Capture the Experience While It's Fresh
The world felt small and connected last Friday. As a book publisher, I was on a call with a new author guiding a brief meeting to get his cover design started. I've led many of these sessions yet the timing and the connections were unique.
This author was in Tel Aviv, Israel. The designer was in Canada and I was in Phoenix. We took care of the business about his cover and the call was almost over.
Last Friday was Good Friday yet also the beginning of Passover. As we were speaking on the phone, he was driving through an Arab village on the way to celebrate Passover at his in-laws house.
We were speaking on a conference number and this author dialed in using Skype so there was a bit of a delay with his speaking but it worked. I felt connected to the world community and was amazed at the advances of technology to allow something that a few years ago could not be imagined.
Each of us have unique personal experiences in this journey called life. What steps are you taking to capture some of these experiences shortly after they happen?
Our personal experiences can be used in many different ways for our writing. I'm going to give you several of them:
1. Personal Experience magazine articles. Your personal stories can be used in many different types of publications. The category of personal experience articles is almost universal for the print magazine world. High circulation glossy publications use them as well as trade publications. I've written for both types of publications and you can too.
2. Personal stories in nonfiction books. Writing any nonfiction book involves a careful balance between personal stories and how-to information. Often I've included my personal experiences in my writing. I've also collaborated with more than a dozen different people. This experience has allowed me to write their personal experiences into these books. In those cases, I tell the stories through their viewpoint which is another spin on how to use personal experience.
3. Fodder for your short stories. Many novelists are focused on producing their complete novel. Yet it takes a lot of time to write a full novel. You can be practicing your storytelling craft and using your personal experiences as fodder for those stories through short stories. Many print magazines are actively looking for appropriate short stories. It's terrific exposure and experience for the writer. Some of that storytelling springs from your life experiences.
4. Fodder for your novel. Many novels are thinly-veiled personal experiences for the writer. It's a common statement that writers should write what you know. It's hard to make any fiction believable if you've never been to a location yet you can take those experiences and they can be the backdrop for the writing in your novel.
5. Stories for your blog. Your own stories can create some fascinating writing for your blog. As someone with over 1,000 searchable entries in my blog, I'm a big believer in writing your experiences in the blog. If you don't know how to monetize (make money) from your blog or maybe you aren't making enough money from your blog, I recommend you get my 31 Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks, then read it and take action on the many suggestions.
Some writers journal to capture their thoughts and feelings. Others open a computer file and write the raw emotions of a moment.
How do you seize the day and take advantage of your personal experiences? The key from my perspective is to take consistent action to gather these stories so you can use them in your writing.