writing, writing tips, authentic story, story

Writing Tips For Sharing Your Authentic Story

Writers who share their authentic stories connect with their readers in a powerful way. Writing authentically is the best writing tip I know. I’m willing to excuse grammatical errors, and poor writing technique, if the writer is keeping things real. But this post comes with a warning: Sharing your authentic story may be the most challenging writing that you do. In this post, you’ll find practical writing tips that make telling your story easier. 

Writing Tips for Authentic Storytelling

Authenticity Writing Tips: Dive into Your Authentic Story

Authenticity isn’t easy, and my journey toward becoming a more honest writer began with an odd dream. It involved a paintball-gun fight, and a pesky shower door that wouldn’t stay closed–I told you it was weird. The gist of the dream is that I found myself in the middle of a paintball fight. A paint-grenade exploded, and I was covered from head to toe, in a brightly colored mess.

Then, the dream got stranger. I discovered a shower-room in an old barn–You would think this oddness would have clued me in that I was dreaming. I undressed, bolt the stall-door shut, and turned the water on. As I frantically scrubbed at the paint, I heard voices. A crowd of people had entered the room. Then the old bold on the shower door came undone. Slowly, the stall door swung open. I felt a twinge of embarrassment. I was naked and didn’t like the thought of being exposed. Then, with an enormous Swoosh, a gust of wind blew away the shower stall entirely.

At first, people starred. Then they continue about their business. I conclude that if they didn’t mind the naked, messy me, then I didn’t mind either.

To this day, I don’t like locker-room style, public showers. I did, however, concluded that this odd dream is a fitting metaphor for my life. Ten years ago, my neat life turned messy. It was as if a paint grenade exploded in my arms. For a time, I tried to hide my story from others. Jenny noticed this, and gently nudged me to share more. In her wisdom, she knew that my authentic story would be a blessing to others.

At first, sharing was difficult. Similar to my dream, I felt exposed. The more I told my story, the more the opportunity to share my story spread–The shower stall was blown away. And, similar to my dream, people didn’t mind. They listened to my authentic story, then went about their lives as usual. Although sharing my story felt overwhelming to me, it didn’t overwhelm others. [Tweet “The more we share our authentic story, the less painful our past feels.”]

Not only has sharing my story been beneficial to me. Readers have shared that hearing my journey has been a blessing to them. This is why diving into your authentic story, is at the tops my list of writing tips. Sharing our authentic story is one of the most helpful ways that we can serve our readers.

Writing Tips For Telling Your Authentic Story: Be Respectful.

Most authentic stories have an antagonist–or a villain–somewhere in the plot. Balancing the messy details of our story, with respect for others, isn’t easy. I once read a quote that said, “If the people in our stories wanted to be portrayed better, then they should have behaved better.” I like this quote too much, and I don’t suggest that you take this advice seriously. While uninhibited sharing may be the most enjoyable for us, a balanced approach is better for everyone.

In sharing the painful parts of our past, writing in a disrespectful tone is far too easy. Don’t give in to this temptation. [Tweet “Anyone can be rude, but writing with respect requires skill.”] Here are some writing tips for sharing the negative actions of others, with a healthy balance of grace and truth:

  1. Respect the privacy of others. Jenny and I often share the messy details of our blended family life. We do this intentionally. Most blended family homes have messes of their own, and our readers can relate to our journey. Jenny and I want to normalize common blended family challenges while doing our best to respect the privacy of all. We do this by leaving out names and identifying information, to the best of our ability. Although Google has made it easy to search for additional details, Jenny and I do the best we can to keep privacy in tack.
  2. Direct anger at inappropriate actions by externalizing the problem. When someone wounds us deeply, it feels like that person is the problem. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe “that person,”–the one who caused the pain and heartache–is someone God cares for deeply. Instead of villainizing this person, choose to attack the problem instead. More than likely the true problem is the:
    1. Alcoholism
    2. Abuse
    3. Anger
    4. Greed
    5. Jealousy, etc.
      [Tweet “Remember, people are not the problem, their negative actions and bad habits are.”]
  3. Test-drive Your Authentic Story. The best way to know if you are attacking or oversharing is to get feedback from those closet to you. Jenny helps me test-drive my books before they are published. She lets me know if I’m sharing too much, being overly critical, or–more than likely–am guilty of under-sharing parts of my story that will benefit others. Develop a strong team of safe friends who will let you know if you are sharing too much, or too little.

Authenticity Writing Tips: Share Wins and Losses

I’ve heard authenticity described as being real. I’m willing to bet that the real you has both wins and losses. Sharing our wins is encouraging. It lets other’s know that we are an expert in our field. [Tweet “Our wins help others to know that our wisdom and advice is sound. “]

On the other hand, sharing losses is also important because it helps others to relate. Everybody knows what it feels like to struggle. Imperfect people connect best to other imperfect people. [Tweet “Sharing our mistakes and failures make us relatable.”] Sharing struggles also normalizes life’s messes and encourages our readers to press forward in the midst of life’s storms.

You and I are neither a perfect success nor an abject failure. Our life is a balance of both. Thus, if we are going to share our authentic story, we will need to write about times we have succeeded and failed. For most writers, one of these comes easier than the other. Some shy away from sharing successes because it feels too much like bragging. Others are uncomfortable talking about failures. Authentic writers are self-aware. They push past pride and shame and share their true selves.

As you can see, authenticity matters. It tops my list of valuable writing tips. Have you shared your authentic story yet, and if so, what was this process like for you? Do you have additional writing tips for authentic storytelling that would you add to this list? I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below!

For more creative writing ideas, be sure to visit our writing resources page. I pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing resources. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. You’ll also want to check out this post on How to Write Consistently. It’s a deep dive into some of the best writing success tips I know. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!  

Family, Friendship, and Faith Link-Up

This link-up is an excellent place to meet new friends, network, and share your posts. Please feel free to include any family, friendship, and faith-related posts. If you have time, please visit some of the other submissions, leave a comment, and make some new connections–after all, this is what teaming-up is all about!

Finally, I’d love it if you would grab a button for your site, or link back to the Family Friendship and Faith Fridays, link-up, in order to make it easy for others to join in!

Coffee Shop Conversations

[Tweet “I’m Teaming-up at the #Family #Friendship and #Faith link-up. Join the Party! “]


Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

26 thoughts on “Writing Tips For Sharing Your Authentic Story”

  1. Some lovely tips here – I especially like the one about being respectful in your writing. It’s so easy to be rude about people online, but it doesn’t really help anyone.

    Thanks so much for sharing at #FridayFrivolity! x

  2. Great truth here. I’ve never shared the details of my story because not all of it is mine to tell. It includes several other people who I’m sure, viewed things very differently than I did. All I can do is open old wounds and I have no desire to do that. I can however, share how I fell apart when it happened. How Rev kept me close for 6 months. And how God gradually put the pieces of my heart back together as I read through His Word. I want to share the amazing outcome given by my loving Father rather than rehash the events leading up to it. Thanks so much and God bless you!

  3. Hey Jed and Jen!

    So good to be linking up with the Family, Friendship and Faith linkup!

    This post is so good! I love your dream. Yes, being exposed to the world and putting all of our stuff out there (writing wise) for the benefit of others – and perhaps, ourselves – is a scary feeling. But I’d agree with you: being authentic is the #1 thing that matters. This post has encouraged me to give my most authentic post (my marriage and parenting testimony) another look.

    Here’s my 2 cents on the book cover: I really like the way the cover 1 pops out at me. If I saw several books competing for attention on a shelf – I’d probably grab that one because something about it pops. HOWEVER, I like the layout of cover #2, so #2 gets my vote IF you could brighten up the cover – make it more intense. (Right now the brightness is only behind bulb. Brighten up the whole cover and then add more brightness to the bulb). Also, something about bulb/cup combo in #1 looks slightly “skull and bones” like to me. Also, I’d change the font or design on the word “101” in cover #2 so that it has more visual impact (like in #1). Right now it looks “shaky” to me (it might be the italicization?). OK, so maybe that was more than 2 cents!

    Thanks you both for caring about our opinions. Have blessed weekend, my friends.
    Tiffiney

    1. Thanks Tiffiney,

      This is helpful feedback and very much appreciated. I’m not sure if you’re able to see it, but the light-bulb is made out of coffee-beans. Your are right though. When it’s reduced in size, it does have a skull and crossbones effect. I may have to see if I can make the image bigger, which I think will fix this problem. I like your idea of brightening it up too.

      I’m going to have to start getting feedback on all of my covers. It really is amazing how others are able to pick things out that I’m not seeing 🙂 Thank you again for the awesome feedback!

  4. Great tip, Jed! I find that it’s a challenge to say what needs to be said honestly without ripping the shower stall out from around someone else ;). I think I’ve learned to do it, though–but it takes a lot of prayer and Holy Spirit prompting!

  5. I loved “In sharing the painful parts of our past, writing in a disrespectful tone is far too easy.”
    That is a great question to ask before hitting Publish on a post. Am I honoring myself, others, and speaking truth in Love?
    Thank you, Jed.

  6. Such great advice here! It is hard to strike that balance when telling your story, and to be sure and not to villianize a person. I sometimes feel like I was the villian in my story, and so that makes it hard for me to write as well. I pinned this so I can come back and read it again later and really let it sink in.

  7. You always have such great tips and I look forward to reading what you have to say. I really like the idea of being respectful rather than rude. I think it’s important to be authentic, willing to share not only the good things that happen, but also the struggles we have. Someone may need just what we have to say.

    On the book covers I like the top of #1 and the bottom of #2. I was actually drawn to #2 at first because it is so clear and easy to read. I love the idea of the lightbulb over the cup. That being said, in#1 the words “highly caffeinated” actually look “caffeinated” if you know what I mean, so that adds to the appeal. My only problem with the top part of #1 is that the words seem a little squished together making them a little harder to read. Can’t wait to read the book!

  8. Very nice. I try to keep my stuff private. I feel that my story is ongoing and it is not written yet.

    The funny thing is that I did share my story (it was site about adoptees) and because it wasn’t a happy and warm and fuzzy story, I got an email back saying that it had no place with their blog. Let’s just say I grew up in not so happy home and should have never been in it.

    I do agree with you that people treat others badly because of the factors you mentioned. Also, they do not want their children to exceed anything they do.

    Finally, all the people that harmed me have passed. I don’t really feel the need to bring back any negative memories (there is a reason, I don’t really visit their graves). One is still alive (my adopted brother) and I stay away from him.

    Thanks for hosting and have a great week.

  9. Hi Jed..I totally agree that a person who has hurt us has done so because of a problem. My personal experience with this has to do with a alcoholic who was a part of my life for a short time. What I have a hard time understanding is why this person will not get help knowing his alcoholism has caused much pain to those around him, and more importantly he is missing out on important elements of his life. That’s what I struggle with.

    Anyways, thanks so much for hosting this party and for linking up with my No Rules Party as well 🙂
    Happy Weekend!

  10. I always try to be authentic in my writing and sometimes those are the hardest ones to press publish on. I love your tip about being balanced and writing about our success and failures.
    Congrats on your ebook too! I like the colors in the first one, but the text is a little hard to read.
    BTW…Every single time I come to your blog I admire your theme, colors, header (I love the steam coming from the coffee with your description!)

  11. Probably one of the bigger challenges is sharing the wins and losses. No one likes to lose and you are right someone has to be the villain. With a messy past myself, I have to take my turn sometimes and take credit for my mistakes. Good post. Authenticity is one of those great qualities that can be difficult to achieve.

  12. Love the Friday writing tips. Being our authentic self can be a challenge. Sometimes, I am afraid to let people in. My favorite pieces, however, have been when I have been able to share something that I feel would really minister to someone else’s’s heart seeing my heart be open. Thanks for hosting and sharing your stories with us weekly at Sitting Among Friends. My book vote is for cover 2. Can’t wait to read it.

  13. Great post with some very helpful and impactful lessons Jed. Thanks so much for putting it out there. It is sometimes so hard to be authentic even when we are trying to be but hold back for one reason or another.

  14. It’s so important to respect the privacy of others. It’s also important to direct anger our anger towards the root of the problem and not attack the person whom God loves deeply. I love the idea of getting feedback before sharing your story. Yet another amazing article! Jed, keep up the great work!

  15. Thanks so much for your wise words on a very important topic, Jed. I agree that it’s always so important to get the permission of all involved before sharing something that might be TMI. I do that whenever I share about the wounds of my past and add a note on each post about that as well, just so my readers know that I am respecting all involved. But our stories need to be told because there are so many struggling just like we are or were. We can be a beacon of light in the darkness. Thanks so much for your linkup and helpful tips for all of us bloggers, my friend!

  16. I couldnt agree more with all of it, being authentic, feeling exposed, being relatable to someone who may need to hear your story. Your story could be a huge blessing to others and it should be shared. Great tips and post

  17. So much truth here. I love how authentically you write. It is a breath for fresh air. So many blog that I read don’t go anywhere with what they are saying. You both personalize each post and truly tell a story in your writing. It’s a blessing to many. 🙂

  18. These are some fantastic tips for writing your story authentically. I particularly love the idea that the more we share our story the less painful it gets. I have definitely found that to be true.

  19. Great post! It is such a delicate journey of telling our stories. Your tips will help others balance between the negative and positive, as well as stay respectful.

    Thank you for hosting this weekly link-up! It has become a favorite of mine!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  20. It is wonderful that through sharing your story, you’ve been able to bless others and help them. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! I enjoy reading your and Jenny’s posts! Blessings to you all and hope to see you all link up again this week 🙂

  21. Such great tips for writing. Thank you for all your tips. These are great. Your followers really want to know you, this is what bring them to your blog. Thank you for linking up at Family Joy Blog Link Up this week.

  22. I love the idea that telling our story can make the past less painful — it’s counterintuitive, but I really do think you’re right. Thanks for sharing your encouragement at #FridayFrivolity!

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