Many of us carry our pain, our thoughts, our emotions, and our life experiences within us. We keep them buried there because we think that no-one wishes to hear what we have to say and we don't see any benefit in telling our story. This much I know, whether your story is good, bad, funny, or just plain ordinary, there is one person who does want to hear what you have to say. And there is someone who will benefit from you telling your story. That person is you.
When we first tell our stories we need to tell them first to ourselves – our own audience of one. The reason for this is simple. It’s about finding our voice – our true voice. This authentic voice is the one that our future readers will respond to.
But before we even start paying attention to our reader, or to our cousins, to our aunts, to our sisters, or to anyone else who might be remotely interested in what we have to say (and where they may feature in our story), we need to go into our writing room, shut the door on all of them, lock it if we will, and tell our stories to ourselves.
To find our true voice, we need to give ourselves the freedom – and the space – to say what we want to say the way we want to say it.
Our first draft doesn’t need to be sterling but it does have to be true. If you are giving any head or emotional space to what Aunt Edith might think about your characterization of Uncle Ernie, you won’t write it true. If you don’t want to offend a sister by revealing how she taunted you, or if you are concerned about your siblings' reaction to you breaking the silence around your family, then you will not write what you must.
Writing your story should never be about vengeance or inflicting pain on others. But it should be about being truthful and finding your voice in the process.