A few years ago, I wrote and finished my first book. A memoir of sorts. It was never published. And, I don't intend to have it published, although that was my intention when I started writing it. Over the last several years, I have gone back and forth in my mind about getting it edited and published. But I keep hitting a wall of internal resistance.
The reasons I am skittish about publishing it are many. The main reason being that the book was written from a raw and hurting point of view. I have wrestled with trying portray the story from a place of fairness, but I keep chipping away at some of the truth. As a result, the story has lost some of its truth and authenticity. So I tried to turn it into a novel. That made it worse because I struggled to authentically portray the characters, and embellishing the story made writing difficult. I wrote and finished the book in 3 months. I have been editing it for 9 years.
After years of struggling with how to tell the story, I realized that this particular story is not meant to be told. Not to the public, at least. What I have chosen to do instead, is to take the raw, unpolished version that first came out of my rage and hurt, and print it out as a keepsake in the confines of my home. A single copy for my bookshelf. I have come to accept that writing this manuscript was meant solely as a healing exercise, and that some stories are meant to be shared only with those closest to us.
So before you decide to write and publish your next personal story, ask yourself the following:
Is the story true? If you find yourself embellishing the truth, especially to make yourself look good and other people look bad, you might to reconsider publishing it.
Is it inspiring? If it serves a more sinister purpose, then consider writing it as a therapeutic exercise.
Is it a form of revenge? We live in a world that encourages truth-telling as a form of revenge. We want to see the people who hurt us, shamed and shunned by society. If this is the only reason for sharing your story, think again. Having your story out there will serve its purpose (shame the perpetrators), but true healing and revenge come through self-love and living your best life. You won't feel better about yourself unless you do the latter.
Will people be hurt and damaged because of this? Sometimes, sharing the truth means hurting people by association. They might not be the ones who hurt you, but because they are a part of the story, they find themselves on display in your book - sometimes in an unfavorable way. This was one of the main reasons why I decided against publishing my story.
All in all, make sure that your reasons for publicly sharing your story are pure. Otherwise, consider writing, printing and binding it, and place it on your private library shelf. It will still be a book you have written, just one that never got published.