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Yes, Your Story Matters. Write Your Memoir.



If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have an incredible story to tell but you’re just not doing it. Perhaps you found me by Googling "How do I write a memoir?" Perhaps when you think about your book you get butterflies of excitement in your stomach thinking about the front cover, the book signing and the lives it could impact.


But just as quickly your stomach might drop in frustration with all that’s getting in the way of you actually doing it. There’s just too many obstacles blocking your path.


What if the thing stopping you from writing your inspirational, encouraging, totally Transformational with a capital “T” book has nothing to do with the excuses you’re giving yourself? You know what those excuses are:


“I have no time”

“It’s self-indulgent compared to what’s going on in the world”

“I’m not qualified compared to other more successful authors”


What if I told you the REAL reason you’re not writing your memoir has nothing to do with the rationalizations stated above and has everything to do with one lie you keep telling yourself: “My Story Doesn’t Matter.”


If you’re still reading, I have an even bigger revelation for you. Hiding waaaay at the bottom of the “My Story Doesn’t Matter” lie is a bigger, more sinister, menacing, hairy lie that is the true reason you aren’t writing your book. It's the lie hiding within your own subconscious mindset, sinisterly whispering to you: “I Myself Don’t Matter.”


Ladies, I can tell you until I am blue in the face that You Matter. But the only person that can truly convince you of this is YOU. And in order to convince yourself you are going to have to do the one thing you’ve been avoiding doing. You’re going to have to WRITE YOUR BOOK.


If you’re terrified, that’s normal. If you feel your stomach dropping or your mind is coming up with excuses to re-grout the 1950’s bathroom tile or organize your Christmas ornaments by color and weight (even if it’s July) you aren’t alone. That comes with the territory. But you know what’s worse than facing the fear of finally writing your book? Battling fear daily that you could have written your book… but you didn’t.


I WAS ONCE LIKE YOU - FREAKED OUT OF MY EVER LOVIN’ MIND


When my son was diagnosed at 4 with Tourette Syndrome (a movement disorder that causes uncontrollable vocal and verbal tics) I was devastated. Unlike fleeting thoughts that come and go, consistent waves of panic thoughts flooded my brain. The dreaded ‘What If’s’ took residency like unwanted squatters. “What if my precious boy loses friends?”… “What if he is made fun of?”…”What if he curses during circle time and begins barking every time he sees a taco truck?”


Two therapists, acupuncture, meditation, diet changes and an exercise routine later (for me… my son was always okay) I came out the other side of this ‘What If’ nightmare with a strong belief that if I can’t change the tics, I better as hell change myself. And I did - from the inside out.


Wisdom, spirituality and a good dose of humor saved the day. It felt so amazing to, well, feel amazing. I wanted to pass my experience, strength and hope to other mamas who were also suffering. I knew the only way to do this would be through a book.


Except that I had fears about it. And would you believe it? They were the same fears I listed above that you yourself might be going through!


“I have no time”

“It’s self-indulgent compared to what’s going on in the world”

“I’m not qualified compared to other more successful authors”


I tried to stuff my feelings with food and red wine, and all that did was land me ten pounds overweight and shuffling my tired writer butt to weekly AA meetings. In time, I realized that food and wine weren’t the answer to my fear of writing my book. The only answer was to WRITE THE BOOK.


TAKING CONTRARY ACTION IS KEY


Not unlike someone who is afraid of flying and must board a plane to enjoy the destination, I had to do the opposite of my instincts. I had to face and tackle those lies of “My story doesn’t matter” and “I don’t matter” and, in the famous words of Nike, “Just Do It.”


I channeled my inner Michelle Obama and decided my story was worthy of “Becoming.”


I channeled my inner Brene Brown, got vulnerable, and began “Braving the Wilderness” with my true passion: sharing my story with other hurting women.


I channeled my inner Anne Lamott and “Bird by Bird” wrote “A shitty first draft.”


I channeled my inner Glennon Doyle, got “Untamed” and committed to “Carry On, (like a ) Warrior.”


And while could no longer eat “Bread and Wine,” I channeled my Shauna Niquest and became “Present over Perfect” with my story.


These writers were my cheerleaders and my muse. And the crazy thing is, once I got past my initial fear, I became more focused and happy than ever before. I was more present with my kids and my husband. And my dog even got more walks as I ruminated over outlines and chapter titles in my head. (But those Christmas ornaments? They never got reorganized. And, um, the Christmas donkey whose head went missing from a nasty fall earlier that year? He never got fixed either.”


While that’s bad news for the donkey, it’s great news for me. One year later my book, “Happily Ticked Off,” was published by a tiny publishing house.


Four years later I’m still getting monthly emails from grateful mamas telling me how much my story of hope and transformation changed their parenting of a child with Tourette Syndrome.


This year I’m writing the follow up book, “Happily Ticked Off, Again” based on the many inquiries I receive about how my son is managing his tics as a young adult.


GO FROM NOT ENOUGH TO ENOUGH-NESS


In facing my excuses for not writing my book, and uncovering the lies that I don’t matter by writing my book, I essentially went from “not enough” to “enoughness.” The crazy thing about the whole process was that there’s no way I could ever have felt this alive just reading about other writers who wrote their books. I had to turn off my critical parent voice and “Just Do It.”


Take the example of my children when they were starting to walk. It wouldn’t be helpful for me to sit on the floor with my arms crossed, screaming, “Move your legs, idiot!” I only had to sit still with my arms wide open, smile and offer them encouragement. Soon enough they were walking. And soon enough, from sitting still every day, and offering myself encouragement, I wrote my book.


WANT TO WRITE? IT’S ALL UP TO YOU, BABY


There came a time in my life when I could have sat on the sidelines and read everyone else’s book, but I knew I’d be miserable. What once was a tiny little voice whispering, “Andrea, you should write a book” became a booming foghorn that, frankly, wouldn’t let go. Morning, evening and during parent coffee hour at my kids’ school it bellowed, “ANDREA! WRITE YOUR BOOK!”


Maybe you can relate. In the same time it took to grow and birth your baby, you could grow and birth your book. And while the process won’t always be delightful (heck, it can get downright painful at times) think of the pride you’ll have when that book gets pushed out and you get to show it off to the world!


The very process of writing my book healed me, and the process of writing your book will heal you, too.


My story mattered.


Your story matters.


I mattered.


And so do you.


So that leaves me with just one question: What are you waiting for?


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