Writing for Number One

The last couple of days I’ve been feeling rather growly, and I attribute the reason to all the time I’ve been spending writing blogs and workshop proposals, researching book promotion strategies, and . . . the list goes on. The point is, I’ve been doing everything but write more stories. My heart is pining for “real writing.”

This afternoon I said Enough is enough. I’m not good for anything else until I take care of me!

I gathered up the huge file jacket I use to keep folders with print copies of my stories and took it out on the sun porch where I could see the massive, centuries old oak tree at the far end of the small meadow we call a lawn, and the lushly wooded hillside above us. Surrounded by this nurturing scenery, on a day with perfect temperatures, I flipped through stories, looking for something to send to The Elder Storytelling Place, something to post on my still empty collection of Gather articles, and perhaps even something to send to local papers for print publication.

As I read through these stories, some of which are seven or eight years old now, I saw a few rough spots, so my aqua gel pen got some exercise. I also had a trip down memory lane, and thought of several other stories I want to write. Those ideas went on index cards that I’ll file away in the cunning little inch-thick plastic index card caddy I found for less than a dollar at the grocery store earlier today.

I’m happy to report that I feel better now. All is once again right with my world. It’s amazing how comforting it is to spend time with my “written offspring.”

I have a handout with ten reasons to write your lifestory. These reasons include:
  • For personal satisfaction.
  • As an adventure in self-discovery.
  • To make sense of the past.
  • To document the past.
  • To entertain and amuse family members.
  • To help offspring understand you as a unique individual, not just Mom or Dad.
  • To answer questions your children and grandchildren didn’t think, take time, or know enough to ask.
  • To help them remember the answers to the questions they did ask.
  • To share lessons learned with others.
  • For the benefit of genealogists in generations yet to come.
This list is several years old, and when I compiled it, I had no idea how significant it would prove to be that I had personal satisfaction at the top of the list. Today, reading through my stories, I felt immensely satisfied that I have so many, that I’ve had the experiences I have had, and that I have these wonderful stories to remind me of my past. It’s icing on the cake than future generations may also enjoy and benefit from them.

I’m hoping that each of you will soon have a pile of stories, be that six or six hundred, that will lift your spirits, as my stories do for me.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal


Lee Ambrose said...

Spending time with your "written offspring" ~ I like that!
Glad that you found the perfect day/perfect spot to nurture yourself... Something I've been needing to do for some time now - thanks for the reminder and the nudge (even if it wasn't an intentional one, it worked!)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks for the comment Lee. It's a challenge to define just what that relationship is. Some of the stories seem more like "written self" than offspring, and others are definitely the latter. In either case, it's rewarding to reread old stories.

I hope you have been able to find some self-indulging time, or soon will. We all owe it to ourselves.

Tara said...

Sounds like a good practice to participate in. I think too often we get sidetracked from ourselves...I know I do. Great post Ritergal!

Anonymous said...

It's a real dilemma for writers who also happen to have blogs. Got to maintain that balance, else the blogging becomes just another obstacle (self-created) to avoid writing. Clearly you have excellent self-discipline! (BTW, I, too, like the 'written offspring' term.)

Anonymous said...

I discovered your Blog today and it is a mine of information for someone starting and struggling with a blog.

I know the info is inside, I have trouble drawing it out from the depths of my memory bank.

Sharon Lippincott said...


Congratulations on starting that blog. I know it can be confusing. I may be able to give you a couple of tips on setting your blog up if you e-mail me at ritergal@gmail.com.

Search my blog for prompts and memories for more information on how to crack open your memory bank. You'll find even more information on accessing memories in THE HEART AND CRAFT OF LIFESTORY WRITING book. Just click on the picture in the sidebar to order.