We never know where we might end up, where our stories might lead. For me, it was about writing and telling the stories that define us.
When I was 20 or so, serving in the Israeli military up north, on the Israel-Lebanon border, we had time – free time, or at least it felt like free time.
I was mainly doing night shifts from 10p.m. to 6a.m. knowing the other side would try and hit our bases at dawn. It was a strange ritual for everyone involved. And, as you do, I started forming my own habits around this daily routine. I would read at night, and at around 5a.m. I would make coffee, clean the desk and check the radio was working so I could hear the first shouts when all hell broke loose.
But, interestingly enough, what I remember most from this time is how the books I read made me feel. They were my escape from the day-to-day army life of shooting and danger. I devoured stories about far away places or the nightlife scene in some city I wanted to visit or crime-solving mysteries and I just could not stop reading.
Then someone (I can’t really remember who she was now) told me about this one funny book written by a young author about dating and Tel-Aviv, the city I was born and raised in. It probably took me 2 shifts to finish the book and I said to myself, is that it? That’s a book? I knew then and there that I could write a book, a novel. All I would need is time.
I was 20, mind you and it took me another decade to find the time to write my first novel. It was a great experience. Well, that’s not exactly true. But you know how it is, time passes and we remember things differently, in this case more positively. It took me about 14 months to write and self-publish my first novel (the second one took more than double that amount of time).
I started to write long essays sometime in the 4th grade when my teacher Deborah told my parents I should write more, as I was very imaginative. I like to attribute this imagination to bad 80’s TV shows, Dungeons & Dragons, computer games and the Neverending story. It was never about me, but rather taking people on a journey just by using words, making them feel good, laugh and being able to control that entire emotional rollercoaster. I loved it.
Over the years, I learned much more about the power of the written word. When I worked as a marketing manager and later brand manager, I sold snowboard gear using only words to describe the feeling one might have if they were to buy a specific board or boots. Increasing my language skills through sales, meeting hundreds of clients every month and improving my technique, all made me better at storytelling.
Writing a book is never easy. Telling a story sounds easy but telling a good one takes practice. We had countless funny moments in the army and whenever I reunite with my former comrades, we still tell those same stories. They have evolved into something completely different than what actually happened over there, but when we get the chance to tell them to a new audience we spice it up – a good opening, a solid punchline, you know, the juicy stuff. These little anecdotes have changed and morphed into well-crafted stories.
And the book about dating in Tel Aviv? I loved that book. Many years later I even met the author and joined his masterclass. I remember one night after class, we sat outside on the sidewalk downtown having a smoke and he told me he loved my short stories and I should publish a book. I smiled, gave him a copy of my novel and said thank you for the inspiration all those years ago.
It would take about 20 years from that night, reading that book to finding my passion, to make storytelling with my main business. It is ok if you still have no clue what your story is or how to tell it, but I offer you this one piece of advice: write. Once a day or on the weekends, just write online or in a notebook. It could be your thoughts, dreams or hopes. Why? Because writing makes it real – because it’s yours, and who knows what treasures you might find.
None of us know where our story might take us, but it is our story to tell, our journey to enjoy and grow from. Your story is your passion. Just make sure not to waste it.