Welcome Dorit Sasson, author of Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces, with a guest post on the three important steps she took to become unstuck from uncertainty and find the inspiration to finish her memoir.
3 Things I Did to Write My Memoir, Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces
The genre of memoir writing is exploding. Writers are jumping at the opportunity to tell their life story and want to cash in on what may be the next blockbuster. However, writing one's life story is not as easy as it looks and writing my memoir on serving in the Israel Defense Forces required getting unstuck from the inner critics and self-doubt.
When starting my memoir, I experienced quite a bit of "highs" and "lows." Often I questioned my motivations and asked myself, "who's going to be so interested in reading my story and why?" The inner critic got in the way so much that I had to take it for a nice long walk. But to reach the finish line, I had to increase my productivity so I could stay “unstuck” and creative.
1. I joined a supportive writing group that specializes in memoir writing. I cannot begin to tell you how important a writing group is for the development of any writer but incredibly important for a writer who's feeling vulnerable and lonely while writing past events that tear him/her up. A good writer's group will support you through the "lows" and applaud you through the "highs." Having a good writer's group provides weekly check-ins and accountability with a writing buddy. Also, a writer's group can also provide direction and guidance as you're discovering the best way to tell your story.
2. I blogged about my memoir. Now I know what you might be thinking. How the heck am I going to blog my memoir when I'm struggling to just write the thing? Just for the record, some memoir writers starting out may not feel comfortable blogging because they aren't ready to share parts of their story with a larger audience, (blogging requires an outer voice) and that's alright.
Contrary to what some memoirists may think, there's no shame in blogging about your memoir let alone writing it. As Brene Brown states, "owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."
As a blogger, you'll have the chance to develop more self-confidence in reaching out to your target online reader. Plus, blogging is great for building a following for promoting your book.
3. I learned the importance of writing scenes for memoir writing. Essentially, a memoir is a collection of "scenes" that when put together, tell a larger story along with themes. Showing what happens to a character is important for grounding the reader. Scenes in memoir thrive on the dialogue of the inner and outer narrator which helps ground defining moments.
When we read a scene that balances all these elements, we connect to a character’s journey that will ultimately lead to transformation.
With the first draft of my memoir, I couldn't help myself and dove into scene after scene but with the help of a writing coach, it became clearer to me that my inner narrator's thoughts and feelings needed to be expressed in order to balance what was happening to me at the time. It was up to me to decide how vulnerable (or not) I really wanted my character to be.
There are literary agents out there who snub memoir writing and some have even gone so far as to say that memoir is "ME-Moir." Please do NOT buy into this cynical and very ridiculous point of view. People want to read memoir for story's sake. They want to read a story of transformation - the hero's journey. And yes, they want to read your memoir. We need to recognize the value of stories and create a safe, sacred and creative space for those who do want to give voice to their stories. The ripple will cast itself over for future generations to come.
Based on my own writing and learning, a good memoir is about sharing and resonance, as well as showing vulnerability and breaking the barriers. And there's nothing wrong or self-centered about that.
Thank you Dorit for your honest and uplifting guest post and thank you to Crystal J. Casavant-Otto and WOW! Women On Writing for providing this stop on Dorit Sasson's blog tour. For more info and tour dates, click here.
About the Author:
Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications, including The Huffington Post and The Writer, and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the a featured chapter in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time, the latest installment of that best-selling series, and. She is the host of the global radio show "Giving Voice to Your Courageous Story." She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.
At age nineteen, Dorit Sasson, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was trying to make the status quo work as a college student―until she realized that if she didn’t distance herself from her neurotic, worrywart of a mother, she would become just like her.
Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is Sasson’s story of how she dropped out of college and volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces in an effort to change her life―and how, in stepping out of her comfort zone and into a war zone, she discovered courage and faith she didn’t know she was capable of.
Paperback: 337 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (June 14, 2016)
Amazon Link: click here
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