Hands down the number one personal concern for writers, especially for memoir writers, is how to handle relationships with those (most often family members, though not always) who will be impacted by their stories. Anxiety about this can be profound, sometimes stopping the writing process altogether. Here’s are some regularly stated concerns:
- If I write this story, will it destroy my significant other (son, mother, friend, wife, etc.) and the trust between us?
- Will significant others disown me/sue me if I write this book?
- I don’t know when or if to tell my significant others I’m writing this book.
- I can’t even get my writing done knowing how it would affect my significant others if they knew what I was doing.
- What if my significant other [son, mother, friend, wife] finds out what I’m working on or stumbles on my writing?
- How do I talk to my significant others about what I’m writing?
Still, you know you MUST write this book (after all…“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”—Maya Angelou). The urge/need/inclination to write rivals the fear of what will happen if you do so, right?
Navigating significant relationships while revealing personal events in your writing is tricky at best and panic-producing at worst for many would-be authors. And to be sure, there are some important things to consider and to put in place as you write, revise, and eventually get ready to publish your story.
Join author, family therapist, and founder of The Narrative Project Cami Ostman for a six-week deep dive into how to manage the anxiety of revealing secrets so that you can stay committed to your writing. Cami has 25 years of experience helping people in systems (families, communities, workplaces) successfully navigate difficult conversations, put down effective boundaries, and generally heal from wounds inflicted inside of those same relationships.
Here’s what this course will cover:
- The unspoken pact of silence in toxic systems and why breaking silence is a powerful healing tool if it is done properly
- The difference between facts and truth and why YOUR truth matters
- What you should tell people WHILE you are writing
- How, why, and when to take a stand for your story
- How to have hard conversations about your writing and when you should have those conversations
Module 1: Do you really need to write this story? In this module we cover your own motivations for writing your story. You will get clear about the trajectory of your story and be able to articulate the transformation you’re writing about, so you know what you’re truly taking a stand for in the writing journey. We will answer the important questions: “If I go to the trouble of writing this story, will anyone really even give a sh!t? Will disrupting my relationships be worth it to get this story out into the world?”
Module 2: How can you manage the impact of your writing on other important people in your life? In this module, we talk about how and why close systems (families, communities, workplaces) create and keep secrets or refuse to acknowledge (or even see) certain truths. What is the function of silence in a close system? What happens when someone in the system decides to actually SEE, KNOW, and SPEAK about that which has been hidden or unspeakable? And how can you minimize the possibility that a relationship or system will implode or explode because of what you are writing?
Module 3: Separating FACT from TRUTH: When the characters in your book are people in your life. In module 3 we will talk about how YOU can be in integrity with yourself as you create characters on the page. How do you know how much of someone else’s experience or actions you are “allowed” to include in the narrative?
Module 4: Hard conversations Part One. In this module we’ll discuss when and why you need to talk with important others about your writing. You will get clear about precisely who you need to speak with, what you need from those conversations, and what your own boundaries are with these important individuals.
Module 5: Hard conversations Part Two. This week, we will talk about HOW to have the conversations you’ve determined you need to have. We will discuss “meta” conversations and scripts for handling various responses others may have to you and your writing.
Module 6: Dealing with “publication panic.” This final module will give you a checklist of what you need to personally put in place before your book goes to publication. Publication is an exciting but daunting journey in a practical sense. Almost everyone panics when their book comes out into the world, but especially when you have written a book others may have reactions to, it is ESSENTIAL that you put several elements of support in place. You will walk away from this final module with a personal support plan for publication day.
Fridays, October 17, 24, 31, and November 7, 14 & 21 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) PACIFIC TIME
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