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Thinking About Memoir Writing

Our right thinking about memoir writing projects or our right talking about them can lead to success or failure. We can be very clever about our evasive tactics and disguise them as right thinking. Here are three examples that can pass for thoughtfulness rather than evasion.

1. I’m just not thinking about memoir writing right today so I’m better off not writing.

Perhaps this means “I’m not producing brilliant insights?” Or perhaps this means “I’m afraid of being superficial.” This thought is perhaps associated with perfectionism.

Regular–even if not brilliant–writing will eventually get your memoir written. Later, we can come up with better conclusions, insights, juxtapositions, etc. For today, just write some text. You can revise it later. Don’t invest the energy that ought to go into your writing into hair splitting.

You are thinking just right today for writing!

2. What was I thinking when I decided to write a memoir! It’s probably better if I quit.

You were most likely not thinking about memoir writing deeply at the time but reacting with your intuition or feeling. That intuition or feeling is probably as valid today as it was then. This chatter focuses on your fear of audience, on fear of releasing a book to an unappreciative readership. For the moment, just write the book for yourself. If you can write it honestly and completely for that first audience of yourself, then you will have made a great leap in production. Most frequently, you will be more valuing of the manuscript at a later date.

When you decided to write an autobiography, you were reacting from a heart-felt impulse. Keep writing. Your feeling or impulse was a-ok.

3. “Yes, but…

This one is insidious because it pretends not to be a fear-based reaction. It suggests deep thinking about memoir writing–“of course, I could write a memoir and I want to but…”

Sit down, let the thought go, and continue writing. Let all the supposed “thoughtfulness” slip away. Write today…you can always rewrite tomorrow if you feel the prose calls for re-writing. Once you have begun to write, do not revisit your decision to write-any more than you would revisit a decision to have a child once the child is born! Look at your thoughts on a regular basis and do not let them waylay your memoir writing effort.

Good luck. Remember your thinking about memoir writing can help or hinder your effort.

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