Your life has been full of experiences, some amazing and some devastating. Now, as you’re writing your memoir, you’ve probably questioned what experiences you want to include in it. You’re writing your life story, undoubtedly there are things that you feel are too private to share.
However, sharing your private experiences in a more public setting—even if it is family or close friends who read your memoir—can be a liberating experience for many reasons.
Sharing private events gives you the space to process them
This seems very straightforward, and that’s because it is! Is there a particular event or interaction that you’ve been circling around but not writing? Writing through this in your life story can help you to understand and process how the event or interaction affected you. If you aren’t sure that it’ll fit in your memoir, write it anyway. You may find it fits perfectly.
It gives others insight into what they’re going through
If you’ve experienced something, chances are very high that someone else has experienced something very similar. You are not the only person with an experience like yours, no matter how amazing or heart-wrenching it may be. Telling your story allows others to learn from it. In putting yourself out into the world, you are helping other people. Telling the truth about events and interactions you’ve deemed private can help another person work through a similar situation.
You have nothing to lose
When you’re writing about things that have happened to you personally, your internal critic starts to get loud. Worrying about how people will perceive your stories is fruitless, because you won’t know if you don’t write them. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” If your answer is that your experiences will start a war, maybe you should take a second to listen to that internal critic. But, if your answer is anything like “my friends will judge me,” or “too many people will know about my life,” then it might be time to tell your internal critic to stand down.
This is your life, and this is your life story. Tell the truth to the degree that you want to. You’re trying to leave an impact, it’s okay to talk about private things in order to do so.