Getting unstuck

I’ve been stuck.

When Thanksgiving hit with its usual flurry of turkey legs, mashed potatoes and dinner guests, I had 11 polished chapters to my memoir.  Eleven chapters that I carried around with me in a little green folder to prove to myself that I’m a writer.

Thanksgiving morphed into Christmas and into the new year, and here I sit with 11 chapters.  Not even enough to say, hey, I have a dozen solid chapters.  Just one more than 10; not enough to fill an egg carton or a donut box.


Memoir writing is sort of like this.

I have a bunch of chapters started — bits and pieces that sit unfinished on my iPad.  But I haven’t been able to find the discipline, desire, drive to finish them.  Actually, I think what I’m lacking is the courage.  The courage to hold my past in my hands, turning it over like a Rubik’s Cube as I try to make sense of the life events that have stuck to my ribs like oatmeal.

Memoir writing is weird.  A lot of writers say they don’t have the stomach for such things.  I can’t seem to write anything but my story.  Even when given an open prompt, I instinctively pull from my past, trying to tell a tale using my life experiences as the bones.

But here I sit.  Afraid to keep dissecting, digging, delving.  Lord knows what I might find.

Or maybe I’m afraid to show everyone what it is that I’ve discovered.


Memoir writing is like this, too.

Why should skeletons stay in closets?  They’ll scare the life out of you if you see them in the light of day.

That’s the thing about writing a book.  The goal is to get it published so that people can hold it in their hands and read the words that you’ve plucked from your soul.

What if no one likes it?  Or worse, gets it?  Or gets me?  What if my parents read it and say, no, this isn’t what really happened, we should know, by the way, because we’re your parents?

So, today I did something to get unstuck.  Because this is my dream, and I’m not ready to let go of it.

I responded to two calls for submissions by sending chapters of my book.

Nothing may come of it.  But it was my way of reminding myself that I have something to say and have earned the right to say it.

While I wait to hear if my words will appear in print, I’ll keep digging and writing and creating, because that’s what I do.  It’s who I am.

I also want to thank you — my faithful followers — for all of the encouragement in 2013.  You’ve helped me believe in myself and my writing.  Your likes and comments and kind words mean more than you will ever know.

So, here’s to you and me and good blogging and all-around great writing in 2014.



8 responses to “Getting unstuck

  1. You go, girl! Cheering you on. The world NEEDS your writing!

  2. First, congratulations on getting through another year of blogging, and for writing (as WordPress would say) great content. And for submitting chapters.

    Disclosure is problematic when you’ve got a partner who reads what you write (or kids or parents or best friends etc.). It is one thing to be anonymously vulnerable and another thing to be openly vulnerable. My brother and I apparently had two separate sets of parents and grew up in different apartments. We do not remember the same things.

    I hope you will get a burst of energy and pick up your memoir; it needs to be written.

    • Funny about you and your brother. What’s that old quote? We see things as we are … or something like that. It’s scary to be vulnerable … to put ourselves out there as we are … without the layers and covers that we often use to mask our true selves. But good writing is all about being raw and exposed. Not sure why we do this writing thing.

      Thanks so much for all of your encouragement. I’m finishing up chapter 12 now. Need to keep moving forward and not think so much.

  3. The world does need your writing. Reading your blog has helped me deal with my own depression and anxiety issues and I know it would help others. Living with depression is something that I have come to understand over the last year is a journey and I am not going to get to the end, but there are bright spots along the way. People who love me. You helped me understand that.

    So please don’t stop.

    • Wow, thanks for the kind words. And just when we think that what we do doesn’t matter …

      Thanks for reading, and following and encouraging me to keep at it. I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you and that you continue to thrive even though and despite your depression.

  4. Perhaps you write because you have to… which is the best reason of all. And if you have things to share, things that would help other people, that’s about one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone else I can think of–so that’s another thing, it’s great for others besides you! Loving your blog so far, and good luck with the memoir.

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