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At the end of this post, I will be offering a free download of The Memorable Story / Write Your First Memoir Draft Program. But first here’s something developing that’s important for me to share with you: what we are calling our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes on You Tube.

Our YouTube channel already has 30 videos waiting for you—one month’s worth of instruction and motivation. How great is that to have 30 Master Classes available for the asking!—free But, there’s more…

We are uploading another dozen or so Master Classes in the next month.

Just-in-time learning in our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes

The miscellany of videos now available on our channel—and those to come soon—are your just-in-time, go-to Master Classes for you to learn from.

(more…)

Did you find yourself wandering along with your memoir writing in 2021 and not achieving your memoir-writing goals?  Do you have a sense that you might have accomplished a bit more writing than you have?

At this time of year, it is traditional to review how the past year went for you and to create goals for yourself for the coming year. (A goal is a wish with action steps and a timeline.) These goals need to be written and reviewed periodically.

Studies have shown that people who set goals in writing have a better outcome vis-à-vis accomplishing what they set out to do. Here’s a report on one such study. (The famous Harvard goal-setting study so many of us have heard of apparently never happened, but the concept of goal setting is clearly important and is explored in the linked article.)

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for 2022

Since this is a memoir writing blog, I thought it is appropriate for me to come up with goals that would further your writing success in 2022. And why not play with the year’s number—22?

Now, I don’t expect you to adopt all 22 of these goals. But, do read through all of them and choose—perhaps—five goals to incorporate into your writing life. If you do this, at the end of 2022—or at the latest, in 2023—you will have a memoir ready for publication. It’s up to you.

Of course, depending on where you are in your writing process, some of the memoir-writing goals below may seem too easy or conversely they may seem too difficult. I have not ordered them by difficulty because, first of all, I don’t know what is difficult for you and because, secondly, I don’t want anyone to make a rash judgment, after reading a few items, that “this list is not for me.”

Reword any of the goals so that they deliver for you, reframe them to fit your life, make them work for you. Make them bigger or smaller, but don’t make your new reworked goals easy by eliminating the action steps and the timeline. Nothing like” “I’ll write as much as I can!” (See #1 below.)

Here are 22 worthy memoir-writing goals.

  1. Write 3 to 5 pages per week, every week. In a year’s time, that will have you producing 150 to 250 pages. Won’t that be great! You’ll have a first draft in hand. You can so do this! (Think you can produce 10 pages a week? Go for it!)
  2. Read one memoir every two weeks. It is my firm belief that writers need to be readers. Read these memoirs as a writer. Ask yourself questions like: how was the dialog handled? was the pacing of the story appropriate? and did the author have a firm grasp of psychology? Let these memoirs mentor you.
  3. Make a list of local family and friends you need to interview for your memoir. These are people who can fill the background in for you. Ask them to have artifacts, written material, photos available for you to see and get copies of. Write up a list of what you need to know by the end of your time together. Set up interview dates.
  4. Connect with distant family and friends who can contribute information to your memoir. Set up Skype appointments to interview them. Ask them to send copies of written material and photos. They could also photograph artifacts for you. Also, make a list of questions you need answers to.
  5. Join a writing group whose members are at your level of skills. Within this group, press for accountability to commitments. I suggest that no one leaves without committing to a number of pages written by the next meeting. This group can be local (your library bulletin board may be a good source for this) or be online.
  6. Add five how-to-write-memoir books to your reference library. The more you know, the better. Ignorance is not bliss. A little knowledge could go a long way in saving you time and for producing a better memoir. Here’s a start on your search.
  7. Write your Memory List. Do not stop until you have 300 items on your list. To refresh your knowledge of Memory Lists, click here.
  8. Write Memory Lists for your father your mother and anyone else who will appear in your memoir. The Memory List will enhance your remembrance of the connection the two of you had. Stay with these additional lists until you have at least 100 items.
  9. Tell five people (or more) you are a writer and your current project is writing a memoir. Say this with confidence. They will probably ask you what else you have written. You can tell them, “This is my first book.”
  10. Enroll in an online writing class or course. Alternately, join a writing class locally if everyone is vaccinated and boosted. Here’s a free five-five lesson online course.
  11. Hire a memoir-writing coach. Commit to the relationship with this coach. Regular work with a coach will improve your writing. A coach will hold you responsible for your memoir-writing goals.
  12. If you have progressed sufficiently, an editor—especially a developmental editor—is a great next option. Here’s a link to a free e-book: Before You Send Your Manuscript To an Editor.
  13. Make a list of people to be part of your beta reader group. Formulate a list of questions for your beta readers to consider. Among important topics would be: Is this story of interest to you? Why? Where does this story lag? What changes would you make? etc. Contact these people and set up a date by which you will send your manuscript. Get a return date decided upon also.
  14. Upgrade your computing skills so that lack of skills does not get in the way of your creating a great memoir. I know, Shakespeare did not have a computer, but he also did not waste a lot of time trying to make a computer work for him and he did not send PDFs to printers who no longer want hard copy. You can upgrade your skills by following tutorials available with most programs, by following YouTube classes, by taking local classes, by hiring a computer coach.
  15. Visit the locales of your memoir. These can be places where you lived as a child, or scenes that were important in your parents’ lives and that have had an influence in yours. While there, be sure to take copious notes of physical details and your impressions. Do this either on paper or on a recording device. And absolutely, you are to take photos of buildings and settings.
  16. Research the history of your community (however you define community). This can be a history of the town, of a religious group, of a class of society, or of an intellectual community. I define community as what you mean when you say ”we.”
  17. Keep a journal. In it, you will record your thoughts/feelings about writing a memoir, about all the inchoate thoughts and feelings that surface when you consider your memoir-writing goals. A journal need not be orderly. Allow yourself to be as random as you need to be to explore your issues. Subsequently, you may find that you have worked through issues, chronology, and faulty memory. It is even possible that you will be able to transfer material from your journal to your memoir. This can speed up your writing.
  18. Since words are the tools we writers use to write a memoir, learn 10 new words every week. You can do this by looking up words that you do not know from your reading itself, by working with vocabulary books, by going online to find sites that are devoted to vocabulary development. At 10 new words a week, your vocabulary will increase by 520 new words in 2022. Imagine the increased precision of your writing as an insult! We are not talking big words here; we are talking more precise vocabulary.
  19. Listen to podcasts interview of writers. Do so at the rate of one podcast a week. You can take notes as you listen to a podcast. If a podcast strikes you as especially developmental, listen to it a second time. Also, if a writer strikes you as important for you, read books s/he has authored. Look up other podcasts with this writer.
  20. Study the Myers Briggs type indicator to better understand the actions and motivations of the people who figure in your memoir. The MBTI will explain so much of the interactions between the people in your life and you. The MBTI will explain why your parents didn’t get along or why you are not close to your brother! If you do master MBTI, you will probably be asking yourself “Why didn’t I do MBTI earlier?” Factoid: if you are an MBTI “Sensor,” you will find the process meaningless and will probably quit, calling it a waste of time. If you are an MBTI “Intuitor,” the process will be endlessly fascinating and you may even go on to study the Enneagram. As you have guessed, I am an Intuitor—an INFP.
  21. Have people who figure in your memoir review what you have written about them. This is not to promote writing by committee but to get some input to correct what may be your false, flattering and failing memory. Take feedback of others into account as you rewrite your memoir. But remember, this is your memoir not theirs. If you encounter differences that you are not willing to accommodate, then go with your own version—and perhaps footnote the variant.
  22. Set a publication date either in 2022 or 2023 to work towards. Break this goal into monthly goals—and in the near term, perhaps weekly. (These are your action steps and timelines.) If you should find yourself falling behind your timeline, why not devote extra time every now and then to catching up. Weekends? Evenings? Be accountable to the publication date. Meet it! Use time management skills you possess and learn new ones. For free time-management booklet, click here.

Below is a comments section. It would be lovely to know which of these memoir-writing goals sound good to you and perhaps which memoir-writing goals are missing here that you wish to pursue.

In conclusion

It is later than you think. If writing a memoir is a bucket goal of yours, don’t put it off.

Write a little bit on your memoir today.

Note from the editor: This post is a memoir-writing course. I suggest that you glance through the whole of it, and pick those best memoir-writing tips that you most need to read at this time. Later, bit by bit, you will read the rest.

Click on the links that interest you and study the posts where you land. The links in even just a few of the tips below will uncover articles that pertain to the topic(s).

Following these best memoir-writing tips, your knowledge of memoir writing will grow more certain, and you will write with more confidence. One day, sooner than you think possible, your memoir will be published and in hand.

–––

It’s later than you think. Don’t put off writing your memoir any longer.

Our 21 in-depth, best memoir-writing tips below will help you to start memoir writing today. 

You’ll find these guides will see you through the process of how to write a memoir—an interesting and meaningful memoir—more easily and quickly than you may now think possible.

One day soon, you will have written your book.

The Memoir Network’s 21 Top Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you to memoir success.

1. What is a memoir? Hint: it’s not an autobiography!

Is the difference important to the memoir writer? Somewhat! Knowing what you are writing will orient you from the start! It can be discouraging to realize that you have been headed in the wrong direction when you could have saved yourself time and energy by understanding the difference between memoir and autobiography as you launched yourself. While it’s not huge, it can be significant.

An autobiography is about a whole life: from birth to the present. A memoir is a part of your life that is characterized by a theme. It might be about the first years of your marriage during which you realized what an immature and selfish person you were and earned to be a giving souse. This may interest many people as it is a struggle many are waging.

The fact is that, while it is totally possible to write a memoir that will interest the public and draw an audience to you, the same is not true of an autobiography. If you are famous: possibly. If you are not, it is not likely that people will be interested in what grade school you went to and how much your grandmother loved you.

(This statement about autobiography is not applicable if you are writing for a family audience. Your children and grandchildren will definitely be interested in an autobiography.)

(more…)

In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful. In fact, sooner or later, pain seems to come with memoir writing. This pain if not handled well, can inhibit—and even stop—you from continuing with your writing.

Sometimes painful memories (poverty, childhood humiliation, abuse, abandonment, addiction, etc.) you had “forgotten” will resurface. Or, you may be unwilling to evoke certain memories at all. Perhaps they are still too painful, or perhaps you are afraid you will not be able to handle the pain if it comes back.

If a memory is so painful that you are still afraid of it, take this as an indication that you haven’t gotten over it yet. If a memory is still sapping your emotional energy—whether you are consciously aware of it or not, memoir writing may be very helpful to you. Click on the link below to learn how to work with and through pain by writing through painful memories

Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories

When you get to YouTube, be sure to like this video post so that it becomes more available to other writers.

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir.

Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent to promote a point of view. This comes under many guises. Generally, of course, this point of view is called “theme.”

The theme-focused memoir is the most common model.

Writing a manuscript only of one’s experience—the dates, the facts, the activities—may often not enough to entice the reader—at least, it will not interest the reader who is not family and friends. (more…)

Is writing precise words really important in a memoir?

Over the years, I have written energetically about the importance of writing precise words instead of generic ones.

I was dropping someone off at the bus station (aka the Intermodal Transportation Center) when I overheard an exchange that purported to be a dialog that convinced me once again of the necessity for precision in speech–and, by extension, in our memoir writing. It was proof that generic words really do miss the mark and lead to confusing messages.

A grandmother was seeing her daughter (I presumed from the similarity of looks) and three grandchildren off—or perhaps it was the other way. The grandmother had said goodbye to the two girls and there was a boy of about 10 whom she had not yet bid her fond farewell to. He was looking around the space, distracted by this and that and not paying much attention to what was going on.

“Sweetheart,” the grandmother said, holding her arms out to hug him. The boy continued to look around elsewhere.

(more…)

In this third interview, Denise Brown continues to share her experience of writing Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. This is a startling tale of a neglected child —of an entirely neglected family. To read Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here. —DL

DL: How do you recommend people deal with sensitive material that relatives might take offense at?

DB: Believe it or not, I still have not told my parents that I wrote a memoir. Having been a neglected child, I have very limited communication with them and have not felt the need to bring it up to them. I’m not worried about them stumbling upon it. They are late in life, and my father doesn’t read anyway.

However, two years before publication, I sent a copy to all of my sisters, each of whom had also been a neglected child and who are written about at length. I asked them to read it and to give me comments on what they thought and to make sure that I didn’t have any of the events in our lives misinterpreted or misremembered. All of them were very supportive and they had some very helpful comments. I changed everyone’s names in the book except for my own. 

Each of us who publishes a memoir has to figure out what is appropriate for each family member. It is very dependent on each person’s circumstances. My one piece of advice is to tell the truth in your memoir, not a bitter truth but the hard truth. That is where a sympathetic family member comes in so that they can let you know if it is your hurt and anger about being a neglected child speaking or if your story is an accurate depiction of the events. Don’t outright call someone bad, describe the actions that made them so and let the reader decide.

DL: Did you envision yourself as a writer before you begin this book? What is your identity as a writer now?

(more…)

We continue our interview with Denise Brown about writing and publishing her book, Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. Hers is a heroic story of overcoming trauma. To read part 1, click here. To read Part 3, click here. —DL

DL: You must have had periods of time in which you were discouraged or, at least, less enthusiastic. Can you tell us about how you kept yourself going? What worked for you?

DB: When I ran into times when I was frazzled by other things going on in my life and didn’t feel the energy to work on my memoir and deal once again with overcoming trauma, I reverted to my minimum goal of one hour per week. I made myself stick to that even if it was 20 minutes over three separate days to keep even the smallest amount of momentum going. Metaphorically speaking, I wasn’t running a marathon; I was hiking the Appalachian Trail and some months were very slow, but I always stuck to my bare minimum goal.

(more…)

Congratulations to Denise Brown on the publication of her book, Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. I recently had the opportunity to interview Denise about her experience writing her book on surviving childhood abuse.  I am pleased to share her experience. To read Part 2, click here. To read Part 3, click here.—DL

Denis Ledoux: Can you tell our readers what your book is about and why you were impelled to write it? What was driving you to spend the time, energy and money to get this book out into the world?

Denise Brown: Transcending Darkness is a memoir about the abuse that I experienced during my childhood. Abuse led me on a path of self-destruction. This path encountered God and his mercy in unexpected ways.  It sounds like a crazy story, but I began writing my memoir when I was in college after having an incredible dream. An angel brought me to visit three teenage girls who were suffering emotionally. Each of them had been reading a book and were crying. I realized that the book was giving them a glimmer of hope for their futures. Then the angel revealed to me that it was my book that I had not yet written that they were reading, and that I was being given the choice of helping them or not. After that, I couldn’t get the dream out of my head! I began writing what would become Transcending Darkness a few days later.

DL: Can you tell us how long it took from the time you conceived the book to the time you had it published? How many years did you spend in active writing? Were there long breaks in between active writing periods? If so, what happened to get you writing again? Writing about surviving childhood abuse must have been difficult. emotionally

(more…)

Working with a coach for the memoir you are writing provides you technical, informational and emotional support. Often writers—usually first-time and (perhaps) only-time writers—struggle as they recall, explore, and write their memories.

If you are considering or already busy at turning your memories into memoirs, then memoir coaching is an option that will likely help you to write better and faster. There’s no reason to take forever to write a memoir.

A memoir coach can provide just-in-time learning as you tackle both the memories which flood in as a mix of undigested images, conversations, sensations needing to be sorted and prioritized and the compelling tensions between telling the truth and reliving painful times.

Denis coached me week after week and helped me turn my compulsive research into a well-written manuscript and then into a handsome book.

Jean Chrichton

Digging For Treasure

When you receive coaching for your memoir, you are collaborating with someone can also assist you to implement writing techniques to better express the feelings and thoughts that your memoir is struggling to articulate. People accept easily that memoir writing, like any art form, is about self-expression, but it is harder to understand that a work of art also addresses an audience. A memoir is not only about saying your “something” but it about communicating that “something” to a readership.

A coach for the memoir you are writing

Your coach will help you to make the writing decisions that your manuscript needs—some of these you may not even realize require work until your coach points them out to you.

Coaching for your memoir addresses common problems such as:

  • Have you chosen the right point of view for your story?
  • Are your characters unique, nuanced, and consistent—and how to make them so?
  • How about the details? Do these and other elements support your story?

A memoir coach does this and so much more.

The best time to work with a coach for the memoir you long to finish?

The absolute best time is perhaps as you start to write; the second best time?

Now!

One challenge many first-time and only-time writers of memoir face is understanding that long-form and short-form writing are not the same. That is, long form is not just longer short form. Long form has its requirements.

Let me explain how memoir is long form

Many of the writers who come to me for coaching and editing are already fine writers—of short form. They can write coherent and clear sentences and their paragraphs convey meaning. There is no problem with their ability to write short form—the essay or blog post. This may lead them to overestimate their ability to produce long form.

(more…)
YouTubeLogo2

Giveaway with Better Memoir Writing Master Classes

At the end of this post, I will be offering a free download of The Memorable Story / Write Your First Memoir Draft Program. But first here’s something developing that’s important for me to share with you: what we are calling our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes on You Tube.

Our YouTube channel already has 30 videos waiting for you—one month’s worth of instruction and motivation. How great is that to have 30 Master Classes available for the asking!—free But, there’s more…

We are uploading another dozen or so Master Classes in the next month.

Just-in-time learning in our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes

The miscellany of videos now available on our channel—and those to come soon—are your just-in-time, go-to Master Classes for you to learn from.

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

set-goals-brainstorming-2398562_1920

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for 2022

Did you find yourself wandering along with your memoir writing in 2021 and not achieving your memoir-writing goals?  Do you have a sense that you might have accomplished a bit more writing than you have? At this time of year, it is traditional to review how the past year went for you and to create […]

best memoir-writing tips

How to write a memoir: our 21 Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you writing your memoir—quickly and well—and getting it into the hands of your public.

Note from the editor: This post is a memoir-writing course. I suggest that you glance through the whole of it, and pick those best memoir-writing tips that you most need to read at this time. Later, bit by bit, you will read the rest.

Click on the links that interest you and study the posts where you land. The links in even just a few of the tips below will uncover articles that pertain to the topic(s).

Following these best memoir-writing tips, your knowledge of memoir writing will grow more certain, and you will write with more confidence. One day, sooner than you think possible, your memoir will be published and in hand.

–––

It’s later than you think. Don’t put off writing your memoir any longer.

Our 21 in-depth, best memoir-writing tips below will help you to start memoir writing today. 

You’ll find these guides will see you through the process of how to write a memoir—an interesting and meaningful memoir—more easily and quickly than you may now think possible.

One day soon, you will have written your book.

The Memoir Network’s 21 Top Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you to memoir success.

1. What is a memoir? Hint: it’s not an autobiography!

Is the difference important to the memoir writer? Somewhat! Knowing what you are writing will orient you from the start! It can be discouraging to realize that you have been headed in the wrong direction when you could have saved yourself time and energy by understanding the difference between memoir and autobiography as you launched yourself. While it’s not huge, it can be significant.

An autobiography is about a whole life: from birth to the present. A memoir is a part of your life that is characterized by a theme. It might be about the first years of your marriage during which you realized what an immature and selfish person you were and earned to be a giving souse. This may interest many people as it is a struggle many are waging.

The fact is that, while it is totally possible to write a memoir that will interest the public and draw an audience to you, the same is not true of an autobiography. If you are famous: possibly. If you are not, it is not likely that people will be interested in what grade school you went to and how much your grandmother loved you.

(This statement about autobiography is not applicable if you are writing for a family audience. Your children and grandchildren will definitely be interested in an autobiography.)

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

work with and through pain

Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories

In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Through Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful.

theme-focused memoir

The Theme-focused Memoir

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir.

Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent to promote a point of view. This comes under many guises. Generally, of course, this point of view is called “theme.”

The theme-focused memoir is the most common model.

Writing a manuscript only of one’s experience—the dates, the facts, the activities—may often not enough to entice the reader—at least, it will not interest the reader who is not family and friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

writing precise words

Sweetheart, Are You Using Precise Words for Your Memoir?

Is writing precise words really important in a memoir?

Over the years, I have written energetically about the importance of writing precise words instead of generic ones.

I was dropping someone off at the bus station (aka the Intermodal Transportation Center) when I overheard an exchange that purported to be a dialog that convinced me once again of the necessity for precision in speech–and, by extension, in our memoir writing. It was proof that generic words really do miss the mark and lead to confusing messages.

A grandmother was seeing her daughter (I presumed from the similarity of looks) and three grandchildren off—or perhaps it was the other way. The grandmother had said goodbye to the two girls and there was a boy of about 10 whom she had not yet bid her fond farewell to. He was looking around the space, distracted by this and that and not paying much attention to what was going on.

“Sweetheart,” the grandmother said, holding her arms out to hug him. The boy continued to look around elsewhere.

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

surviving childhood abuse

Surviving Childhood Abuse: a Neglected Child – Part 3

In this third interview, Denise Brown continues to share her experience of writing Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. This is a startling tale of a neglected child —of an entirely neglected family. To read Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here. —DL

DL: How do you recommend people deal with sensitive material that relatives might take offense at?

DB: Believe it or not, I still have not told my parents that I wrote a memoir. Having been a neglected child, I have very limited communication with them and have not felt the need to bring it up to them. I’m not worried about them stumbling upon it. They are late in life, and my father doesn’t read anyway.

However, two years before publication, I sent a copy to all of my sisters, each of whom had also been a neglected child and who are written about at length. I asked them to read it and to give me comments on what they thought and to make sure that I didn’t have any of the events in our lives misinterpreted or misremembered. All of them were very supportive and they had some very helpful comments. I changed everyone’s names in the book except for my own. 

Each of us who publishes a memoir has to figure out what is appropriate for each family member. It is very dependent on each person’s circumstances. My one piece of advice is to tell the truth in your memoir, not a bitter truth but the hard truth. That is where a sympathetic family member comes in so that they can let you know if it is your hurt and anger about being a neglected child speaking or if your story is an accurate depiction of the events. Don’t outright call someone bad, describe the actions that made them so and let the reader decide.

DL: Did you envision yourself as a writer before you begin this book? What is your identity as a writer now?

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

surviving childhood abuse

Surviving Childhood Abuse: Overcoming Trauma- Part 2

We continue our interview with Denise Brown about writing and publishing her book, Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. Hers is a heroic story of overcoming trauma. To read part 1, click here. To read Part 3, click here. —DL

DL: You must have had periods of time in which you were discouraged or, at least, less enthusiastic. Can you tell us about how you kept yourself going? What worked for you?

DB: When I ran into times when I was frazzled by other things going on in my life and didn’t feel the energy to work on my memoir and deal once again with overcoming trauma, I reverted to my minimum goal of one hour per week. I made myself stick to that even if it was 20 minutes over three separate days to keep even the smallest amount of momentum going. Metaphorically speaking, I wasn’t running a marathon; I was hiking the Appalachian Trail and some months were very slow, but I always stuck to my bare minimum goal.

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

surviving childhood abuse

Surviving Childhood Abuse: A Writer’s Experience

Congratulations to Denise Brown on the publication of her book, Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. I recently had the opportunity to interview Denise about her experience writing her book on surviving childhood abuse.  I am pleased to share her experience. To read Part 2, click here. To read Part 3, click here.—DL

Denis Ledoux: Can you tell our readers what your book is about and why you were impelled to write it? What was driving you to spend the time, energy and money to get this book out into the world?

Denise Brown: Transcending Darkness is a memoir about the abuse that I experienced during my childhood. Abuse led me on a path of self-destruction. This path encountered God and his mercy in unexpected ways.  It sounds like a crazy story, but I began writing my memoir when I was in college after having an incredible dream. An angel brought me to visit three teenage girls who were suffering emotionally. Each of them had been reading a book and were crying. I realized that the book was giving them a glimmer of hope for their futures. Then the angel revealed to me that it was my book that I had not yet written that they were reading, and that I was being given the choice of helping them or not. After that, I couldn’t get the dream out of my head! I began writing what would become Transcending Darkness a few days later.

DL: Can you tell us how long it took from the time you conceived the book to the time you had it published? How many years did you spend in active writing? Were there long breaks in between active writing periods? If so, what happened to get you writing again? Writing about surviving childhood abuse must have been difficult. emotionally

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

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Is a coach for the memoir you are writing really useful?

Working with a coach for the memoir you are writing provides you technical, informational and emotional support. Often writers—usually first-time and (perhaps) only-time writers—struggle as they recall, explore, and write their memories. If you are considering or already busy at turning your memories into memoirs, then memoir coaching is an option that will likely help […]

memoir is long form

Memoir is Long Form Writing.

One challenge many first-time and only-time writers of memoir face is understanding that long-form and short-form writing are not the same. That is, long form is not just longer short form. Long form has its requirements.

Let me explain how memoir is long form

Many of the writers who come to me for coaching and editing are already fine writers—of short form. They can write coherent and clear sentences and their paragraphs convey meaning. There is no problem with their ability to write short form—the essay or blog post. This may lead them to overestimate their ability to produce long form.

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