Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone can enhance another person’s experience by telling their story. We find comfort in being able to relate to each other, and we find meaning in being heard and listened to.
The concept of the “Story Catcher” was created by Christina Baldwin, who believes that we can create community by telling our stories. It can happen in written form or in oral form. It can be as simple as standing at a supermarket checkout and listening to the cashier telling a story about her son’s graduation. She will feel validated that someone saw her and paid attention, and you might be uplifted by the achievement of a fellow citizen.
Writing too is a means of showing ourselves to others. And it’s not so much about winning a lucrative publishing deal anymore. Everybody can express their thoughts to a wider audience, by the means of blogs and comments, just like on our web site. We feel valued and find comfort in other people’s experiences.
Even writing in a journal can become a powerful tool to explore one’s own mind and feelings. Putting thoughts into words and words on paper has a meditative quality to it: Writing creates awareness of who we are and why we do certain things. It’s a way to explore and analyze the self, and we learn more about what drives us and what we want from life.
The author Natalie Goldberg explores this process in her many books, most importantly in her classic “Writing Down The Bones.” She encourages us to write without a palpable purpose. To forget the idea of getting published or rich or famous. To write just for the sake of writing. To give up on the goal that you have to form perfect sentences and entertaining plot lines. To write just for yourself.
She tells the story how an adoring fan asks her about her process of writing books. She leads him to a storage room where dozens of notebooks are piled on top of each other. When he opens a couple of them, all there is to read is pages and pages of stream-of-consciousness type musings. “This is what ends up becoming a book?” he asks incredulously. She just nods.
Writing requires practice. There is no perfect sentence when it is first composed. Sometimes it has to be written and rewritten all over again.
When you write, don’t think about the outcome. Just write. It is a reward in itself.
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Last reviewed: 31 Jan 2012