Stories enrich our lives, fuel interactions, build connections, and foster our imaginations. It’s difficult to imagine a world without stories; how different would conversations with your best friends be if you couldn’t tell them about the crazy tourists you encountered on your last vacation? Or if you couldn’t wind down for the night, reading a good book or some articles online?
A lot different, right? What would you even say? Everything we do and experience is the foundation of a story; it’s up to us to decide whether it’s one we keep or share with those around us.

In the past, stories were used to record events, both the good and the bad. They bred mythology, legends, and epic poetry, the stories that the Greek and Norse used to retell the feats of the gods, warn away those who would defy them, but also to praise those who did anyway and returned victorious.

However, almost all those stories were recalled orally. Paper was a luxury, and without the invention of the printing press, each word of every story had to be written by hand. Stories, then, were still everywhere, but much more difficult to share than they are today.

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Not many people bothered to share those stories unless they were important. Now, with the internet and international travel, stories from across the world spread, and spread fast!

These days stories appear in countless forms, some popular ones being novels, movies, and various other kinds of media. Information and stories are so readily available that it’s possible for almost anyone to pick up a pen or keyboard and get writing.

It’s said that 80% of Americans want to write a book, and I’m inclined to believe it; almost everyone has an experience they think is worthy of a novel, some idea to turn into the next #1 New York Times Bestseller, or knowledge that could improve the world.

“The reality is that only about 2% of the 80% of Americans who wish to write a book turn their idea into writing.”
But… the reality is that only about 2% of that 80% turn their idea into writing.

Why?

Even with a great idea to get you started, writing a book is no simple task. It takes long hours and dedication to pull through from start to finish, potentially spread over years, and that’s before considering any refining, editing, and research that might be required.

I could go on forever about why writing a book is tough work—but in short, writing a book is a task that most people today—even with the technology and information available—simply don’t have the time to pursue.

And really, that’s okay. We’ve all got our priorities, be that work, family, or the hobbies that we truly enjoy.

But it’s still important to remember that the stories you want—or wanted—to tell still have inherent value. That everything you’ve experienced and each of your ideas still has the potential to turn into something amazing.

All stories are worthy of being told.

Some people will tell you the opposite—that few experiences and ideas make good stories—and they’re correct, to a point. We’ve all told those stories that sounded awesome and hilarious in our heads but fell flat when we shared them.

Truth be told, most of our lives are unexciting; we repeat the same processes almost every day, and only sometimes do we deviate. And we don’t usually get to choose when things become interesting, either—it’s the situations we’re forced into that create the best stories.

Still, some of the littlest things are the most beautiful.

When I was a child, I remember jumping on the trampoline in my backyard. Always with my sister, almost always with a butterfly net, trying to catch the dragonflies that buzzed around in the summer.

Alone, this memory, those experiences, are inconsequential. But still precious.

Some stories, like this one, won’t interest most people unless another meaning, lesson, or story is attached to create a connection between the experience and the reader. These stories are meant for ourselves, for our families, and for our friends, not the whole world. There’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, it’s the tenderness and subjectivity of these stories and their meanings that make them sacred and worth sharing in the first place.

Search for the value in each story you experience and cherish them for yourself and those around you. And for anyone who has a story they want to tell, but needs proper justification before getting started, then I’ll see you next week with an in-depth consideration to the different reasons you might wish to record your stories, even if you don’t plan on selling them for a profit.

I hope you’ll share your stories with me, too.

—Erynn