Most memoir writers worry about how their book will be received, but for those writers who are writing about controversial themes, they have an even bigger worry than what other people will think, and that’s whether or not anyone will even believe them.
When memoirs feature controversial themes such as narcissistic abuse, abuse by a parent, relationships that revolve around mind games, and/or control and manipulation, many writers feel they won’t be believed because they weren’t believed when it was happening to them in real life.
Many writers who have gone through trauma in their lives reach a point where they feel called to write about what they’ve experienced. But getting started can be extremely difficult. Obviously, it’s hard to revisit past traumatic events, but writers struggle with writing about trauma in other ways too.
Whenever we’ve gone through a healing journey in our lives, we’ve also gone through a huge transformation. The trauma we experienced pushed us to grow and change, and it’s not always easy to write about these changes, or explain them to other people. As a result of our experience with trauma, we may have worked on healing old issues, old ideas about our identity, and old limiting belief systems. The healing journey is never over, but we do get to a place where we realize we’ve experienced so much that could help others.
Over the years, I have worked with many writers who dream of writing a book that will help serve humanity. Much of the time, the writer has experienced some sort of deep trauma, gone through a healing journey because of that trauma, and then come out on the other side with a unique perspective on everything they experienced. Usually in these cases, the writer realizes that what they’ve learned could greatly benefit others who are currently going through the same sort of trauma they experienced, and that the best way to get this knowledge into the hands of other people is to write a book that contains all of the insights the writer learned the hard way.
However, it can be confusing to write this kind of book that serves the world when you have no idea what direction you need to go in to even start. Some writers feel it’s important to include extremely personal pieces of their own journey (memoir), and some want to focus more on learning strategies for the reader (self-help). Some feel like they might want to do a mix of the two, but they’re unsure about how to pull that all together.