Why Do I Resist Getting Started Writing My Memoir?

LIFE Magazine (1922)

Why Do I Resist Getting Started Writing My Memoir?

1. Writing about yourself often brings forward lots of uncomfortable feelings.

2. Sharing your life story brings you face to face with all your demons and worst fears.

3. It’s common to doubt that there’s an urgent need for the world to hear what you have to share.

4. Thinking that what you’ve created won’t be respected or valued if you bring it into print.

5. Unrelenting self-criticism stops you (and most of us). You judge everything you are writing so harshly in-the-moment that you shut down and never get anything on paper. Remember, no first draft means no final draft (or publication).

6. Feeling that “it’s all been said before.” No one likes feeling exposed as lacking originality. But, the truth is, no one sees the world through your eyes but they’d like to; so get started now.

How Do I Get Unstuck?

1. Identify the reader that you want to reach with your story. What do you want her/him to know?

2. Start sharing stories from your heart not your head (work to connect rather than impress your reader).

3. Dorothy Allison encourages us to “think of the thing you’re most afraid to share and start your story right there.” I, too, find that what is most embarrassing is most universal. I’m convinced readers want to identify with you…this really works.

4. Show events to your reader, don’t tell them to your diary (or daily log). Think in terms of sharing scenes that mattered to you from your life not facts. People care about meaning making not precise names, dates and places. As Margaret Atwood says, “A diary is meant for an audience of one.”

5. Use pictures from your past (at any age) no need to start at the beginning of your life, go to what moves you and you will draw the picture for your reader—it’ll move her/him, too. Goosebumps on my arms are my gauge that I’m speaking from the heart in an authentic or vulnerable way.

6. Let your first draft be uncensored. Keep writing. Go for bulk or poundage. Keep in mind the fact that your inner-8th grader knows how to convey your story in very clear and simple ways.

Be sure to schedule a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com. If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package you choose.

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