Last week, I promised to share more valuable lessons I learned from Natalie Goldberg.
This one might be the most significant, at least it was for me:
If something is running you from behind, you won’t be free of it until you face it.
A few weeks ago, I shared my story of realizing I had PTSD, and that it was activated when I felt people close to me pulling away.
I also shared that a major theme of my memoir about parenting OCD was the dance of separation between me and my child.
If something has to change or transform in the main character to make it a story, then the story I was writing before I discovered I had PTSD was bullshit, because nothing had changed in my inner life.
Sure, I had learned something about parenting a child with anxiety and made some behavioral changes to help tame the OCD.
But I hadn’t had that epiphany yet about the deeper changes I needed to make, which would change me as a mother and allow me to set my daughter free.
If you asked me a year ago what my memoir was about, I’d say how anxiety and OCD effect parenting in general and the process of separation between mother and child in particular.
My answer is completely different today.
My memoir is now about how my own unidentified trauma and mental illness kept me from instilling my daughter with confidence in her own strength and ability to recover from OCD.
Consider this: If you’re writing memoir, or anything else really, and you feel stuck, it might not be your bad habits or “writer’s block” or whatever you believe is causing you to avoid your manuscript.
You might be blocked because something is running you from behind.
You might be acutely aware of it or vaguely aware of it or not aware of it at all.
Your job is not figure it out, however, but to simply be curious about it.
Let it be a question you release to the universe and then give yourself time and space for the answers to come.