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Posts tagged ‘family politics’

How to deal with family politics when writing a memoir

As writers, almost every experience presents itself as good story material. Get pulled over for speeding? Take notes and see how you can use that drama in a story. Cut your finger off and need it reattached? Definitely take photos and notes for future reference. Aunt Mabel said something completely inappropriate at the Thanksgiving dinner table? Quick, mentally record all family reactions and dialogue.

Unfortunately, while some family members are naive about our writerly observations, others can be quite suspicious of all that scribbling we’re doing. I teach workshops and work one-on-one with people who want to write memoirs. One of my students’ big fears is what their families will think about their writing. Will mother be mad? Will grandma disown me? Will I lose access to a family member’s treasure trove of historical documents and artifacts?

It’s true that some of these fears may be legitimate. Others may not. Here are a few thoughts and ideas to consider if you’re concerned with what your relatives will think about your writing.

1. Write for yourself. It’s hard to be creative when you’re worried about what people will think. Tell yourself that you’ll examine the potential for conflict during the revisions. Read more