Hello friends! Welcome back to this mini-blog series on the Writing Process. If you missed Part 1 (Click here). Let’s get right into Part 2!
Forewarning – if you are looking for a post that reads like a fairy tail and says how easy and lovely writing is – I would suggest bypassing this particular blog.
Keep in mind, my book is a memoir, so highly personal. Authors that write in different genres will likely have different experiences. I am just sharing my personal experience.
Here is what I learned about the actual writing process of my memoir:
1. It’s HARD
I remember saying to Erin (editor), “Alrighty, it’s the end of August (2016), I’ll write for a month and let’s have the book launch party before my birthday (end of November).” Wow was I ever clueless and naive. I thought I was this super strong woman and I’d just breeze though writing a book. If I could run a half-marathon, surely I could do this. Writing requires a totally different set of skills that initially, I did not possess or have the confidence in my abilities in this arena. Writing was hard! It took a LOT more time and effort than I thought.
2. It’s UNCOMFORTABLE
I remember having a conversation with an author and he said, “Dina, are you prepared to tell your readers all about yourself. BOTH the good and the bad. Writing a memoir will expose all aspects.”
I rolled my eyes and said: “Sure, no problemo! I can easily do that.”
And yet again, my blissful naivety was quickly squashed with a hard dose of reality. For four months, I’d meet Erin each week and we would delve further into my past, uncovering secrets I had suppressed, understanding how they affected the way I lived my life. She didn’t let me just pass off certain moments and stories but questioned everything till we got to the heart of the issue.
Every week, after our sessions, I left shocked, cringing at my past and felt like I was in a daze. It was hard for me to digest and learn how much I didn’t know about myself.
3. Things take unexpected turns
We initially thought “My Story,” was all about having a stroke at 29 years old. Sure I also had eating disorders and a massive car accident but I thought these events would just be glossed over. Nothing particularly interesting to say – they were just a small itty bitty part of my past.
I was SHOCKED when we realized how much my past had affected my entire life. How the book ended up is not at all what we thought it would be when we started.
4. You’ll learn more about yourself than you wanted to know
Writing a memoir is, in a sense, brushing out ALL of the cobwebs from under the rug. After every session with Erin, I learned something about myself. But it wasn’t happy joyful learnings. It was instead how ashamed I was, how desperate I was to fit in, how alone I felt as a girl, and how these feelings were actually manifesting itself to the present day. I thought that by sweeping things under the rug, they would be forgotten, but as I learned each week, suppressed memories creep into the present in ways I would have never thought of.
After most of our sessions, I’d get home and start sobbing and think, I just don’t want to know anymore about me.” It was almost easier being unaware and keeping those cobwebs safe UNDER the rug.
Before we end this post, I want to leave you with this: So, not the rosy wonderful picture but if you ask me “Would you do it all over again?” 110% YES! Zero hesitation. What comes after the actual process of writing is something I would have never expected. Stay tuned for Part 3: The “After”
Surviving Myself will be available worldwide this summer!! In both paperback and eBook format. Stay tuned 🙂