Even if you’ve been dreaming of writing your memoir for years, it’s very common to sit down to actually start doing it and feel immediately paralyzed and not able to move forward. This is a very specific, very strong form of writer’s block that often hits writers right when they’ve decided to finally take the plunge and begin writing their memoir. It also tends to happen to writers who have already started their memoir, and then they get into the middle of the first draft and don’t know how to keep going.
Symptoms of this kind of resistance show up as feeling paralyzed or frozen. It also shows up as feeling completely confused about how you’re ever going to pull all the pieces together, finish the book, or make it into anything worthwhile.
When this feeling of paralysis comes over you, it’s a sure sign that your system is overwhelmed. And when we go into overwhelm, we shut down and our creative energy goes into hiding.
In every one of my classes for writers, there are always a few writers who are doing deep healing work and, along the way, discover that they feel called to write a memoir. However, immediately after this, self-doubt kicks in and the writer questions if they really should be spending their time trying to write a memoir, or if their time would be better spent on some other writing project.
I’ve also worked with many people who have tried to write their memoir, but never finished it, or could never quite get the motivation to start it. This is extremely common for writers who are embarking on writing a first memoir. The problem is that every writer who goes through it tends to feel very isolated and has no idea their struggle is not just about them, but is actually a relatively natural part of the process for first-time memoir writers.
Usually, first-time memoir writers are dealing with a lot of fear around the process. They’re afraid that: