November 9: Use Journals in Memoir Writing.
When you learn to use journals in memoir writing, you will produce more accurate and detailed stories.
If you are fortunate enough to have recorded your life in a journal, you can use your entries to refresh your memory and get access to salient facts or verify what you remember.
If you have not recorded your life, there is still hope you! You can enter into the world of the unconscious and write “as if.”
The action steps below will help you to use journals in memoir writing and to write the best memoir possible.
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1. If you have a journal, go back to the time of the memoir segment you are writing about. Reread your entries and glean facts, dates and impressions. let these be the basis of a memoir well-told.
2. If you do not have a journal from the period, create a journal entry today about the period in the past that is in your memoir’s time frame. This is a visualization exercise. You can start by growing calm and quiet and, in your mind, go back to the period you wish to refresh. See yourself as you were then. Remember houses and people who were in your life. Recall an incident and relive it. What will come up is likely to be true—verify the data by checking your Memory List and talking to people who were there with you. When you are ready, begin to write what you visualized. Include as many salient details as you can remember to make the entry as vivid as it was when you lived it.
3. Use your actual or the relived entry as the basis of data that will go into your memoir segment. (The difference between a journal and a memoir is that a memoir vignette has to be structured with a plot line. Journals are more free-flowing.) Write the vignette as soon as possible after reading or reliving the journal entry.
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