When Pursuing Your Memoir Writing Dream: Don’t Beat Yourself Up

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In the past month I’ve really cut back on my normal memoir writing schedule when I should be ramping up my dream to publish this book of mine.

First I couldn’t concentrate because I had roofers here for nine days. But you know what? I’m not beating myself up about it.

typewriter keysAlthough apparently I am famous for insisting to my friends that writers write everyday, of late, I have not, and you know what? I’m not beating myself up over it.

When the roofers threw the old roof in the driveway and every workman, resident, dog and visitor tracked in specks of tar on the bottom of their shoes that left black lines on our bamboo floors, I didn’t cry.

I created a new Wolfe House socks only policy and grabbed a can of acetone and spent two days on my knees removing thousands of gummy scuffs and I’m not beating myself up over it.

When my step-mother died suddenly and I found myself in charge of removing layer after layer of her life in the form of hard back books, soft back books, magazines and notebooks I didn’t sulk. I went to Public Storage and bought 20 packing boxes and ran to Goodwill and The Salvation Army and they were glad of the donations and I missed more writing time but I’m not beating myself up over it.

Carmen washThe new puppy, Carmen, is a handful. In just three weeks she has doubled in size from eight to 14 pounds, has reduced her nipping by 60 percent, has learned to bark twice to go out to poop, is crate trained and will raise her paw if you ask very sweetly five times. That all took time, which cut into my book writing time, but I’m not beating myself up over it.

Additionally, the meetings with attorneys and CPA’s and talking to stock brokers and gathering paperwork that a death in the family requires have me on the phone several hours a day. Last week I was shouting over the sound of hammers and men whistling for ladders and watching my floors destroyed and tending to a whining puppy, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

I’m going to a friend’s birthday party tonight at a community center, when I’d rather sort through questionnaires and re-write them into narratives, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it because celebrating with the living is important too.

And when I go back and read this post, I might wince a little bit and know that it was short and written quickly, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Because I know that sometimes when it feels like you are just dog paddling towards your dream, you are still thinking and planning and making lists in your head that will all add up at the end.

I may feel like I’m treading water but I have no plans to beat myself up over it. If I start to hear my mother on boxed wine telling me I can’t finish anything I’m going to tell her she’s dead and she should mind her own beeswax.

On Monday my desk will still be there. My binders and folders and my tiny laptop and my interviews, questionnaires and chapters will all be there waiting for me to dive back in like normal.

It’s okay to take a break from writing your memoir or pursuing your dream, just as long as you don’t let the break creep your dream into permanent retirement.

Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    Thank you!! I needed your voice in my head this morning! xo Rem

    • Rayne


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  • I am so relieved that you are normal! ;-) It makes me feel much better about my writing self! Sometimes life gets in the way of things and we have to go where it leads us. And a puppy is a HUGE distraction.

    It will all be waiting for you when you are ready to return to it.


  • deborah

    Thank you for the reminder that sometimes life has to be dealt with before work. I have about as many, ‘but, I’m not going to beat myself up about its’ as you’ve listed for various reasons related to not writing and hey, you’re right, it’s all still on the desk come Monday morning.
    Much appreciated.