“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”Rumi
What a perfect way to describe the process of writing a memoir – the long journey into yourself.
I’ve seen this journey unfold dozens of times helping my book coaching and ghostwriting clients write their memoirs. I’ve also been blessed to take this journey into myself, writing my own memoir The Power of the Curve.
Here’s something I’ve learned in both scenarios: Writing your story changes you.
I think people assume (to a degree) that in writing their memoir, they will learn new things about themselves. What they usually don’t realize is how the actual process of writing their memoir will change them.
As I tell my memoir authors during the development phase, there’s a good chance the last chapter of your book will not turn out the way you think it will. The epilogue to my memoir is called “Lyra” and recounts my circus journey as a beginner aerialist. That all unfolded well after I started my memoir. Exploring my life in depth, writing my memoir, transformed me into a person who was willing to grasp this newest “life curve.” Or maybe it simply reminded me of the person I already was but had lost somewhere along the way.
I’ve seen this happen with others as well. The epilogue, afterword, postlude, or the final chapter begins like – “Something interesting happened while I was writing this book….”
How could it not, really?
Because your world naturally expands as you tell your story. How can you sift through all the layers, memories, and dark corners and shadows of your life without learning new things about yourself? And how can you NOT change in the face of these lessons?
The first person a book changes is the author. With memoirs, make that 10X.
In a way, writing your memoir is a form of less costly therapy (not intended to replace it of course). Then, at the end, bonus – you have a product to sell that can be therapeutic for others. Double bonus!
When I say memoir I’m talking about any variation of telling your story in book form. The transformative benefits of memoir writing are not limited to writing a thing that you call a memoir.
Tell your story, examine your life, and watch the walls of your world expand in the process. See what happens. Report back.