”How can you ever finish YOUR life story if you are stuck in the past and not willing to turn the page to go to the next chapter in your life?” Kamaria aka Lyrikal
As I settled into my first week as a “retiree” (I’d rather think of it as a “transition-ee”), I found myself thinking back to October 2009, when I attended The Writer’s Digest Editors’ Intensive weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. My main revelation was that I could call myself a writer. The term seemed strange at first, even though I had the first 50 pages of my work-in-progress to submit for review. In previous years, I had a few clinical articles published in nursing journals. It took a while for the term to fit my idea of who I was.
Of the thirty people in the room at that conference, there were only four of us who were working on memoirs. Uh-oh. This was not a good sign. Talk of memoir being the trickiest, most difficult genre filled the room. On top of that, if I wanted to get involved as a writer, I needed to join Facebook and Twitter. What are you, crazy? Well, I didn’t have time for that…
So, I left determined to do it my way - to just keep writing and to heck with all that social media “stuff. “ It would only distract me from what I wanted and needed to do.
But, the messages and advice from the experts – Writer’s Digest editors, Jane Friedman Alice Pope, and Chuck Sambuchino lingered in my mind, like seeds that were itching to burst forth to the surface.
Soon after the conference, I joined The National Association Memoir Writers (NAMW) with Linda Joy Myers, Jerry Waxler and Sharon Lippincott to find out more about who I was and what I needed to do. After a few introductory classes on memoir writing, I was ready to join the 9-week Healing Memories and Personal Autobiography tele-workshop with Linda Joy, which I have taken continually from the Spring of 2010 through the present.
Recently, I was indecisive about signing up for the summer workshop, thinking that I needed a break. But at the last minute, I signed up. Why? Because, stories from a certain time frame in my past were bubbling up inside of me and what better way to do it than to pour those stories on to the paper, and get expert feedback and suggestions from Linda Joy and fellow memoirists in the class. Through the editing process, I experienced a breakthrough in my writing, like torrents of water gushing through a well-fortified dam.
As far as the need for social media,after meeting with agents and publishers at the Christian Writer’s Guild “Writing for the Soul” conference in Denver, I decided I needed to take Dan Blank’s “Build Your Author Platform” Course. The take-home message: You have to have your own tribe of followers and a way to connect, engage and influence before you will be taken seriously by any agent or publisher. My point: listen to the experts. They know what they are talking about. ‘Nuff said.
Sometimes, when you think you need to quit, you really do need to plow through it one more time.
Memoir writers do linger a bit in the past but revisiting the past and finding the essence of the truth in it does not have to mean getting stuck in the past. Sometimes you have to go through it to get to the other side. It’s moving on to the next chapter in your life by putting the past in its place. And if you have an inkling you want to publish your writing, you need to reach out, connect and engage prospective readers. How to balance the writing with the platform-building is one of the challenges any writer today faces.
I am ready to call myself a memoir writer and am dedicating my blog to my memoir writing journey. I want to chronicle my journey as it unfolds and dole out tips and insights I am gathering along the way.
I want to share my story of the power of hope in my life through my faith in God.
I’m ready to start my next chapter.
I love your presence on my journey and look forward to sharing our stories of hope.
Treat yourself to Jonathan Fields’ awesome book trailer on his new book ” The Uncertainty Book,“ a heartfelt and powerful testimony about taking the next step in your life. You will be inspired.
How about you? What’s in your next chapter? What stories do you want to write?
This post is Copyright Kathleen Pooler 2012. All Rights Reserved Internationally.