There is a new voice in my head, and it’s a good one. First, there were all the people in my life who tried to tell me “You can’t write that!!!” “How dare you write that!!!” “You will regret this young lady” and so on, and so on. I have pretty much dealt with them, thanks to Social Media and the almost steady stream of comments like “Tell your story!” “If they didn’t want you to write about them then they should have behaved better” and the like.
There are other reasons that I am able to mostly silence those voices, but that is for another day. For now, my latest concern is that Social Media is also awash with experts, and not all of them are on the same page. “Publish like this” “Publish like that” “You shouldn’t use this voice” “You can’t use that voice” … AAAHHHH!!!
But a couple of weeks ago I signed on for four sessions with a writing coach. No, coaches ain’t cheap, but the thing is, she is a bit of a veteran in the publishing world and she doesn’t know me from a bar of soap. She is a total stranger and she reads my work in the same way that someone buying my book will. She knows nothing of my history, my imperfections, my excuses.
I was a little worried that I would not be able to remember all the rules that she will teach me, that I will not be able to stick to all that she teaches me, but as I have been writing the last few days (and I have written a lot, she inspires me!) I would find myself asking how Brooke would respond if she were reading it. She is the new voice in my head. I have no doubt that she isn’t perfect, but so far she is more reliable than those who love me and want my writing to be good.
I am only half way through these sessions and already I can hear her voice in my head telling me to rewrite a paragraph, to tell it differently. The changes are both significant and meaningful, yet it is still my voice. She is giving me new roots for all the writing ahead and this is changing the course of the way that I express myself. I write memoirs and the story hasn’t changed, but the way that I tell it has. And if the next two sessions produce as much fruit as the first two, then watch out Authory world, here I come!
It is ages since I have written about my memoirs. My first love, my “great work.” They were kind of pushed to the backburner when I stopped to publish the chapter-which-turned-into-a-book on Anxiety. Not that I regret that, it was the best decision that I have made in a long time. But now I am back into the swing of things and writing two memoirs at the same time.
This time last year I started writing the first memoir in the series, and over the rest of the year, I kept going. I got so much out of it in all kinds of ways, but now I need to go back to the first drafts and work on publishing and putting them out there. Which means a ton of editing. It is hard work, way harder than simply “sitting at the computer and bleeding it onto the screen”. But my mind doesn’t stop and the stories are still not yet all told.
But there are pieces of stories that are too painful for other people, too detailed or complicated to fit into the ebb and flow of one of the other books, or too small to become a book on their own. And so I am left with a jar of deeply painful, vitally important, singular events which have no home. Stories that need to be told, stories that later books need the reader to already know. And it has been bothering me.
But also bothering me has been a new desire to write fiction. I am a little shocked and very surprised. But there you have it. The seed has been planted and I didn’t know what to do with my jar or this seed. And then last week I realized that I could blend the two. Tell a fictional story and place everything from the jar within it. Accurate and truthful pieces, which now will get to see the light of day with a new name, a new place, and a little bit of new packaging.
And so when my mind is clogged with editing and I cannot go on, but my fingers are itchy and busting to bleed … I bring out the new book and out it flows! 2017 is going to be an interesting year for me and for my writing! These two threads that are happening side by side; editing the memoirs and weaving parts of them into Fiction. Roll on 2017 I say!
Where Jennifer hangs out:
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.” ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman