreams. Don’t bother chasing them. It’s just messy, and you’ll end up with a handful of spit.”

Story of my life. I hear a phrase and my default is to interpret it as a convincing argument on why I can’t do something. It’s my out. It’s my default-defeat. I’ve always been this way. More often than not, I’ve quit before I’ve had a chance to start.

Until right now. You know what that phrase means to me now? Think about it, or do something. See which one gets results.

So I’m done wishing. I’m done stopping at the edge of my dream. It’s time to start doing, and see if I can get results. I’m going to write my book. My first book.

So I Want to Write a Book...

I have so many ideas about topics I could cover in writing, but for my first book, I’m sticking to one I’m pretty passionate about. It will hopefully be easier to formulate, create, and organize, and will keep the inspiring fire going for me to write more books about other stories I want to share. My first book will be a book about marriage.

That might surprise some of you. Why not about Harlynn? Why not about what we’ve been through with her? So many reasons. The first is, her story is still unfolding. If I put it into book form now, there would be so much left untold. Secondly, the emotional weight it bears. I don’t have the words, or frankly – the strength – to write an entire book about losing our daughter. A blog post as I’m experiencing a moment or emotion is more forthcoming than a book encapsulating what losing her has been for us. Is for us. Means to us.

“But your marriage is still unfolding too, isn’t it?” Yes. It is. But I’m not writing a book about my marriage. Will Brent and I be main characters? Yes. Those are the stories I know. And there are so many of them that illustrate some great points I want to touch on. Storytelling is what I do. Sharing (over-sharing, some may say) is far easier for me than it might be for others. While there will absolutely be several stories about Brent’s and my marriage specifically, the book won’t be about our marriage.

Still with me?

I hope so, because I’m going to need your help. I need a team of people partnering alongside me through this process. I need people to read what I write. To provide feedback. To make sure what I’m saying makes sense. To catch typos and horrendously offensive grammatical errors. I need people to idea-share and brainstorm with.

I need people to hold me accountable. To make sure I’m actually writing. To follow up with me about progress I’m making, struggles I’m running into, or hurdles I can’t seem to overcome. I need people to cover this in prayer. To cover me in prayer. I need my schedule, my family, my work, and my writing all covered in prayer.

You know when Brent and I have the most intense moments of intense fellowship? Usually right after I publish a post about how wonderful he is. The devil loves to toy with us. And me, writing a book about marriage? Oh mylanta is he laughing right now, scheming of all the ways he could derail this! We need your prayers.

I’ve set an audacious goal for myself to have a first draft written and submitted before 2015 is over. I’ve given myself four months to research, create, write, and produce a product (an entire book). I don’t have a title. I don’t have an outline. I don’t have a plan. But I’ve got a dream and a desire to not simply spit in one hand, but to do something to make that dream come true.

So here I go.

Will you partner with me? Where do your talents lie, and how would you best fit on this team? Shoot me a note and let me know. And thank you – in advance – for not getting sick of me being needy during this process, for not growing tired of my mistakes or my meltdowns, for holding me accountable, and for covering me, my family, and this book in incessant prayer.