S.T.A.R.T. – The Writing Circle

  In this month’s S.T.A.R.T. Workshop, I want to share with you a simple way to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, and start writing.

Writing isn’t a solitary journey, it’s an invitation for friends to take a road trip together. I love writing, more importantly, I love what it can do in the lives of people. It touches both the reader and the writer in a profound way.

At the risk of getting a song stuck in your head all day, it is truly a circle of life. A person experiences something, they share it by telling their story. A reader reads about it, learns, adds their own journey to it, and then shares it again.

Of course not everyone has to read your story to make the telling of it beneficial. Journaling and diaries allow you to move what’s either trapped in your heart, or stuck in your head, to a physical place. Once written down, many times, you can leave it there.

Articles, and blogs are two way methods of communication that invite a conversation. Especially blogging, that’s the wonderful thing about modern technology. Input and output are no longer localized. People in Portugal and America can have a conversation almost instantaneously.

A life experience or story bottled up inside you can be like a stallion at the gate. He is kicking for the chance to run his course. What is inside you that may instruct someone else? Where have you walked that might prevent another’s missteps?

It’s at this point you hear, “But I’m not a writer.” Even if that’s true, you have something to contribute. The worst case scenario is that you have to have help crafting your words a little, but then most writers do. Name any famous writer, and they’ll give you a number. That’s how many times they had to edit what they wrote.

If you’re uncomfortable, but have an urge to transfer your thoughts and feelings, start a journal. You don’t have to keep a written one, although that’s fine too. It can be a text file on your computer, or a voice file on your phone.  

Now you’re ready to take the next step and share your writing. First, put it in a format that is sharable, preferably electronic in form. Don’t edit, just write. Then rewrite at least once, you do this, not for perfection, but to make you feel more confident when you show it to others. Next, it’s time to phone a friend.

Reach out to someone who’s opinion you value. For best results don’t select either your biggest fan, or your worst critic. Find that balanced voice who rests somewhere in the middle. Explain up front, that you need three things from them.  

First, you need to know what they heard when they read it. This tells you whether or not your message, or voice, is coming through properly. Second, where or what confused or lost them? Third, a general proofing of your content, another set of eyes will spot what you’ve missed.

If you don’t have someone that can help you with this, there are online tools that can help. You’ll be surprised how freeing, and how empowering writing can be. Complete the circle, write what you’ve seen, and share it. Share it with not just anyone, but someone who can appreciate how personal your journey is.  They know, because they’re on the road with you.

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