Wednesday, March 7, 2018

7 Steps to Writing Your Reading Autobiography

SPINNING YOUR GOLD: Words to Open Hearts & Inspire Actions
I am a part of everything that I have read.” 
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, USA

It's hard to believe that my 1st-grade teacher in Kansas wrote this on my final report card which I still have: 
Dear Mrs. Raymond,
Lore is very shy. 
To help her, I suggest that she reads many books during her summer vacation. 

Sincerely, 
Miss Linda

My mom embraced Miss Linda's summer reading advice. Weekly library trips became a summer routine for all three of her kidlets. Gleefully, I lugged home an arm's length of books after every visit. Why? I was inspired to compete in the Willy the Bookworm Reading Contest. For every book read, you colored one segment of Mr. Willy's caterpillar body--all done on an honor system. Once completed, you gave the librarian the completed and colored form of Willy for a prize. While I can't recall what the prize was...

I do remember that this was the summer of falling in love with reading!
Fast forward five decades and I’m a self-professed bookaholic who doesn’t want to be in recovery. 
I love the word.
I love books. 
I love writing. 
And writing loves me!

To illustrate I helped gift thousands of books and textbooks to Honduran schools while teaching there for five years. The Goodwill Outlet Store became my personal Barnes & Noble. The books were bought for a $1.17 a pound thanks to family and friends' kind donations and efforts. (Check out local stores.There's a difference between Goodwill Retail and Goodwill Outlet stores.) 

Finally, a long-held dream came true last year: I became a #1 Amazon bestselling co-author of five books. No, it's not a #1 NY Times bestselling author title, and I am both content and thrilled!

Where did your love of books and reading come from?
Curious to answer this question myself, I crafted a Readers' Autobiography—something all of my students are assigned in the Divine Dialogue Writing Course. It could also become a reflection exercise for a book club, writing circle, or a rainy day family project. 

Daughter Nazlie (10) & me on the front steps
My all-time favorite book? 
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, a #1 NY Times bestselling author.
Anyone who knows me owns a copy. Three books now rest on my "to gift bookshelf." Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, Sarah: my copies of Simple Abundance now come from Goodwill since I give away so many. Whoever donates them, well, it's their loss and my treasure.

Published in 2009 and gifted to me by my mom, Simple Abundance sustained me as a Caribbean expatriate and new, single, 45-year old mom with a 10-year old daughter.There was no phone, snail mail, or internet services on the Isla de Roatan, Honduras, where we lived. My lifeline to sanity and civility became the daily reading of "Sarah"--it's what the book was called in our bungalow on the Caribbean Sea.

Do you feel the same deep-sea gratitude for an author and book?

Rediscovering your reading roots might uncover buried treasure!
Here’s a 7-step roadmap to writing your reading autobiography:

1. Get started
Find a quiet place. Sip on a favorite childhood drink like lemonade, Kool-aid or anything with Fizzies. If not at home, head to the children's section of your library. 
Pull up a little chair or a piece of carpet.

2. Rewind
For childhood research, look at the Newbery Medal and Honor Books. Does any book on the list ring a bell? Your adult reading years might be easier to research. Think about high school or college reading assignments. Finally, peruse your bookshelf, which if you're like me, will take some time given my bookaholic nature. 

3. Record
Make a list of books and authors--three for every decade of your life that made a difference.

4. Reflect
Nothing more to say here.
(L-r)Grandparents Mamie & Bump Bump with siblings Cathy, me & Mikey
5. Remember
Who taught you how to read? Who read your stories? Write them a thank you note. If you don't recall the person's name or if they're no longer alive, write the letter anyway. They'll get it via Spirit-mail. I'll be writing my grandparents and Miss Linda, my 1st-grade teacher.

6. Write
Put pen to paper. Write your reader's autobiography. Write what you enjoyed and learned from each book. Celebrate and document your life through the books that you've become a part of. It's like an old-fashioned book report; perhaps they now call them "Kindle Reports."

7. Read
Once you've finished writing, savor your reader's autobiography while sipping a childhood beverage...ah, enjoy meandering down the memory lane of this unwrapped gift to yourself.

P.S. Do you seek to write YOUR BOOK? Your special invitation awaits you at the Master eCourse, Create and Write Your Personal Vision Book in 7 Sacred Steps, April 20-May 20. 

Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018. No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author.

29 comments:

  1. Lore, I LOVE this. As someone who has always been challenged my whole life with reading and completing any book, I just love the tips give here. Thank you

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    1. Many thanks, Laura! I'm happy to read that these tips might serve you.

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  2. Your passion for reading is delightful and infectious. Thanks so much for sharing the love :)

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    1. Appreciating the kind words and you're welcome, Joy! I like the idea of being "infectious" with reading as a positive thing vs. being infected with the flu bug as I was back in Janaury. LOL

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  3. Aloha Lore ��

    I enjoy your blogs, they make me stop and think. Sometimes in the business of life taking the few minutes to read your blog reminds me of easier times. Today’s blog took me back to my childhood library excursions with my Mom and brother, as well as summer time fun at the neighborhood swimming pool or the beach. As I was mentally completing your exercises I was thinking of all the wonderful people who encouraged me to read and to never stop reading. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

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    1. I'm appreciating how you've framed blogs to help you, Crystal. My childhood library memories are dear to me and inspired this blog post. You're so welcome for this shared trip down memory lane.

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  4. What an amazing perspective, Lore!! I love the idea of reflecting back to the foundations of reading and interests in reading as a child that have influenced me as a writer. Thinking briefly about it, I already see many trends! It might be time for a visit to the old bookshelves.

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    1. Yes, time to revisit those friends on the shelves, Krystal. They've been patiently waiting for you...

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  5. I love to read and write! As a contributing writer to Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond, and having taken many of Lore's Divine Dialogue Writing Courses, I have learned how to express my authentic voice by being in touch with my Sacred Center. Thank you Lore for these wonderful insights in writing, I encourage anyone who needs to find expression in writing that you follow these tips and follow Lore.

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    1. It's been a joy to watch your evolution as a transformation poet and writer, Nickie. Thank you for these affirming word; YOU are the one who deserves applause! Your daily commitment to a writing practice and being a light to others is not for the faint of heart.

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  6. Hi Lore,

    I've been a reader ever since I can remember reading. In my first decade (0-10), I read the Black Stallion Series and fell in love with Clara Barton when I first read a biography of her when I was 9. In my 2nd decade (11-20), I devoured Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and in my teens, I began my love affair with Stephen King. In my 3rd decade (21-30) I flip flopped between Danielle Steel and all things Sci Fi. I read Issac Asimov, Ben Bova, Connie Willis, Anne McAffrey, Marion Zimmerman, etc. In my 4th decade (31-40) I was reading historical biographies - books by David Ambrose, Stephen Oakes (his biography of Clara Barton is top notch) and I had a self dedicated to what I considered the badass bitches of history (my faves: Hatchesput and Eleanor of Acquitaine). In my 5th decade (41-50), I read self-help books out the wazoo - Brene Brown, Dr. Phil, and the one I read over and over again was The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. I also began reading poetry and writing in earnest. I discovered my inner poet when I was 42 years old. Now in my 6th decade (51-60), I'm reading for fun again - historical fiction, sci fi, and adventure stories. Oh...and poetry. :-) xxoo, Peggy

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    1. What a fun literary journey you took me on, Peggy! Thank for you taking the time to write this. Celebrating an supporting you in whatever ways I can as you embark for "...reading for fun again - historical fiction, sci fi, and adventure stories. Oh...and poetry. :-) xxoo, Peggy" Why not?! xxoo Lore

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  7. What a wonderful way to revisit and relive our love for reading, Lore! My love affair with books started when I was young. I was reading by the age of four and was reading to my kindergarten class not long after that. My mother taught me to read and instilled a love of reading in me. As a curious person, reading seemed like the perfect fit for my voracious imagination and my desire to know 'everything' about the world. I actually still have books I read in the 60's and 70's and beyond. It is hard for me to let go of books I love. I do remember reading Shirley MacLaine's "Out on a Limb" and what a big turning point it was in my own spiritual life. Although I am not sure I could find three books for each decade of my life, I did start keeping a list of books I read each year about 20 years ago and some of those remain favourites for me to this day. Thank you for the work you have done to get books into the hands of young people. It is such a different world to read a 'real' book, vs. to read online. My hope is that physical books, just like writing by hand, do not become relics of a generation past!

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    1. Also a favorite, Shirley MacLaine's "Out on a Limb"!
      Impressive, "...I did start keeping a list of books I read each year about 20 years ago and some of those remain favourites for me to this day."
      Many thanks for your affirming word, Bev. I think it's time to help more libraries!

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  8. What a truly beautiful piece, informative and open hearted. Tips from anyone go in so much further when you understand and hear about their own journey. Thank you for sharing and for these gentle tips. I have always loved to read, as a child my head was always in a book and I wouldn't hear anyone talking once I was in it. It was my world. I have instilled the love of books into my son also, as books give so much. My love of animals led me to stories about horses. Black Beauty being one of my top ones. I love the smell of book stores, I love our local library, seeing rows and rows of books. I admit I have not gone into the world of books on screens, I love the feel of paper in my hands, and seeing the books on my book shelf. They mark my journey in life, where In was when I read them ,internal and external. Books are soothing, beautiful, magical worlds

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    1. You're so welcome, Sally! I enjoyed writing this blog post. And I'm happy you sensed that, too. We're the same when it comes to "...I admit I have not gone into the wor ld of books on screens, I love the feel of paper in my hands, and seeing the books on my book shelf." One day Imight read a Kindle...one day.

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  9. When I was younger, no one encouraged me to read. A high school English teacher Mr. Lugonia encouraged me to write still I resisted. One day I picked up a historical romance and I was hooked. It was all I would read at the time. When I discovered fan fiction based on my favorite film characters and I could continue their stories using my voice, I was thrilled and over the moon. I caught the writing bug. In doing so, I also became a voracious reader. Every opportunity I get I read. My preference to reading romance is simple. Love is the basis of everything so launched my romance novel writing. Even though I still consider myself a novice, I am now mentoring others to write and read their genre of interest. It hones and sharpens my writing skills. All my hard work and effort are finally paying off. The key is the written word and immersing myself in a world of imagination and infinite possibilities. Congratulations Lore Raymond my literary muse and colleague. Let the beauty of your words reflect who you truly are.

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    1. Thank ye...honored and happy to hang out in this literary field of possibilties with you, Trisha. Enjoyed learning your backstory about how you can be the super uccessful novelist that you are!

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  10. Reading this post brought up so many wonderful memories of my reading adventures. The writing prompts helped me recall details that I had long forgotten. Thank you!

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    1. Happy memories...the best...and books sure can do that, Lisa!

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  11. This is Debra Oakland...have trouble leaving comments here....What a delightfully inspiring article Lore! I have been reading since I was very young. Too many books to list, but I am sure we read many of the same books growing up. From educational, scientific, spiritual, health, cookbooks, culture, decor, design, romance - fiction and non-fiction of all manner. I became a bestselling author in two categories - happiness and personal transformation when my book "Change Your Movie, Change Your Life: 7 Reel Concepts for Courageous Change came out in 2016. As you know, a moment of pure joy. Thanks for reviving so many memories in your post! xo

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    1. You're so welcome, Debra. I appreciate you moving through the tech stuff...not sure why that is; I must investigate as I want it to BE EASY for you and others to comment! No surprise that you were an avid reader as a child! So what's next in the way of a new book from you...hmmm....a sequel to Change Your Movie, Change Your Life?

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  12. I love Simple Abundance. I've read it every year daily for the past 15 years. I always get something new from it no matter how many times I read it!

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    1. This is just one more way we've intersected! One day we should plan an Artist Date and meet Sarah. What do you think, Caren?

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  13. I read so many books growing up. I still love to read however I find myself writing more that reading most of the time. Thank you for your beautiful inspiration as always.

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    1. You're so welcome, Heather. My pleasure. Like you, I WRITE more than I READ now. It's always about balance isn't it?

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  14. Love your reference of Simple Abundance as I am reading that this year. My love of reading came as a very young child, I always remember books as part of our home, can even see the bookshelves my father built. Both parent great readers, library users and my brother who was not a reader , went on to become a very successful book store owner. I was always being told to turn the light off. I always have about 4 books or more on the go . recently restarted reading romances as an escape. Love this post hugs Suzie xo

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    1. Apperciating reading your backstory, Suzie, and espcially about your dad becoming a successfulbook store owner. Thanks for sharing your story and kind comments. xo

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