tagged with: memoir

 

 

Today, I am pleased to publish this guest post by Dr. Jay D. Roberts, a medical doctor and author of  Break The Chains, a memoir.  If you have ever read any of my blog posts, you know that I’m always encouraging writers, and myself, never to give up on your dreams. Here, Dr. Roberts shows us how he eventually overcame his fears and moved past rejection to achieve his dream.

Enjoy!

It started two decades ago in Palm Springs with my some of my friends – Harold Robbins knew some of my story and told me to write a book. I didn’t. A few years later, Sonny Bono told me I needed to tell my story. I didn’t. That same year, Sidney Sheldon echoed their sentiments. I still didn’t.

How could I? I can’t write. English was my least favorite subject in school.

Years later, for some strange reason I thought of my friends years ago encouraging me to write. I’d like to think they were screaming at me from heaven.

So I wrote, a memoir. It was awful. Read like an emotionless scientific paper.

So I stopped.

A couple of years later I thought about writing again. But this time a light bulb had gone off in my head- to become a doctor I had studied hard. To write I needed to do the same.

So I bought books on the craft of writing, lots of them, and read each one, several times.

I wrote and dug deep for the core of my story, as I had learned from my studying.

What I unburied was too painful. So I stopped writing for several months, maybe a year.

I prayed and began to attend writing conferences. At The Taos Summer Writing Conference, God sent me my first writing angel, Minrose. He knew I needed more help, so he blessed me with Julie. I listened to my mentors and applied myself. Wrote and re-wrote. I had entered the world of revisions.

I read a diverse collection of books to see how other authors had applied the art of writing in their stories.

I traveled, went back to the Philippines for forty days and nights (no intent to relate to Moses), to revitalize my senses and enrich my story.

More revisions followed- oh, the torture and necessity of revisions! But nothing compared to the rejections of my queries.

I became numb to being told- “Great story, but not a fit for us at this time.”

But I did not expect two cruel rejections.

One was from a senior editor at a major publishing house in NYC who had asked me to bring my manuscript. I can still remember her words, “I will not even touch your manuscript. Even if you could write, which you can’t because you are a doctor, nobody will buy your book because you are a nobody.”

The other was from an agent at a Christian Writing Conference who wanted to represent me. Her words ripped into my heart. “I’m sorry. I really love your story, but I can’t represent you. I didn’t realize that you were Catholic. The publishers I deal with will not work with Catholics.”

God wasn’t through yet. He sent me my third angel, Joan.

More revisions.

Prayers blanketed me from family and friends.

Then one miraculous day, Joan found my book a home with Tate Publishing.

God bless Dr. Richard Tate for believing in my story and all of the staff at Tate for their help in making my book a reality.

I am now learning the necessity of patience during the production process.

I look forward to the day this year that my book will be set out into the world. I pray that all can be set free.

So, here’s to all the “nobody writers.” Keep your dreams alive, write, rewrite, submit and resubmit. Let no one dowse your flame. Believe and you shall receive!

 Break the Chains can be purchased at

 

AMAZON / B&N / TATE PUBLISHING

 

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I have been away from my blog for a few weeks, reason being that I was at a conference the first week, then I went on vacation and now I’m trying to reignite my brain to pick up where it left off. I must confess that during my vacation I broke one of my rules, which is to write every day. But even the best of us slip up sometimes, don’t we?. So on to the conference.

Before I signed up, I’d never heard of the Black Writers Retreat & Conference. But since it was in my backyard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I thought I should take advantage of the proximity. It turned out to be a good investment in time and money. The seaside location proved to be ideal, the workshops practical and helpful and the presenters knowledgeable and inspiring.

The first workshop I attended was titled “Writing Faction.” Now this got me, as I thought it was a typo, but, of course, the organizers were too professional to make that kind of error. The subject had to do with research methodology and presenting the facts in your memoir, biography or even in fiction. The presenter, Dr. Heiss, who hails from Sydney, Australia showed us how to gather and include facts in our stories.

Dr. Heiss cautioned that in preparing to write we should first consider:

1. What do I want to do with my novel and
2. Why do people need to read my story

She then went into the importance of research methodology. Now this is a topic that, unless you are a history buff or someone like that, most writers may not find very exciting. But as Dr. Heiss spoke about the research she conducted for her novels, I saw how research can add depth, richness and authenticity to any story. Most of what she said the average writer already knows, but it is always tempting to skip a few things in our enthusiasm – or lack of – in carrying out our research.

Here are some reasons for doing proper research:

1. Authenticity – especially important in historical fiction or a memoir
2. Ethics
3. Truth
4. Accountability
5. The Hippocratic Oath – first, do no harm
6. Respect for those you are writing about
7. Avoiding litigation
8. Readers deserve the best product

Once you have identified your sources you need to:

1. Communicate and consult with them and obtain consent – in writing, of course.
2. Be accurate in your note-taking.
3. Obtain approval/confirmation of facts from your sources. You do this by sending them a copy of the relevant pages once you have completed your first draft. This would ensure that everything is accurate.
4. Be flexible. People may change some of the information, or they may remember something important that was left out.

Now that you have received confirmation from your sources and your book is complete, you need to acknowledge contributors, unless they asked to remain anonymous. You also need to address any copyright issues that may arise. You can always go to the library or online to gather material for your books, but think how much more impactful it would be if you can attribute your facts to a person or persons now living.

How do you conduct research for your books? What issues/challenges did you face? How has your research methodology helped to make you a better writer? Please leave a comment below.