It’s quite common in therapy for patients to be directed to write out their feelings. Putting your thoughts into words allows you to organize them, analyze them and review them later. However, writing out your thoughts is not the same as crafting your life story. The primary amazon.com review of the book Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, by Louise DeSalvo, says: “Contrary to what most self-help books claim, just writing won’t help you; in fact, there’s abundant evidence that the wrong kind of writing can be damaging.” There’s something about story writing that is more cathartic. It has that classic form of a beginning, middle and end, even if you choose not to present your story chronologically.
Your relatives may find your memoir interesting no matter how you write it. But if you want to publish your memoir for a broader audience, keep in mind that readers are not generally intrigued by details of your therapeutic journey. In fact, one blogger maintains that readers will reject your memoir unless it contains the elements of a compelling story all on its own. Memoirists who have been widely read, blogger Agent Kristin says, have understood that “readers are interested in an inside look to a world they’ve never seen or have never imagined. A world that is unbelievable but true. A world that is unique but resonates with us. A story that captures a universal feeling and the reader senses the connection.”
I recommend a two-tier process here on Write My Memoirs. To calm your emotional turmoil, write out your feelings, your life story and your quest to find psychological peace. Keep that copy for yourself. Then if you’d like to publish your work, use that as a foundation, but craft a fascinating, nonfiction life story that just happens to be about you.