Working with more than 100 writers over the last two years (and witnessing nearly 400 genre-blending stories make their way into the world) has given me a much greater understanding of the creative process, the most common blocks for life writers, and an even deeper appreciation for the transformative power of story.
One of the most disabling barriers that comes up again and again for the brilliant writers I work, no matter their experience or stage in the writing process, is doubt.
Self-doubt — Am I a real writer? Do I really have anything to say? Do my stories matter?
Doubt in the process — I’m not sure if this is the right form, POV, angle. Maybe this isn’t any good and I should stop and do something more worthwhile. I don’t know if this is getting better or worse the longer spend on it.
Doubt in their story’s value — I don’t think this is good enough to share with my writing group, if anyone will like it, or if it will ever get published.
The flip side of doubt is certainty, and certainty manifests as confidence. The root word of confidence is confide — which strikes me as so apt for truth telling writers.
A close relationship exists between trust and assurance when we set out to write our stories, difficult truths and all.
My intention with my new *Spark* Your Story course is life writer empowerment. I want to offer new and experienced creative nonfiction writers the foundation in story they need — lesson one — to bolster confidence in themselves and their work so they are ready and able to write the stories they long to tell.
With that out of the way, I feel I can teach the key lessons I’ve learned as a CNF writer and instructor:
- the power of non-linear storytelling forms for unlocking doors
- the magical *spark* that ignites when writers bring the moments that changed their lives to these potent storytelling structures
- the essential craft tools I use to draft stories that get published, shortlisted, and win awards
I’ll leave you with this singular truth I’ve learned about storytelling for now.
Every journey we take as writers is a quest–and if we stay on the quest, we’ll be rewarded with a gift, a discovery, a surprise.
We may think we know the story, but there is more to learn — and that’s just one reason among many that I believe storymaking is so important for individual writers and for communities, cultures, and humanity as a whole.
Stay tuned for more course announcements coming soon!