First, I want to say that not every blog entry on this book will have an excerpt accompanying it. I don’t think I set that expectation, but I want to clarify that I won’t be posting excerpts of the entire book-in-progress. There are parts of this book that may not see the light of day until they’re fully-edited and in the book itself upon publication. This is something I’ve been thinking about for the last few days, and I have my reasons, which I may or may not publicize.
So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about the writing process for this book and where the ‘self-help/memoire hybrid’ thing came from.
The ‘self-help/memoire hybrid’ came from what I initially labeled this project when I started it way back in 2016. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years but then these last six years have been one seriously crazy-ass roller coaster of a ride for me and a lot of other people, too. When I first started this project I had no detailed plan for how I was going to structure this book or what I was going to write about. No, I don’t plot or plan things out and in a very roundabout nut-ball way it works for me.
Now as I begin to write this book in earnest, I have to tell myself just to get what I can onto the page and then edit the snot out of it later. And yes, writing is a lot of editing, sometimes more editing than actual writing itself. Kind of a nut-ball crazy process, especially since I’m writing on the fly here so to speak. I’m still trying to figure out how to combine memoire with self-help advice but talking about it here helps me work through what is largely an instinctive process for me.
The memoire-part of this book is what I want to use to tell my story because I think using a story-like format illustrates a point better than me just droning on about it. But revisiting some of those chapters in my life isn’t the easiest thing to do either and not just for the emotions accompanying the memories.
I’ve been thinking about why I started writing and for me it’s something I’ve never really had to think about. It wasn’t something I had to sit and debate and run pros and cons on or anything like that. Like a lot of writers, I just put pen to paper and started writing. For some writers, it’s a case of write-or-go-crazy, and I think that applies to this project for me.
The thing I can’t stress enough about ‘Breaking Radio Silence’, or anything I write about in general is that it’s not about revenge or anything like that. With ‘Breaking’ it’s about sharing things I’ve learned about myself in order to help others who’ve been through things like I have. Now when I first started this project I was just doing that soul-searching in order to learn how to make better decisions. I knew I had some wounds to deal with, but the thought of healing was something I didn’t think about at all back then.
I just had a thought: sometimes writing is about doing what may look impossible to do. Because when I start writing something, especially something I’ve never written before like book-length non-fiction I seriously wonder if I can do it. But I know that I won’t be able to find out until I do it. And when it comes to writing, it starts out with one word, then one sentence, then one paragraph, then one chapter, then a whole book.
And yes, as Annie Lamont said in her book ‘Bird by Bird’, sometimes you do have to give yourself permission to write crap. I tell myself that nothing comes out perfect the first time and some pieces of writing will need more editing than others in order to be ready for publication. And anyone who says otherwise or acts like writing is easy, or any ignorant bullshit can shove their bullshit back up their ass.
So no excerpt today but check back next week and I may have one ready to illustrate the basics of a ‘self-help/memoire hybrid’.