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Write to the End

How to Pick up Your Memoir Writing Again When You’ve Slacked Off?

How do you pick up your memoir writing again?

If you have stopped writing because of a holiday, a vacation, an illness, or lassitude (read: “It’s too hard! I want it to be easy!”), make today—now—be the time you pick up your memoir writing again and write to the end.

Like all long-term projects

Many things happen to long-term projects to put them on hold. Being on hold can only last a while—then, it’s time to get going again. Like people who leave their Christmas trees up until February (one year, as I drove by a house on February 1, I saw a tree lit up in the corner of a living room!), life writers sometimes put off coming to terms with their writing breaks so that the down time lasts and lasts.

It’s time to get back to writing. Pick up your memoir writing today.

What’s stopping you? Here are five practical hands-on suggestions that my help you to pick up your memoir writing without delay.

1. Do you need to put off doing more research?

Probably—at least, don’t let research stop your writing. Often, the writer knows enough to accomplish a whole lot of the writing that needs to be done without committing to more research. The research is sometimes a distraction and a time filler—not the essence. Instead…

Write from the information you now have. When you need more information, do some “just-in-time” research. You may be amazed at how little more research you need. “I need more research” is too often a procrastination ploy and will not help you to write to the end.

2. Do you need to recommit to a regular writing time?

Schedules can work wonders for the quality and the quantity of your writing. When the imagination has some structure, it can often be very productive.

While some people may write well spontaneously, I believe that most people do better when they have a (sort of) fixed schedule. The imagination seems to respond well to regularity. When I know I am writing at a certain time on a certain day, I find myself fashioning the story in my mind—without guilt, knowing that at  a certain day and time I will  be writing.

Picking up your memoir writing again at regular scheduled times. Go ahead. Give it a try.

3. Do you need to organize a space to write in?

Create a writing space. Is your computer set up in a convenient, comfortable place—or do you have to reorganize every time you sit down to write? Do you have a system to keep your sorted photos, in progress documents, stories already written? Can you work where no one can disturb you?

4. Do you have writing props in place?

Can you access easily your Memory List and your last piece of writing? If your writing files are scattered all over your computer desktop then it may take you a while to get going as you search for everything. “Now what did I call that file?”

5. Perhaps it’s your motivation that needs some fixing.

Get yourself psyched again. Reread your notes. Reread what you wrote last year. Read some one else’s lifestories to get inspired. Let the Memoir Writer’s Blog motivate you.

A big part of success is perseverance. (Or, 99% of inspiration is perspiration!)

Keep writing. Write until you are done! That’s the secret! Pick up your memoir writing again—today! (If you need a “best practices” resource, try our Memoir Start-up Package.)

Writing is like exercising. The first day you go out to do your routine is most likely a day that offers you little reward. All you get is exhaustion and perhaps some soreness. But if you exercise on a regular basis, you will find that your body shape and strength, the capacity of your lungs, your feeling about yourself have gradually been transformed. The same is true for life writing. As you do it, you may not find so much encouragement from the beginning (or even any one day), but after a while of regular application, the production of page after page, it will be obvious that you have written a memoir, that you have achieved your goal. What a good feeling. Remember–

Inch by inch, it’s a cinch: yard by yard, it’s hard.

Good luck with your writing and stay in the memoir conversation.

 

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