It can be hard to know how to start to tell your story. It used to be that authors wrote or typed their story onto paper, edited it, and kept doing so until the process was complete… or abandoned.
Nowadays we have so many more options with the rise of computer apps and sites to choose from. For the left-brained amongst us, a spreadsheet will quickly get the essential points outlined, and sub points inserted to create an outline. For those of us who are more right-brained, such a task can be difficult. While mind-mapping software makes it much easier for those of use who have a hard time thinking linearly, I have been looking into alternative, and more creative, ways that stories can be created that don’t make us weep.
Online ways to tell your story
For those of us who are more visual, an online site called Mapia is very appealing. It is a site designed for those with travel stories to tell. The site is free to join, and encourages you to upload photos and maps of your adventure. Your story can then be written using the photos and maps to help you organize your thoughts and plan out your story from what you have uploaded. The finished results are beautiful!
If you prefer not to write at all, then record yourself telling your story on video using your (or someone else’s!) smartphone. Use Facebook live to record your story live to Facebook. Once it is complete, you can download the file, upload to YouTube, and have it transcribe your speech. (Full instructions for how to do this are here: https://www.labnol.org/internet/transcribe-video-to-text/28914/) I’ve heard that the results can either be very accurate, or very bad, depending on how well it understands your speech. Either way you will end with a page of text that you can edit s much or as little as you wish, to get it the way you want it.
Apps are another way to tell your story, but in a more creative way. Everyday more apps appear, but here are a few iPhone apps to try. You can read about some innovative and creative ways to tell your story here.
Old school ways to tell your story
If these methods are too far beyond you comfort zone for ways to tell your story, perhaps you need another route into your story? This site offers some different ways to consider the story you want to tell. It suggests ideas from a micro story – 140 characters on Twitter and up – to telling the story in reverse. If dialogue is more your thing, tell the story only through the speech of those involved. Where the speakers are and what is around them may be unimportant, or can be brought in through the conversation. Often it only takes a little twist – and a perceived breaking of the old rules – to make the way you tell your story much more fun!
As I work on telling my own story I realize just how hard it can be to decide how to tell it as there are so many viewpoints so consider. Is my childhood memory the correct version, or should I interpret it in the light of my understanding of it now? How should I tell the parts of the story that were difficult? Should I protect people who didn’t behave very well? It is so much less clearer than it may at first appear!
I have noticed over time that the story I tell myself has changed, from simple acceptance, to a more nuanced understanding of adult motivations. As a parent I am seeing why parts of the stories were not told to me as a child, and yet I would have liked to have had the opportunity to have formed my own opinions. There were vague reasons given for things I sensed were happening, but which weren’t told to me as a child. As the real stories emerged from amongst the shadows of age and approaching death, I’m sad that I didn’t really knew the people concerned. I responded to them based on my incomplete – and biased by the teller’s – information, and wonder how much more rich my life would have been if I had been told the unvarnished truth?
There are also positive memories to be recorded. I am moved by photographic evidence of how comfortable and rich my life was as a child. I was surrounded by a village of generations of family and their friends who looked out for me and after me. They taught me skills, how to make things, how to identify plants, how the tides worked, and how to behave around people of different ages.
I was taken to so many different locations and given so many experiences that other children didn’t have. We had a camper van and after a few forays into the English countryside, began three week odysseys each summer to different areas of Europe. We saw and learned about Mulberry harbors on the D-Day landing beaches, saw row upon row of graves in war cemeteries, and exhibitions of photos and artifacts showing just how awful both wars had been. These images were counterbalanced by stories of human kindness and tenacity in the face of such horror. It was far from the experience of many of my friends whose times away were spent basking on a sunny beach and learning nothing from their location.
So I have a personal story to tell, but it is also the story of my family, and it is my brother’s story seen through a different set of filters. Which perspective should prevail? All, or just mine? How can I best preserve my recollections, and choose which ones will be most useful to future generations as they try to understand my life? As someone who loves to write and use images, my thoughts lie with creating a catalog of memories combining media. As technology moves so fast I don’t want to limit the way I leave my story, so am seriously considering creating a digital presentation that hopefully will survive a little longer than the many albums of orangey 1970s photos have done.
How will you work on the best way to tell your story?