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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #126 – Four Fears of Life Writing
July 27, 2015

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

July 27, 2015
Issue #126 – Four Fears of Life Writing

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Vacation or Relaxation
Featured Article: Four Fears of Life Writing
Featured Resource: Memory List Keeps You Writing

Opening Remarks: Vacation or Relaxation

Have you ever had someone just back from a vacation complain how they need another vacation just to recover? Sometimes our getaways can be exhausting and stressful.

July is a time when many people take vacation. If you did I hope it was memorable and enjoyable. This year I am not traveling, but I am getting an opportunity to enjoy a bit of down time and recharge my batteries. Essentially it has been relaxation in place of vacation. And it has been good. I have still stayed busy with various projects, including some life story writing and helping others with their stories. And I am gearing up for another school year, making lesson plans, reviewing concepts and generating ideas. On top of that, I’ve had a chance to enjoy some family time, play with the grandkids and celebrate with my wife our 30th wedding anniversary.

Thank you to all our subscribers. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: Four Fears of Life Writing

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © July, 2015

Fear can be an obstacle to your life story writing. But it need not be. Whenever you are afraid it is always helpful to identify just what those fears are and see how much they are based in reality and how many of them turn out to be just your imagination running away with you. I find it beneficial to remember the acronym F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real.

In this article I explore four common fears of life story writing

1 – The fear of what people will think
No matter how riveting your story is you probably have some concerns about what people will think of it. Writing our life story often means admitting some of our shortcomings, maybe addressing some instances when you’ve been harmed by others, commenting about your relationships with people, work, politics, religion and any number of other hot button issues. You can’t let these concerns overwhelm you to the point that you censor your writing. I recommend you write as honestly as possible. Then in your reviewing and revision stage you can consider what you might want to take out.

2 – The fear of facing your demons
Perhaps you have some addictions, failings, regrets or other skeletons in your closet that you haven’t fully confronted. Writing about them can be therapeutic. Dealing with some of those things that have bothered you, perhaps since childhood, can help free you from an unhealthy preoccupation. A note of caution: some things need professional therapy. If an issue is particularly troubling you might try some counseling. Nevertheless, there are many things, such as age-old resentments towards family members or institutions or facing certain addictions, for which your life story writing can help you gain perspective. Putting things in writing often brings clarity. There is a saying in recovery circles that is another acronym of F.E.A.R. Face Everything And Recover.

3 – The fear of failure
This fear is pretty common. Many of us are deterred from writing about our lives because we think we’ve either failed to accomplish much, especially certain dreams and desires. Or we don’t think we can complete our writing. For the latter it helps to simply commit to a regular schedule of writing and keep working on your story. Over time you will make good progress. As for your fear you will never accomplish certain “bucket list items”, consider that completing a life story is a very worthwhile thing and should certainly boost your confidence and self-esteem.

4 – The fear of success
The flip side of fear of failure is that you will actually be successful with your story and people will take notice. Suddenly you are in the limelight, or at least a spotlight, and that exposure can cause trepidation. You might worry that you can’t handle the attention. Again, this fear is usually not a big concern. Frankly, the chance that you will be famous as a result of writing your story is slim. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but it’s the truth. However, getting recognition and congratulations for telling people about your experiences, values and lessons in life is a true indication of personal success. Part of our fascination with people’s stories is that we identify with their journey. It can be inspiring and motivating.

There are a number of other issues that might strike some fear into people doing the hard work of writing their life story. There is the challenge of the amount of work and how you will be able to invest the time and money it can require. You might also worry about possible legal ramifications. Or maybe you don’t think your life has been significant enough.

I want to assure you that your life does matter and that for any fears you may have about the life story process there are places to turn to get advice and help. A couple of articles I read in preparing this one included Jerry Waxler (The Memoir Revolution),Frequently expressed fears about publishing a memoir, and Denis Ledoux (The Memoir Network), Is your memoir silenced by the fear of insignificance?

You can read other life story articles here.

Featured Resource: Memory List Keeps You Writing

A memory list contains words and short phrases about important events and recollections from your life journey. It could be the first baseball game you played in, getting a new bike for your birthday, the day your first child was born, going on a trip to Paris, meeting an old friend over coffee and any number of other significant things. Collecting these memories over time and clustering them in your 3-ring binder will help you recall other memories. The core memories from this list can form the basis of your lifestory.

Denis Ledoux has expanded on the idea of using a memory list with his recently released Write to the End. I'm enjoying reading it and picking up new tips. That's one of the things about working with writing and personal history - there is always more to learn and discover! Look into this new e-book available from The Memoir Network.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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