10 May

Your First Book - Don't Make It a Memoir...


New writers often think writing about some aspect of their troubled past, however veiled in a fictional story or a straight-up memoir, will be their Opus Magnum.
If this is your first book, you're wrong.
Writing on emotionally charged topics, personally experienced, is a double whammy of difficulty. Now, you're combining your lack of experience writing a book-length work with a troubled mind. You think your quest to reach answers for yourself and the world is through this undertaking, when all it will do is frustrate you more.
Result: you will find it far too difficult to face these memories to competently complete a long work, and that work will end up in the back of your drawer for years, leaving a bitter taste about writing in your mouth that may have you never write again, all because you chose to face two difficulties at once.
Solution: for your first book, and maybe a few more thereafter, select an objective topic, one that is not emotionally charged. Make that topic be far removed from your personal life experience, but in a genre you enjoy reading yourself. Doing this will free you from the pressure of experiencing something difficult while learning to write a book-length work. Your chances of enjoying the process and staying with the work to a competent conclusion are infinitely far greater this way.
And once you have one or two books completed and have become accustomed to what it takes - mechanically and artistically - then, you can tackle more difficult, personally charged issues like a memoir of a troubled past.

As a first time book writer, you simply cannot do both.
You can argue with me all you want, but this is a fact.
If this describes you and your partially written novel chock-a-block full of angst, put it aside, and start something new. You need to learn how to FINISH a book before tackling life's big woes. Make it easy on yourself to handle one task and then another.
This is the reality of writing talking to you, not the romance.
HOMEWORK: decide tonight if your current WIP - Work in Progress - is a veiled angst-ridden memoir. If it is, accept the reality that you're not skilled enough yet to take on that topic, and choose a lighter tale. 
This is you not failing. This is you succeeding. 
Example: does a beginner skier choose a black diamond run or the green beginner run as his first hill? You see my point here? 
Tonight, take a long hard look at yourself and your skill level, and make the successful choice. 
You'll thank me later.

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