Top Ten List - Tough things about writing my memoir - JJ Landis
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Top Ten List – Tough things about writing my memoir

JJ writing in bedroom (1)I was asked a question on my Goodreads author page: “What was the toughest part about writing your memoir?” (Some Things You Keep)


As I was unable to narrow my answer down to one “toughest” thing, I decided to write a blog post as my answer.


Top ten tough things about writing my book:


10. Convincing myself I was a writer. I knew I had the story in my head and I felt called to get it out. When I whined that there were already enough books in the world, a friend pointed out that though that was true, there were not yet any “JJ Landis” books in the world. Once I decided to write, I had to battle the demons who told me I was an awful writer and that people would roll their eyes and snicker at my words.


9. Staying off social media and the internet in general while writing. It’s amazing how interested one can become in pictures of sunsets and shopping for bath towels when one is trying to concentrate. When I wrote, I tried to keep everything but Word closed. I had to silence my phone and sometimes throw it to the other side of the room.


8. Finding time to get in the zone. My creative juices flow best when I have perceived unlimited time. I imagine others are completely opposite and work best under pressure. But I did my best work on the days when the husband would let me lock myself in the bedroom with no time limits on writing. A few times I spent four or five hours propped up on a giant pillow with my laptop warming (burning) my legs. But as I have three kids and a job, finding zone time was rare. (This is why I don’t blog very often.)


7. Not comparing myself to others. I had to distance myself from other memoirs because I compare my writing too much. I look up to writers like Anne Lamott and Kelly Corrigan (and others) and would want to give up when I read them – because seriously, they are so good, why do I even bother to write?


6. Weaving memories together into a coherent story told as it was happening not as an adult looking back.


5. Deciding what to leave out. Lots of great stories didn’t make the final cut. For example – when my drunk prom date puked in the parking lot and got us kicked out of prom or when Lee romantically promised me we’d get married some day and then pushed me into a creek (with all my clothes on) so I would be sure to remember.


4. Leaving the self-pity and melodrama out of my writing. “Woe is me. My life was so hard. You will never understand my hardships.”


3. Dealing with haters.


2. Not preaching. While I find great strength in my Christianity, I wanted the book to make sense to everyone, not just people of my faith. I wanted to clearly explain my beliefs without sounding shallow and like I had all the answers to life’s problems.


1. Giving my story a universal appeal so it would interest readers and not just be my life story. Because who really cares or needs to know about my life? I wanted my readers to have something to take away from the story.


  • Peggy
    Posted at 09:17h, 12 June Reply

    #10 — I knew you were a writer!! You didn’t??

    #6 — GREAT job of doing this.

    #4 — Don’t know HOW you managed to keep from doing this!!! I would hate to think how I would have described the same events in my constant self-involved state!!

    #2 — This is one of the things I liked the MOST about your book. I hate when someone tries to push religion at me, or discusses religion and their relationship with God in a flowery, over the top way!! You did neither of these things and I think it made for exactly what you describe in #1 — a more universal story!!

    #1 — Although I know lots of people will love the book, I was unable to separate myself and be personally involved with your story. Understandable, I guess.

    All in all, VERY IMPRESSED and very happy to recommend it to others (which I have done on Facebook, etc.).

    Love you!

    • Peggy
      Posted at 09:19h, 12 June Reply

      Need to edit my #1!! What kind of writer am I ?????

      Here’s what I wanted to say:

      #1 — Although I know lots of people will love the book, I was unable to separate myself because I felt personally involved with your story. Understandable, I guess.

  • Lee
    Posted at 08:23h, 12 June Reply

    The way I remember it we jumped into the creek together. It was a hug that got off balance and ended up with both of us in the creek…there was no pushing involved.

    I just want to make sure that your readers have all of the facts.


  • Carissa
    Posted at 20:37h, 11 June Reply

    Love this. 🙂 Great insight for fellow writers! I’d love to hear more on how you made writing a priority, with a job and family vying for your attention! 🙂

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 06:26h, 12 June Reply

      Thanks Carissa! I am still planning to answer your facebook message about this topic!

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