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I’ve written a lot about myself, but often — and my writing probably doesn’t betray this — I’ve felt self-conscious about it. No one writes about himself unless he’s famous or accomplished, or he’s done something no one else has done, surely?

The answer to this conflict should have been obvious to me all along, for one of the most exciting and fulfilling things about sharing my experiences has been the response from people who’ve been through the same thing. A common reader response to my writings about¬†Christian fundamentalism, for example, is appreciation for putting into words what others have lived through but can’t express.

I’ve often considered writing a book about my religious journey, but the thought that my story isn’t unique has held me back. Lots of people have left born-again Christianity; many have been to Bible college, tried pastoral ministry and then turned away from evangelical faith; plenty have struggled with the conflict between sexuality and faith. So what makes me so different?

Frankly, nothing makes me different. My story is the story of thousands of others. But that’s the point: Those others might not know how to put their stories into words, but I do.

Whether you should write about yourself is not down to how unique you are or how special your experience is but whether you can tell a story. Everyone’s lived through her own story, but not everyone can write her story in a way that makes people say, “Yes. That’s what I wanted to say but couldn’t.”

Having a story to share is your first step; having the skills to tell the story makes the difference.

(Republished from The Good Writing Blog)


Jeremy, March 2, 2012 Reply

You should write that book.

David L Rattigan (post author) , March 2, 2012 Reply

Coincidentally, I did recently make an informal agreement with a publisher to write a book along these lines. I mentioned this post in our conversation, so I decided to republish it here. Thanks for the encouragement!

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