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The Crucial First Step to Coming Out as a Writer

Everyone has a closet.

In her memoir The Family Outing, author Jessi Hempel writes: "The more I live in the world, the more I come to understand that everyone has a closet."

I agree.

Maybe your closet is:

  • Your faith—or lack thereof.
  • An eating disorder or a drinking problem.
  • The desire to leave your "good enough" marriage.
  • Your grief over a loss the world doesn't acknowledge.
  • An estrangement with a family member.

Memoir writers bravely open the door to their closets—for their own sake and for the sake of their readers.

Claiming your identity as a writer—someone who has something to say to the world—is brave and it's scary.

I know what that feels like.

When I first came out in 2016, I couldn't say I was gay or lesbian or queer—let alone that I was a queer writer. I didn't really know what label to attach to the life-changing awakening I'd experienced at midlife.

Shortly after my husband and I decided to divorce, I wrote an email to some close friends stating that "I was coming to understand my sexuality differently ... but I wasn't ready to wrap myself in a rainbow flag."

I wasn't ready to be visible—as a queer person and certainly not as a queer writer.

Times have changed! Not only do I proudly identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I'm building a community for LGBTQ+ writers and I've written a memoir about my coming out journey.

This memoir—and the bravery to write it—didn't happen over night.

It happened day by day, step by step, decision by decision.

Kind of like The Hero's Journey.

Maybe you’ve heard of that famous story template.

In its simplest terms, Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey is a three-act structure where the hero departs the ordinary world, ventures into an unknown world where they encounter obstacles and challenges, and returns to the ordinary world transformed.

The hero’s journey resonates because it’s a journey we can all relate to—it’s a universal rite of passage.

At some point, we will each leave behind the known, venture out to the unknown where we face internal and external obstacles—and return as different people.

As someone who came out later in life and wrote a memoir about it, I am intimately familiar with that storyline. 🙂

Writers go on a hero’s journey when they make the decision to get their story out of their head and onto the page—and queer writers go on a queero’s journey! 

People in the LGBTQ+ community know how important it is to make the queer experience more visible. But it's natural for any writer to feel anxious about putting their story–and their life–out into the world.

Writers, have you been burned before when you got vulnerable and shared your truth?

The Crucial First Step

On the precipice of this big decision to write your story, you may be feeling a lot of fear and doubt, which is blocking you from taking action on your big dream. If so, you're not alone.

Before you can raise your voice and write your story, you have to face your fears and doubts.

Acknowledging your fears will clear space for you to take action on your big dream: to write your story—for yourself and for the people out there who need to read it.

Take Action: Sit down and write a letter to doubt and fear.

Dear Doubt & Fear ... 

Seriously!

Congratulations! You’ve completed the first step to coming out of the closet as a writer! on your Hero's—Queero's—Journey.

Want the whole roadmap to complete your LGBTQ+ memoir? Grab the Queero's Journey here!

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