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Stop Trying to Write Your Memoir

Some people manage to write a lot of memoir text during the same period of time that others hardly produce anything. Often, those who don’t write but who say they try to write have really valid reasons: company to cook for and entertain, a bad cold, “the kids are in drama workshops and I have to taxi them around,” “the computer wasn’t working all week,” cleaning house, buying a new car, etc.

It comes down to this: they really “tried,” but you know how it is, they didn’t get to write a single word.

Others who are producing memoir text, however, are saying, “I want this memoir finished by [insert a specific date here] and so I got up earlier every day to write while I had company.” Or, “When I drove my son to his practice, I brought my laptop with me and I wrote while he was playing.”

Are you noticing something here? There is a world of difference between “trying to write” and “writing!”

Here’s a story you can probably relate to. Once upon a time at a meeting, a woman was asked if she would bring the refreshments for the next meeting. She answered she was “going to try.”

The group leader said to her, “Phyllis, I didn’t ask you if you would ‘try’ to bring refreshments. I asked you if you would bring them or not.”

She got the point and I suppose you got it, too! Are you a person who is trying to write your memoir or are you a person who is writing it? Your family will likely be left without your memoir if what you do is “try to write a memoir.”

Action Steps

1. Commit yourself today to a writing schedule by selecting times and days when you will write—schedule not for when you will “try to write” but for when you will write.

2. Honor appointments with your writing as you would any other appointment. Do you “try” to keep your appointment with the dentist or do you keep it?

3. Do not allow yourself to slip into “trying”—ever. Notice your hesitation, your reversals. What are they telling you not only about your motivation but perhaps about your subject matter and your readiness to deal with it. Sometimes trying to is a message that we are not yet ready.

4. Being successful at memoir writing is a choice you can make. It is a choice that is made day after day and one which is always subject to atrophy.

5. For many people the commitment they make to writing in a group gives them a channel to be accountable to. By having a group to report to, many writers find themselves producing more in less time.



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5 Responses to Stop Trying to Write Your Memoir

  1. Making people think... August 20, 2013 at 1:08 PM #

    I like reading through an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


  1. Darcy - April 9, 2014

    Something very interesting that we all need to pay some attention to. Your blog rocks.

  2. Traci - May 8, 2014

    Very advantageous lesson. Something I need to put into practice.

  3. 3 Things Your Writing Coach Can't Do For You - May 20, 2014

    […] you are not likely to ever finish your manuscript. What finishing a memoir does not require is trying to write—a memoir requires […]

  4. Snippet Preview Help to Finish a MemoirThe Memoir Network - June 5, 2014

    […] 3 Things Your Writing Coach Can't Do For You: […] you are not likely to ever finish your … […]

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