8 Steps To Sharing Your Lived Experience

Written by: Nick Watt, Digital Co-ordinator, the ALLIANCE
and Rhona Millar, Network Development Officer, the ALLIANCE

From planning it out to putting pen to paper, share your experience of self management using these eight easy to follow steps.

Are you doing some interesting work around self management or do you want to talk about how it has improved your life? What have been the opportunities and challenges? Writing can be a powerful way to convey your experience, share learning and help improve our understanding of self management.

The Self Management Network Scotland are looking for members to share their story by writing an Opinion piece for the ALLIANCE website. Get started by following these simple steps:

  1. Don’t panic

Two famous words printed in large friendly letters on the front cover of a certain guide to the universe – so it must be good advice. Why not apply it to writing?

  1. Find your focus

We are all people with lived experience, but the life story can be saved for a best-selling memoir. Find a specific issue or moment in time that lets the reader walk in your shoes.

  1. Plan it out

With any story there is always a beginning, middle and end. Even using a few bullet points that lay out what you want to say and when, will be a big help in writing the first draft. Which brings us to the next point…

  1. Write a first draft

So you’ve done the hard part – you know what to write about and how you are going to write it. All there is to do now is get it down on paper (or screen). Work through the plan writing as much as you can until you find a place that looks vaguely, sort of like a conclusion. What matters is you have something to work with.

  1. Proof, proof, proof!

Read, re-read and read out loud what you have written. Check every sentence for errors and how it flows. Try where you can to make your viewpoints or ideas clear and easy to comprehend. Keeping sentence length to a minimum can help with this.

  1. Create a headline

At this stage your main body of text should be fully formed with a clear subject and narrative that supports it. With a headline less is more. Make it clear-cut and attention grabbing, but have fun with it too. Add some personality to make it truly yours.

  1. Find a visual that speaks

The final piece of the puzzle. Often overlooked, including a photograph or image is a key element in creating a blog piece. It acts as the initial hook and is usually what pulls readers in. Choose something that is meaningful to you and represents what you have said in the text.

  1. The team is here to help

If at any stage during writing you feel stuck, don’t panic. The Self Management Team are always available for any support in editing, proofing or even just to talk over an idea and are only a call or email away.


To help you while following these steps, here are a few top tips to keep in mind:

  • Mind the length – try to keep the overall word count of the article to around 300 – 500 words
  • Be fearless – this is your story, really own it and don’t be afraid to express yourself

If you would like to write an Opinion piece for the Self Management Network Scotland to be hosted on the ALLIANCE’s website email rhona.millar@alliance-scotland.org.uk and get started.

For any support or further tips on writing an Opinion piece please email nick.watt@alliance-scotland.org.uk.