How Much Should We Tell?

I read a post today on My Life In Travel where the author mentioned the uncertainty she felt in her career as a nurse. Adriennea said she felt burnt out and wanted feedback on what else she could do as a career change. 

Here is our exchange:

A year ago I would never have believed that I could write a book either. Everyone has millions of stories to tell and it is overwhelming to know where to start. Unfortunately, I had a horrible tragedy and my daughter was killed in a car accident. I needed to write Justine’s story in order to preserve it. I had to write it all down. I was compelled to tell her story. 

I have finished my first draft and am waiting to be inspired to embellish my feelings in order to finish what I want to say. This is where most of us get stuck. We can write the facts but we get scared when we feel we must let people know our deepest thoughts. We clam up when we feel we might reveal more than we should.

Many of us learn this in childhood. I know when I was younger we were never to talk about money with anyone. No one was supposed to know how much things cost or how much money anyone earned. It was considered rude to talk about it. We were cautioned against revealing family dynamics outside of our homes. I think the way people keep things private is unhealthy. Too many children have been abused or neglected due to family secrets.

We must honour confidentiality in our jobs but names can be changed and circumstances changed slightly so that no one would recognize the people involved. One of my favourite authors Alice Munro‘s fictional books were not well received in her (and my) hometown of Wingham, Ontario, Canada because people recognized themselves and their neighbours and thought she had no business talking about the townspeople. Many people wait until family members have died before writing their memoirs. 

Is this holding you back from writing?

27 thoughts on “How Much Should We Tell?

  1. I think there is definitely something to revealing to much. I know would feel too vulnerable. But sometimes it helps to put things in the open which could bring new things to light. I would have never thought about writing a book. Thank you for the awesome feedback and taking the time to read my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess I have a fear of people not accepting me and my views so I hold back and wrote under a different name. Hopefully one day I can share my writing with people in my life.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “A prophet is without honor in his own home” (paraphrasing). Many times our very own close people have a hard time accepting what we have to express, but if we look past that and focus on the many more people that can relate and be touched by our story, we could make a positive impact.

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  4. I definitely struggle with this Cathy. My husband’s ex-wife has done some ridiculous things over the years, many that had an impact on my stepdaughter’s life. I’ve often said to my friends “I should write a book!” Sounds like a great idea, until I think of how much some of it would hurt my stepdaughter. I don’t want to be the one to let the cat out of the bag about some of the things that her mother has done or said. I value my relationship with her too much. Whenever (and if ever) I write that book, the facts will need to be changed considerably. I’m sure many writers struggle with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is difficult. I know I would not be writing any of this if Justine was alive and that’s why I’ve called my book, “Not My Story To Tell”. Your stepdaughter’s story is hers to tell. The way it gets blurry is that it’s also your life. Maybe when she gets older she will want to share and you can co-write a book.


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