“A personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself” ~Anais Nin
I am very pleased to introduce you to Memoir Author Deanna Doss Shrodes. Deanna and I met through a mutual friend and colleague Laura Dennis, the author of a memoir Adopted Reality and an anthology, Adoption Therapy: Perspectives From Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues. Laura is very active in the adoption community and has formed a publishing company, Entourage Publishing. Deanna turned to Laura and her adoption memoir, Worthy To Be Found was published on December 1, 2014. Author and Inspiration-to-Creation Coach Coach Nina Amir has promoted blogging a book for years. Deanna’s story is a perfect example of what Nina has been telling us all along-the ground swell of support and interest generated from blogging a story brought a memoir to fruition. I hope you will enjoy Deanna’s story-behind-the story of her inspirational memoir.
Welcome , Deanna!
How My Memoir Came to Me Through Blogging
Writing a memoir wasn’t on my to do list. To say that it wasn’t on my radar at all is an understatement. So how is it that my new memoir, Worthy to Be Found, is being released on December 1?
February 28, 2013 was one of the most difficult days of my life. I had a falling out with my natural mother, which ultimately would never resolve between her and I, although God would ultimately restore me personally. Part of the way He accomplished that was through the writing of my story.
In June, four months after our falling out, I decided to write my life story up to present day, on my blog. There were several reasons I wanted to do it, but the two that came to the top at the time were catharsis and clarification. Catharsis was desired because I was in so much pain with the rift that occurred. Clarification was helpful because so many of my blog readers had asked my background in order to better understand where I was coming from in my posts. Writing so many details out was not only laborious but could be all over the place.
Up to the time I wrote my story online, I had been blogging for over seven years, every day. I had a good faithful readership, but nothing like what happened after I wrote my story. I had written about everything from parenting to marriage to Christian devotionals. But nothing brought readers out of the woodwork and into the comment section like sharing details about my post-adoption issues that included bed wetting or biting my nails down daily, until they bled. Who would have thought that confessing these type of problems would have drawn people from the four corners of the earth? People from every nation and background imaginable gathered to say: “I identify with you!” and “You give me hope!” It was mind-blowing.
I shared my story on a 14-day series on my blog and with each day, readers would beg me to share more – pleading with me to not leave them with a cliffhanger, as had became my daily custom. I didn’t set out to do cliffhangers either, but once I began writing the story, they came naturally as I’ve had a ton of them in real life.
People responded overwhelmingly. From the first few days of the series, they said, “This needs to be a book!” But I didn’t want to write a book. I’ve written books before, but at that particular time I had no interest. I was emotionally broken. Weak. In therapy. Crying for hours a day. When you are struggling to get out of bed and brush your teeth, you don’t have the energy to chase a publisher. I know what it takes to write proposals and chase a book deal, and when people asked me to turn the blog series into a book, I said, “No way! I’m just trying to make it through the day right now.”
People continued to read the blog story and contact me about it. The e-mail response was so overwhelming I just gave up on trying to answer it all speedily and took weeks or even months. After about a year, Laura Dennis of Entourage Publishing encouraged me to let Entourage publish it. This would mean taking it off the blog and offering it exclusively in book form. I agreed to that, and was honored by the gracious invitation to do so. I did specify that I would like to give readers fair warning that I was removing the story from the blog. We gave a few days for anyone who wanted to read it online to do so. I will never forget a woman I never met before from California, who called our church (my husband and I pastor a church in Tampa) and asked to speak to me. When I answered she frantically said, “I just found your blog today! I see that the story is being taken down today! I am in the middle of reading it and afraid I won’t finish it before you delete it! Please, have mercy and give me a few more hours!”
Writing my memoir came by way of baring my soul online about things I never thought I’d share with anyone. In fact, some relationships became strained by me sharing it. I asked those individuals, “Did I say anything untrue? Because if I did unaware, please make me aware so I can fix it.” I was assured I had not said anything untrue, but the truth simply made them uncomfortable.
My experience is that writing the things you are scared to write, that which comes from the deepest part of you, will more than likely be what creates the greatest response. I shared flowery Christian devotionals for years and got an adequate response, but when I admitted to bed wetting the response was a tsunami, pardon the pun.
What are you most afraid to share? That may be what readers identify most with. It seems this is what caused my memoir to come to me, rather than me going to it. And I couldn’t be happier.
Thank you Deanna for sharing how your memoir was born from the core of your pain which connected you to your readers. This is a perfect example of how sharing our stories helps others connect, and in your case, begged you to turn your stories into a book. Congratulations!
Deanna Doss Shrodes is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and has served as a pastor for 27 years. Currently she serves as Women’s Ministries Director of the Pen-Florida District of the Assemblies of God. Deanna and her husband have been married for 27 years, have three children and live in the Tampa Bay area where they serve as lead pastors of Celebration Church Tampa. Deanna speaks at churches and conferences internationally and is also an accomplished musician, worship leader, songwriter, and certified coach. An award winning writer, she is also a contributing author to Chocolate For a Woman’s Courage, published by Simon & Schuster, contributing author of five highly acclaimed adoption anthologies, and sole author of JUGGLE: Manage Your Time, Change Your Life, published by Entourage Publishing.
Deanna blogs about adoption issues at her personal blog, Adoptee Restoration, and also serves as the spiritual columnist at Lost Daughters.
How about you? Do you have a story you are afraid to share? Have you ever considered blogging your book?
Deanna has graciously offered to give away a copy of Worthy of Being Found to a commenter whose name will be selected in a random drawing of commenters.
We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~
Friday, 12/12/14 at 2:00 pm EDT:
I will be participating in a NAMW Teleconference with Linda Joy Myers and Martha Sarkissan, “Publication with a Purpose: Two NAMW Members Share Their Success Story”. Martha is the author of a self-published memoir, Living on Fault.
Monday, 12/15/14: “The Unique Connection Between Fathers and Sons: A Wow Blog Tour Guest Post by Memoir Author David Berner”
MEMOIR WRITER’S JOURNEY ANNUAL SURVEY, 2104:
It’s that time of year when we start looking back at what worked and what needs work. I’d love your feedback on ways I can improve my website in 2015. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated and will be used to plan for 2015. I will report on the results on January 5,2015.
Here’s the link to the survey: