Struggling with Intention: Why Writing Memoir is so Difficult


Okay, so much for my “goals” that I shared with you last month.

It has been busy. And I have been living life in the interim: there was my son’s birthday, my 6th anniversary with my husband, a funeral, school shopping, garden harvesting and preserving, the county fair, our town’s small festival, getting the groundwork for my husband’s business going, and the adjustment of settling into a new work, fitness, school, and life schedule.

So I have no doubt that I have truly been busy…

And, I am grateful that I have been fully present in each moment of this chaos.

Yet, there has been time. There have been moments where I could have come down to my studio and written for an hour or two—even a whole day.

I kept avoiding it, though—which I don’t quite get. Instead of writing, I’ve watched whole seasons of other people’s mock hardships via Netflix, revamped my plant based diet once again, started physical therapy to strengthen my lower back, and continued attending as many wellness get-togethers as I can while tackling all of those neglected things on my “To Do” list.

While I know that these things are beneficial, and I can give you all the reasons I’ve told myself why they are important (with the exception of my “research” via Netflix, of course), in the back of my mind I’ve know I’ve been prioritizing them as a way of avoiding what I want to do more than anything: WRITE!

Then I find I have to ask myself: “What is your problem? Are you AFRAID of Success?” …which seems like such a silly question, because don’t we all desire success? Why wouldn’t I be pursuing my chance everyday?

This book idea, the memoir I’m writing, has received an outpouring of support and positive feedback. There seems to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is a timely story that needs to be told and that will get published. And there is no doubt in my mind that I want to and have to write it, even if I were not going to pursue publishing. I’ve been writing bits and pieces of this story for years and there isn’t a waking moment in which I am not thinking about the scenes I am going to include within it!!

So why can’t I just write the damn thing?

Why does it suddenly feel so hard when only a couple of months ago I could pour my soul out onto the screen and be left with pages and pages of prose?

My only answer would be this: I never thought it would be so hard to confront the woman I used to be, and perhaps I fear that in confronting her, I will once again be her. And it’s that fear of reliving the frustration, anger, grieving, and hardship that paralyzes my writing.

I know I have to go back and bear witness to my memories, though. I have to share my story. In doing so, I know that in some way, shape, or form, I will heal completely.

I know in my soul that doing this is part of my healing process. And, once I have accomplished it, those memories will no longer have such a strong hold over me. I will be able to truly move forward with my life.

I swear, though, I just didn’t know it would be so emotionally draining.

I feel as if I am putting my whole heart and soul into this book—that each word is infused with all of the conflicting emotions I’ve experienced as I’ve struggled through these hardships that I’m writing of.

(And I do wish I could tell you more about what it is I’m writing exactly, but I’m not ready to share it that publicly…yet. I’m practicing that, too, as I share my thoughts with friends, family, neighbors, other writers, teachers, and mentors. You’ll just have to stay in touch, as I promise I will reveal it once I’m closer to the completion of my manuscript. )

I just can’t keep avoiding it any longer.

The seasons are shifting once again, and as the air becomes infused with the cool scent of autumn, I feel compelled to journey back inward. I’ve spent the summer connecting, networking, exploring, and pushing myself to become a part of the world that flows around me. Now I feel it’s time to pull back, to go in, to measure this person I have become against the woman I was and give voice to all that I have learned.

I’m going to continue to be gentle with myself and respect this process. I’m going to offer forgiveness for my unmet expectations of myself. And I’m going to push through this fear that sets my heart beating so fiercely.

And the timing could not be better. Both of my children are in school, and my husband is once again working…so my days are fully my own to do with as I wish. Also, my birthday is this Friday. I will be turning 32 and I’ve always felt that it’s the day that my “New Year” begins. What better time could there be to reflect on how far I’ve come, and to acknowledge how much I have accomplished?

My new intention (a.k.a. Goal): As I continue to write my memoir, I will also reflect on what I have written in my journal this past year as a way of reminding myself of the progress I have made while I revisit the less than stellar version of my former self.

I’ve decided to share excerpts of that journey with you here on my blog in the hopes that what I’ve come to understand may bring awareness to you in your life, as well.

Perhaps together we can all work towards success!

 

Sincerely,

Darcey Rojas

 

P.S. If you find you are struggling too, and you wish to connect more privately, feel free to email me at darcey@darceyrojas.com.

 

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The author

About Darcey: My life is my message. ~ Ghandi This is me exploring, searching, trying...working towards becoming the truest version of my self that will help impact the world in a positive way.

Comments to “Struggling with Intention: Why Writing Memoir is so Difficult”


  1. This is a really powerful entry, thank you for writing this. I have done journal writing for decades and am now realizing it is time to put it down in some order, something official. My frustration at being able to journal it but not *write* it has been shredding my confidence. Sometimes I think it is the horrifying abuse that makes it so hard, but when coupled with the ungodly pages of journaling and therapy I’ve done….it doesn’t make sense to me to feel so resistant. And yet I do. This entry really hits home. Thank you. *off to check out the rest of your stuff*

    Reply
    • Administrator


      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. What has helped me the most was to join an online memoir writing group through The National Association of Memoir Writers. Having a weekly deadline and knowing other people were going to be reading my scenes/chapters really kept me motivated, and the positive feedback encouraged me to move forward.

      It helps to be kind to yourself, too. Don’t push too hard or allow yourself to stop writing if what you’re working on doesn’t turn out exactly the way you expected. Somehow you have to accept that it’s a long process–especially if you are trying to write a healing story. Sometimes the words will flow. Sometimes you’ll have to let it go and do a little more living before you’ll be ready to dive back in. I’ve found that when I need to write the hard stuff, I’ll find a way to get it out, but then I often need to take a break for a few weeks–or even a few months.

      The key is to release your own expectations and let the process flow as it’s meant to, even if that process takes years. (a hard thing for me to accept because I am impatient!) It’s also important to have a support system in place if what you are revisiting is really dark or traumatic. Part of you needs to go back and bear witness to that trauma, but you have to have good things in your life, positive habits, and loving people around you when you revisit that place to assure yourself that you’ve come out of the hardship and are safe right now.

      Hope this helps and good luck! Let me know how you’re progressing :)

      Reply

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