The most difficult part of the writing process for me was getting started. I didn’t how or where to begin. Do I write in chronological order, or do I just type what comes to mind and put it all together at a later date? I tried them both. There was a lot of frustration because I didn’t know how much to include and I had no direction. Then, I came up with the bright idea of writing it as a screenplay. I wrote out individual note cards detailing the most interesting scenes from my life that I thought would play well on camera. In this format, I was unable to include some important elements of my life, so I went back to writing in book form and built the book around my scene cards. Each card ended up becoming a seed that I cultivated until all the “seeds” grew into a book.
Once I figured out how to start, I still had another obstacle, re-living the painful past. Because of some of the difficult circumstances and painful memories, there were several times when I had to stop writing and deal with my emotions. I had to admit that the wounds I experienced growing up were still unhealed and were having an effect on my life and my marriage. My husband and I had to work through a lot of difficult things like depression, fear and the lack of fulfillment I had been experiencing. Sometimes it took months or even a year before I could begin to write again. Needless to say it was a long process, but the healing that came along with it was invaluable.
Once my full draft was ready, the editors were very helpful in asking probing questions which pulled out more details that added an even greater depth and richness to the story. It was also helpful for me to have some friends from diverse backgrounds read my manuscript and help me clarify areas that could be misinterpreted or confusing. I even had my father read the parts of the book, which featured him. I wanted to make sure I had his permission to open up our lives to the public world.
Though the writing experience took a long and difficult 10 years, the healing that took place and the relationships that have been mended was worth every second and every tear.