“The interesting thing that always strikes me when I write about emotional moments like this is just realizing that I’m very much writing about the experience as I experienced it, not necessarily as it was,” says Brett Gajda, host of Where There’s Smoke podcast. “What actually happened in the past is blended with our experience and our emotions. What happens over time is our emotions change, so perhaps our truth changes with time and distance from the event.” Lifestory Toolkit: StoryCorps App. Free Download: 5 Myths About Lifestory Writing
Bringing Your Truth Into the Story
When we’re looking to connect with people and make a point, we often tell a story. Through his podcast, Where There’s Smoke, host Brett Gajda brings poignant concepts to consider and tells stories to encourage deeper thinking. Telling his own stories on the podcast helps connect him with listeners and also helps him reflect on his own life truth.
Brett shares this wisdom:
A real writer shows up even without the muse. The muse that inspires you is fickle. You, the writer, have to show up every day.
Self-awareness is the foundation of self-development
A huge part of showing up in the world the way you want to show up is our ability to constantly be practicing being present and self-aware
Writing is being able to step back a foot from who we are and what we’re experiencing or even to look back on something and slightly remove ourselves from it and then say “Okay, what happened there? What do I observe?” And that’s both connecting with our own feelings but it’s also separating ourselves from our own feelings just enough to try to keep some sort of unbiased perspective about it.
On Writing Well
Borrow things from fiction writing that make an interesting scene to bring to life a lifestory.
Use morning pages to get your thoughts out…and you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes writing is just about getting rid of the noise.
To begin writing, ask yourself what is the purpose of writing for you.
There are infinite reasons to write. Judgment for your own writing doesn’t belong here. Judgment from yourself should never be part of the equation.
Recommendation: Go online and look up The Gap with Ira Glass. He talks about the concept called The Gap. At it’s core, any artist when they start doing something is the gap between what they know is good, and what they are currently doing. Whatever your “there” is, you’ll get there eventually.
The StoryCorps app and StoryCorps.me were created as a global platform for listening, connecting, and sharing stories of the human experience. You might know them from the StoryCorps stories on National Public Radio. The StoryCorps app—a free mobile application—brings that experience to ALL of us! It seamlessly walks users through an interview by providing all the necessary tools for a wonderful experience. You receive help preparing questions, finding the right environment for your conversation, recording a high-quality interview on your mobile device, sharing the finished product with friends and family, and uploading your conversation to the StoryCorps.me website. In addition, all interviews uploaded to the platform during the first year of the program will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The StoryCorps app is an app with a purpose—a way for individuals to connect in a meaningful way with those close to them, and to gain insight into the lives of others.
Brett is the host of Where There’s Smoke podcast and his journey has been as adventurous as the show itself. He has launched two multi-million dollar businesses, studied with some of the world’s leading self-development teachers, visited 40 countries, released an album, starred in a stage musical, got married, escaped from Alcatraz, became a father, and he currently trains and coaches professionals at Fortune 1000 companies globally. With Where There’s Smoke, Brett feels like he might finally be living up to the honor bestowed on him by his high school graduating class – “Most likely to replace Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.” Brett is originally from Toronto, Canada, and currently lives in San Francisco.