💬 Writing Myself Into Existence

Replied to Writing Myself Into Existence | Dr. Ian O’Byrne (Dr. Ian O’Byrne | Literacy, technology, and education)

In her book, The Art of Memoir, Karr shares “an incomplete checklist to stave off dread” as a way that she approaches the process. From this, I culled the following guidance.

  • Find your voice – Write what you know. Be yourself. This is a challenge and one that I struggle with up to this day. Hence the point of this post, even with the amount that I’ve already written.
  • Inner conflict drives the story – We often struggle with two opposing motivations in our heads. These may be based on beliefs, needs, or the viewpoints of others. Try to unpack that in your writing.
  • Use the tools of the trade – Show as opposed to telling as you fill your writing with sensory language, metaphors, images, and details. From a blogging perspective, embed multimodal content (links, images, figures, GIFs, video).
  • Go meta – Meta means about the thing itself. Seeing the situation from a higher perspective instead of from within the situation, like being self-aware. Consider the impact of your actions and writing, as opposed to simply acting it out.
  • Tell all parts of the story – Find the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Readers expect to find each of these pieces as they engage and connect. From a blogging perspective, this will mean that you may need to chunk content.
  • Revise, revise, revise – The first draft is almost always crap. Commit yourself to constantly improving your writing to make every word count.
  • Strive for honesty, not truth – Don’t lie to your audience. Don’t lie to yourself. Dishonesty and performative actions will stick out for all to see. If you have trauma, neglect, or sorrow to contend with, be a human and reckon with it.
Ian, I really enjoyed this reflection. I really enjoy writing my short reflections associated with my newsletter, however I usually struggle with the balance of what to share. I particularly like Mary Karr’s message to ‘strive for honesty’:

Strive for honesty, not truth – Don’t lie to your audience. Don’t lie to yourself. Dishonesty and performative actions will stick out for all to see. If you have trauma, neglect, or sorrow to contend with, be a human and reckon with it.

I have also been thinking about identity and memoir while digging into the work of Beau Miles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *