Saturday, February 28, 2015

Just Write!

Everybody has a story. I do and you do too! I wrote my story and now it’s time for you to write yours.

When I decided to write my story in 2008, I was 67 years old and had no idea how to go about it. So I turned to the experts, to people who had already written their own stories and were now writing how-to guide books to help me write mine.

My story started twenty-three years before I was born, when my grandmother Angelina gave birth to her fifth child and her doctor warned her against becoming pregnant again. Which is why, when she discovered she was pregnant again, thirteen years later (she was forty by then), she decided not to tell him. The tremors that began as a result of that decision effected not just my grandmother’s life, but also the rest of my mother’s life - she was sixteen at the time -, my own life, and could still be felt more than seventy years later.

When I went looking for advice on writing, the best advice I got was from Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. Natalie had great advice for beginners. She said to start by writing one hour every day. “Don’t plan. Don’t think. Just write,” she said. Her advice proved to be invaluable.

I started writing and within just a couple of months, I had filled almost a half dozen notebooks. True, much of what I had written was worthless. For every one thousand words I wrote, only about one hundred of them made it into my memoir, Rude Awakening. But I didn’t care. I kept on writing. I had fallen in love with writing and the writing process.

When I wrote interesting things happened: the world disappeared, time disappeared - even I disappeared. Writing absorbed me. It took me to a place that demanded, if not blood, then sweat and tears. But it gave back joy.

So I’m here today to tell you to write down your story. Do it now. Don’t wait for the “muse.” Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Don’t doubt that you’ll find the words. Just start writing. Now. Do it now. And prepare yourself to fall in love with the process.