Nude Beaches, SWAT Raids, and Other Ways to Jumpstart Your Memoir
February 8, 2018
4 PM PST 5 PM MST 6 PM CST 7 PM EST
For this month’s book group, we want to welcome Sherry Stanfa-Stanley who will talk about how taking risks and facing our fears by going outside our comfort zone can improve our writing Her memoir, Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares, was published in August 2017 by She Writes Press.
It’s great when an author shows us her writing process and projects, and shares opening what gets in the way and what works.
After writing—but failing to publish—three novels, I put aside a draft of my latest one to marinate. I questioned whether the writing was strong enough, yet more so, I questioned whether the status quo of my life was truly fulfilling.
I realized what often holds us back from achieving the life we want is our own fear. And so, I embarked on an “unbucket list,” simply hoping to shake up my life. As I turned fifty-two, I took on fifty-two weekly challenges outside my comfort zone, through something I called “The 52/52 Project.”
I started blogging about my experiences, knowing that sharing snippets of my misadventures would keep me accountable in completing the project. I soon realized my story was compelling, and the writing was stronger than anything I had written. Managing to build an audience early on, I put my latest novel aside to concentrate on writing this story.
A short relationship with a literary agent wasn’t successful, but I didn’t want to self-publish either. I eventually chose to sign with She Writes Press: a hybrid publisher that vets its submissions and offers traditional distribution, yet also allows the author more input than traditional publishing.
I have few regrets about my journey—not even the nude beach or almost dying in an isolation tank—but especially not about writing and publishing this book.
By facing a long list of potential failures, I ultimately found success.
Bullet Points for What Members Will Learn or Gain:
- Discover how going outside our comfort zone can strengthen our writing
- Realize that the anticipation of what we fear—both in life and in sharing our story—is almost always worse than the reality
- Learn how facing personal fears helps desensitize us to other peoples’ negative reactions and opinions
- Determine how potential failure may actually lead to empowerment and success
- Understand how broadening our life experiences changes and expands our viewpoint
Sherry Stanfa-Stanley is the author of Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares, which chronicles her misadventures while embarking on an “unbucket list.” Sherry’s writing also appears in “The Rumpus,” “The Huffington Post,” “Healthy Aging,” “First for Women,” “Midlife Boulevard,” and the anthology “Fifty Shades of Funny.”
By day, she attempts to respectably represent her alma mater as a communication director at The University of Toledo, where she was named one of UT’s Outstanding Women of 2017.