Writing a memoir is a painful task that brings back unwanted feelings inflicted by a lost of a loved one. At first, you will feel good reminiscing the memories and stories you shared with the dead. But despair, guilt, sorrow, and the feeling of isolation will soon take over as you realize that the person whom you are going to talk about is already gone. A memoir is the only thing that will keep him alive in your reverie.
As you are writing a memoir, you are able to capture the times that the past encapsulates. You preserve your stories using a pen and paper, along with your sadness and fallen dreams. You explore and express yourself in words and based on the emotions they speak. A voice from inside of you dictates that you must write according to what you feel. However, the critic in you considers writing a memoir a technical undertaking.
What others will say about your family hinders you from writing down a memoir. What your family might say and think about you also cuts you off from your deep thinking. Instead of listening to your own voice while writing a memoir, you rather take heed of the critics’ voices that aims to limit you and imprison you inside your own feelings. You are afraid that once you speak up, you will compromise the family honor and your relationship with your relatives.
Remember that writing a memoir is an act of courage. You do not write to get others’ sympathy, but to remember the good things the lost loved one has done. Indeed, others might become sad and angry, but you need to learn to stand on your ground. So grab your pen now, get a clean sheet of paper, and muster all your thoughts you need in writing a memoir.
What to Consider in Writing a Memoir
First and foremost, writing down a memoir requires you to pinpoint the sources of the inner resistance you feel. Is it because of what others might say about you? Is your family’s reputation at stake here? Would it cause damage to the lost loved one’s reputation? Do you worry on what to write and how you must express it? After determining your setbacks, find a way to escape them. If you continue to be trapped on a bad thinking, writing a memoir would be extra painful for you.
When writing, you need to reclaim your own voice and your own side of the story. Since every family member has a story of his own, you need to specify your storyline. Although the most powerful person in the family has the official version in writing a memoir, yours is still on equal importance. Do not suppress your own memories just because you stand to be unpopular in the family. No one has the authority to condemn your story but the lost loved one.
As you are writing a memoir, try to figure out the power division in your family. Some critic may stop you, and when they do, just write down what they say. But always keep on evaluating. Seek the origin of these voices. But do not forget that your own voice is still the one who is in charge of writing.
Start your work with an image or maybe a photograph. Go for one that says a lot about your own life story. Use your natural voice. If you struggle for words while writing a memoir, search it deep within you.
If the voices try to stop you, write anyway. Your family protector will try to silence you many time, but you must not waver. Take in some advices from them, apply some, and try to mix it with your own writing.
Do not delete your work when you feel critiqued after writing a memoir. Protect your writing from curious family or friend invaders. If you can, find supportive people to write with. Write in cafés, in writing groups where you feel greatly supported.
Give value to your point of view. Have you been abused? Have you been neglected or forgotten? Were you even been silenced? Don’t dwell on it. In writing a memoir, stretch your ability to stick with a story that you alone is the source. You are always tempted to stop as you get to the core emotion of a story, but you must hold on tighter to the pen and continue writing.