How to Write About Yourself Unselfishly

This is a guest post by Veronica Neave.Veroncia has many talents and has enjoyed a very successful acting career for the past25 years along with being an acrobat, a writer, theatre director, a motherand currently the ArtisticDirector of the Vulcana Women’s Circus in Brisbane, Australia. She has not only written a book about her and her family’s fight with breast cancer, but has also produced a documentary. You can find out more about Veronica online here.

Pieces of Me was my very first book and about quite a serious topic so I was very aware of trying to keep the balance betweenthe research information and the personal story. My main reason for writing the book was to bring a human face to theminefield of ethical genetics but I wanted it to be user friendly and very personal. I found it helpful to get all ofthe research, facts and important information written first and from there weaved in the personal story. The personalstuff I thought would be the easy bit, and it was to some extent, except when it came to writing about me. The editorswere emphatic, saying “We need to know more about YOU.”

Mother Claudette Neave and her three daughters with breast cancer, Christine Keepence, Veronica Neave and Elisha Neave.
Veronica (far left) with her two sisters and mother

I kept balking at the idea than anyone would be remotelyinterested in my personal details and tried to hide behind my more intriguing family members and all the factualinformation. It was not very helpful to think this way and in hindsight it may have been useful to think of myself asa character in order to be more generous about myself.

I was very lucky that the other “characters” in my book, my mother mainly, were such fascinating people and the telling of their stories came so easily. I relished in documentingtheir awesomeness. I was a little afraid that my motherís story would be slightly unbelievable because she is such anextraordinary person but I just trusted in the truth of it and so enjoyed celebrating her in all of her glory.

With some of the other members of my family I had to be more sensitive and needed to check in with them if they were okaywith what I had written. Invariably they were happy but to my surprise some other people I had written about,as I had imagined very favourably, were less than enamoured with their character representation. I guess I learnedthat we all have a very strange view of ourselves, myself included, and putting anything definitive in writing isgoing to be challenging.

I can only conclude that honesty goes a long way and has an inherent integrity and editorswill usually say “Way too much information” when necessary.