Amanda Luedeke

August 8, 2014

What to Do With Your One and Only Story (A Guest Post)


All of us have a story. But not all of us have a story that is ready to be published.

If there’s no trembling in your fingertips, if there’s no hesitation, it may be that you want your story out there for the wrong reasons. It’s valid to want to be seen and heard, but if you’re going into publishing to have those needs met, you will be sorely disappointed.

Though many writers may begin that way, the best memoirs cling to the sanctity of the story free of the undue demands of an author’s ego.


Sanctity is found in the calling. You need to ask yourself: Why am I writing this book? Is it to fulfill a childhood dream? Is it to pass down my story to future generations? Or is it because I feel God has asked me to share my story with the world?

The publishing journey is agonizing and hard and, for most, the rewards are few. There are some who strike it big and this may, in fact, be you—but be sure your motives are pure before heading into the arduous journey of exposing not only your own wounds, but your family’s as well.

I was standing outside by the woodshed one day, my boys playing around me, crying because my family was reading through the second draft of my memoir and they had a lot of changes they wanted me to make, and some hurts they wanted to express.

It’s a healing path, this writing about your life, but it’s a hard one. You will have stones thrown and even if you’re one of the few that makes it big, the journey will be painstaking and lonely.


So, what to do with your one and only story?

All of our stories matter. But, here’s the thing: Some stories need to be passed on to future generations. Some stories need to be preserved via tape recorder, in a journal or diary, as a keepsake for the family. Very few of us have a story that needs to be published for public consumption, via traditional or self-publishing methods.

What were you put on earth to do? To pour your life into the radical act of living? Or to put words to your living? And where are those words to go? Into the hands of your children? Into the blogosphere? Or out into the world?

We’re all in a rush to be known.

Yet we’ve forgotten we’re already known by One who has counted the very hairs on our heads—and this truth needs to be the heart of all of our stories:

This desire to make God known, more than ourselves.

Now that’s a story worth telling.



Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the newly-released memoir,Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). All proceeds from Atlas Girl benefit her non-profit, The Lulu Tree. She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.


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