“I love all insider memoirs. It doesn’t matter whether it’s truck-drivers or doctors. I think everybody likes to go backstage, find out what people think and what they talk about…”
By Rick Amitin
I had been a public speaker for over thirty years. I had developed the art of connecting with an audience, turning strangers into friends. Most of the time people found me entertaining, engaging, and useful. I was comfortable on stage. Maybe more comfortable there than anywhere. When I decided to write I expected an easy transition from the stage to the page. I was not prepared for the WWW – Written Word World.
THE LEARNING CURVE
I found out rather quickly that I had embarked on a journey I’d never imagined. I was loaded with a powerful message, full of potential… and I was a Red-Hot Mess. I had no formal training in writing. My command of oratory refused to accompany me into my new adventure. I was naked, in the dark, with the light on.
My reading habits were good but limited to one predominant genre. I had to learn what the different genres were before I could even decide which one I was intending to write. With some encouragement from family and close friends, I pressed into my mission. For hours at a time, I was alone with my thoughts and dream of writing a book. Little did I know that many consider a memoir the most difficult genre to write. Leave it to me to choose so wisely.
After months of flying solo, I joined a couple of writing groups. At the first meeting, of this “read what you’ve written and received a critique” group, I went into cardiac arrest with full blown paralysis. The feeling that I didn’t know what I was doing was immediate. I felt out of place. Thankfully, there were a couple of people who gave me a tiny glimmer of hope.
This group was heavily tilted in fiction. I kept going. learning, and gleaning wherever I could. I read everything available about the craft of writing, hovering like a chopper pilot in every how-to article I could find, tempted on every turn to label myself a fraud. Somehow, I remained resolute. I’m driven to communicate so, I had no choice, I had to stay in school. I still have a long way to go, and I’m sure I cause a few eyes to roll, but I have entered the arena.
Realizing that writers who are well trained and had been practicing their art form for years were not my competition, I accepted completion as my personal agenda. My message was mine to tell, and I had to stay focused on what was in my heart to do. I committed to learning on the job, do the best I could, and get assistance where I needed it. I’m proud of the story I told and the way I ended up telling it.
I attended a three-day writers retreat, a great decision. I left the workshop with a matrix that would guide my steps the rest of the way. I guesstimate I wrote twelve versions of my book before it was honed into finality. The finished product looks very different than my original conception. I was thrown off the horse so many times that I wanted to kick the nag in the teeth. I remounted each time with the power of editing in my spurs. The Bucking Bronco eventually became agreeable.
My writing was weighted with excess and message killers that had to be trimmed and streamlined. There were times I felt overwhelmed and inadequate. As I plowed through the maze of this creative process, I slowly found my footing. Through the systematic dissecting of what didn’t work, I landed safely on what did. My story and message were breathing freely, on their own.
Memoirs are unique. By nature, they have a lot of moving parts and often involve other people. Some won’t be happy that you’ve decided to write about things that might put them in a bad light. Hey, they should’ve been nicer. These situations are best thought through beforehand – considering any possible negative consequences. Once your book is published, it’s forever forged in ink.
I chose to describe certain situations without naming names. This is a choice that many memoir writers will face. It’s a very personal decision and one you must make for yourself. In other places, I felt names had to be included to stay true to my message. I also left out things after concluding that they were not essential and could ultimately distract from the point I was making.
My wife and I found some areas of disagreement. I let the book sit for a couple of months while she and I worked through some difficult parts of my story that involved her. For me, it was not only important but necessary to honor her and acknowledge that we were not in the same place of healing on every point. Using respect as a tool, we derived a means for me to tell my story authentically and satisfactorily for both of us. I couldn’t be more thankful that we took the time we needed to get there.
Many memoirs have real life heroes. Deciding if that will be you or someone else is also a very personal decision. You can’t include your whole life in a memoir. I chose to leave some of my warts in while leaving some other missteps out. The basis of my memoir is about me coming out of dysfunction in wholeness. I invite readers to view my journey in hope that they will be excited about their own lives. Every memoir writer will need to determine their desired outcome.
It would be incredible if the whole world embraced your story. And, it is always possible that your book miraculously goes viral. The reality is much less dramatic. You’re writing because you have a message and that message has a likely target. Defining your market is important before, during, and after your book is finished. Everyone will not want or be ready for what you’re offering. Prepare yourself!
You wouldn’t be thinking about writing a memoir if it wasn’t doable. Whether you’re a polished craftsman or a novice wordsmith, your story matters. Write it.
~There is information and link to Rick’s book below~
Rick Amitin is a Writer, Author, Blogger, Poet, Inspirational Speaker, and Founder of rickamitin.com. He’s a contributing columnist for Read My Mind Magazine and has published articles on various platforms. Rick traveled extensively as an Evangelist, Pastored for many years, and built a multi-million dollar insurance business in Los Angeles before embarking on the journey of personal transformation. Rick is a Certified Behavioral Analyst and a Transformational Life Coach. He is currently in development of an online training platform. Rick has attended numerous seminars in personal development with some of the leading voices of our time, Ford Taylor, Jack Canfield, Sanford G. Kulkin, and Kevin Knebl, CMEC to name a few. Rick is a former member of The Dallas Fort Worth Writers Workshop and the Writers Guild of Texas. He is a life-long student, and an avid reader and researcher. Rick resides in San Francisco, CA with his wife of thirty-five years.
‘If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness’ by Rick Amitin
Abandoned by his father as a small child, Rick Amitin survived a heartbreaking relationship with his mom and three stepfathers before he was nine years old. At fifteen, he set out on his own, traveling the world, searching for his dad, and finding it impossible to live happily without one. One misguided decision and painful consequence after another, Rick made his way through the military and answered the calling to preach. He lifted people across the country and around the world while the wound of fatherlessness wreaked havoc on his relationships and pursuits, making him grapple with his lack of identity and sense of worth at every turn, that is, until his grand boy dropped out of heaven and into his arms and catalyzed his journey of healing.
In If Only I Had a Dad, Rick’s raw-polish approach to sharing his story and hard-earned wisdom will help other fatherless men and women to:
- Identify the True Cause of All the Messy Dysfunction
- Discover the Power on the Other Side of the Pain
- Become the Parent They Never Knew They Could Be
If you have been searching for your father, wanting the pain to stop, this book is for you.
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing
Our published contributors enjoy becoming a part of an established, award-winning blog. They gain exposure from our ever growing audience. In turn, we gain the audience that they bring with their writing. Join the Two Drops of Ink family. Read our submission guidelines and send us your submission.
We have more than 20 wonderful contributing authors who have been published on this site. Check out their bios. Read their work. Visit their sites. Check out our list of ‘Published Contributors.’
Sell your book from our page, ‘The Book Store