After a breakup, you have many intense feelings and writing a book about it can be a very tempting way to create an outlet for these emotions. Writing a book or diary about your breakup, in theory, is a healthy way to express and release the emotions. But can you publish it?
Yes, you can write about a book about your ex, and in some cases, writing about it could be a valuable part of the healing process. You are permitted to tell a true story without permission, but there can be some risks we will discuss as to why you may or may not want to publish it.
The Brief Legalities of Writing About Your Ex.
To be clear, this is not trying to put you off right away, but I just cover this briefly so you can think about this as you read on.
Although you can write about your ex, publishing is where you may get yourself in trouble. There is nothing to stop your ex from suing you for libel or slander. If your ex is famous or public figure, a libel suit may be an option if you write about them and publish it without their permission.
Defamation, Libel and Slander
Defamation is when you make false statements but present them as if they were facts about a person that causes harm to their reputation. Giving your opinion is not defamation, but you need to be very careful about passing statements off as facts.
Make it very clear when you are giving an opinion and do not present anything as a fact unless you have checked it and preferably can prove it.
Depending on what you say or write, you can be sued for Slander for what you say or Libel for what you write.
Even if you are confident in everything you publish, there is nothing to stop your ex from suing anyway. Even if you end up winning in court, it can be emotionally exhausting and costly.
You still end up losing!
Why Write About Your Ex?
So, we have established you can write about your ex, but let’s briefly look at the why.
Ask yourself, why do you want to write about your ex? Make sure you are doing it for the right reason.
Do It to Get Respect: If you really respect your ex and what they did for you, do it to build yourself. You first!
Do It for Yourself: If you just want to get your feelings out on paper so you can feel better, this is an excellent way to do it. There are other ways too.
Do It for Other People: You can share your books with others to help them heal too. Many others go through similar experiences, so know if you are writing your book for them or just yourself.
Do It for What Is Good for You: You want to be happy, right? If writing a book about an ex is what gets you there, go for it. Just make sure it helps and heals you.
Do It for a Higher Good: You can use your story for a greater good.
Do It for a Creative Endeavor: You can write as an art form, not just to get out your feelings or to be read by others.
Don’t Do It:
Don’t Do It for the Fame: If all you want to do is become famous by writing an expose, you will be disappointed.
Don’t Do It for the Money: you can earn some money through Kindle publishing, but most authors do not.
Don’t Do It to Make People Angry: This is a good way to get hate mail, troll comments and a host of other negative responses.
Don’t Do It to Get Your Needs Met: Maybe you want the attention of your ex, right? Decide if that is what you really want or not. If you still want them, is this really the way to get them back?
Don’t Do It to Be Selfish: Don’t do this if you were the one who ended the relationship. You might not be doing yourself a favor any more than your ex.
Don’t Do It Because You Think It Will Make You a Better Person: Writing a book about your ex will not make you a better person.
If you are intent on writing about your ex, it’s best to avoid including anything that will start a fight or exacerbate the situation. Also, avoid making false statements about what they did or said.
Have a Purpose
The most important thing to understand before you write your first words is your purpose? What you write, how you write and who you write for should be based on your purpose.
Knowing this will help you shape your story into something that will positively affect people, not just yourself.
Wait Before You Start
The best first step you can make is to wait for at least a brief period before launching into writing. This gives you time to get your feelings under control.
There is no fixed period you need to wait as we are all different in handling emotional situations. Wait until you are sure you can control the intense feelings you have about these events and write about them in a non-accusatory manner.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait until years have passed, but give it time for the initial turmoil to settle down.
Decide on Your Approach
You need to decide on your approach before you start writing.
Three approaches that are typical of these type of books are:
1) Understand: You can write a book or other work to understand what went wrong and why. This helps you learn lessons, so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
2) Document: You can write a book to document an event that happened and clarify what you want people to know.
3) Tell: You can write a book about what happened and how it impacted you or others.
So, are you going to write your memoir about your ex? We would love to hear from you so let us know!
1 thought on “The Personal Touch: Can I Write a Book About My Ex?”
I have written my story of recovery and being a father. After I wrote the book I asked my wife we were divorced 16 years ago if I could use her name and a photo of her with or kids. She Said no photos and no names. She’s portrayed as a Saint for putting up with all my bad behavior during 20 years of marriage where the first 7 was terrible for her. I have changed her name and her background but the story is still the same… She said she’ll sue me.. Actually I think the judge would laugh at her for suing me for being portrayed as a saint. And the mother of the year… I originally write it for our grandchildren and generations to come… It’s a historical book of my family and how alcohol and drugs have cause generational damage to the women… It’s a salute to my grandmother’s and mother and ex wives… What are my options? I used no photos and changed her name just not my 3 daughters with her . They are OK with it.