You are the author of your own life. Write like you mean it!
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A few years ago, I published my memoir, Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents (Seal Press), and something interesting happened: the actual process of writing the book changed the way I thought of myself. As I wrote words like: “No one needed to give me permission to celebrate myself . . . I had my own internal locus of celebration,” they became true.
In fact while I was writing, I found myself repeatedly asking, “What do I wish to be true about my main character (me) in this chapter?”—and as I composed my manuscript, I discovered that I was able to inhabit the words I wrote. As my husband (who figures prominently in the story) proofread the book for me, he commented, “You know you’re the hero of your own story, don’t you?”
To which I replied: “Well, how about when you write your own book, you get to be the hero!”
I’ve long been interested in how the words we use to describe ourselves actually serve to CREATE our identities. My experience in writing supports this, as does my work as a psychotherapist for the past fifteen years. When I wrote about turning myself into a runner on a quest to do a marathon on every continent, I became a runner on a quest to do a marathon on every continent.
I’ve heard other writers describe how their own storytelling, whether fiction or nonfiction, changes their sense of self. For better or worse, as we write, we become! To me this principle feels powerful: By the words we choose to use in our writing, we influence the way we, and our lives, are defined.
I work with writers to bring their best work into the world, always keeping in mind that ultimately, we’re authoring our own lives!