Visibility in Memoir Writing: Your Presence on the Page
Nothing says visibility like video.
Which is why I’ve been making a video a day for the last week.
You see, after two years of wanting to make video and not doing it, I finally had to admit that my inaction had less to do with the excuse I was telling myself—that I am technically challenged—than it has to do with an old pattern of hiding.
What does a hiding pattern, which is to say a fear of being seen, have to do with writing?
As the saying goes, how you live one area of your life is how you live every area of your life. Hence, a seemingly benign hiding pattern that shows up as not making video, for example, can snake its way into your writing and keep you from being visible on the page.
Visibility is about being seen, but it has little to do with appearances and everything to do with presence.
When it comes to writing memoir, this presence is your voice, which is who you are on the page. For this reason, challenging an old hiding pattern “off the page” can translate into more presence in your writing “on the page.”
The fear of being seen often has its roots in a past experience, a time early in your life when ducking beneath the surface and not showing your real emotions or needs, i.e., hiding, was the safer row to hoe.
Are you beginning to see how hiding is the flipside of silence?
There comes a time when writing memoir that hiding beneath the surface of the page is no longer an option.
Because without your presence—i.e., your voice, you—even the most finely crafted prose can ring hollow.
So, what’s the antidote to a hiding pattern?
Taking action toward being seen, even when being seen makes you break out in hives.
For example, making video : ).
Which is why I joined a two-week online video course despite the fact that this is an unusually busy and inconvenient time for me. (Hint: a hiding pattern will always try to convince you that now is an inconvenient time to be seen.)
Every day our teacher, the incredibly generous video-goddess Holly Gillen of Holly G Studios, posts a video assignment. Our challenge is to make and post a video that same day.
As of Day 7, I have risen to that challenge. And what I’ve noticed, after just one week, is that I am more in tune with my writing self, I am showing up on the page from a deeper level of vulnerability, and I have less doubts about the story that wants to be told.
You see, when you begin to step out of hiding in any area of your life, you begin to be more present and confident in every area.
Including your writing.
What’s one thing you can do in your life right now that will require you to step out of hiding?
No, you don’t have to make a video and post it for the world to see!
But what is one action that you know in your heart of hearts will require you to be seen for who you are?
Make a commitment to do the thing that just came to mind, and to do it imperfectly.
Because perfectionism is often roped tightly into a hiding pattern. After all, waiting until you’re perfect is the perfect excuse to not be seen. Perfectionism often shows up in writing as not sharing your work with others, not completing work you’ve started, or not submitting your work for publication.
To model taking imperfect action “off the page,” I’m posting one of the videos I made this past week.
The assignment was to tell Holly something we are grateful for. And, as it turns out, my answer has to do with being seen.
I’m wearing my Saturday clothes and no make up, and my office is kinda messy.
But, then, visibility is less about appearances than it is about presence.
What imperfect step do you plan to take toward visibility in your life, either off the page or on the page? Let me know in the comments. I am so cheering you on.