If you haven’t read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, let me encourage you to do so. Stockett writes about an editor who gives the main character this advice: “Don’t waste your time on the obvious things. Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.”
This is good advice.
What disturbs you? Write it down. Please.
How can I motivate you? What can I do? Which magic words could I utter to light a fire under you, to get your disturbance out and never, ever give up?
Do you realize what an incalculably rare opportunity you have? And do you see what the world would never know if it wasn’t for you as a writer, and you alone?
No. You don’t see it.
So my job is to paint that picture. Think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. Think of his realization at the end of the movie when he sees that the investments he made changed the lives of countless people and saved his town from corruption and evil. Now think of how far a book goes and realize that the idea you’ll spread will have the same impact, only more. What you won’t see is what George saw–the world without him, without his hope and dedication.
The world relies on you believing in that alternate without-you world you can’t see…and preventing it.
So, ready or not, I hope you’ll write. All you need to begin, in the words of Neruda, is to pen the “first faint line.”
Write the first faint lines of your memoir. Or find editorial guidance for a life story you’ve already begun to set down.
Check out our 2013 Memoir Workshop with Mick Silva. Mick has served as an editor at Waterbrook/Random House.