After four years of working on my memoir, I (with the help of the Memoir Incubator!) finally finished my first draft. In the hopes of helping out my fellow writers, I’m sharing the top five mistakes I made that slowed down the process of writing my memoir and made me feel pretty cruddy while doing it.
Go to “Mistake #1: Comparing Myself to Other Writers” and “Mistake #2: Getting Lost in a Rabbit Hole of Memories” to read about how rocky this process has been for me!
Mistake #3: Telling Anyone and Everyone About My Memoir
We’ve all heard the analogy that writing a book is like carrying a pregnancy. It takes time and energy to grow into what it’s meant to be. As with pregnancy, some people like to keep their burgeoning book under wraps while others will post every stage of it on social media. While there may be benefits to both approaches, I’ve learned that sharing my memoir idea with the wrong people negatively affects my writing progress.
A Personal Story
While midway through drafting my memoir, I ran into an acquaintance and somehow found myself sharing my writing process with her.
“So, I’ve been writing this book about my mom,” I share.
“Oh,” the woman responds.
“My mother went through so much with her cancer,” I say.
I start getting anxious. How can I possibly get this woman excited about my book?
“It’s been really interesting,” I say. “I’ve been looking through all her medical records, trying to see what she went through.”
“I’ve even spoken to her oncologist!” I offer, in a last lame attempt to get some encouragement.
She shoots me a sideways glance. “Whatever makes you happy, I guess,” she mutters as she turns to take her leave.
So, here’s the lesson: for a guaranteed way to burst your book-writing bubble, be sure to share the news with people who couldn’t care less about you and your (in-progress) bundle of joy. Because believe me, when you’re filled with self-doubt, the last thing you need is another person adding to it.
What You Can Learn From My Mistake
Be intentional about who you share your writing journey with. Steer clear of people who might say something that will sidetrack your progress. Share your process only with trusted friends or family members, and, of course, your fellow book inc writers.
Stay tuned for next week’s lesson I’ve learned: “Mistake #4: Imagining All My Long-Lost Friends and Relatives Reading and Critiquing My Memoir.”
About the Author
As a writer of nonfiction, memoir, and marketing copy, Elisheva (rhymes with “whateva”) Trenk has been commissioned to write for niche magazines, media companies, and luxury lifestyle brands. She is currently working on a memoir about her strong and sparkling mother. Elisheva’s favorite forms of procrastination include dive-bombing the scented candles at Bath & Body Works and being taken on long walks by her spirited lab-setter mix, Bumble.