Monday, September 13, 2010

Writing Your Story: It Ain’t As Easy As It Sounds ... But It's Possible

I meet people all the time who say, “One day I’m going to tell my life story in a book.” No doubt, we all have a book inside of us. Telling your story is a release, an outlet, a way to share what you know, what you’ve experienced, what you’ve learned and what you hope for. For some, that book is a memoir -- a reflection on an aspect of their past that has had a profound effect on their present. For others, that burning book is an all-out autobiography that tells the life of the person from birth until the writing of it.
The problem is, easily nine out of 10 people who tell me they have a story to tell, never actually get around to turning it into a book. Life is happening, after all. Who has time to write a book? Some day, those aching souls will tell their children or grandchildren or some stranger all of the things they would have or should have written in a book, and hope beyond hope that their story will magically be shared with those who could benefit. Yeah, right. 
Most people will admit to being less than effective writers. Okay, basically people’s writing sucks, and they know it ... well, most people know it. No one intends to be a poor writer, but writing just isn’t one of those things that comes naturally for most people. So they struggle to write the most basic things, and the thought of writing a book -- even one about their own life -- is paralyzing. 
Me, in San Juan, Puerto Rico working on my manuscript
I can relate. I’ve been there ... not with the bad writing part (I’m a professional writer, after all). But with the getting started part. Back in 2005, in the midst of everything else I was doing, I had the nerve to decide to write a novel. What the heck was I thinking? There was a story burning inside of me to come out. I had to tell it. I had developed the characters, the plot, the setting, the works! Getting started was hard. Continuing was even more difficult. Then came the edits and rewrites and before you know it, it’s five years after I finished the first draft of my very first novel, and it still isn’t published. But I do feel a sense of relief and accomplishment for having done the writing. Now, the hard part. Getting a publisher to love it, publish it and get it in your hands so you can read it. Wish me luck!

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