Passion in your memoir
Understanding the role of passion in your memoir will help you to access the emotional side of your writing more easily and enable you to stay longer and more deeply in the memoir conversation. Understanding will add balance between your will to write and the passion that prompted you to write in the first place.
For a long time, passion—or or even mere feeling—was not thought to be necessary for good writing. As an extreme example, recall the works of John Dryden and of Alexander Pope. Not only were these writers not passionate in their writing, but were proud to have expunge all feelings from their texts
With the Romantics—in England, France, and Germany, writing with emotion came to the fore. Now everything—the text as well as the story of the creation of the text—had to be imbued with feeling. In the story Samuel Coleridge created around the composition of Kubla Khan—waking from a dream and writing in a white heat until a visitor interrupted him and so he found himself unable to continue, banished from the source of inspiration, Coleridge created a myth of the inspired writer. With great difficulty can one imagine Poe in England or Boileau in France seeking inspiration as a necessary ingredient for literary creation, but with the romantics arose the belief that inspiration was essential to art. After the Romantics, emotions were thought to be essential to art.
Is inspiration necessary?
One often reads a variation of: “no emotion for the writer, no emotion for the reader.” Is this so or is there a way to impart emotion in the reader that the writer may not feel? An egregious example may be that of a horror novel. Are we to presume that the writer felt horror in th writing of the novel or ought we to assume that the writer knew how to evoke horror through literary technique?
The internal triggers of deeper emotion, passion in your memoir
1. Write about something important to you—not what you think is important to others. Don’t let feelings of shame or insecurity guide you.
2. Write from the inside not from the outside. Compile Memory Lists rather than use prompts. Connect to your dreams, intuitions, co-incidences, and synchronicities. Devise a system to record impulses, thoughts
3. Take yourself seriously. Honor your commitment to be a memoir writer.
4. Don’t be overwhelmed by these two big blocks: judge your work to be imbued with over-importance or under-importance.
5. Start writing from anywhere and respect the difference between where you start to write your story and where the story begins. Remember to write in snippets as you are moved to write.
6. Deal effectively with writer’s block. It is often caused my indiscipline or by fears. Many “feelings” are thoughts and are transitory.
7. Some stories or story fragments may not be important enough to write about with passion. Some writing is routine and outside of passion
Passion is transitory
Passion is a great feeling but like a cloud it is transitory. Don’t be so serious about having to write with passion in your memoir.
Just keep writing your story.
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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.
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