People who are writing a memoir 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?” There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not […]
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.
There is a rich lode of stories that you can tap into quickly both for their historical content and for what they tell you about how members of your family wanted their young to be. These are “family stories.” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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. ]
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.
[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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.
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.
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…