The Growing Mind

Writing My Memoir & Emotional Growth

Reading my story aloud

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I am very excited for the Memoir Writing conference with NAMW I am attending next week. I learned there is an opportunity to read 3 minutes of my story to the audience. I loved the opportunity and  immediately signed up for it. Then I felt so nervous. I started to doubt I could do it, whether I even had a good section ready to read, but I pushed the thoughts aside. I searched and it seems 3 minutes of reading is about 600 words for an average speaker. I wanted to select a section that has a start and finish to some extent. But which section? I am still writing the draft and learning how to write a story.

After giving it some thought, I made the decision to read the section that talks about the time my daughter and I spent in the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey for her visa. I read it to my daughter and my husband and they liked it. However the whole time I was reading it I was crying. We thought I could practice and would be able to control my emotions but a week later, I still felt the same; I felt too emotional about that part of the story.  It was not fun being unable to manage my emotions but on the bright side I felt what I wrote came from my heart, and I hope it goes to my readers’ hearts. I am hoping to create that heart to heart connection with my readers.

I accepted that I am not ready to read that part and started searching for another piece. I picked the section that talks about how Mike and I would talk about our daughters at the beginning of our relationship, and the excitement I had meeting his daughter for the first time. I did cry the first couple of times I read that part out loud, but then the emotion was more manageable since it was about the happier part of the story. As soon as I managed my emotions, every time I read this section aloud, I found myself editing it more to make  connections between the sentences to give the right flow to the story. I learned when I read it loud, I find the disconnects between the sentences much better. That was amazing. It was coming so naturally.  I had heard about the benefits of reading your story out loud to have better edits but experiencing it was so much fun. it was a lot deeper and more beneficial than I thought. I hope I can find volunteer ears to hear me reading the draft to be able to edit it better.

Celebrate life!

Shabnam

Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com

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Author: Shabnam

Shabnam Curtis the author of My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 she immigrated to the United States, where she now works as a project performance analyst and in her free time reads works by such authors as James Baldwin, Azar Nafisi, and Isabel Allende. Shabnam teaches memoir writing workshops and is working on her second memoir. She lives in Sterling, Virginia, with her husband and two dogs.

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