How Herm Started Writing Lifestories

Today’s post features a guest writer, Herchel “Herm” Newman. I’ve known Herm for many years now, primarily through his writing and YahooGroups postings, though we do e-mail offline now and then. We met on the Lifestory Writing Yahoo Group, perhaps seven or eight years ago. Over the years he’s posted around one hundred stories, and each one has been tantalizing, full of rich love and Truth. A few years ago one of his stories was selected for inclusion in Chicken Soup for the African American Soul.

Currently Herm is also a member of the Life Writer’s Forum YahooGroup which I co-host with Jerry Waxler, author of the Memory Writer’s Network blog. Last week a thread of discussion prompted Jerry to request that Herm share some of the resources and strategies that helped him get started writing life stories. Herm’s reply is so rich and helpful that with his permission, I share it with you:
One of the first things I did was search the internet for people who were already doing what I wanted to do. My search led me to the "Lifestory Writing Group" which was a good entry point. That's where I met Sharon and others who fed into my quest to write something in a meaningful way.

I also began to read. I like the way Max Lucado writes. I read some of James Patterson and Howard Fast. Reading makes for better writing. I subscribed to "Writer's Digest" which in between all the ads has some great information.

I shared my stories and left my pride in my back pocket. Constructive criticism is free education. Because I truly wanted to do something that not only I, but all my family could be proud of, I dared to just do it. To write one must write; right?

I also began to watch with a critical eye the TV shows, "The Waltons", "Little House" and others to see how they crafted a story. I listen to different preachers to see how they make a point and address a crowd. I observe people and engage them with questions to see what stories they might tell about their passion in life.

People are telling stories everywhere and when I meditate I look to see what pops up and ask myself, 'Why was that memorable?' I don't want to write like anyone else, but I can learn from others and incorporate that into my own style.

Draw a picture with words and give it a voice, some texture and even a fragrance. I keep chasing that.

I thank Herm for his words of wisdom and hope you also find them inspiring.

You can read several of Herm’s stories on The Elder Storytelling Place, and his story, “Back in the Days of Black and White”, is featured in my free eBook How to Make Your Pages Picture Perfect. You can find the link to download that eBook on the Resources tab of my main website.

Write now: take action on Herm’s suggestion to “draw a picture with words and give it a voice, some texture and even a fragrance.” And, enter your e-mail address in the box in the left sidebar on this page to join the fun and inspiration and get your questions answered in the Life Writer’s Forum writing community.


Herm said...


Pat's Place said...

He has a great story. Thanks for sharing that.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Herm's stories are like chocolate. They always leave you wanting more!