Hometown Beauty Queen, A Memoir – Part #1

Hometown Beauty Queen, A Memoir – Part One

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A big hello and warm welcome to my friends and to all visitors of my blog!

My past five blog posts have been assorted articles and stories that I’ve written. With this new post, I thought I’d get a little more personal and share the journey of writing of my memoir – which, by the way, took 14 years to finish!

The primary reason for starting my blog was to help realize my dream of getting my memoir, Hometown Beauty Queen, traditionally published. In today’s world, aspiring authors are encouraged to write a blog and to build a following of at least 2,000 in order to attract interest from publishers. A pretty daunting thing to try and do, but I am finding that one blog post at a time – and receiving many kind and supportive comments – I can now see that it’s possible! With time, patience and discipline, it can be done. By the way, I read Michael Hyatt’s PLATFORM: Get Noticed in A Noisy World, one of the “bibles” on blogging. It is a fantastic resource. Mr. Hyatt is one of the most popular bloggers in the world: michaelhyatt.com

The process of writing my memoir, Hometown Beauty Queen, has been an extraordinary experience, where I have gained more insight into myself in some ways than the eleven years of therapy I’ve had. As a recovering alcoholic I, in my memoir, take the reader on the road of my recovery and the healing of my self-esteem. But overall, I would say the heart of my book is about soul survival.

In 2000 at 50 years of age, I started writing Hometown Beauty Queen. It was a lifelong dream of mine to write my story, but it was only after meeting my writing teacher, Carmen Renee Berry, that I believed I had met the person who would lead the way. In hindsight, I can also see that I needed to be older to write my book, when I had more time to reflect on my life, when I wasn’t so busy living it. But it was also essential for me to have a writing coach such as Carmen (who, by the way, is also a licensed therapist), assist me in connecting the dots of my life to see the bigger picture and help me process major life events, such as the death of loved ones.

I only had a germ of an idea to write about when I first met Carmen. But she believed in me and felt my idea and story of being a hometown beauty queen was strong enough to get started. I became her writing student, joined her writer’s group and attended her writing seminars. I was passionate about wanting to learn how to become a literary writer and that passion kept me going for 14 years and 26 versions later and upteen book titles, I crossed the finish line.

Carmen said that writers who actually finish their memoirs are the ones who must tell their story. They have a dire need to do so and I admit I am one of those writers.

As well as being an incredibly gifted writing coach, Carmen is a New York Best Selling coauthor of the book Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties and has written over 20 books. For those of you who might be interested, she is teaching online writing classes. She will coach you step by step from inception to publishing. Check out her website:  carmenberry.com

After finishing my memoir, I stopped writing. This is not good. A writer needs to write. The great gift I am receiving in blogging, is that I am writing again! It seems really obvious now, but I’d been so focused on getting published that I lost sight of the most important part of this journey – to keep writing! I hope to blog more consistently but as a lot of writers will testify, it is a constant struggle to get yourself to sit down and do it. I really admire those people who have that kind of daily discipline and it’s one of the things in life I am working on. I will keep trying to do better.

A writer needs to write.

As a blogger, I am finding I strive to write my best knowing I have an audience. My hope is, of course, that my writing will be of some benefit to the reader in whatever fashion, for that is what makes it all worthwhile. But man, it’s like pulling teeth.

The discipline of writing is very difficult, there’s just no two ways about it.

I’ve received some comments with questions about the process of writing. A friend of mine recently said that, for a writer, what is most important is to be true to what you feel. I love that. Allow your feelings to direct the words and especially do not censure yourself in your first draft. Put a gag in the inner critic’s mouth, lock her/him up in a closet and then go for it. Start the editing process in your second draft, but with the first draft, let it fly!

I can understand why alcohol has been the downfall of many writers. It’s a good thing I got sober before starting my book as I probably would have been on one big bender! The good news is this year I celebrated 27 years of sobriety. It really is possible to write and not drink at the same time! More later about that and about the journey that began as a hometown beauty queen.

Thank you again for your much appreciated comments. The connection is important to me and I love hearing what you have to say.

Hometown Beauty Queen, A Memoir – Part Two to be continued…..

 

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