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Five Tips for Writers to Manage Vulnerability

A couple of weeks ago I began requesting blurbs for Graveyard of Safe Choices, my memoir about coming out later in life—which meant emailing authors I didn't know at all or I knew only a little to ask if they would spend THEIR precious time reading MY book and then endorsing it.

I heard back right away from one author who said yes (thank goodness!).

The other three, including one who is kind of a big wig in queer literary circles: radio silence.

Maybe they were just busy.

Maybe they missed the email in their overcrowded inboxes.

Maybe they thought, "Who the hell is this person who has the nerve to ask me to read her book and endorse it?"

Okay, I only thought that about the kind of big wig person—the other two authors actually know who I am.

All week long, the task of following up hung over my head. Plus, I was supposed to send out even more blurb requests.

The absolute last thing I wanted to do.

As I avoided these acts of...

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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...

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What Brave Looks Like For a Memoir Writer

I smiled earlier this month when my business coach asked a fill-in-the-blank question during a goal-setting workshop:

I wish I was brave enough to _________.

Really? My memoir, GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES, is all about breaking free from a play-it-safe and small life. Do I have to keep being brave? Wasn't leaving everything I knew behind and starting over in my mid-50s brave enough?

Yes, that's a photo of my condo on move-in day five years ago.

But as I held a pen in my hand, the answer came quickly:

I wish I was brave enough to put myself out there more.

I’m going to have to put it out there soon—my coming out later-in-life memoir will be published in late Fall 2023 or early Winter 2024.

It feels so VULNERABLE. So visible. So public.

Truth bomb: Writing your personal story is an act of bravery.

This is especially true for people in the LGBTQ+ community who've been judged and shamed for simply being who they are.

These writers are brave souls who know there are readers...

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