On Saturday I ditched an indoor gym class and went out for a jog on the Burke Gilman trail close to where I live. The trial spans 27 miles and on the few miles I covered, maple, dogwood, and fir trees provide cover, and blackberry bushes spring up, well, wherever they want to.

The trail was fairly empty and I put on an old iTunes playlist and made tracks.

I was pleased to have space and time to myself and so grateful for my body which is different from the version that ran a marathon when I was 30, but still had a little kick here and there.

I have spent so many years (so many!) berating myself for not being (fill-in-the-blanks) enough. Not running fast enough, not sticking to a plan consistently enough, not eating perfectly enough, not drinking water enough, not working on my core enough, not being aware of my posture enough, and these examples are simply just the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t get me started on the barrage of criticism I’ve historically had hammering away at the parts of myself no one can see: my approach to relationships, to writing, to mothering, to social situations, to stress, to cooking meals….again just the tip of the iceberg.

But I felt different while out on Saturday. I jogged slower at times than I hoped I would but was happy to be outside feeling this world I get to live in, doing what I wanted.
Happy to be alive and content, to have the static turned way down low for a change.

On Saturday I didn’t make any sweeping resolutions about how often I would come back and run, or how many miles I needed to log. I am done with rigidity and all-or-nothingness.

I don’t think we’re meant to be 100% about anything. How could people who are complex, enigmatic, ever-changing, so dang human, be all-in every day on everything they’ve committed to.

We are walking contradictions. I mean I’m a vegetarian-pescatarian and have been trying to cut down on dairy and eggs because of factory farming and yet there I was in a T-shirt from my favorite pizza place in Seattle, Big Mario’s. What the heck.

Contradictions might be the most human part of us.

The gifts of contradiction in memoir

I’ve found embracing contradiction is also a key in memoir-writing. Memoir is a search for understanding – lots of other elements are of course at play in gripping, evocative memoirs – but what helps keep me engaged in a memoirist’s story is their ability to acknowledge the patterns and contradictions in their behavior. Their courage in exposing the aspects of themselves they worry will make them less likeable or sympathetic draws the reader closer.

Ever notice when a writer portrays themselves in only positive or admirable ways you grow weary or even bristle? Readers intuit when a memoirist is missing self-awareness in their narrative and your reader wants you to be curious about why you do what you do.


Readers of memoir are interested in witnessing a mind at work; to see how the memoirist negotiates complicated experiences, how they meaning-make on the page.

Leaning into the parts of yourself you worry about revealing can infuse your narrative with honesty and heighten the stakes in the story you are telling. If you acknowledge what about you confuses even yourself, you invite the reader in and engage them even more.

So, my suggestion is that you don’t run away from your contradictions. Lean into them and watch how kindness for yourself and the story you are telling grows.

Let’s Talk Memoir season 3


I’m prepping for Let’s Talk Memoir interviews which begin next month for season 3’s September launch and holy cow, do I have some incredible guests in store. I can hardly wait to begin recording!

You can follow me @RonitPlank on Instagram and Threads which I just joined for updates and guest announcements.

Thank you for subscribing and for reading this update to the end. I am so happy you did.