• Judy Cohen

Using Culture to Transform Your Writing

Updated: 6 days ago

While humans are born storytellers, our stories don’t just materialize out of thin air—our life experiences, biology, and family history influence how our brain makes connections and tells stories.


In other words, our culture has a lot to do with how we tell our story, especially when writing a memoir.


Whether you had an all-American upbringing in New Jersey or come from a family of immigrants, your life story makes you unique.


Don’t shy away from your unique perspective. Even if you have a similar background to other people, nobody is 100% like you. Use your culture to create more powerful, engaging stories.


Here’s how you can use your culture in your writing.

Family history and legacy


Your family legacy shapes your sense of culture; it isn’t just about your country of origin but the legends and stories of your experience within the family.


Did a single parent raise you? Did you spend every Sunday baking biscuits with grandma? Or your evenings in the mountains with outdoorsy parents?


Do you come from a long line of strong women? Embrace that in your story. Touch on the experiences of your mother and grandma to frame your account for the audience.

Share sayings or old wives’ tales


You likely have anecdotes or sayings that are unique to your upbringing. While they may need a little context to give your audience their whole meaning, I say embrace family or cultural expressions.


Consider including Indian folktales or sayings in your story if your family immigrated from India when appropriate. This detail gives your audience a sense of who you are and your worldview.

Use different storytelling formats


Were you raised to be modest and a little camera-shy? That’s okay! That’s part of your story; embrace it.


For example, some people grow up telling stories through dance, song, and even puppets. If they work for you, I say go for it.


Culture is the lens through which we see the world. Embrace your unique perspective to share your life story to attract more readers.


Don’t forget to sign up to learn when my debut memoir will be ready to pre-order. I can’t wait to share it with you!


Your story... to be continued


Judy xo

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