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  • Grace Ehlers

reality of writing a memoir

Hi!!


Let’s jump right in.


What is it really like to write a book? What is it like to write an extremely honest memoir?


These are the two questions I really pondered when I decided and began writing “Party Pooper: Growing up with Anxiety” back in October. The entire process ended up taking a little under a year. It was full of both exciting and stressful moments.


I am only twenty years old and most people I know (plus many strangers) are reading my entire life story that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. This can definitely be an interesting thought to process at times.


My book is a memoir of my life starting at the age of four (when I began to develop anxiety) up through right now. I had to discuss hard topics besides my anxiety like : family problems, drama with friends, breakups, struggling with self- confidence, etc. I wanted it to be raw, full of emotion, honest, but come across as lighthearted as possible. In other words, I wanted to be vulnerable, but still attempt to make the reader smile.


Publishing my book felt like publishing my diary at times. I often have wondered what will people think. How will people take reading about some of the topics I discuss? Will people understand where I am coming from? Will I be judged for the way I handled things or my struggles in general?


The hardest part about writing my book was discussing outside people that I don’t talk to anymore. It is easy to tell you about me and my own feelings. I have no problem talking about me, but when it comes to a part of my life that heavily involves another person, who’s not in my life anymore, it is quite the struggle trying to figure out how to go about it.


Writing stories with other people had to be done. There was no way around it. Each person in my book, whether it was a positive or a negative story, shaped me in some way. I had to write about it all, but it was those parts I hesitated over the most. I wrote and rewrote. I asked people around me how it sounded. I couldn’t speak for their motives or feelings… only mine. I could say how it happened, but I had to be careful not to put thoughts into their head. It was quite the challenge.


My developmental editor was beyond amazing. She was good about helping me navigate how I wanted to go about writing the parts of my book that involved other people. I also would discuss really personal things about me. Example being, I discuss a minor struggle with an eating disorder I had in middle school. She would call to check on me, and make sure I was okay after having to write about something like that.


She was just one of my (about) six editors. The actual writing process was so fun. I did it all through a program. We would have weekly sessions to learn how to properly brainstorm and write out our thoughts. They took care of finding all the editors and guided us through both the entire writing and publishing process. Writing was the easy part. The tiny details and actual publishing was definitely harder in my opinion. For both publishing and writing, I would have various deadlines to get different things done. It felt like school at times, but it kept me on my toes and more organized.


Lastly, would I do it again? If I could go back and keep it all to myself, would I?


ABSOLUTELY!! AND NO!!!


At the end of the day, I did it all for a reason. Although, I had moments of worry and overthinking, I loved writing my book. No matter how hesitant I got, I never wished to turn back. I love being open about my life in hopes it can encourage others out there.


In today’s world, we are used to seeing everyone’s highs, and I am happy to be able to share some of my lowest lows. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but if just one person is slightly encouraged by it, I’d do it all over again a million times.

(My book is available now on Amazon! I do make money from Amazon. So, your support would mean the world to me. If you follow me on Instagram, look at my recent post to find a limited time offer for a signed copy!)

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