With the Essential Life Story Method
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A debut guide advocates self-improvement through autobiographical exercises.

Wade presents to her readers what she labels the Essential Life Story Method of transforming how they view their pasts and reshaping how they live in the future. The ELS Method, she asserts, will allow you to open “a window into your soul.” Going through that window “will uncover the blueprint of your own psychology and change that blueprint in ways that will immediately improve how you think, feel, and behave.” The ELS Method revolves around a deceptively simple core exercise: writing a brief (only five pages to start) autobiographical sketch. Take a pen, some paper, a private space, and then ponder and write your life story, at first in broad outline and then in increasing detail. In clear and very encouraging prose, Wade notes a handful of “best practices,” including write first by hand and transcribe to a computer later, read each chapter twice, and get feedback. These practices are intended to guide ELS participants as they expand their autobiographical drafts. Those expansions are likewise delineated, step by step, portion by portion. Readers are given a helpful series of writing prompts like: “What positive qualities, habits, and/or patterns do you admire in your mom? Which of these could you benefit from emulating more strongly?” The personal drift of such upbeat questions points to the ELS Method’s inner purpose, which is to use autobiographical exercises to take control of your own personal narrative. “The energy of your story radiates outward,” Wade writes, “producing a field around you that attracts everything that matches your story’s frequency and repels everything that doesn’t—good or bad.” The author deftly emphasizes that although ELS participants can’t change the past, they can reframe it—and that this can all happen through the power of storytelling. It’s a basic and thrilling claim, one that will cause readers at all stages of writing expertise to seriously consider putting their own stories down on paper.

An unconventional and ultimately uplifting call to reclaim your own life story.

Pub Date: March 20th, 2020
Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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