I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller, even at a very early age. My dad told me that’s because I am more Irish than I am Mexican. My dad was a very good drawer—I wanted to mimic him, and tell stories through pencil and paper. I’d draw out massive battles scenes, John Wayne coming to the rescue, or cars I dreamed of having. The problem was I sucked at it and I still do.
I remember those awful drawings. My mom would scotch tape them to our refrigerator door — oh God they were horrible. I can see her face now trying to look thrilled that she had an artist like her or my dad in the house.
Then my sister would chime in laughing at me and I would draw pictures of John Wayne taking her away to the jailhouse. My mom would see that I was getting frustrated so she encouraged me to try my hand at drawing pictures with words.
Everyone has a story and our stories all have something in common — we all start from nothing.
People want to hear stories. They want to hear our stories — they want to know where we are from, what we are doing, who we love, and where we are going.
They also want us to hear their story, but the problem is most won’t share their stories until their stories become perfect — without spot or blemish.
Here is a secret: Don’t spend life striving for perfection — perfection is elusive and not real. Just try your best and not worry about perfection.
Most of our social media posts are stories or photos that show the better side of our lives — yet there are thousands of people who like and share posts that speak of human tragedy and imperfections.
We desire to have perfect lives, but we know deep inside nothing is really picture perfect. We are imperfect beings, and we find unity and hope in one another’s imperfections.
I write this not to discourage you, but to inspire you. To inspire you to know your story, so you can share it with others. You need to share your story.
Regardless if you believe this to be true or not—but your story will bring hope to people who are hopeless.
Your story will give people a reason to keep going. This is the reason why I write—I write to help people know there’s hope and it has a heartbeat.
In August of 2016, I was forty-three years old when I survived a Proximal LAD Lesion also known as the Widow Maker heart attack and two additional heart attacks—which required two surgeries and three stents. I had 93% blockage in this artery and 100% blockage in another. Not many people survive this type of heart attack.
This experience caused me to be more intentional with life. It gave me a second chance to discover, explore, and grow — to try things I was too afraid to do before my three heart attacks. I jumped in with both feet; I’m trying my hand at writing poetry and short stories, and I have started a small business — I opened a coffeehouse.
Having three heart attacks can change everything.
When it came to writing I felt it was time for me to take the craft seriously. But I needed some tools to help me become a better writer and story teller.
I’m new to writing — I have only been writing for about ten years. And I have been very inconsistent in my writing for most of those years. My inconsistency in writing made it difficult for me to develop a concise and consistent story. And this lack of a concise and consistent story made me confused and discouraged from sharing my story.
To help me write a better story, I put into practice a few things I learned from my days as a pastor and professional speaker. I’d like to share a couple of them with you.
Two guidelines to help You write your story:
Write Every day.
I don’t have much to say about this one because so many people add this to their list of things they do to help them grow as a writer. I’ll just say, make it a goal to write every day. Author, Stephen King says to write eight hours every day.
I wish I could do that, but I don’t have any bestsellers or finished books, and I have to make a living another way. My goal is to write between 800 to 1000 words a day — I count the words I write for both my book and blog posts. The goal is to just write.
Write To Engage Peoples Hearts.
- Speak from the heart — be authentic and write with vulnerability.
- Illuminate the ‘hope’ in your story.
- Point to something greater and something better — for me I’m always trying to point to Jesus.
- Love the folks you are writing to.
- Have fun.
The more people recognize themselves in your writing — the less they’ll feel alone. Form and structure are important, and they help us know how to write a good story — but the real art of telling a good story lies in the ability to remain human and connect with the human heart.
Start today by writing two sentences about where you are from, and then tomorrow write two more about what you are doing.