As much as I love writing, I'm finding it difficult to sit down for more than an hour at a time to write my memoir. While the process is cathartic to an extent, dredging up lots of emotional content also leaves me spent. Unfortunately, I have significant blocks in my recall; but as I keep pressing ahead, repressed memory sneaks to the forefront of my consciousness, leaving me surprised to learn that some elements of my upbringing were worse than I initially thought.
Even after taking a break, I find myself falling back to old habits of procrastination because of my reluctance to dig deep and really "go there." Sometimes my recollections are so vivid I see certain scenes as though they were taking place right before my eyes. I recently attended a lecture via Zoom that addressed caring for the psyche when writing emotionally charged material in which the speaker suggested memoirists pay attention to emotional cues and take frequent breaks, even if doing so results in a shorter than usual writing session.
I feel less productive with shorter sessions; however, some of those resurfaced memories provide an almost exponentially greater amount of inspiration to write (which is manna for any writer). Another positive is the inherent therapeutic benefit as well as the growing ease with which I'm able to identify my true sentiments about the chaos that was my early years. I'm more comfortable with being honest about those feelings even when they reveal my own prejudices and vulnerabilities.
Truthfulness is a critical component of memoir writing. While none of us has had the perfect upbringing, it is in the discovery of and reckoning with my truth that I find motivation to keep writing and, ultimately, conclude with a satisfying transformation.