I’ve been “working” on a memoir for the past 15 years.
Most of it is in my pile of diaries. I’ve spent a lot of time typing out my notes from years ago and compiling a huge scary mountain of documents that don’t make sense.
…. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and doing nothing.
All the while, I don’t have something that I could just show to someone. I can’t say, “Here is the story from beginning to end. Read it.”
But recently, I started to talk to one of my friends about the memoir, and the story behind it. She said, “That sounds like a really interesting book. Can I read it?”
And she was serious. She wants to read my book that I haven’t written. Every once in awhile she’ll bring it up. I’ll tell a story when we’re together and she’ll say, “That needs to go in the memoir.”
Just knowing that my friend wants to read it took all the confusion out of the project. Today, when I sat down to write, I just thought of her and imagined myself telling her the story. I wrote two chapters.
So if you’re ever stuck with your writing, think of the one person who would appreciate the story the most.
You can even start writing by putting a “Dear Mom” at the top of the page. Tape a picture of your customer to your computer. Choose one real person and pretend they are sitting across the table from you. They’re listening, but they’re also asking questions and raising specific concerns.
Write to that one person.