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Monday, October 12, 2015

Isak Dinesen

In the last 25 years, the publishing world has sought to give us more and more memoirs — people sharing their stories of sorrow and pain. They have taken Dinesen's quote to heart. And there is a lot of truth here. We all tell our personal story — if not to others, at least to ourselves.  By sharing our stories we can begin to heal the pain and suffering we have experienced.

When my wife and I wrote our book on pet loss, we gave voice to the pain that pet lovers feel when their pet dies. We allowed people to tell their stories.  We heard the tears of people who felt they had lost a soul mate.  Some said the pain was worse than the death of a parent or a divorce.  Some were still crying ten to twelve years after the pet had died.  Sharing their stories helped some to bring closure and healing to a painful time in their lives.

One of the best salves for healing the pain and sorrow that we feel is writing. The process of putting our feelings, thoughts, and experiences down on paper will give us the opportunity to work through our pain and sorrow.

Unfortunately, some of us don’t feel we can write. We feel that writing is something for professionals with creative talents but not for us. Yet writing is one of the most powerful techniques we have for clarifying our feelings and working through our emotions. By opening ourselves up and expressing our pain and grief on paper, we will release the emotions that are suffocating and depressing us. Giving vent to our anger and pain through writing will help set us free.

What is your story? What sorrows darken your face? Have you put it in words? In pictures? In music? Healing comes with the sharing of our stories.

I want to share with you a process, that if you follow it, will help you share your story and begin to heal your wounds and help you to recover from your sorrow.

Twelve Guidelines for Telling Your Story 

  1. Write for fifteen minutes every day. Discipline yourself to write even on those days you don’t feel like writing. 
  2. Write in longhand with a pen or pencil. Do not use a computer. 
  3. Begin either with the phrase “I remember’' or “I feel.” Whenever you run out of things to say, begin again with the phrase “I remember” and keep writing. 
  4. Write without stopping for the full fifteen minutes. Keep your hand moving at all times. 
  5. Write without thinking. Give free rein to your emotions and feelings. 
  6. Feel free to say whatever you want. Don’t worry about what others will think. 
  7. Be as specific as possible in your writing. Put in descriptive detail. 
  8. Don’t try to be creative or cute. 
  9. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or what your English teacher taught you. You are not writing for a grade. 
  10. It is okay to cry while you are writing. Keep writing through the tears. Don’t stop. 
  11. Keep writing as long as you need. If you wish, you can expand your writing time to thirty minutes or an hour.
  12. Initially, do not share your writing with others. They may not understand your expression of your pain or may be hurt by what you write.