Mining the Gold in Your Stories

If you’ve started your list of stories, whether in film, or books, or whatever medium, give yourself a pat on the back. Getting started takes the most energy and you’re already on your way.

Here are some ideas you can play with. It’s better if you don’t think too much about these, write down the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s good to consider what stories appealed to you when you were a kid. When we grow up, we can get so wrapped up in intellectual pursuits, or paying the bills, that we forget to lighten up and play.

Passion Fruit Writing should feel like play. Like in the quote at the beginning of the first exercise, writing should feel like stringing beads, not composing the Declaration of Independence.

When you were 10, or 11, what were your favorite stories and who were your favorite characters?

Are there any stories that fascinate you, but you’re embarrassed to admit it?

Can you remember being really impressed by a new word, the ending of a story or something about a character?

I remember reading Sherlock Holmes in my early teens. I really identified with his disdain for ennui. And “ennui” was the word Arthur Conan Doyle used, so that word stuck to me.

In practice, my avoidance of boredom (which was actually my young concept of following my passion) translated into an eclectic but actually fantastic multidisciplinary series of degrees: BA in Economics and Spanish (I double minored as well,) then an MBA and finally a PhD in Communication.

The thing is, the academic and most of the business community wants you to specialize. “Stick to your knitting” I was told in graduate school. “Declare your specialization,” my adviser pleaded with me.

I went with what I loved in all my studies, but for years (far too many) I felt inferior, a misfit, and certainly not academic enough, because my degrees and interests  covered so much varied territory.

In my first serious job hunt, I can’t tell you how many potential employers asked me what benefit there was to speaking Spanish, as well as English. “If we need to know something in Spanish, we’ll hire a translator!”

But, all that crazy background gives me excess material for writing this blog. It enriches my interactions with clients. In short, it is a key to who I really am. It took me far too long to see that I wasn’t a failed specialist, I was an interesting Renaissance woman, making a unique contribution to the world.

What about you?

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2 responses to “Mining the Gold in Your Stories

  1. My anecdote about feeling like a “failed specialist” instead of a bodacious me, is the theme of the _Ugly Duckling_. You might see a theme like that in your own life, after reflecting on your favorite stories. Can’t wait to hear from you!

  2. I loved Sherlock Holmes! And all the books in the Last of the Mohicans series, the Count of Monte Cristo…

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