TWLOHA was born from a story that i wrote in 2006. That story and the surprising response inspired a movie, which came out earlier this year. My first book, a dream come true, released a few months back. While it’s easy to see how writing has changed my life, those aren’t the reasons why i think you should write. And those aren’t the reasons i think you should tell your story and the stories of the people in your life.
You should write and you should share stories because you were made to be known. You should do those things to express yourself, because it’s too easy to keep secrets and because it’s too easy to buy the lie that your story doesn’t matter. You should write and share stories because your words might help someone else feel less alone, and that has a way of making you feel less alone.
We don’t have much control over where our stories go, which ones win awards or get made into movies, but we control whether or not we tell stories. And these days it’s tempting to judge everything by influence, to measure the success of a story or even a life by views and likes and followers. When i suggest that you were made to be known, i’m not talking about those things. Pain has a way of telling us to keep quiet, but hope requests the opposite. Pain suggests that we’re alone. When you begin to be honest with another person, in writing or simply in conversation, that honesty becomes contagious. When we tell our story and the stories that matter to us, it invites other people to do the same.
Donald Miller says that stories are “sense-making devices.” So when you tell stories, you help other people make sense of things, of this life and this planet, of pain and hope and fears and dreams. When you confess your questions, other people feel less alone in theirs. When you announce a burden, someone else realizes they are not the only one who struggles. When you ask for help, it gives someone else permission to do the same.
You should write. You should speak. You should share. You should tell your story and all the ones that move you. Because they matter. Because you matter. Because words are powerful and we’re all in this thing together, trying to figure it out, trying to be okay, trying not to be alone, aching to be known.
So here’s to you on this “National Day on Writing.” Add your voice and share your story using #WhyIWrite on Twitter and on Instagram. And more importantly, please know that your words matter and your story matters, because your life is truly priceless.