When Covid hit, I had a raft of new enquiries from aspirant life story writers who felt as if they’d been spurred into action. It was almost as if, pre-Covid, they felt as if telling their stories would have felt like an indulgence. But I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘I wish my favourite people had told me fewer stories about their lives.’ So it’s a shame it’s taken a worldwide pandemic to urge a few more people to commit some of the stories of their lives to print!
All of the life story writers I’ve worked with this year have written their books for all the right reasons. Some of them have had an eye on continuing a family narrative, of filling in the gaps in their lives for family members who never knew who they used to be. Sometimes, they’re putting down their stories for family members who haven’t even been born yet. They’re making tangible links into the future that will give joy and context to a whole new generation.
Sometimes its hard to imagine Grandad had a life before we knew him. But long before he was Grandad, he served in the army, he rescued a damsel in distress – then married her, he even spent a couple of weeks of his life homeless.
It’s hard to apply new information to old, familiar people. But that’s why these stories really matter, now more than ever. They mark every life out as something special, something unique. They rip away the veil of familiarity and the years of assumptions, and change how we see people. And I think there’s something to be said for opening up our lives to strangers that helps spread understanding and empathy, something we sorely need in our world.
Something else I’ve noticed about working with my clients this year: there are a great many selfless storytellers out there. Whether that’s Ron dedicating a percentage of the profits from his book to Marie Curie, or it’s Serena, and Colin, being absolutely, unambiguously honest about their lives in the hope that their stories will help others.
I know that anybody’s story can help to change someone’s life for the better; I’ve seen it happen. And I hope that, if you are on the verge of telling your story, you tell it, knowing that whoever it reaches, and however many people read it, your story is worth telling.
Some of this year’s books are at publishers now, some are being self-published, and I’m delighted now that so many new life story writers are seeing self-publishing as a wonderful way to get their stories out there. Just because your story is a small-scale family story, or a bit on the niche side, you can still write it, self-publish it, and get it out to the people who want / need to read it.
Thank you to everyone that I’ve worked with this year. It is – as ever – a real privilege to be able to help you tell your stories. Stories of hope, stories of courage, and stories of men who should know better, running through a hotel in money-stuffed jacket and underpants.
Thank you for the stories
I look forward to telling more amazing stories next year, and if you would like me to help you tell your story, just get in touch.