I feel pretentious saying this, but I am writing a book. After three years of blogging, my thoughts have coalesced around an idea for a book. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be too hard. I would piece together a number of my blog posts to form a narrative. Turns out it isn’t that simple. It is taking a great deal of thought, rewriting, new writing and editing. And, I am fighting with my lack of confidence. It seems like a supreme act of chutzpah to undertake a book, especially a memoir. After all, I’m not famous and I am not in recovery (fortunately).
I bounce back and forth between believing I have something worth sharing and then doubting that. I have been managing to stay ahead of the negative thoughts so far. I am surprised to find myself engaged in this process. It is challenging and interesting. And, I continue to do research which I enjoy.
For example, I watched the documentary The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, something I last saw in 1968. Once again memory plays tricks on me. I would have sworn that it included images of stacked cadavers in the concentration camps, but it did not. It reported on the camps, and showed footage of prisoners, but not the gruesome pictures of walking skeletons in striped prison uniforms that I see in my mind’s eye. I must have seen that at another time.
I would have sworn that the word Holocaust was used in the film to describe the tragedy inflicted on Jews in Europe, but, in fact, that term was not yet in wide use. To my surprise the documentary didn’t emphasize that Jews were in the camps either. The laws and persecution of Jews was covered but that wasn’t the focus in the segment about the camps. Research revealed that the word Holocaust came into more common usage to describe the Jewish experience in Europe under the Nazis after the airing of a made-for-TV movie in 1979. The word holocaust originated in the early 1800s but was not generally applied to these events until more than 30 years after the end of the World War II.
The research has been revealing. It is often the case that I have to arbitrarily decide to stop because it could go on and on. How much is enough? I’m not writing a history book, so I have to decide whether I have what I need or whether I should keep digging. So many decisions!!
It is also a challenge to figure out how to move around in time in telling my story. I am writing with knowledge I have today but reflecting on feelings I had as a child. Some of the point of the story is to share how I acquired that understanding. It can be tricky to determine how to present that process.
At this point, I have written over 150 blog posts. Some have nothing to do with the arc of the story I plan to tell in the book. Some are right on point and will clearly be included, but they still need to be shaped to fit the plot line. Others are tangentially related, so it depends on how things flow. Plus, there are pieces that need to be written because I have not yet addressed the subject on the blog. When I write those pieces, I then consider whether I should post it to the blog, or should I hold it back. Another decision.
I have to admit that I’m finding it difficult to sustain the blog while I work on this project. I want to try, though. I think it is good discipline for me as a writer to have that Monday morning deadline – even if it is one that I can adjust.
So, there you have it. Any writers out there have words of wisdom? I keep reminding myself that it is about the process. The meaning isn’t only in the end result. It is about exploring and understanding the threads of my life. I am choosing to share much of it on the blog. I aspire to produce a book, whether it gets published or not. Even if it doesn’t get published, I hope I will still feel that it has value.
10 thoughts on “A Book???!!!???”
I have absolutely no wisdom, but admire you so much for this undertaking! I have often felt that I had books in me, but was daunted by all kinds of things…. you go, girl!!!
Thanks for the encouragement!!!
I remember reading a book 40 years ago zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance . I recall nothing of thestory but I remember the theme… it is the journey not the destination.
Continue the process of reflection and research which is so meaningful… and whatever is written… in whatever form will be just fine!
yup – I will try to keep that in mind. Thanks.
Stream of consciousness informs many published works in place of a straightforward narrative. Life isn’t always easy to encapsulate, because as you’ve pointed out you juxtapose childhood memories with adult ones. You are very good at storytelling. Really looking forward to seeing the work you create come to fruition.
Also, a good friend self-published his novel a few years ago, and it sold well online. Something to think about instead of the traditional route.
I admire your endeavor more than I can say,
Thanks, Mary. Self-publishing is something I will consider down the road. I appreciate the suggestion.
You are a wonderful writer. Please don’t get discouraged. Many, many people want to read your thoughts on your life and different issues your memories bring up. I hope that the extent to which so many have responded to this blog helps bolster your confidence that you are touching many people with your words. I’m looking forward to reading anything you write whether in this format or elsewhere. I, like Gary and Mary, admire your efforts.
Thank you, Laurie. It does help my confidence – I appreciate the kind words and the encouragement!
I believe you can make the process much easier if you just write down each day what happened to you the prior day, add a couple of news headlines and throw in a weather report. It’s really simple that way.
More seriously, you started on this process 150 blog posts ago. You have overcome so much to get to this point. If there was ever a time to believe that you want to do this, that you were meant to do this, that you can do this, now is that time.
Lots of people have written books who have nothing useful to say and no skills to say it. You have a great story, a deep understanding of the lessons it imparts and a great desire to share these lessons with others. To deny us that wisdom would be unfair to us. I truly believe you have the write stuff.
Great play on words there, Gar! Thank you for your unending encouragement and belief in me. I will do my best to continue to earn that faith.