Whether you are in the church and call it a “testimony” or aren’t part of the church and call it your story, there are 7 lies I hear consistently as I speak with prospective clients and friends. These lies come from a variety of roots, such as self-doubt, self-sabotage, self-limiting beliefs, and words spoken over you from others in their lives. Which of these lies sound familiar to you?
Let’s dive deeper into why these statements are LIES, no matter who you are and what you are currently doing.
How do you know this? Have you started talking to people about your past and they’ve walked out mid-sentence? Have you shared your story in a public setting and not received feedback? There are many people out there whose stories are so hard to digest that they leave people speechless. However, years later the person will process what was said and they will realize what an impact it had on them to hear someone who had been through something similar. Sometimes, the person will have a relative going through something and they will be able to say, “I once heard this young woman / young man speak about struggling with this same concern.” Then they can share what they heard you share about how you triumphed, walked through, or learned to handle your struggle.
Sometimes people don’t want to hear from the folks who went from homeless to millionaire and are speaking to them from their beautiful homes with their perfect family waving in the background. Sometimes what people want is to hear from someone who was homeless a month ago and is talking to them from a place of struggle to stay in their apartment because their first month’s rent is due and they are unsure how they are going to pay it. They want to hear how the person is staying calm, keeping their faith, and being proactive about getting the money needed. They want to hear from the business owner in year one who is shocked at the amount of taxes they had to pay and isn’t sure if they really want to continue doing what they love or if they should go back to corporate and focus on saving as much as possible.
There are many people who don’t want perfect. They want authentic and reachable. They want someone who understands the pain of today. They want to know that someone gets them and understands the pain they are going through and to hear someone say from not too far up the road, “You are going to be okay.”
This one always baffled me because I think it’s wonderful when young people have been through some stuff and share their stories with folks. To hear a 21-year-old share how they’ve been drinking since age 7 and partying since 13 and then something happened that rocked their world and now they are a year clean… it gives us an understanding of the true state of the world. It also helps adults understand where we need to invest in our youth and helps folks who aren’t in touch with the world gain some perspective. Additionally, and most importantly, when you speak with youth just a little younger than you and they hear how your struggle turned out, it can help them avoid diving into the same situations and running through the same struggles.
As I write this it is year 2019. We have speech-to-text programs, Grammarly, and all kinds of online editing programs available to us for free. Sharing your story isn’t about knowing how to write perfectly. It’s not about having a degree in English or Fine Arts. It’s about knowing who you are, what you have been through, and what you want to share with the world. As a ghostwriter, I have turned folks away because they didn’t need me. They simply needed to sit down with a pen and paper and get their thoughts on paper. You need to do this same if this is your lie.
By sitting with paper (or a laptop or computer), you can write what is in your heart. Don’t worry about whether it is linear or makes sense to someone else. The point is to get it out on paper and then reread it and see what stands out. Sometimes during this process you will learn that some parts of your life are for your eyes only, some parts are for certain groups, and some parts can be consumed by the public. Books, blogs, and articles are great for the public space. Workshops and classes, seminars, and keynote speeches are best for those consumed by certain groups. The format you share your story in doesn’t have to be a written format at all! Don’t get locked into a box of having to write a book. There are many other formats your story may be best told in but you won’ know until you have it written out and can evaluate it. Start writing today and then work on connecting with someone to help you determine whether you can do it on your own or need to hire someone.
This one comes through more often than I would like to hear it, but I empathize because for so long I was afraid to share my story on paper or aloud. Sometimes this lie requires counseling due to PTSD or other concerns being present. Committing your story to paper or audio is very scary when you haven’t shared it previously. However, I challenge you to speak with a counselor and talk with them about the steps necessary to heal from the things you have been through and receive guidance on which parts of your story you are ready to share. You may have to wait or you may find that you are in a good place in your life to start letting folks know what you have been through. Even tough issues such as rape, sexual abuse, and affairs (which we will talk about in a moment) are stories that people need to hear about and know someone else has been through it. With a good editor or writing coach, you will be able to share the story in a way that others would like to hear it.
As I said earlier, don’t limit yourself to thinking your story must be told through a book, article, or blog. It could be a keynote speech, a seminar session, a workshop you offer or a presentation you do in middle and high schools throughout the country. Maybe it’s something you have to fly overseas for and present to a group of refugees or prisoners. Maybe you want to talk to people in some back woods land that doesn’t have electricity or running water. There is a way to reach everyone today, you just have to learn the audience and know how they best receive information. Then share it in that format.
As far as people not reading or having access, why couldn’t your book become the first book club book they read as you lead them in the discussion of what you have to share? Don’t limit yourself to small thinking. If you want to share your story and believe it is one people will benefit from, think outside the box on how you reach the people who need to hear it most.
Ahhhhh, the things we don’t talk about in church. The things we tell you don’t happen until you read a scandal about the very topic and wonder what happened to that not happening or being talked about in church. Here’s a thought from a former youth leader: Maybe if we talked about what isn’t talked about in church we would see fewer youth growing up to experience the very things some of us adults hoped they never would. Maybe if instead of saying, “Don’t do this…” we sat with them and share the reasons behind our not wanting them to do certain things, youth and young adults would feel more free to talk about the struggles they are facing.
One night at church I felt the Lord tell me to scratch my lesson and share with the kids about some suicidal ideations I’d had that week. It was something I hadn’t experienced since childhood and really took me aback. I knew for sure I would be fired for talking about such things but long ago I learned if I feel like God tells me to talk about something, I do it. So I did. At the end of the night we had three youth talk to us about mental health struggles. I haven’t had suicidal ideations since that day. Sometimes people need you to talk about the things you don’t about so they can have the courage to share their story.
Which of those lies stood out to you? I hope you were able to see why they are lies. Your story matters to someone out there. Your voice and who you are matters to the people connected to you and who are out there struggling, thinking they are all alone and that no one would understand what they are going through. Your story may be the difference between them making it and them giving up. It is scary to write your story down on paper and to share with the world this piece of you that can be judged and mocked and questioned. But what a joy it is when you share that piece of yourself with the people who need to hear it and they are able to change their lives in an amazing way all because you had the courage to write your story down.
What are you waiting for?
As a ghostwriter, I often hear people tell me how scared they are of sharing their story. They’ve been holding on to thoughts and scraps of paper for as long as they can remember but fear putting it all into the computer, getting it edited, and publishing it. I hear excuses that run the gamut:
It’s time to stop lying to yourself and start writing the book that is within you. If the title of this post made you stop and read, you have a story within in whether you realize it or not. Maybe it’s in the form of a poem, graphic novel, or a medium you haven’t explored yet. Maybe it’s jumbled up and doesn’t make sense at the moment, but it’s there and it’s time to pull it out.
Maybe you know that you want to write your story but keep putting it off, like I have. In working with authors over the years, I’ve written, assisted in writing, and helped publish hundreds of books yet I’ve seldom shared my own works outside the blogs, anthologies, and contests. I have books half-written sitting on my shelves and computer archives. So this year I told myself it was time to stop “somedaying” myself and set a goal. I said I would publish my first book of my own by 12/31. I may make this goal – I have it almost complete and am learning the final pieces of the self-publishing process, as I’ve always worked with other publishers to do that piece. It’s been quite an experience and has helped me appreciate more deeply what my authors have experienced throughout the years.
This post wasn’t meant to be deep or share a lot of information. It was just a kick in the pants to say:
You have a story and it’s time to let it out, one word at a time. Don’t worry about what it sounds like or whether the writing is correct. Don’t worry about how it flows or what the structure is like. Just let it flow. And when you can’t flow any further, then reach out to a good editor or ghostwriter and they can help you complete it by sharing ideas, thoughts, and revisions.
Don’t hold yourself back any longer. Don’t let excuses stop you. It’s time to stop reading everyone else’s work and start writing your own! Coming in 2019, I will be sharing weekly writing prompts and ideas, highlights of publishing companies and individuals who can help you, and other helpful information. As I’ve prepared this year for how to best use this space in a way to help others, I realize you need to see what is out there to help you become a stronger writer and a published author. Let’s work on that together in 2019.
If you don’t follow my lifestyle blog, you may be unaware of the Creative Gift Series I have been sharing over there. As such, I am posting the links below to the current posts. If you’re looking for creative, and most of the time inexpensive, gifts that come from the heart for those family and friends who are hard to by for, you may find some inspiration here.
There will be a few more posted each Monday and Thursday through Christmas.
For those who wanted something both creative and inexpensive, try this list.
Looking for an engaging book for readers on your list? Here are some of my favorites that I’ve read over the years. I left out my own commentary on them since this isn’t a review and since I included the link with reviews and the summaries.
I don’t get compensated for any of these suggestions despite the Amazon links, which I included only because I know many people shop there for books. These are books I enjoyed reading and took something away from personally. You may be able to find the book at your favorite book seller or the authors’ websites for less.
Thinking of writing a blog but aren’t sure of what you would blog about? Brainstorming is a huge help for most people when they know they want to blog but can’t figure out which topic would be best. Try this simple worksheet to get your mind thinking.
By filling out the above sheet, you start thinking about what you know and you’ll have approximately two to three blog posts worth of content when you finish it. If you have more than six elements, use the back of the sheet and keep going and then use those elements to construct your first few blogs!
If you’re still having trouble after filling out the sheet, a Blog Strategy Call may be just the solution for you! In this 45-minute call, we will talk about your ideas, audience, and some strategies for moving forward with engaging content and thought-provoking social media posts folks will want to read.
Starting a blog can be easy once you jog your mind and think about the topics you are most passionate about and would have the most to write about at least once a week. Maintaining the blog is where most people have trouble, but creating a routine for writing and posting will help you ensure you never leave your audience waiting! I’ll share tips about that in my next post at the end of the week.
(Note: If you prefer a PDF, please contact me and I am happy to share the file with you.)
In addition to writing and coaching folks through the book writing and blog writing process, I am an Independent Distributor for Young Living. I’ve been using essential oils for more than a decade aromatically but started using them topically five years ago and started cooking with them on occasion (and carefully) two years ago.
I love showing folks how to use essential oils as part of a daily routine that enhances creativity and deepens faith. This year, I started The Essential Creative, my first lifestyle blog. I share about incorporating oils into my everyday life, including faith, creativity, parenting, etc. I am just getting it up and running and have some great ideas planned for 2019.
BUT TODAY – I shared a sneak peek to our Black Friday sale! Check out the great deals and prepare for Friday morning at 8 am MOUNTAIN Time (10 am Eastern)! In the mean time, head over after family leaves tomorrow for some of my thoughts on the items I am most excited about seeing on sale!
Black Friday preview for Young Living! Get started today with the oily lifestyle!
This post from Phoebe, MD: Poetry & Medicine has some great tips for staying healthy this holiday season. I know it’s starting early this year but the truth is, people are ready for this year to end so I want to be sure to talk to you about that. Let’s get through this season with smiles, love, and honor for one another. The healthier we are, the more creative we can be! And for many of us, this is our most creative season due to all that we take in during this time of year from our surroundings.
Holidays should be times of fun and enjoyment. For most people, these special days—whether it’s Christmas, Independence Day, or Thanksgiving—can seem like a perfect time to let go in order to indulge in rich foods and alcoholic drinks. But did you know that this can be harmful to your health…and possibly even life-threatening? In this post, I will discuss why and provide an overview on what you can do during these times to maintain your best health and prevent holiday illness, so that you can spend your day focusing on enjoying the occasion.
I know social media is a beast we all play with because we have to. I also understand that many authors would rather be writing than making posts or engaging with an audience. However, if you are going to post on social media you have to ensure you are using correctly grammar and spelling if you want your readers to believe you write your own books. One of the quickest giveaways that an author relies too heavily on a ghostwriter or an editor is that your social media posts are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors despite your books being perfectly presented. STOP THIS MADNESS TODAY!
There are too many sites out there available to help you understand proper use of commonly confused words. Some examples include:
Since I know many authors – and that includes you – are too busy to actually go read the sites I just listed, I have shared the most bothersome misused words in an easy-to-reference infographic below. I hope you will take time to read it, remember the correct use of each word, and start applying this learning today.
As a bonus, folks who charge for editing by the hour versus the project will now cost less because they are spending that much less time editing your books if you also apply this to the writing in your books. Since these are not changes one can trust the spell check to pick up, editors must correct these mistakes as they see them in your book (though many editors will do a search and find at least once in the editing process to ensure all uses are correct).
Do you sometimes wonder how you are going to make it through the day? You’ve got the kids screaming, dinner burning, spouse about to get home from work, and STILL there are baths, homework, and bedtime routines. Maybe for you it’s colleagues or demanding clients, the stress of not being able to find work, or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed and wondering if sleeping all day is an acceptable option past the age of 30. Whatever your situation, when you have these days you wonder: HOW DOES ANYONE DO THIS?!
We’ve all been there. We have had those days where we want to get into the car, drive sixty five exits past where we live, change our name, and make a new life for ourselves where we live out our passions and smile every day. Just me? But we also all know that this is…
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Sometimes I like to look a picture and then let my fingers run all over the keyboard. No edits – just free writing for 15 to 30 minutes without really thinking so much as letting my Spirit take charge and do its thing. Today was one of those days but I used two photos… one had to begin the story and one had to end it without losing flow. ~ShellRead More