SHARE YOUR JOURNEY: Mastering Personal Writing
Explorer’s Eye Press. Geneva, 2016.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of a book I’ve been working on for twenty years: Share Your Journey: Mastering Personal Writing.
It contains the (surprisingly easy) techniques professional writers use to write personal memoirs and travel stories that connect with editors and readers.
This fun and well-illustrated handbook is filled with cartoons, music, and film references, as well as plenty of examples of good and bad writing. It’s based on the writing workshops I’ve run in some twenty countries.
Here’s why I wrote Share Your Journey:
You want to help you write your personal story.
Perhaps you met your soul mate at a cooking class in Tuscany and now make fresh pasta every evening—you’re 40 kilos overweight but happy. You took your eight-year-old daughter to the lake where your parents took you as a child—she caught her first fish.
Or maybe you want to record your family’s history. How Grandfather Ishmael escaped Lithuania hours before he was to be arrested for horse theft; how Grandma Chen left China penniless, then through hard work and a deft touch at the mahjong table, became one of Singapore’s leading real estate tycoons.
Your hero’s journey can take many forms. But perhaps you aren’t too sure how to start your story, how to focus, how to make it interesting for other people.
The Ten Writing Tips in Share Your Journey will give you the tools and confidence to write more effective blogs, write for online and print publications, and make more effective presentations.
Learn how to:
- Recognize the dynamics of your own hero’s journey
- Get started by writing just one scene
- Avoid the dreaded “info dump”
- Create instant intimacy with the reader
- Tell the story by following the Little Red Riding Hood Strategy
- Create conflict with the Nancy Reagan Principle
- Keep ’em hanging on with the Scheherazade Scenario
- Invoke the Story of One to represent the Story of Many
- Write like Steven Spielberg directs
- Eliminate fluff like Michelangelo
Share Your Journey is based on the writing workshops I’ve run in some twenty countries.
Some comments from workshop participants:
“With elegance, deep knowledge, and great generosity Paul has taken me into story and catalyzed my own writing in a way I’d hoped for but was too scared really to expect. I’m thrilled I did this.”
—Shelly from Australia
“Life-changing event. I loved the layers and the learning that evolved.”
—Virginia from Denmark
“For twelve years I had intended to write about my experiences in Africa in the early 1990s, and so far I hadn’t committed a single word to paper. Within days of attending Paul’s workshop I had written 2,500 words, was full of ideas, and couldn’t wait to sit down at the keyboard and continue the story.”
—Barry from Switzerland
“Before I met Paul my only writing experience was the preparation of scientific research manuscripts, and I struggled to deviate from a cold, academic style. Paul has shown me how to tell my personal story and move from ‘cold’ to ‘hot’ while retaining my voice and factual content. Learning from him gave me the confidence to write my first article about my own personal journey, and later, to launch my own blog, something I never imagined I would have the courage to do.”
—Melissa from the UK
A selection of reviews from professional writers and writing teachers:
“Share Your Journey is to good writing as Joy of Cooking is to good food. I wish all my students had this book before taking my writing classes; hell, I wish I had this book earlier in my career. It’s smart, fun and every page contains nuggets of essential advice.”
Gary Goshgarian, professor, Northeastern University. As Gary Braver, bestselling and award-winning author of Tunnel Vision
“I had just completed a new book. I was pleased with it, until I read Share Your Journey and realized how I could make it better. Many writing guides turn what should be a liberating experience into drudgery and scolding rules. Share Your Journey is different; it helps you unleash an inner voice you may not have realized was inside you. It’s also great fun. As a writer of fiction and biography infused with personal travel, I appreciate its originality and power. I wish many of the fellow writers I review would adapt its suggestions!”
Nigel Barley, author of Island of Dreams, White Rajah and In the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles
“As publisher of Moon Publications for 17 years, I worked with scores of writers to produce award-winning guidebooks to countries and regions around the world. Share Your Journey is an invaluable aid to all writers wishing to discover their voices and effectively connect to their readers.”
Bill Dalton, author of Indonesia Handbook
“Paul Sochaczewski learned his craft slowly and carefully over a period of decades and he now shares the secrets to why he’s successful in a book. Based on his writing workshops he offers ten simple and obvious, but too often overlooked guidelines, then amply illustrates each with samples from his own works and a library full of other writers (many of them household names), demonstrating how easily it can be done.”
Jerry Hopkins, former editor of Rolling Stone and best-selling author of No One Here Gets Out of Here Alive, Bangkok Babylon, Elvis: The Biography, and Romancing the East
“Many writing-advice books tell you how to write but don’t show you how to do it. This book fulfills the writing mantra, show don’t tell. It provides excellent examples of good as well as stilted writing. Sochaczewski does it with humour, illustrated cartoons and practical advice. The Ten Writing Tips are great signposts for anyone attempting to write a personal story. My particular favourite is Cinema – Write like Steven Spielberg Directs. I will recommend this book to my creative writing students.”
Josephine Chia, creative writing mentor in UK and Singapore, author of Frog Under A Coconut Shell and Kampong Spirit — Gotong Royong
“Before I became a journalist, Paul had shown me how to write a convincing personal travel piece, something which both tells a good story and connects well with the reader. This was a breakthrough for me: The resulting article, about a quirky Indonesian theater group, led to my first appearance in the major mainline press — the Wall Street Journal. His good advice helped place this piece, which in turn helped me land a foreign correspondent’s position in Asia with a Dow Jones-owned newsweekly. I’m delighted that Paul’s wisdom and sense of humor animate his new book, Share Your Journey. Many major writers have offered advice — think of John Steinbeck, William Safire or George Orwell; Paul’s Ten Tips, buttressed by some great to-the-point examples, will stand among the best advice a non-fiction writer can ever hope to have.”
James Clad; former professor at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University; former Far Eastern Economic Review bureau chief in Malaysia, India, the Philippines; former US assistant secretary of defense, author of Behind the Myth: Business, money and power in Southeast Asia
“If you want to write, if you want to improve your writing, if you want your writing to leap off the page and click its heels in mid-air, read this book and follow its good advice. This is a lifetime’s wisdom, offered by a pro.”
Thomas Bass, author of The Spy Who Loved Us, Vietnamerica, and The Predictors, professor of English and journalism at State University of New York
“If I had to parachute only one book to a Robinson Crusoe-type stranded on a desert island who wanted to write his personal story, I have no doubt it would be Paul Sochaczewski’s Share Your Journey: Mastering Personal Writing. The tool kit Paul Sochaczewski offers allows the person with a story and some raw talent to build a word castle that rises to the heavens.”
Christopher G. Moore, author of the Vincent Calvino novels, and Heart Talk
“In Share Your Journey Paul Sochaczewski immediately seduces the reader to enter a land of exotic literary chocolates, emeralds and hallucinatory dreams. In his professional wandering, teaching writing to the world, he has also amassed enough mots, both bon and mal to create this enticing volume. Like all serious writers, Sochaczewski has no hesitation mixing the wit with the chaff. He notes the importance of zest and gusto in the great Ray Bradbury’s writing “secret.” He quotes himself discovering cosmic insights, as well as story-telling secrets in Burma’s Jumping Cat Monastery. Shakespeare never is quoted (perhaps “Words, words, words” is too wordy and goes against the grain of Sochaczewski’s Writing Tip 6: E2 = 0 — Chop Fluff Like Michelangelo.), but Bill Bryson writing about Shakespeare is quite sufficient and illustrative, and helps propel his Writing Tip 7: Write Like Steven Spielberg Directs. Mr. Sochaczewski does have time to quote generational voices used by Kirk Douglas, why you might consider invoking Hindu gods, the writing advice of sages ranging from Buddha to Charley Brown to a myriad of excerpts from students from his writing workshops — good writers you probably have not heard of but should. And he provides examples of published rubbish, real junk writing that has been published in the New York Times and other high-standard outlets, and points out why they fail and how they could have been done better. All these examples have a purpose, are wonderfully relevant, and provide the meat and potatoes for Sochaczewski’s Ten Writing Tips. Want more? Searching for the Holy Grail (yes, he reminds us, you are on a hero’s journey) of personal expression? Sochaczewski actually provides the single sentence which guarantees that the writer will actually learn Writing. Like the Theory of Natural Selection, developed by his spiritual mentor Alfred Russel Wallace, the three-word instruction is blazingly obvious. This book is caviar for those who long to express themselves.”
Harry Rolnick, author of The Chinese Gourmet, The Complete Book of Coffee, and Spice Chronicles: Exotic Tales of a Hungry Traveler