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Don’t let them talk you out of it

Spend a little time identifying who the people are who might tell you not to write your memoir. Once you have identified that person/those people, you need to talk them down.

Do this as a ‘free-write.’ A ‘free-write’ is when you just sit down for twenty minutes or so and write whatever you want, without stopping, without too much thought, or any judgement. The only way you can fail at a ‘free-write’ is to not put anything down on the paper.

So think of that critic, think what exactly they are saying to you and sit down and ‘free-write’ a response to them. Imagine it is late at night and you have had a few drinks. Don’t hold back, don’t be polite, say whatever you want. Don’t start seeing their point of view or apologising to them. If steam starts pumping out of your ears, then that’s fine.

If this exercise works well for you, then find another of your critics and do some more ‘free-writing’ to put those other critics back in their places as well. At the end of this process, you might put much of what you have written in the bin. But this process will help you to take possession of your story – and that is all important.

You also might find that these free-writes help you to find the heart of your story. Why do you have to write this book? Why does your story have to be told? What is the point you want to make? Who needs to listen? These ‘free-writes’ might help you discover some answers to these questions.

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