On Writing Memoirs
why exposing your soul isn't easy
In my writings, I've always put an element of myself into everything I wrote. My life experiences, my goals, dreams - my 'humanness's’ - is what has made me, in part, a good writer. I also think that this is one reason why most authors usually don't make it big until they are at least past 35 years old - I realize there are exceptions to this rule, but honestly, I think life experience is very crucial to make a good writer an exceptional one.
No, I'm not saying every writer who is good has to have gone through or dealt with adversity, but I do think it gives the writing an element that someone who has not cannot achieve. Try, yes, but not quite there.
I have read some exceptional pieces of writing where, as an editor, I can say - that's quality writing, good imagery, great mechanics - but as a reader, I just didn't 'feel' it.
Writing these memoirs of mine has been much more difficult of a process than I imagined. I am writing about things from which I have not disconnected myself. I'm writing about people who, however convoluted it may seem to some, are still in my life in some fashion - and about people whom I feel very deeply for.. and I'm putting it up in a blog as I go, so that those very people involved can read what I'm saying - not just the things they saw, but the inner part of myself that most people never get to know.
Think about it for a moment.
You have a best friend. You love your friend very much and the two of you get along great. That doesn't mean you always agree with everything your friend says or does, but you still support your friend, while inside of you, you're thinking things that you never say out loud.
Now imagine, just a few years later, you now are going to write down those stories about the time that this happened with your friend, only this time, to make the story work, you have to write in those things you didn't say out loud...AND you know that person is going to read it.
There is a reason private thoughts should sometimes stay private.
And sometimes, just sometimes, there are things better left unsaid, things some people just don't need or really want to know or share.
As such, I have written a friend, a good friend, out of the first part of my story - because there are some things shared there that I don't want certain people to know about. I've also come to a point where there is a side story with another friend, a good friend, a special friend, and I'm not certain I'm going to include that story either. I'm trying to decide if it's really necessary to the actual plot/purpose of the story before I make my final decision.
In truth, it's not making the story untrue, it's just leaving out parts that don't serve a purpose for furthering the story. I mean, you really don't need to know when I went to the bathroom, or that I watched television for an hour, so yes, leaving some things out doesn't make the story untrue.
Then there's thing that DO serve a purpose for furthering the story, but I have to weigh which is more important - keeping that secret or that privacy, or sharing it because it develops the story. And I get hung up and unsure of myself, and that's when the writing suffers.
For example, the next chapter I am supposed to post, I have written two different ways. There is a conversation I had with someone's mother, a conversation that this person knew too place, but did not know what was said - not by me, but by their mother.
I wrote the story with that conversation in tact... then when I was getting ready to post it, I second guessed myself, and now, I find I'm stagnating - not sure whether I should post it or not... wondering what good or bad will come of it, wondering if it will bring understanding or just animosity and drama that I really don't want or need in my life right now... and tempering that with how important I think that particular conversation is to the story.
Is it important?
Oh, hell yeah. That conversation shed a lot of light onto something I had been feeling in the past, and helped me make a realization about the future. Of course, it will be several chapters down the road before that realization hits me, but it was that conversation that brought about that realization.
Anyway, writing about your life, your personal and inner thoughts, is not as easy as it seems, and I've hit a small brick wall doing so.
I'll eventually push past it and make my decision.
Lastly, did you know that writing sex scenes is very easy for me, and I'm actually quite skilled at it (having been an erotic writer in a past life), but writing about ME having sex is NOT as easy!
Anyhoo, that's my rambling today...
Writing memoirs is not easy stuff, especially when those involved in the real life goings on are also the ones reading the writing as it progresses. It's been an interesting process.
About the Creator
An award-winning author and professional dreamer....Michelle Devon lives on the southern Gulf Coast of Texas with five amazing parrots, and a very tolerant cat. http://michelledevon.com
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