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Surprise benefits of writing a memoir

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

I began writing my memoir because it was something I had always wanted to do, and I was running out of excuses not to. I didn't write it for “healing” or “discovery” or fame. People had been telling me for years to write one, most recently my boss in response to my explanation of how fear motivates me to work so hard at everything I do. When I told people the little sanitized bits of my story I parsed out when asked directly, they always shook their heads and said, “Penny, you have to write a book about that.” The last push came when a motivational speaker at a sales conference asked us to close our eyes and think about what we have always wanted to do and would do if money were not an issue. Boom! came the answer. Worse, he then asked how many people’s first thought was to write a book, I had to raise my hand? Sitting next to me was that same boss.

So, when I started writing, my only goal was to be true to my story and the people in it. What I did not expect, and could not manufacture if I had tried, were the memoires, details and incidents that returned to me after lying dormant for decades, and the validation, amazement and pride at how very far I had really come. I was writing my story for others to use in their healing journey but along the way, it reengaged me with my own trek and repaired the broken bits which had lain fallow in the service of daily life. The act of writing my story validated my story, the story no one else could tell because they did not live it. It boosted my confidence not only in myself, but in my writing, and the many tough, complicated choices I made to get from there to here. It is a confidence and self-surety which at this post-career stage in my life is often hard to come by.

My memoir “The Hungarian Girl” will be published by She Writes Press In June 2024. (The name may change.)

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