Dear Memoirists…Don’t hold back.

Those who tell their own true story end up on the same questionable path – just how much should be revealed before our story is one of irreversible malcontent?

The Portal
The Portal

Protect the Not-so-innocent.

Writing our memoirs is tricky business, so first and foremost, we must consider a veil over identifying details to avoid unwanted and potential harm. Include a disclaimer that you have done so. Alternatively, you can ask those involved for permission to include their real names, and be sure to pay respect to their version of the story as best as you can.

How do I share my struggle without exposing family and friends to outside judgment? We can’t. Not completely. We are choosing to tell a story that may not reflect well on those involved. Does this make you or them into a monster? Well, only to those who consider messy, faulty people to be monsters. If they truly are monsters, then perhaps it is justified, but this is not a time to vilify or demonize people. It is a time to state your experience with regard to your own mistakes, reactions, and desires.

On the defense?

I was once asked if my article was an implied criticism of a loved one. While I wrote that article, this person had never even crossed my mind. Sometimes people have their own stuff to address. It is not your job to cater to their insecurities, but our objectivity and compassion might be helpful.

Perfect is Boring.

Take some risks; avoid censoring yourself; strive for authenticity of character.

Be willing to go deep. Say the things that ring out like your own full and vulnerable admission. In this way, your readers will gain compassion, connection, and therefore, build trust. If you own your true fears and irrational or regrettable moments, readers will settle on the fact that you are human, and humble, and possibly even objective about others involved. You will no longer appear biased and potentially manipulative. Now, you are sharing your heart in the hopes of being understood.

Seek and Share Resolution.

Not all stories must end with a pretty pink bow. But if you still harbor resentment, regret, and bitterness, you haven’t exactly inspired your readers. It is important to write a memoir after the dust settles, and you have a full realization of the lessons learned. It is the overcoming of struggle that brings us our due glory – not just another complaint of the grit and grime of our world. Have you honestly come to a place of peace? Maybe the story isn’t quite over yet. We can get plenty of judgment on the daily. Bring us some hope and bring it with courage.

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