I was thinking about you all today as I hung out the washing. I’m always planning and thinking of the next article, workshop, resource, online course, or community—there’s some exciting plans coming up! Aside from God and my family, YOU are my number one priority. Why?
Because I love it when I see other writers doing well. I love it when writers feel empowered to tell their stories. I want you to share your content and art with the world so readers feel less alone. (Felicia Sullivan, one of my writing heroes often talks about this.)
Your stories matter.
Speaking of which, I’ve popped an incredible story at the bottom of this newsletter by Rick Martinez, one of our Academy writers.
Connecting with Your Reader
I was reminded of the importance of our “why” today when Medium writer, David Majister, shared his article with me on Twitter. It got me excited.
“Hard-Won Wisdom from 12 Years on the Streets” is about Lee Stringer and his journey from homeless addict to successful writer.
As I read it, I started to see my own story within Stringers. This is the power of telling stories!
Majister writes: “Living on the street, hitting rock bottom, led Stringer to his creative gifts.”
I didn’t end up on the streets from a cocaine addiction like Stringer, but I did end up at rock bottom. For an entire year I was unable to work or even get out of bed for more than a few minutes due to serious health issues.
Rock bottom led me to my own creative gifts and started my writing career.
Reading about Stringer reminded me of my own journey. When we experience a moment like that in our reading, we feel less alone. We feel connected.
Isn’t that what we want to do for our readers? Isn’t that our “why” as writers?
Whether you’re telling your own story or someone else’s, like Majister has in the article above, your readers want to connect with it, be moved by it, learn from it, relate.
Articles and personal essays are one way to do this. Memoir is another.
From next week in the Creative Nonfiction Academy, we’re going to be looking at Memoir. Feel free to join in for the month. (It’s just $20USD—that’s four coffees here in New Zealand.)
Memoir isn’t just telling your life story: birth to end. Memoir differs from autobiography because it focuses on a theme. In fact, you can write more than one memoir using different aspects of your story.
Recently, I’ve read memoir on the themes of mother-daughter relationships, attending group therapy, and married life.
I’ll talk more about this in the next weeks, but for now, here’s the piece of writing I mentioned at the start from one of our Academy students.
Rick Martinez is a nurse who writes as often as he can. Let’s show him our community support with reads, claps and encouraging comments on his seriously beautiful Medium piece (It gave me goosebumps!):
“One of the beauties and gifts that we offer as caregivers is empathy. And yes, it drains you and saddens you and scars you, but that’s what makes this job one of the best in the world. To feel. To be. To cry.” —Rick Martinez
Are we friends on Twitter?