Everybody has a story to tell. Hearing people’s stories is the aspect of leading I like most. People are always more than what they appear to be and listening has become a lost skill in the 21st century. The irony is that people want to be heard. The digital soap boxes are full of people who are saying something and doing their best to be heard.
In 2011, a documentary movie came out called “Dreams of a Life” about Joyce Vincent, who died in her North London apartment in 2003 but wasn’t discovered for nearly 3 years later. Film maker, Carol Morley became intrigued by the headline that read “WOMAN DEAD IN FLAT FOR 3 YEARS.” How could someone die and nobody miss her?
I watched this movie horrified that a vivacious beautiful young woman, could disappear in the 21st century and nobody miss her. It really is a symptom of our First World culture – 5000 Facebook friends but zero true connections. Not only did she not have any real relationships at the time of her death, Joyce didn’t leave a journal or a photograph. Carol Morley had to put ads in the local papers requesting anyone who knew Joyce to contact her.
The story of Joyce’s life became about her death. After watching this film, my resolve to leave a legacy grew to help other’s leave a legacy. You have a story to tell, weather you are in high school or 80 years old. You story is being created and should be documented. Whether you journal in a diary or do it online via Facebook – leave a written account of your story. There are apps available to take all your Facebook posts and turn them into a printed books.
Your story not only is something to pass on to your family, it helps define the times we live in. Historians study the art, the books and JOURNALS of the people living in a certain period to define that period.
Tips for starting a journal
Start documenting major Events in your life
This is another way of saying, don’t take on the burden of writing every day if you don’t want to. But writing about the day you graduated college, got married, birth of your children and anything newsworthy that happened is worth putting pen to paper. Share how it affected you those around you. Major events in my life: Mt. St. Helens 1980 eruption, the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster in 1986, the Gulf War, MSU Men’s Basketball National Championship – you get the point.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
After the habit of writing about major events, expand to writing about what most would consider the more mundane things of life: the failed project, the promotion, the death of a loved one, the new puppy or your child’s first day of school.
Turn it up
After a few years of above, if you like journalling turn up the horsepower on your writing. Look at the narrative, look for ways and practice with different styles of writing. You may choose to write about your profession. Take classes to help your writing. If you think you have something worth publishing, reach out to a writing coach or ghostwriter to polish your prose.
What is your story? Begin today.