1. Develop a vision: Be of good heart and mind
Starting your story can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember that every story starts somewhere; your starting point will entirely depend on how you’re feeling and the information you want to share with your reader. Your starting point will be unique to you, so try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on your answers to these questions:
- Do you feel ready to start your story?
- What do you want to say?
- What form will your story take?
- How can you move your story forward?
2. Gather information: Learn more
The next step in creating your story is to gather information to learn more about your topic. Traditionally, Western academic writing draws upon information published in peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles or books as sources of knowledge. However, Indigenous knowledge systems have a much broader view of sources of expertise.
As you’re gathering information to learn more, consider:
- How will you incorporate the wisdom of experts?
- How will you conduct your own research?
- How will you gather knowledge about your own experiences?
- How will you organize what you learn?
3. Identify knowledge: Prepare to tell the story
Whether your story already has a defined ending, or the story unfolds your exploration of a topic, giving yourself time to ensure you’re ready to tell the story is an important stage in the learning process. At this stage, you can consider the knowledge you’ve gained so far in your process and make sure you’re prepared to tell your story.
Think back to the vision for your work:
- How will you make a plan for your writing to ensure you achieve your vision?
- How will you show the relationships between the details as arguments in your story?
- How will you organize your writing with paragraphs?
- How will you give credit to other sources of knowledge to avoid plagiarism?
4. Share your voice: Communicate your knowledge
While you may think you don’t have anything original or interesting to say in your writing because so much has already been written, your writing is original and interesting because it’s your story. No one else can write your story, and it’s your story that your readers want to read. The previous three stages gave details on how to develop your story, and now you get to share the story you’ve worked so hard to create.
As you share your voice to communicate your knowledge, consider:
- How can you write with style?
- How will you follow the rules of North American academic English?
- What tools and resources can help you?
- How will you finish your story?