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Archive | The Memory List: your “magic bullet”

The Memory List is perhaps the closest you’ll ever get to a magic bullet for writing your memoir. Honestly…

Once you write a Memory List—and there will be different ones for different memoirs and memoir segments, you will never again believe in the “writer’s block” which will seem to you to be an indulgence nor  will you be at a loss about how to continue on your memoir. Day after day, the writing will flow.

Better than a writing prompt

While the Memory List is not an organizational tool for your memoir, it is a text generator like you’ve never seen before.

Whether you are beginning your writing project or are well into writing your memoir, you need to stop what you are doing and read the articles below, buy a copy of Turning Memories Into Memoirs where the Memory List is presented in even more detail, and then begin—or resume—to write.

In conclusion

The articles below describe the Memory List in clear understandable detail.

The topic is also developed in Writing Great Memory Lists 101 and in How to Go Beyond Writing Prompts.

writing prompts

Instead of A Writing Prompt – Five Tips for Creating a Memory List

As people are writing a memoir they will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details. Is there any way I can get them back? Should I use writing prompts or is there something instead of a writing prompt?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.

Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).

Your Memory List is always a work in process because the more you remember and jot down, the more you’ll recall. You will return to and rework your list again and again as you write your life stories. In short, it will serve as an excellent writing prompt without being a writing prompt.

1. The Memory List consists of short memory notes (three to five words is sufficient) of people, events, relationships, thoughts, feelings, things—anything—from your past.

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writing prompt

Use This Instead of a Writing Prompt

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 your memoir

4 Tips For Making and Using a Core Memory List to Write More Efficiently

People who attend Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details.  Is there any way I can get them back?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of lifewriting successful.  That tool is the Memory List.  In this article, I will talk about the Core Memory List. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Organize Your Memoir: Life Phases

Organize Your Memoir with Life Phases

Life phases are one way in which you can organize your memoir. Life phases are the emotional and psychological cycles or phases that have marked your life.

Every life proceeds in irregular and unpredictable phases. We can go along with our lives for a long time without much change, thinking that we have arrived at a resolution of the great “who am I?” question, and then unpredictably and perhaps quickly find ourselves dealing with totally different emotional and psychological challenges. Often, it is only in looking back on our lives that we are aware of these life phases.
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write about love

4 Ways to Write About Love

Valentine’s Day! The perfect invitation to write about love…

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? For me, it was an opportunity to think of the people I love. I sent greetings to my daughter, son and granddaughters.

I got to thinking about writing stories of our love lives. Where are the love stories in your life? Where to start? What to tell?

1. As always, write a Memory List.

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writing a better memoir

Four Tips for Writing a Better Memoir

To write a better memoir, make use of the core memory list. The extended memory list does not make value judgments about the quality of your memories. The core memory list, however, distinguishes between two sorts of memories— the important from the unimportant.

the best memoir writing book

Should You Create an Outline or a Memory List for your Memoir?

DL: This is a perennial favorite with the search engines. I consider it to be a foundational post whose info can guide you to success. I hope you enjoy it.

A Memory List is far superior to an outline!

For some writers, there comes a moment in writing a memoir when the audacity of  the undertaking hits them. Perhaps they think doorslammers like: “This can take forever.” “Writing a memoir will never pay for itself.” “I can’t afford to do this!” They reach for certainty. And that certainly if often a reversion to essay and report writing. They want an outline to assure the task gets done right.

The following is a comment to someone who asked in the Memoir Forum if she should create an outline and how to know when the page and chapters were the right length.

1. Do not write a memoir from an outline.

I do not write from an outline. Instead I create a Memory List as outlined in Chapter 2 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs. The Memory List helps you to follow the promptings of the unconscious rather than the dictates of the conscious mind as happens with an outline. (An outline is great for an essay—”The Three Causes of the American Civil War”— but it is the death of an exploratory memoir.) So…

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