Write Your Own Story – It’s Your Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog by Janelle Breese Biagioni

July 5, 2011

It’s Your Brain – Write Your Own Story

People often tell me they would like to write a book or an article about their personal story. The problem is they don’t know where to begin. Writing a book is a tremendous undertaking and putting together an article is challenging too. However, keep your eye on the prize because there is power in your story… power to heal you and to inspire others. Below are some suggestions to help you get started:

Start with writing.

Start with writing.

Start by recording bits and pieces of your life. It’s important for you to know who you are so you can share that with others. What do you like? What don’t you like? What worked in your recovery? What didn’t? Who helped you along the way? What was challenging? What would you do differently? As you can see, there are many questions that you can ask yourself and these will be springboard ideas to get you writing.  Often writing an answer to one question will lead you to another and to another. Before you know it, you will have pages and pages filled.

Other ideas to help you record your life includes:

  • Write a Time Capsule at regular intervals (i.e. monthly, quarterly or annually… start the New Year off with writing a recap of the year before). Tell the story contained in a specific timeframe. For example, if you take one day a week and write about that entire week, you will be amazed with how much goes on in one day!
  • Keep the “Best of/Worst of” lists – these lists can help you to find positive things to write about and gives you an opportunity to ‘park’ the negative things. It’s okay to write about what hasn’t worked, but if you want to inspire others then share more positive than negative. They already have their own negative experiences and are looking for a sense of hope in reading the stories of others.
  • My Favourite lists – this can be a wonderful record for you to have even if you don’t include it in your book or article. It’s fun to look back on life and see what gave us pleasure.
  • Write About Significant Events or Moods – this is very healing and will help you to work through unresolved issued. It also may be the part of your story that people identify with most. They will want to know what you did in response to these events or moods to elevate yourself to a better place. Dig deep… you may be surprised to see how creative you were.
  • Write About People, Places, Things, Successes, Obstacles (and how you overcame them) and Projects – include conversations you had with others; however, if you are planning on publishing your work, you need to consider the impact on those you write about. Get their permission to use their name. If not, be prepared to change the names and details so they cannot be identified.

One response to “Write Your Own Story – It’s Your Brain Injury”

  1. Excellent post, Janelle. If more people with brain injury (and their family caregivers) would write their stories, they would offer the world a broader and more intimate portrait of what brain injury can do to a person and a family. And it’s important to not let anyone else write your story for you. I came across this quote somewhere and share it with the people in my journaling groups for people with brain injury: “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”

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