Please welcome Dorit Sasson

Dorit Sasson has just  published her memoir about being a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces: Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces (She Writes Press). And, as if being in an army wasn’t brave enough, Dorit has taken the next brave step – she fought off her inner critic nay sayers during the whole memoir writing process. Please welcome Dorit today and read how she chased her inner critic demons away.

Dorit Sasson Book Cover

Working with the Inner Critic When Writing a Memoir

by Dorit Sasson

Somewhere along the writer’s journey, the writer confronts the inner critic. It often likes to say: “Why the heck are you writing this? You know you aren’t going to write like your favorite authors, so just quit now!”

Most people don’t understand a writer’s daily battles. They don’t care. They just want the book. They see the author’s life from the sidelines. The author cranks out a book, becomes published, gets on the New York Times or Amazon bestselling list, gets a nice big fat check and if they’re lucky, they get to do it all over again.

The truth is, being an author, and in my case, a memoirist of Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces, is a constant push-pull relationship.

About five years ago, I had this crazy idea to write a memoir about the years serving in the Israel Defense Forces. I knew exactly which scenes I’d wanted to write. In my “new” cultural setting in Pittsburgh, I had to translate those twenty-five year old emotional experiences which seemed remote from my world of mothering.

After a number of false starts, I found myself in our tiny two-bedroom apartment hunched over the laptop trying to write an early scene in my memoir. It was a flashback of my mother – she was spitting on me as her way to prevent me from leaving New York City to volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces. I was eighteen years old. She thought I was throwing my future away. But I wasn’t scared. I saw my service as a ticket to freedom. I wanted to prove to my Israeli father I could be my own person, away from Mom’s fears and paranoia of Israel.

It was my turn to write my version of the truth, and how this gifted child prodigy, who once played alongside Leonard Bernstein, was itching her way into my subconscious.

I tried to ignore the voices, but it was useless so I fought them. And then, a voice popped up and shouted in my head:  “who the heck do you think is going to read this? Why are you even writing this?”

Instantly I was filled with shame.

Then I did something I didn’t expect. I put the pen down. I didn’t finish that scene. It was too painful. In fact, I stopped writing the memoir altogether. Just like that. And for several more months that early draft collected more dust.

Then Mom passed away. Everything I had been holding unto suddenly needed a voice. The death of a parent changes you and you are never the same. After she passed, I mustered the courage to continue where I left off from that scene. This time, I didn’t fight my way through. I was even more fueled to give voice to both my mom’s and my story.

Dealing with the inner critic takes courage

The point of what I’m saying is that we often think we don’t have anything to say as writers. Or we don’t think we are capable of pursuing something that is beyond our comfort zones, and as a result, our stories get buried, our courage gets buried and that’s the end of that. Our “WHY” or purpose for doing something gets buried and we’re sucked in by our fears, doubts, insecurities and egos.

Courage is like a muscle

Courage is like a muscle – like anything you do – the more you tune into something with the intent of courage, you feel better in it, doing it.

Solution 1: Write

I already lost months of precious writing time listening to that inner critic. I allowed them to dictate my creative writing process.

Would I dare allow them to do that again?

It takes real courage to tackle your own gremlins. Your brain is telling you to stop writing but your soul won’t give up writing. Each time you write, the “noise level” gets a bit quieter, but still, you have to deal with it on an ongoing basis.

Solution 2: Know Your WHY 

Knowing your WHY when writing a memoir is so important. It keeps you focused on the writing especially when the writing can get so personal and heavy. Think of it as your own personal accountability system. These inner critics are testing us to see how badly we really want to write the damn thing.

But…they cannot get into that WHY chamber. The reasoning of our WHYS is too rational and logical. The inner critic is everything but logical. It’s a wild animal that can easily be pushed into a corner.

Put your WHYS in a prominent and visual place like near the computer or on a wall.

Your WHYs can be as simple as:

I am writing this book to become a better memoirist.

I am writing this book to give voice to experiences that are a big part of me.

I am writing this book to heal myself and tell my truth.

Writing down your WHYs trick your brain into believing that you’re right.

Doing this always works every time I’m up against a gremlin. Every. Single. Time.

On the outside, it may seem like an impossible feat to tackle a nasty inner critic, but it’s possible and can be done.

For your listening pleasure: Linda Joy Myers, president of the National Association for Memoir Writers (NAMW) and I chatted on this inner critic and the muddy middle on  a recent podcast episode over at “Giving Voice to Your Story.”

***

Thanks so much, Dorit. A story that all writers can find inspiring and helpful. I’m very pleased to have you stop by Choices today.

Book Summary: At age nineteen, Dorit Sasson, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was trying to make the status quo work as a college student―until she realized that if she didn’t distance herself from her neurotic, worrywart of a mother, she would become just like her.

Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is Sasson’s story of how she dropped out of college and volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces in an effort to change her life―and how, in stepping out of her comfort zone and into a war zone, she discovered courage and faith she didn’t know she was capable of.

Paperback:  337 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  She Writes Press (June 14, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1631520350
ISBN-13: 978-1631520358
Amazon Link: click here

Dorit Sasson Head ShotAbout the Author:  Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications, including The Huffington Post and The Writer, and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the featured chapter in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time, the latest installment of that best-selling series. And she is the host of the global radio show “Giving Voice to Your Courageous Story.” She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.

Find Dorit Sasson Online:

Website:  www.DoritSasson.comwww.GivingaVoicetotheVoicelessbook.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DoritSassonauthorAccidentalSoldier/
Twitter:  @VoicetoStory
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/givingvoice/

Dorit’s Blog Tour Dates

Monday, June 20th @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway! http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, June 21st  @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Dorit Sasson authors today’s guest post at Choices with Madeline Sharples. Don’t miss her post titled: “Working with the Inner Critics When Writing a Memoir” and learn more about Dorit’s memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://madelinesharples.com/

Wednesday, June 22nd @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Linda Appleman Shapiro reviews Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces and interviews the author Dorit Sasson to learn more about this author and her unique and inspirational memoir. http://applemanshapiro.com/

Thursday, June 23rd @ Writers Pay It Forward
Find out what MC Simon has to say after reading Dorit Sasson’s memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. This is a review you won’t want to miss. http://writerspayitforward.org/

Friday, June 24th @ Sherrey Meyer
Dorit Sasson is the author of today’s guest post “What Americans Can Learn from Israel and the IDF.” Thank you Sherrey Meyer for hosting this post and giveaway where one lucky reader will receive their own copy of Dorit’s memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://sherreymeyer.com/

Monday, June 27th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Readers at Memoir Writer’s Journey with Kathleen Pooler are in for a special treat with the guest post by Dorit Sasson:  “How I was able to tell my mother daughter story in Accidental Soldier” and one lucky reader will receive a giveaway copy of Dorit’s memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://krpooler.com/

Tuesday, June 28th @ All Things Audry
Dorit Sasson is the author of today’s guest post at All Things Audry. Don’t miss: “The process for Accidental Soldier. http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 29th @ Jerry Waxler
Fellow author and memoir writer Jerry Waxler reviews Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces by Dorit Sasson and asks some great questions of Sasson. This is an interview and review you won’t want to miss! http://jerrywaxler.com/

Thursday, June 30th @ Writers Pay It Forward
Dorit Sasson pens today’s guest post at Writers Pay It Forward as she talks about“Promoting Accidental Soldier in the United States and in Israel” where readers can learn more about Dorit’s memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://writerspayitforward.org/

Friday, July 1st  @Coming Down the Mountain
Karen Jones Gowen reviews Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 6th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Dorit Sasson about her memoir and offers one lucky reader their very own copy with a giveaway of Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 7th @ Puddletown Reviews
Find out what Puddletown Reviews has to say about the touching memoir Accidental Soldier by Dorit Sasson. http://puddletownreviews.com/

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much Madeline for featuring me today on your blog! Off I go to help spread the word!!

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