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Volumes have been written cataloguing the fears that block writers from finishing their novels.


For me, it's been three years that I’ve been working on and around a memoir, the one great idea I have for a novel-length book, that beacon of success for a writer hoping to prove herself.


One day last month I was standing in the kitchen of a writing group friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. “I’ve started working on the memoir again,” I told her, remembering the dusty art room in the community center stocked with pottery wheels and blocks of clay where our group used to meet.


Yes, some books take many years to evolve, and yes sometimes we have to work through the psychological issues in the story before we can see the material clearly, but I knew there was something else in the way.


“I’m afraid of what will happen when it’s finished,” I told her. Because if this is my one great idea, there’ll be nothing left when it’s over. I’ll be a one-hit wonder. A lucky fool who tapped a spring before it went dry.


My friend told me she reads a lot of memoirs and that she’d love to read mine, and as we talked of the pandemic and her bout with cancer and life and work, I could see more clearly that this book is just a story. One story in the endless stream of stories that people make every day. It will probably be neither exceptional nor awful. It won’t prove my worth or get me kicked out.


“I’ve put so much pressure on this one book,” I told her, “that it’s probably holding in all the other things I could be doing and writing and creating.”


By thinking I am somehow separate from the unlimited, abundant, multi-faceted creativity of the universe, I have limited my own self.


But what if I believed the opposite? What if I believed that it’s natural and normal to be infinitely creative, and that finishing this project is not the end but the beginning?


What if the precious thing we’re holding onto is not our one gift, but the lid, sealing a container of ideas just waiting to be be released?

6 Komentar


Tamu
09 Nov 2021

Yes Amy, this is a wonderful metaphor. Perhaps there is a cork preventing you to finish the memoir which is so long waiting to be released. Or maybe some of your old memories prefer to stay hidden from strange and curious eyes. You know that there are family episodes we would rather be silent about. Reaching back in time to reflect on other generations can unfold things never spoken.

Memoirs are sometimes a deeply personal reflection on women's choices, the courage they have ( or not!) and the price paid for that. The reward found is perhaps the inspiration for a different kind of life . You'll never know unless you take your computer and start writing. You hav…

Suka

Tamu
11 Okt 2021

I have read this at least 10 times because I need it so much. It encapsulates my entire writing life but I have never quite been able to make myself to admit it. Thank you for making me make myself honest <3

Suka

Tamu
05 Okt 2021

Always great writing, questioning self, and self-enlightenment. Yes, What if/

Suka

Tamu
05 Okt 2021

WOW! Thank you, Amy! I so needed to read this today! I live for stories! I think I go to my writing group to hear others’ stories more than I go to work on my own! But the fact is that your writing today helps me understand that stories are limitless and that they’re incited by every experience from the local weather to a global pandemic and what comes out of all of that as it pertains to the human experience. What we do with our experience enables others determine how to deal with their own. And our stories do that. Realizing I can still make a difference in someone else’s life without the fame of a Best Seller o…

Suka

Tamu
05 Okt 2021

I love this, and it’s a truth lots of writers face. I‘m facing the next step of this same issue—ok, the first book is written and published and… now what? Was that all I had to say? And, if that was all I had to say, am I really even a writer? So… I’m going to embrace your notion of infinite creativity and get to work. And I will DEFINITELY read your memoir when (WHEN) it’s published. — Adrienne B.

Suka
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