When it comes to crafting your personal exceptional story, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin. I’m here to help you design your story so you can start writing and get your story out into the world. As a book coach, my life is spent working with individuals who have a story to tell, and helping them share that story in a way that moves people to action.
What is your story?
All of us have our own story, and people are truly interested in hearing it. Every day, each of us are asked questions such as:
- What do you do?
- What are you passionate about?
- Where did you go to school?
- Do you have kids?
You see, even if people are not directly asking about your story, these types of questions are all indirect ways to try to learn more about you and the story you have to tell.
Physiologically, humans are wired to enjoy and relate to stories. Stories have been a part of the human fabric since the beginning of time. People like to listen to stories, relate to them, and remember them. Find your story and give people what they crave!
It’s important to understand the difference between telling your story and presenting your resume. You cannot tell your exceptional story by reciting a list of your accomplishments or delivering an elevator pitch. You need to dig deeper. Your story will communicate who you are, so you need to figure out exactly who that is and how to showcase that person.
Start with the foundation of your story
Before you start writing your story, you need to answer two questions:
- What is the purpose of your story?
- Who is the audience?
Stories can help you cross racial, social-economical, political, and religious, boundaries; they are that powerful. I believe there are two key things all people need: hope and help. Your story has the power to offer hope and help to others. Your story can change lives and have an impact on society, but you need to decide just what kind of impact you want to make. What do you want your story to communicate? What change do you want to invoke in the reader? How will your story help people?
Knowing your audience is essential. Your target audience will determine what you tell them and why. Cater your story to grab the interest of your audience, so that you can deliver a helpful and memorable story. Take a look at my blog post, How to Define an Audience for Your Book, for a more in-depth explanation of how to tackle this important task.
Outline the three parts of your story to lay the plan for your nonfiction book
Obviously, all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but the three parts I suggest you consider are these:
- What it used to be like
- What happened
- What it’s like now
Start with what life was like before the change happened. Were you happy? Overworked? Unfulfilled? Paint a picture of your “before” and set your audience up for the change.
The “what happened” section is the turning point in your story. It’s your pivotal moment, the bridge that connects the before and after. Something happened that caused a change in your life, and that’s what you’ll share with your audience. Some changes are internal, such as an “aha!” moment that directed you to take action or make a change, but some people need more of a push. External changes are things that force us into change, such as the death of a family member, birth of a child, a divorce, loss of a job, or some other life-altering occurrence. What happened to you? How did it force you to change and why?
Create closure in your story
Next, tell your audience what it’s like now. Where are you in your life? How are things different?
If you’re struggling with how to wrap up the impact of your life or a specific chapter in your story, consider these six areas of your life and how they have been impacted by the events you shared in your memoir or business book:
How have these areas of your life been affected?
If you take these three aspects–What it Used to be Like, What Happened and What It’s Like Now–put them together, and seal them with a solid purpose statement that clearly communicates the purpose of your story, you will have a solid design in place.
You have a story to tell, and people are ready to hear it, but whether or not they will relate to it and remember it depends on how well you tell it. How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. I can help you craft your story and work with you when you have trouble writing. Don’t let fear of writing keep you from sharing your story with the world!
If you need help to write your book, consider working with me as you write your first book. Details below!
About Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson
Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.