Distancing Yourself When Writing A Memoir

As memoirists, we often write about heavy and emotional subjects for our books. For instance, my heavy memoir topic involves a health scare that turned out to have many hidden blessings. For those of you new to my site, welcome! You can read what I’ve posted so far, and I will post more of my memoir in the coming weeks.

In the creative nonfiction writing class that I took earlier in my college career, one of the most important concepts we discussed was distancing yourself from the events that you’re writing about. Let some time pass, especially if they were emotionally charged or provoke painful memories. Sometimes it helps to distance yourself before telling painful stories because it allows you to process those emotions. This concept is especially important if you plan on telling that story to someone else. It was, for instance, important to me because this was a workshop class and we had to read our writing in front of the class, and I didn’t want to have any emotions interfering with the writing process. Case in point: I was able to write about my heavy topic in 2016 with no problem because it had been 4 years since the initial event; however, had I taken this class in 2012 when the events happened, I highly doubt that I’d have been able to write about it. Everyone is different, but this is just one person’s perspective on this topic.

Filed under: Memoir, Writing, cancer

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