These are 5 prompts to get you thinking about your story in a different way this week. Write them in a journal, in a Word document, or over on Instagram. Just start to get them out into the world.
1. “Something that has always been TRUE about my story is _______. But now that I’m older, I know that __________ is the TRUER version of that.”
2. “When I think of that time in my life, I think of the color _______.”
3. “Tell me a time when someone said something in passing to you that has become a rule of life for you.”
In my book Dirt I talk about trying to cut corners washing the dishes when I was little (only rinsing the grease off but not washing) and how integrity is often not seen, but felt. My Grandma Goldie told me in that moment that “how you do anything is how you do everything” and that has stayed with me ever since.
4. “Write about your story through the eyes of an inanimate object.”
In Dirt there is a scene where I write from the perspective of the blueprint drawings I would sketch as a little girl wishing that our trailer could be converted into a two-story home. “There once was a blueprint who dreamed of being a real house. Everyday she would draw and re-draw her dimensions. She would stare at her plans and wish for someone else’s. Something grander, more ornate. She preferred walls to windows, and never missed an opportunity to become more closed off.”
5. “Write something where you don’t end up looking perfect.”
Mary Karr, author of The Art of Memoir famously said “the best memoirists are the ones who are willing to punch themselves in the face first.” Start with something that shows me you are going to be honest with me as the reader, something that shows you intend to show up on the page just as you are flaws and all. This can be a scene you regret, something that shows your own selfish thoughts, owning up to a pain you caused someone else.
Your story matters. I can’t wait to read it.