My newest client, Anthony Woods, asked me this question during our kick-off meeting Friday night. My response is below as well as some other food for thought.

One of the biggest reasons why people hesitate to publish their memoir or inspirational book is that they’re worried about hurting the feelings of the people who are in it. My number one reply to that concern is they should have behaved better. Not very realistic I know, but if you want to relay the lessons you learned, you have to tell both the good and the bad.

The fact that you started writing your story is an indication that you want to get out from under their influence. You are not wrong for feeling this way. As a matter of fact, telling your story is part of the healing process. And it has the ability to help others heal too.

Even still, you don’t want to sound angry, bitter, or spiteful. So how do you tell your story without bashing someone?

1. Stick to the facts.

Of course, memoirs and inspirational works are based on truth. In order to be as truthful and accurate as possible, give the reader what actually happened, not what you think happened or should have happened. The book’s purpose is to relay how those facts shaped you.

2. Don’t make assumptions about behaviors.

While you may have a good idea why he/she did something, unless you’re told, you don’t know for certain. It would be in poor taste to publish a book based upon your assumptions about another person’s actions. And it would also make you sound incredibly immature and paranoid.

3. Never, ever name call.

The purpose of your book is to help others heal so despite how you feel, be respectful. Your story and message can get lost if you resort to name calling and bashing. And it makes you look petty and bitter too.

Remember: if someone has hurt you, you are never required to put their feelings before your own. If they attempt to guilt trip you about writing your book, that person wants to make you responsible for their happiness and comfort. What they’re doing is manipulative and keeps you jumping through hoops and walking on eggshells. And it also keeps you from healing and helping others.

If you’re safe and been moved to publish your story, don’t let anyone stop you.


  • Elona Washington

    Elona Washington, M.S.M.

    Elona Washington is an American best-selling author, transformative speaker, and the founder of Power From Pain Media Group whose purpose is to provide content to help women live free from the pain of their past. Elona obtained an undergraduate degree from Howard University and later earned a Master’s of Science in Management from the University of Maryland University College. She’s a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a mother of two. A native of Washington, DC she currently resides in the Philadelphia, PA area.