When your writing is stalled, turn to your writing journal for help. The following are suggestions for what you might ask yourself in your writing journal. They are taken from the Pick Up Your Memoir Again—And Finish It! a course on successfully dealing with writer’s block.
1. Why did you want to write this memoir in the first place? What was your impetus to tackle this project that now lies stalled? Do your original reasons seem sufficient now?
2. If different than your original motive, what would be your motive today to finish this memoir?
3. What difference will finishing this memoir make in your life—and possibly in the lives of its readers? Is there significance in the text? If not, where in the story is significance found? How can you expand on the significance of the story so that it will engage you profoundly—and by extension the reader?
4. What is most frightening to you about the content of this memoir, about finishing this memoir, and about having it read by others?
5. Is there some way in which not finishing this memoir meets some need of yours? Deep down, is not finishing more satisfying to you than actually completing it? In your journal write what benefits you may be receiving from not finishing.
6. How can you re-conceive the memoir so that you will be able to finish it? What would need to change in its content, its point of view, its theme or its structure?
7. Find where in the manuscript change is most needed. Begin rewriting there.
8. Are you working on the right memoir? Is this memoir the most important piece of writing you could do right now? If not, what memoir would be more important?
9. Were there any specific points of constraint to your writing prior to now that you could redress? For instance:
- someone was adamant that you should not write it? You wonder how you can write and still remain in relationship with this person.
- your finances or domestic situation made it challenging for you to be comfortable devoting time to a writing project that did not produce income—and probably never would? Are your finances better now but you continue as if things had not changed?
- the research did not support your take on the story? How can you change your interpretation of your story? This requires what is called “personal work.”
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
We offer a free consult. Call today at 207-353-5454 to make an appointment.
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