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Writing your own stories, everyone is a storyteller

Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:43
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(Before It's News)

Writing your own stories, everyone is a storyteller

By Brenda Norrell
Journal of Frida Kahlo

Censored News

When it comes to writing down your own stories, there are many good ways, even for people who don't consider themselves writers. 
Some people work best at dawn or sunrise, and write “morning pages,” just letting the thoughts flow without correcting, that comes later. It can be words and drawings, on any type of paper. 
Other people work best recording their stories into a tape recorder, especially while driving or walking, and just letting the thoughts flow. (You or someone else can transcribe these before the tape gets lost.) 
Still others tell their stories best on video. But with all technology, it is best to have some sort of back up. 
Before you know it, you'll have a book. 
Blogging is a good way to tell stories if you work best on a deadline. But it has become a dangerous field. 
Warning: The profiteering by the unethical is hard to believe on the web. People will go to extremes to make money off your good work and stories. They'll do everything from plagiarism to rewriting. They often post work on web pages with advertising to make money off of others work, or use ad words. They do this in other countries as well, grabbing work from the Internet, and this makes any sort of justice difficult to obtain. 
Facebook is a dangerous place to post long original stories, or even original photos or art, for there's always people looking to make a profit off of others work. There's endless schemes to do this. Don't be surprised if Facebook claims they own all your work eventually. This is true for all the services on the web, especially the free ones. 
And as always, research non-profits carefully before becoming involved. Ask for a list of the salaries of all staff, copies of the grants obtained and how the money is spent. 
And finally read other writers. 
When I was a new reporter, I read the leads, first paragraphs, in the New York Times. Today, I would probably choose The Guardian instead. Book reviews can also be inspiring. Libraries are full of the unexpected. The Navajo Library in Window Rock always had interesting historical papers and books. 
Elders are always a rich source of stories. And recording life with cameras or video cameras, even inexpensive ones, can be inspiration for stories later. 
So that's a few ideas from the long journey I've been on writing. It is never easy, but if the words won't leave you alone, you just have to wrestle with it, keep trying, and write. — Brenda

“Writers must oppose systems. It's important to write against power, corporations, the state, and the whole system of consumption and of debilitating entertainments [...] I think writers, by nature, must oppose things, oppose whatever power tries to impose on us.” – Dom Delillo, Bronx-born author.

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 29 years, serving as a writer for Navajo Times and a stringer for AP and USA Today during the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation. After being a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. She then created Censored News, focused on Indigenous Peoples and human rights, now in its fifth year.


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