Do you ever expect yourself to have all the answers? Do you become frustrated and impatient when you don’t know what to do about something in your writing or in your life? Do you get hung up on doing things “right”?
Last week on my mastermind call for women writers and coaches we stumbled into an interesting conversation around this question: “Does writing always have to be ‘fun?’” One writer said something I’ve heard many of my students and clients share: “I’m not crazy about writing, but I love having written.” We all agreed that sometimes writing is fun—but not always—and for some it’s rarely fun.
Sometimes, in the lives of writers, even when things are going well, we become fearful. I see this in myself and also in my clients and students. No matter what’s going on, the inner critic rears its—predictable—ugly head and says things like, “I can’t do this!” and “Who do you think you are?”
Recently a client in her mid-sixties, who was feeling daunted by the work involved with writing, publishing, and promoting a book, asked, “Am I too old to write a book?”
Years ago, my writing mentor suggested I turn my blog into a book. At the time I didn’t understand why that might be a good idea. That stuff’s done; ancient history, I thought--yesterday’s news. But after my memoir was published and I’d spent several months promoting it, I wasn’t ready to begin another writing project. I needed time and space.
How many times have you read a triggering comment on your Facebook feed? By “triggering” I mean you read it and have a visceral response, such as your heart starts pounding, adrenaline kicks in, or you feel like hurling obscenities.
I’m proud to share that my publisher, She Writes Press, was recently selected by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards as the 2019 Indie Publisher of the Year. This is a huge honor and I’m proud to be a She Writes Press author.
What author, at one time or another, hasn’t imagined the following scenario, or some version of it: You finish writing your manuscript and send it off to a handful of literary agents. You’re offered representation. Your agent loves your book and can’t wait to sell it. He or she has great connections and promptly sells your book to a New York publishing house. You sign a contract, receive a generous advance, and make minor tweaks under the tutelage of your brilliant editor who totally gets you and your work. You adore the cover the publisher comes up with, which perfectly captures your book’s essence. You start writing your next book while your publisher’s robust and energetic publicity team plans your book tour and places your excerpts and articles in glossy magazines. Your publisher’s PR team arranges interviews for you on national media. All you have to do is show up. Your book is received with praise. You are a successful author. You have arrived. All is well. Now you can relax, sit back, collect royalty checks, and keep writing in silent, solitary bliss while your book becomes an international bestseller.
I just returned home from Chicago where my memoir, Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy, won silver in the Body, Mind & Spirit category of the Benjamin Franklin Awards, sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association. It was a wonderful event, especially since I got to hang out with fellow She Writes Press authors and meet new people. It was also fun to visit a city I’d never been to before, and to feel celebrated by my family, friends, and communities. Thank you if you’re among those who congratulated me and wished me well, or if you were a librarian, bookseller, or industry professional who voted for Raw.
Writing a memoir is a huge undertaking. You’re dealing with tons of content by virtue of having lived a life. Here are some suggestions for getting—and staying—organized.