Creative processes to consider in capturing and repurposing your words
by Rebecca Joy
Traditional pen to paper or typing on a keyboard are, of course, good and effective mediums, but have you used or considered other modalities to capture your thoughts and ideas?
Lou Hunt, a dear friend of mine, is a fabulous storyteller. I’m always intrigued and mesmerized by her unique ability to share a tale. Usually it’s about an event from everyday life or an encounter she’s had in the past, but it’s the way she seems to use every ounce of her body and soul in the expression of the story that makes her so fun to watch and listen to. All this comes through, just sitting across from her at a restaurant while eating lunch!
It’s the way she tells it: without any effort, she takes you to on a journey to the very time, place, and feeling of said event or conversation. She gracefully and effectively uses everything in her being to communicate — from her voice tonality and melody to her hand gestures. She even contorts her face as she imitates the voice of the speaker in the encounter.
During a conversation the other day, she mentioned to me her desire to write a book. Lou revealed this impetus was inspired by multiple people constantly asking her when she’s going to write her book after listening to her stories over the years. She has mastered the art of storytelling; it is now time to put it on paper to share with the world!
Lou asked for my help, as she knew I had published my book. She already has bits and pieces of it, but expressed her lack of motivation to sit at a computer to document her thoughts and actually complete it. I could relate. I shared with her that for my next book, I’d rather have a confidante ask me well thought-out questions, depending on the intended audience, to help guide the conversation. The interaction would be recorded, transcribed, and then edited. I personally would rather enjoy the process of sharing with a real person instead of looking at a blank screen or naked piece of paper. This process sounds more fun and spontaneous to me, especially if I had a good, inquisitive interviewer who could dig deeper into the essence of what’s hidden in my mind and heart or help flesh out a concept I wish to document.
I further suggested that she also record this conversation, then have it edited so she could repurpose the interview and create additional audio products from it. It then hit me. What a waste it would be not to capture LOU and all her expressive abilities on video tape, too!
My mind continued to spew out ideas, based on Lou’s gifts. I went on to suggest that she select five to six of her dear friends and have them be a part of a panel of interviewers – instead of just one.
We all know the magic that happens when a group of people come together to share and support one another. That approach was just one of the ways I collected stories many years ago for my book, Classic Tales from the Firehouse: Firefighters’ stories of Calamity, Courage, and Caring. Imagine a table surrounded by firefighters interacting and telling stories inside the firehouse! I had the tape recorder on and the stories kept getting bigger and better. Each narrative triggered even more stories after each firefighter heard the others’ yarns.
A variation of this approach, I thought, would be perfect for Lou. Multiple minds working together, triggering thoughts and ideas, stimulating even more questions, all the while being documented via video.
To my fellow writers — consider other fun and creative ways to communicate and document your thoughts and ideas, particularly if you find yourself bored with being stuck behind a computer screen or that a menacing case of writer’s block has taken over. Be inspired once again, and invite a friend or friends over to interview you. Allow them be a part of your journey and participate in the “writing” process in helping to create your next book.
As a Phoenix firefighter for more than 26 years, now retired, Rebecca Joy continues to save lives and effect positive change in a different capacity. As creator of the Simple Awareness Method (S.A.M.). Rebecca is a social entrepreneur who speaks on mindfulness and conscious living. She is the coauthor of a recently published book, Classic Tales from the Firehouse: Firefighters’ Stories of Calamity, Courage, and Caring. Visit TalesFromTheFirehouse.com for more information.