• Helen Gregory

Inspiring stories with poetry and fashion

One client I recently worked with had written poems throughout her life and wanted to use these in her book. Interspersed with her narrative, these highly personal creations gave a fantastic insight into her character and another dimension to her memories.

If you've never been inspired to wax lyrical, then there are other ways to spark the creative process. One life story writer talks about collating personal essays, each one told through the lens of fashion, so for example writing about a loved maternity dress, a hated childhood jumper or a sundress worn on holiday when travelling with an aging parent. Using photos of yourself in these dresses would work wonderfully throughout a book and they'd be a great peg on which to hang the stories about those significant times of your life.

You want your readers to walk away knowing you, and your experiences, on a much deeper level. It can often be the backstory and vivid details that make for a powerful story.

Treat you memories like a collage. Shuffle them about and enjoy the experience of reliving them. And after you collect everything in the order you think might work, read the last paragraph of one piece and the first paragraph of the following piece and see if works as an overall story.

And don't forget that a life story isn’t objective, but highly subjective – you’re the subject and it’s your prerogative to write it in any way you choose. The more personal the better. You’ll give readers (usually your friends and family) an insight into your opinions, feelings and reaction to events. Who wants to wade through a dry book full of dates or lists? You want to engage, maybe educate, enlighten and who knows, even shock!

Writing about memories is in itself a creative act, and bringing them out in the open is good for us, and can help us become more creative. Writing about your life might also help create other ideas so that you end up turning your book into a best-selling memoir, a play or a film.

Putting pen to paper could lead onto the next chapter of your life - and that really will be something to write home about!