FAQ from my memoir authors: “How does this one odd piece of my life fit in with the rest of it? Should I bother including it in my book?”
When you’re writing the story of your life, some situations, choices, and even entire eras (and errors) may stick out like sore thumbs. There you were, chugging along through life as planned when, without warning, the cosmic train conductor switched the tracks and you found yourself headed in a whole new direction. In fiction, this is called a plot twist.
Why not see it the same way when writing your life story?
We all have those scenes (and people, and entire chapters) that don’t exactly fit into our life plan, or how we see ourselves. When penning your life story you may be tempted to leave those scenes on the cutting room floor and focus only on “the good stuff” that makes sense. Here’s why that would be a mistake.
For most of us, life has curves, sometimes sharp ones. In my case, so does my spine, with severe scoliosis requiring life threatening corrective surgery at the age of 19. To say this put a crimp in my life plans, would be an understatement. My scoliosis diagnosis came right as my high school classmates and I landed at our adult career crossroads. We were all huddled with our guidance counselors, parents, and classmates, stressing about what (the blank) we wanted to do with “the rest of our lives.”
Soon I went from looking at college brochures to staring in horror at light boards containing X-Rays of my twisted spine. The life curves that followed for years afterward were sharp, with some nearly as death defying as the surgery itself. Somehow though, I (usually) managed to make the best of where I landed, finding purpose and a plan in every new scene and situation.
So when it came time to write my own memoir I had no choice but to confront these plot twists head on. Curves, I learned, both personal and professional, have defined the story of my life. I decided to embrace this, titled my memoir “The Power of the Curve” and got to work with my ghostwriter finding the deeper lessons and threads that can benefit my readers.
How about your curves?
What lessons and deeper revelations can be found in the plot twists of your life?
When looking at your life story, how can you embrace your plot twists and unravel them into something more powerful?
Use this as a journaling exercise and who knows – maybe it’s the beginning of YOUR memoir project!