Writing About People in Your Life: Terrifying or Disastrous?

Loft Literary CenterSo I’m having a bit of fun with the title of this post, but it accurately captures the emotions I felt while writing Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road. Longtime readers of this blog will know I wrestled with writing about others, both the artists I interviewed on the cross-country road trip depicted in the memoir, as well as family members.

Now, with Committed published, The Loft Literary Center‘s blog Writer’s Block has invited me to share lessons learned. I have done so in a guest post that went live today.

I make it look easy; I even distill it into five simple steps. The truth is, there is nothing simple about writing about real people, but what I share on Writer’s Block are guideposts I will follow going forward. Feel free to drop by The Loft and share your thoughts!

6 thoughts on “Writing About People in Your Life: Terrifying or Disastrous?

  1. Suzanne

    I am about to order the book, Patrick, and look forward to reading it. It sounds like a bold story told with courage. I have enjoyed your blog since you were getting your MFA — keep up the good work. I’m so happy to see that your book is out there.


  2. Congratulations on your publication and your determination to be true. You are better than myself. When writing about musicians I listened to, or interviewed, I found I could not write criticism, knowing everyone in their community would read my posts, in a place where not much was written about them at all! So I said upfront that I don’t write bad things. But, if I don’t have good things to say, I won’t write about them. When reviewing festivals or concerts, musicians played the game of “spot the omission”. Did I write paragraphs about their performance? Or did I just say “Then ABC played, followed by…” But you are right. If your writing is not ringing true for you, it won’t work for your readers either.


    1. Thank you, Joanna! I think your approach was more my approach when this was to be a work of journalism. Why not make these people look good? If I’m asking readers to read about them, I should portray them at their best. But when the book became about me–as I write about in the Loft post–I had to show the reader what I was thinking and feeling at the time. There’s one chapter, to give an example, with an artist who comes across as, well, a bit unstable. That encounter had a major impact on the trip, and I couldn’t see how I could present the encounter as anything than what it was. Had the book not been a memoir I likely would have omitted that interview.

      Liked by 1 person

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