We’d all love to pen the next bestseller but there are also many more reasons for writing a book. And we all have one, no matter how mundane we think our lives are. There’s something about a memoir that touches people and allows them to share your experiences. And you don’t have to be a celebrity to make that connection on a huge scale—just look at the wild success of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. You never know, one day Jennifer Lopez could play you in the movie version of your life.
On a more personal level, when you write your own story, you have a chance to really examine the meaningful experiences and people from your past and try to understand how they’ve made you who you are today. Not to mention how you’ve impacted their lives. As author and memoirist Isabel Allende says: “A memoir forces me to stop and remember carefully. It is an exercise in truth. In a memoir, I look at myself, my life, and the people I love the most in the mirror of the blank screen. In a memoir, feelings are more important than facts, and to write honestly, I have to confront my demons.”
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Even if you don’t want to share your life with the world, you can write your story for your children and grandchildren to read after your gone. It’s almost like giving them a little piece of yourself to keep forever and it will give them a context for their lives and their stories. Isn’t it every mom’s dream to leave a lasting impression on her kids and help them to learn from her mistakes?
Writing a book is one of the best ways to work through past mistakes and traumas so that you actually can put them in perspective and learn from them. Numerous studies have shown how beneficial it is for gaining clarity and moving on to bigger and better things. It’s even better when telling your story connects with others who have had similar experiences and helps them to feel less alone in the world. If you’re in the midst of a difficult period, just journaling can be incredibly therapeutic. Then you can go back and write your story from your journal entries.
For those who have trouble expressing their feelings, all of this writing and reflection is a fantastic way to find your voice. If you write as though no one will ever read it, you may be surprised that you actually want to share it when it’s finished. Even if your story stays private, you’ll gain a new perspective and be clearer about your thoughts and feelings in general. So often women don’t feel as though they’re being heard and the act of putting words on paper is the first step toward getting people to listen and learning to make yourself heard.
If you are a recovering addict or have lived with addiction, it’s especially therapeutic to write your own story. It’s a safe way to face parts of yourself that you aren’t proud of. A memoir can be a confessional, cathartic endeavor that allows you to face your past and put it behind you for a fresh start.
The bottom line is that everyone has a story to tell and when you’re able to be one hundred percent truthful and authentic you’ll help yourself, you may help others and you’ll leave an invaluable legacy for generations to come.