Stay with me on this one. Writing is hard - yes. But I want to share an experience I had this week, that will benefit you and show you how to reach into your own past and present for story ideas.
October - A Writing Prompt
I was recently asked at a virtual Leadership Networking event to look around the space I was sitting in and find something close by I could tell a story about. It had to be something meaningful.
My current office space is in my dining room, the only close objects are my coffee maker (very important), my plants, a fluffy rug under my feet, and a piece of art on the wall behind me. Chances are, if you’ve had a meeting with me virtually, you’ve seen the print.
So here’s the story behind the art -and why it’s meaningful to me. First, I purchased the print about 21 years ago in St. Augustine, Florida. It was about a year after 9/11. But that’s not the story.
It’s titled October. And October is my middle son’s birth month. I took one look at this, and it spoke to me. The dark sky, the beach, the fisherman in his yellow jacket. I can smell the salty air. I hear his gentle voice teaching the boy about fishing and the sea. The image spoke to me – it looked like my father, who’d passed away about 10 years before, walking with my son Steven on the beach.
You see, Steven only met his grandfather twice, and he was too young to remember both times. Steven’s middle name is Richard, after my father. Steven and my father both fish. I relayed this message during the event with a shaky voice. That’s how much this picture means to me. It’s a visual of my dad and my son walking on the beach – even though they never did this. They would have. These two would have been best of friends, as they are alike in so many ways.
There were a few comments, but one that stood out was a person who said – the fact that you bought this based on the feeling that they would be best friends – means they are. You have a visual of it every day. The statement warmed my heart. I’d never looked at it that way.
Everyone else took a turn sharing what was near them that had meaning behind it and a story. The stories ranged from an old black and white photograph taken by a beloved aunt to a yellow coffee cup with the Beatles and the words Yellow Submarine printed on it.
Journal Your Memories
Why am I sharing this story? Because there are stories all around us. Don’t think you can write?
Pick up something nearby, and remember why you have it – who gave it to you – what’s the meaning? Then, write about it in a journal. Maybe you’ll cry, perhaps you’ll laugh. You might smile. Either way, you’re evoking some emotion. You’re using all your senses – sight, touch, smell – well, maybe not taste.
I'm sharing this too, because you may think you don't know how to write. But if you take a minute and think about the details of why the object you chose is important to you - you've got a story!
You CAN WRITE A BOOK - it' just takes one story at a time.
I’m interested, what did you choose? What’s the story?