“This book is not about how to write well but about writing as a tool for self-discovery,” said Kim Schneiderman, author of “Step Out Of Your Story” (New World Library, 2015, stepoutofyourstory.com). She read selections from her book at a well-attended session Sunday night in the heady, book-celebrating environment of Books & Books, Coral Gables.
The young and charmingly low-keyed Schneiderman said that since childhood she’s liked to think of herself as a character in a book. A therapist by trade, she developed her ideas by giving workshops on ‘writing your life as a personal growth adventure,’ at the 92nd Street Y and other New York locales. But it was her experience as the prodigal daughter who came to Florida to care for her dying father that helped gel them into a book.
How do you step out of your story? A key tip is to write about yourself in the third person, said Schneiderman, which helps you avoid your ego and get in touch with your observing mind. The book has a series of exercises to help you develop your own story, and maybe put a better spin on it. You start in the present, with yourself as the protagonist, identify an antagonist and describe the conflict. “Bringing the conflict to a head is the ultimate character work-out,” said Schneiderman. The exercises push you to reframe your challenges as stepping stones and at the end ask for a blessing.
This is not a pat “everything happens for a reason” approach. The themes and lessons that keep recurring in your life rise to the surface. Schneiderman recommends not focusing on “why” thing happen but rather what opportunities they present for expanding and deepening your own character.