Where do stories come from? My experience is that they simply arrive. One day they are not here and, the next, I have characters in my head – as well as notions as to what these characters get up to and in what context.
Once the story is complete, years later, I see that I have lived it. I gifted myself the story ahead of time. I learned the lessons of my characters. I lived into their context.
My inspirations have arrived from a higher and unfettered part of my being, dwelling beyond my personality. They are guided by my own ‘inner code’.
Here are some pointers on how to find your own story. And, most importantly, how to employ your unique ‘inner code’ to remain true to the story you wish to tell.
Five Top Tips for you
1. Stay true to your ‘inner code’ (values and purpose)
There is a core to your story, which is made of two symbiotic pieces: your BEING (who you choose to be; your values) and your DOING (what you do, your purpose; the outcome you seek).
As an example, my chosen BEING is:
2. integrity (wholeness and interconnectivity)
These three core values guide my decisions and choices. They are what I come back to when things get tricky. I ask: ‘What would my values do now? How do my values shape this decision or choice?’
My DOING is: to support myself and others to believe in our unique selves; the piece of us that is utterly us.
I behave – I ‘do’ – in a way that is harmonious with my values – my being. This is the symbiosis; the dance. And this is my compass on the journey and through tricky waters.
2. Invite feedback but protect your core
Actively invite people to give you feedback on your story. It is for your audience, after all.
I benefited from A LOT of help and feedback on the words of my story – from editors and from friends and family. This help was invaluable.
However, get used to feeling when they have gone into your core, the centre of your story. You’re thinking, ‘No, this doesn’t make sense for what I am doing’, and you’re feeling the wrongness for you. Listen to the feedback and see what there is for you there – there will be some lesson, some change. But make sure you stay true to your core.
There were a couple of ideas editors suggested I make that I did not choose to undertake. I stuck with it and found the clarity; kept the integrity (wholeness).
It may well be that for ages you don’t know what to do (as I did). Simply wait. Clarity will surely arrive because you have invoked your intuition – the part of your being that DOES KNOW – as your guide. Trust yourself and trust the story wishing to come forth.
3. Allow the unfolding
My story took years to clarify. I now realise I actually had to live it. The resulting story is simple and no-one will ever know how long it took to get to the bleeding obvious! It was simply my process. And it has resulted in something that is truly representative of my inner code (my values and purpose). It just took time and living, that’s all.
4. Appreciate the structure of story writing
I didn’t know until rather recently that stories are edited in three phases:
First, there is the ‘story edit’. Plot, structure, flow, character development and consistency. Big picture and structural and flow stuff.
Second, comes the ‘copy edit’. The story is in good shape and now we get into picking at the words to express it. My learning was I was way into copy edit, and allowing people to give me copy feedback, when I really needed to be up in the top level sorting out the storyline. It was a waste of time, disheartening and confusing. Next time, I’ll know to follow this structure and chill out more!
Third and finally, comes the ‘proof read’. This is punctuation, grammar, syntax and all the technical stuff – the details of which, are beyond the normal person!
5. Hire in the experts
Definitely partner with an editor for all of the above, right through to proof read. It’s incredibly important, especially if you are self-publishing, to invest in working with a good editor. The key to beat the prevailing snobbery of the publisher world is to be just as good! You can be by working in a team.
I could never have put together my book without the help of several editors and technical experts, to shape up the book itself and also fabulous guidance on how to get it out here – social media and marketing generally.
Team work makes the dream work. Make sure your team is aligned with your inner code. If your team has your values (or harmonious ones) and is aligned in purpose too, the creation is a dream because everyone is getting something CORE out of the process. The energy exchange is soulful and valuable to them too.
The Bottom Line
Finding your story is kind of like an excavation – it’s there, within you, ready for you to discover, shape and polish.
Discover your story by remaining true to your code. Stick to your values and purpose and you will find the right people show up, the right doors open and all in perfect timing. You end up with a creation reflective of your soul. While it is for an audience, I think our stories are mostly for our own learning and joy.
I’d love to hear of your experience in creating stories.