I was in Michigan this week at our annual girls’ weekend—two wonderfully lazy days spent by the fireplace in a cozy inn, catching up with seven old and new friends. We ate and shopped and laughed and it wasn’t until I got home that I remembered one friend mentioning how stressful her job was.
I have no idea what her job is. I never asked. And because I never asked, I missed a chance to connect with her in a more meaningful way.
I was walking my dog today when she spotted two other dogs behind us on the other side of the street. She kept stopping to look back at them, making strange little growling sounds. Since it was only twenty degrees and I didn’t want to be out in the first place, I quickly became annoyed. I tried to point her in the right direction and convince her that what was a block behind her wasn’t going to hurt her.
When I got home, I sat at my computer and felt the same annoyance. I struggled to get my writing going in the right direction and to remind myself that looking back at past events can’t hurt me.
Creating compelling characters is challenging, and writing about the real people in your life can be downright terrifying! How much do you share? Will those close to you recognize themselves? What material is yours and what is off-limits?
Whether you’re writing fiction, memoir, or blogs, you WILL face these challenges as you write about what—and who—you know. So how do you write from a place of love and integrity while remaining true to yourself? Who gets to say where your story ends and another person’s begins?
I’ve mentioned before that I work with a coach. Recently he had me take a “needs assessment.” I thought it might be like one of those quizzes in Cosmopolitan magazine, revealing that I need to buy more silky blouses, or light a scented candle. Or maybe it would be similar to a “love languages” test and tell me what I already know, that I need a lot of hugs.
I was surprised to learn that my number one need is for PEACE.
I used to call myself the reluctant blogger. When the term blog was coined, I dismissed it as frivolous. I studied journalism in college before Al Gore invented the internet, at a time when stories were called articles and were written on electric typewriters (look it up). When blogs came along, it seemed that everyone and their brother had one, and it sort of ruffled my feathers that anyone could call themselves a writer.
Yes, I was a real snob.
It was a summer day in 1977; I was watching “Days of Our Lives” with my mom while she folded laundry. The announcer broke in. “Elvis is dead,” he said, and my mom cried. I was too young to follow politics, and two years later, I would barely register the upheaval in Iran, but in my world, Elvis Presley reigned supreme. So I cried too.
The Facebook message started: Tammy, I am a producer on Chelsea Handler’s new documentary series for Netflix…One of the films is on marriage…I was hoping you might share your story with Chelsea.
I re-read this several times with what I considered an impressive amount of skepticism, but honestly, I am not immune to words like producer, series, Los Angeles. So after taking 30 minutes to wander around my house pretending that I wasn’t a bit interested and it was all a mistake anyway, I did as the guy asked and called him.
I know I’ve entered the wilderness when my son says, “Dad laughs. You don’t.”
It’s true. So we are embarking on our first post-divorce vacation. I’ll have the kids for a solid week, on my own, and I’m scared. I’ve chosen a YMCA family camp in Wisconsin as our destination because at least there […]
In last week’s newsletter, I asked readers to take a peek at my first article as guest author on DivorcedMoms.com. I was at 1,300 views and hoping to earn a bronze star on that site.
Fast forward (and I mean fast)… that blog was picked up and featured on the Huffington Post’s Divorce page, then picked up by HP Germany and today appeared in Australia’s IVillage.
The DM editor told me I’d gone viral. No wonder I’m feeling a little dizzy and having trouble catching my breath.
This blog originally posted on DivorcedMoms.com and was picked up by The Huffington Post U.S, Germany, and Australia. It’s an excerpt from my upcoming book. Please stay tuned for more!
This is not just another divorce story.
It’s about my journey of self discovery and finding the courage to be the person I’m here to be.