My indie project is “weird” because I broke a six hundred page journal about an awakening experience into three separate stories and published it as a trilogy in just over a year. In blogging about it, I publicly explored my spiritual journey.
Writing and publishing the first three Burnout to Bliss books in such a limited time was exhausting. But I learned more about indie publishing and shared it on my blog, Skating Thru 2012. And the most important thing I learned was not about publishing. It was about why I had written the series.
Indie authors understand the “why” of writing books is either “write to market” (to make money) or as a “passion piece” (something you want or need to do). Non-fiction authors are also advised to determine their “why” before they even start writing because it shapes the story.
In the beginning, mine was a “passion piece” because I viewed it as a legacy for my nieces, who were now the same age I was when I had that remarkable two-year experience almost thirty years ago. It began with pervasive discomfort in my once-loved job as a professor and disappointment with my inability to find someone who could “see me.” My nieces could be having a similar experience!
But the “why” changed while writing the books.
When I completed BURNOUT – How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith, I believed it worth sharing because it highlighted the madness (psychotic episodes) of professional burnout. I knew I wasn’t the only one who had felt such despair. And sharing personal experience, at least according to National Association of Memoir Writers, is why people write memoirs — to shed light on the way. I also hoped to instill respect for other spiritual paths because my return to faith happened strangely while camping with Mexican Indian Shamans.
Cycling in the City – How I Got My Confidence Back told a different story. As the first break-away from the job, it relates discovering the depth of damage from burnout and what I did to get better. I know I’m not alone in the experience of realizing that life no longer works. I saw sharing my story as a way of helping others. Part Two of that book is a model I created for making severe changes, like breaking addictions. But that was not the only reason for writing it. Having just learned about Amazon “Shorts,” I wanted to experience writing one. This story seemed perfect for the exercise.
My understanding of “why am I writing this?” changed as I wrote 2 years, 1 Paycheck, 0 Plans – a story of healing because I realized the healing was continuing as I wrote. And it was not about forgiving the jealous friend who launched my journey. That was completed in my journals (1985-89). Instead, it was about Mom and the underlying reason for my being intensely depressed so long ago. I was making revisions when all the hidden, unexpressed rage suddenly had a voice. I felt as if Mom was there with me, encouraging me in spirit to do whatever it took.
My “why” for writing the series was no longer just a “passion piece” for my nieces. It wasn’t even about helping others. Instead, I now believe it was about healing old wounds so I could let go, surrender, and move on with my life. Some part of me must have known this would happen because in Book 1 the Preface identified the title for the next book as Surrender.
Finally understanding the true “why” for writing that trilogy, I am convinced that I was guided to do this project, not for others, but for myself — to complete the healing of events and my weird relationship with Mom that happened so very long ago.
[And it’s not finished yet. Book 4, BLISS, will be a book of lessons learned about having more joy in life. If you want to be among the first to know when it’s published, please visit Burnout to Bliss and click the red link below.]
You can find the first three books here:
- BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith
- CYCLING in the CITY — How I Got My Confidence Back
- 2 Years, 1 Paycheck, 0 Plans — a Story of Healing
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi
How About You?
Why did you write your personal story, your memoir?
Love your blog piece. Insightful. Thought provoking. I’m now meditating on my reason why. Will let you know the result.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I look forward to reading your “why.”
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Such a good idea for a blog post Pam, I will reference your post. Thank you.
Thank you, M.A. Loss. So happy you dropped by.