The Growing Mind

Writing My Memoir & Emotional Growth


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The Year In Review

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(180  words – 1.5 min read)

An honest self-reflection always leads to better resolutions. It is that time of the the year again!

2016 accomplishments

  • Wrote more than 100,000 words (75% of the draft)
  • Became NAMW member
  • Read so many great books
  • Listened to coursera writing courses
  • Started my blog and love it 🙂
  • Attended webinars offered by NAMW
  • Attended The Magic of Memoir Conference in Oct in Oakland, CA
  • Read many articles in psychological studies  to understand human behavior and personalities and how they connect or disconnect in the story of life.
  • Learned more about becoming a writer
  • Learned more about what I don’t know

2017 Moving forward

  • Finishing the first draft (putting memories on paper)
  • Editing for version 1 (checking grammar, clarifying sentences, adding dialogue, scenes, and checking the flow of the story)
  • Attending “Writing Your Memoir in 6 Months” class by NAMW.
  • Reading more books (Including classic novels, memoirs, and modern novels – Psychology books are part of my daily diet)
  • Attending local writers clubs
  • Focusing on building my platform through social media
  • Understanding the publishing process better and getting ready for publishing in early 2018

 

Happy Holidays and Happy 2017!

Celebrate life!

Shabnam

Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com


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Writing From The Heart Is A key to Liberating The Soul

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(342  words – 3 min read)

I am happy to announce I have surpassed 100,000 words on my writing journey. During the past year, I have been writing steadily despite the obstacles of life. However, I have been worried whether I wrote judgmentally until I read this: “When I went to my heart, I began to write from a desire to discover and explore my life, rather than to justify and explain it.”

I was very lucky to get to meet so many wonderful people at the Magic of Memoir Conference in Oakland. When I received blog updates from Peter Gibb, a gentleman I truly enjoyed talking to at the event, I was excited to see when his memoir is coming out. Visiting his blog led me to read the essay he wrote that was published in the book “Magic of Memoir”. In this essay, “The Shower and the Fish”, he talks about how he overcame the obstacles of writing and the journey he took to write his memoir “King of Doubt”. The essay is beautifully written but that one sentence really got me. It answered my question to whether I am writing judgmentally or not.

In the journey of memoir writing, we might get trapped in justifying our past. We do get to so many points that we don’t know how to write a part of the story because we blame ourselves or others for the cause of the event. When we put aside rational analysis of the cause, understanding everyone’s role and the dynamic of the situation through our heart, we are able to look at the event compassionately. We can then see what happened rather than why it happened. When the heart uses its compassion, it enables us to look at life non-judgmentally. It helps us to stop blaming all the characters of our story including ourselves. A compassionate heart helps us to see we needed all those characters and all the stupid things we have done to become who we are today, to move forward with less judgement, and to liberate our soul.

Celebrate life!

Shabnam

Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com


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Is Literature Essential to Create a Meaningful Life?

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(504 words – 4 min read)

I have been going through a very interesting phase of my memoir writing. Writing has been slow. I mean writing my book has slowed down but I have been writing in my journal almost every day. I needed to write to articulate my feelings. I want to call it self-discovery or maybe self-reflection.

In  the Oakland memoir writing conference, I was asked what the theme of my memoir is. I was not able to come up with one major theme but I knew there was one. I started thinking what is the main message I want to convey? Or what Is the theme of my life story anyway? I started thinking, self-reflecting, and reading to find it out.

An intimate period of self-observation showed me how hard I have been fighting with the negative feeling of “ I am not good enough” all my life. To this day, I face it almost every day under different circumstances, but I was proud to see I overcame it most of the time and I have tried to be at peace when I was not able to overcome it. I can say the emotional pain of feeling “I am not good enough” is always very strong and runs deep but my observation showed me I have become more experienced in coming out of it over the course of my life. I began to wonder how I survived all these years.  I wanted to know what I do to overcome this strong and negative feeling. With more self-observation, I found out reading literature and psychology, and writing about my feelings have been my survival tools to turn fear to love and hope when I feel down. I basically try to get more self-awareness from the negative situation.

I am moved and touched, reading Azar Nafisi’s books these past few weeks. She beautifully explains the role of literature and liberal arts in our lives. She makes it clear how reading books ( a lot of books) and seeing life through the eyes of each character in the books can help us widen our view on life, to be able to put things in perspective, and to learn to avoid black and white judgments.  Hanging out with each character of the book lets us feel their pain and relate it to our pain. Pain is an unavoidable part of life; it is our duty to turn pain to love.

Through my readings, as I relate more to the pain of each character or the author, I want to write more and more. When I read, light bulbs turn on in my head. The more I read, the more I write, and the more articulate my thoughts and feelings become. It gives me so much joy, reminding me about the infinity of life. It makes me feel liberated and I love those moments of being. It triggers my curiosity to learn more and that in turn makes my life a lot more meaningful. Indeed, literature has an essential role in our lives. Let’s read more and write more!

Celebrate life!

Shabnam

Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com