The first piece I drafted when I picked up writing several years after becoming a mother was fiction. I drew heavily from actual events but never thought of telling the story without changing locations, situations, and names. I think I thought that I would be cheating at writing if I used so much of my real life. It seemed to me that true artistry lay in making things up and leaving no trace of their origins.
Also, it took me a while to accept that my personal history might be worth writing about. I could easily argue that my voice wasn’t important, my story wasn’t unique, I didn’t have it so bad, and so on and so on. When you’re looking for ways to discredit yourself or your experience or convince yourself not to do something there’s a lot of reasons you can find.
But after learning more about memoir I began to see that no one will remember your experience the way you do. Only you know how it affected you then and how it continues to reverberate in your life. Our perspective changes over time. As our lives accumulate, so does now we understand what happened to us. That’s why getting it down is important.
That doesn’t mean you should write about something you’re not ready to write about but if it’s making its way to the surface and catching you off guard it might be time to explore it. Even if no one else ever reads it. You never know what you might discover. 🧡