As in most endeavors in life, when you write a memoir as an open-ended task without any end in sight, you are likely to procrastinate and extend the project. What happens when you do not set a memoir writing deadline is, next year or the year after that, you are still writing, revising, and polishing your lifestory. You know how it is: you want to get it right. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
In this section, you will read about processes and props you can implement to increase your success as a writer. As in all professions and trades, there are “best practices” for memoir writing that facilitate and improve your experience.
By all means, leave comments if you have a practice that you would like to share with us.
Can you assume you can depend on your memory when you write your lifestories? The problem with this assumption is that memory isn’t always as reliable as you may want it to be! What are the best interview practices to find out if your memory is spot on? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories
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. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
A writing prompt in my estimation leads to nothing. I’m not a great fan of a writing prompt. Sure, they get you to writing something. And many people will insist writing something is better than writing nothing. Well, I’m not so sure of that.
Writing a non-fiction book is possible!
A common lament, I hear from writers goes like this, “I wanted a book, and I got off to a good start writing a memoir. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but then I just stopped. I don’t know why.” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
No one said it would be easy to show up and do the work of writing a book!
“Writing is hard,” you realize again as you look at your production for the day. “Perhaps I’m not cut out for this.”
To your dismay, you have been writing in snippets for many days now. In the mornings, when you show up at your laptop—later and later it seems, you must face, as does every writer, a demanding master: your daily writing. Why can’t writing be more fun? Why can’t it be—well, to tell the truth—less hard?
Oh, how you wish it were the end of your scheduled writing period for the day! Why did you think you could do this book-writing thing!
“Whom am I kidding?” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Telling the truth
“I have permission [as a memoir writer] not to waffle in my writing,” I was recently informed by a memoir writer.
“Not to waffle” somehow missed the point for me.
Certainly, the memoir writer has permission “not to waffle,” but there is more that is incumbent on the writer. S/he has the obligation not to waffle. As memoir writers, “not to waffle” means to tell our truth about what happened. This is a must. Over the years, I have been amazed at how I can pick up waffling and how, in a workshop setting, others can too. Waffling just comes across waving a “red flag.” So…
Yeah, don’t do it! [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
How Useful Is A Memoir Timeline?
Have you ever wondered, “How long should it take to write a memoir?”
One answer, of course, is that it takes as long as it takes. While so true, this answer is not useful to those writers who are trying to get their duckies in line—looking at where the time is in their schedules to write, knowing what support to ask from their life partners, etc. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Why not continue to write your memoir today?
—Phil Cousineau in Stoking the Creative Fires
The Phil Cousineau quote above ought to be for all of us a stirring call to continue—or to begin if that is where we are at—the writing we may have procrastinated about for so long. We fill our days with lesser tasks when we know that what we ought to be doing is writing a memoir.
It is later than you think. In the twenty-five plus years I have been doing this work, I have seen people die without writing their memoir and I have seen people grow old and lose the energy to write their memoir.
In both cases, a lifestory has been lost.
[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Becoming a disciplined writer is a practice.
Do you struggle with becoming a disciplined writer on a regular basis and do you wish you could be more focused? Do you ask yourself, “Why is it so hard to write when I really do want to write?” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]