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Write to the End

What Kind of Stalled Writer Are You – And What to Do About It

As part of my virtual book tour for the Memoir Writing Series, I made a stop at Kathy Pooler’s exceptional blog The Memoir Writer’s Journey. Do subscribe to it: it will serve you well as a tool to maintain the memoir conversation. This post is taken from Write to the End / Eight Strategies.

The Stalled Writer

An unfinished manuscript haunts a stalled writer, sapping energy that ought to go into more writing. Over the years of editing and coaching, I’ve noticed that there seem to be two sorts of people who do not finish their manuscripts.

  • Those who have been writing a good amount of text, which is accumulating without somehow coalescing into a book. The manuscript lacks dramatic arc and pacing. It is like a scarf being knitted without any sense of where it will end. So… the knitter knits and knits.
  • Those who have already composed 20, 30, or even 50 or more independent stories or vignettes and these, too, are not coalescing into a book. These writers produce stand-alone pieces, which is not a bad goal to have really, but writing a series of stand-alone pieces is not what they set out to do.

Writers in both groups of stalled writers want to make a statement about their lives as a whole—not to record in an ad hoc fashion interesting, unique and possibly weird events that may have happened to them.

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