Sometimes, years after I’ve heard from someone that he is writing a memoir, I will connect with the writer again. Perhaps it’s three or four or five years later, but the writer is working on the same memoir. I don’t get it. So I ask politely, “What has snagged the memoir?”
How long does it take to write a memoir? Well, I don’t actually know the answer to “how long does it take to write a memoir?” What I know is a memoir needn’t take so long to compose. Why is this one dragging on?
Here are some snags that will help you when you ask: “How long does it take to write memoir?” and you suspect it is taking you too long.
- You are fearful of the reaction you will receive with a published book. You prefer never finishing the book to facing your fears of negative reactions. (“This is what you spent five years writing!”)
- You are a perfectionist who is forsaking good for perfect. But, how many times can a line be rewritten before it’s just substitution rather than improvement? (“Should the sentence read ‘I went home?’ or should it read ‘I went to my house?’ “)
- You are enjoying being a writer. You are apprehensive that finishing the memoir will be the end of your creativity—or at least the end of your expression of creativity.
- You are undisciplined and never finish anything. Here some focus on scheduling and goal setting is in order.
- You are simply lacking confidence in your ability to write. You probably write and re-write. You are different from the perfectionist in that the changes are induced not by a quest for excellence but by insecurity focused on how bad the writing is not on how good it ought to be.
How long does it take to write a memoir?
For those who ask “how long does it take to write a memoir?” and are hoping to find a way to shorten the amount of time it takes finish a memoir, I offer these suggestions.
- Set a deadline by which the book will be completed. Be realistic about the end date—taking work, family and contingencies into account—but challenge yourself, too, to keep your “nose to the grindstone.”
- Break various tasks into sub-tasks and also create deadlines for each. This will make each phase of the project less daunting and keep you focused on your ultimate deadline.
- Accept that you will miss writing something in your memoir—and perhaps even miss something important—and be comfortable with that. You can include the missing part in your next book.
- Plan another writing project. This will create some anticipation in yourself for finishing the current book and moving on to the next.
So, how long does it take to write a memoir? Generally speaking, it is appropriate to think that a memoir-writing project for a book 200-300-pages long would take two or three years.
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