|Crawling along in the
Story Genius method for
my college memoir.
A story is one external problem that grows, escalates, and complicates from beginning to end, Lisa Cron says in our Story Genius class. Jennie Nash concurs. And, the ladies tell us, the writer needs to develop one overarching ticking clock with real life consequences.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Try it in memoir.
So I started with my misbelief that I shouldn’t attempt college because I’m inadequate to those seeking a college education. This was instilled in me when I was growing up and struggled in school. This belief kept me out of academia and away from failure, humiliation or displaying incompetence. Or so my father told me. I chose the successful path of secretary with a regular paycheck and married and became a mother like my mom, sisters, and friends.
I was safe in my cozy box of motherhood, safe from any fear of failure until my disabled daughter signed up for high school classes. Then I needed to choose whether to be a failure at guiding my children or disabled child or a failure at attempting college.
The ticking clock begins as I am forced by a comment made from a high school guidance counselor, an educated person respected in society, to either re-teach my daughter as best I could, the material needed to pass high school by educating myself first through college classes, or condemn her to only special education classes in high school.
So you may ask why I was so afraid of failure in college.
Because, in my mind, if I fail at my attempt to obtain a college degree, I have wasted the time I could have spent with the family, trying to achieve a goal that was not possible for me. My father would be right. I am not college material.
But my family is everything to me. If I failed college, I would have wasted my family’s time, which is more precious to me. It’s ok to waste your own time but not someone else’s, especially when you love them.
So what do you think of my memoir problem and ticking clock? Any comments you offer are greatly appreciated.
14 thoughts on “Story Genius Writing Course: One Ticking Clock in Story”
Hi Victoria – I think you'll find it easier than you think. I was in the same position, tried a professional degree in the UK – flunked that .. I couldn't understand the words. In South Africa I did the same course, but at night school … and in fact I started with a six month book keeping course, and then went on to the 4 year course – Chartered Secretary … and ended up passing – yes I flunked one exam, but the next two were relatively easy and I passed all three … I tried being a Chartered Secretary but it's not for me.
I was hopeless at English … but I'm not as I know from the blog – and I think you'll find the same with your daughter … learn the basics, and teach her – stay one step ahead … and you both will be fine. Get the family to support you …
Also you had the family to look after … seems like you've done a great job … perhaps my answer isn't actually the question you asked – but we all learn from something …
Memoir can be tackled any which way you want … don't be afraid – journal first perhaps … but go for it .. cheers Hilary
Fear of failure in any endeavor keeps us from taking that step into the challenge. But I always love looking back at what seemed impossible at one time and seeing it as no big deal from the perspective of accomplishmen. I think this thread in amy genre would be a hit.
That sounds like a ticking clock all right.
Fear of failing is strong, but in the end, living with regret is worse.
I agree with Hilary's comment. I believe anyone can learn and grow and move forward. We all just do so along different avenues, and sometimes it takes a little more time and creativity to reach our destinations. You, your daughter – take heart and keep pressing on!
P.S. I'm reading Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Dr. Leaf is a Christian neuroscientist, and in the book she outlines how her's/others' research shows we that can build our brain and thinking power for healthier, more productive lives. Our brains are capable of rebuilding and reprogramming negative thought patterns and other issues. It's very interesting and encouraging, and I couldn't help but think of it when reading your post.
You are wonderful, Hilary. You are right. Start slow. Get yourself up to speed. And if you fail a test, don't let it derail you. I've failed my quota of tests, believe me.
Your blog is terrific. I always enjoy reading it. And staying one step ahead of my children is what I always try to do, although it's not easy. And yes, we all learn differently from people and things around us.
Thank you so much for your vote of confidence here on Adventures in Writing, Hilary. All the best to you. Thanks for visiting.
Thank you so much for your good wishes, Lee. They are greatly appreciated. Fear of failure keeps many people from trying new things. And it’s always a good thing to look back at all you’ve accomplished. It helps you to try something else.
Thanks again for visiting Adventures in Writing. All the best to you.
Yes it is, Alex. I believe regret is far worse than being afraid to start.
Thanks for your vote of confidence. And I can't thank you enough for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It means so much to me. All the best to you, sir.
Thank you so much for suggesting Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Leaf. I'll have to check it out. I've heard that humans only use a small percentage of our brain capacity. And I agree that we have the capacity to reprogram negative thoughts into positive thoughts, if we only take the time and energy to do so.
I can't thank you enough for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving your positive thoughts. They are greatly appreciated. All the best to you.
I agree with Alex J. Cavanaugh. Everyone has a fear of failing, but no one wants to live with regret. There is always that thought, 'what if I tried and didn't fail?'
Michelle, that's wonderful! What an awesome question! This is why everyone should at least attempt something new and difficult. What if we do well? Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks for your insight.
Memoirs are such a different beast. I've written in several other genres, but I'm no help in this one. I don't read them either, so I'm REALLY no help. Still, I love the heartfelt sincerity of a personal story–and I'll read them in flash pieces.
Enjoyed your blog post. I want to write a memoir (of funny events that have happened in my life, with poignant tidbits), but I feel like my life is a bit mundane – who would want to read about it?There is much to learn no matter what road we take along our journey. Glad to have visited from the IWSG. Have a good week! http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com
Crystal, I can't thank you enough for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving your note. It means so much to me. Putting your heart on the page is always difficult. But hey, that's memoir. Thanks again for stopping by.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Diane! Everyone's life is important. That I firmly believe. And we all have stories to tell that may help others. Another reason to tell your tale with poignant tidbits. And by the way, it's the poignant tidbits that make memoir a genre people read. People are always looking for ways to help themselves get through something. And I think everyone enjoys humor. I know I do. Thanks again for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's appreciated more than you realize. All best to you in 2017.