With blogging stoking so many creative fires out there, and self-publishing being easier than ever, more and more people are considering writing books of their own. And since pretty well everyone says "write what you know", most people start with autobiographical works. In the last year, I've been asked to contribute chapters for four books, all requiring varying degrees of self-revelation. At first it was a piece of cake, because I was writing with my professional hat on. A funny thing happened on the way to Become Your Own Great and Powerful, though. I was asked to tell MY story. The woman behind her work, behind her marriage, behind all that safe stuff. Suddenly I realized it's one thing to give examples and another ENTIRELY to be one!
If you are involved in a similar project, or considering it, maybe I can help smooth the path for you. Here are the decision points I came to along the way.
First decision: What is my story?
When you reflect on your life in earnest, it is amazing how many threads you will find in your personal tapestry: career threads, relationship threads, family history, medical history... childhood threads, adult threads. My task was to look over my life and find that that best expressed what I had come to believe about personal power. I speak with others about such concepts all the time but the process of tracing the lineage of one's own world view is quite remarkable. If you look back at issues such as power, trust, faith, leadership, self-esteem, success or failure and trace your history with that concept it's amazing to see what emerges. I highly recommend it.
Second decision: Who is telling this story?
If you are like most folks, you have many versions of your life story. We each possess a private and a public self and within each of those selves are a myriad of micro-selves. For every vignette deemed relevant to my story, I was aware that several versions of me were competing to tell the tale. I might relate a story one way if the audience were my husband and another if it were my sister, or a client, my husband's boss, or a neighbor. Details would be altered and the emotions I would reveal would hinge upon the nature of my relationship with the audience and my comfort in the revelation. For me, reflecting on the issue of personal power, I knew my private self would have to be revealed.