Oct 222009

One of the most common creative freak-outs I encounter from my students is their claim they can’t write what really happened to them because they’re afraid of how people involved will feel once the book is published.

This is all attributed to fear, of course. Usually my first response when I hear this is to say, “What? Do your fingers turn into eggplants or something the second you sit down to your keyboard?” Because of course they are as able to write it — what they can’t do yet is let anyone read it, which is is a whole other, easily surmountable story.

My advise is always, “Write it as though no one will ever read it,” because often our creativity is shy and won’t come out if we think people are watching — and the fact is they are not watching. The first sentence of the first page of the first book has not even been written yet, so what’s stopping you? What is it about this invented audience that keeps you from narrating your own story? The answer is nothing. So write your story, and worry about how people will react to it when it’s in the hands of the publisher. That’s when you will have the opportunity to change things or dial them down or subtract that part about how your sister found her drunk husband in bed with a European backpacker. (Oops. Sorry, Sis.)

The next memoir seminar is January, 10, 2010. Sign yer ass up immediately!

(typos, if any, are intensional.)