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Archive | Writing Process

There are many pieces to the writing process, collected here are articles that will help the memoir writer at every stage of the operation.

truth telling

Telling the Hard Truth in Your Memoir–Are You Holding Back?

Are You Holding Back the Hard Truth in Your Memoir?

Your memoir needs the hard truth about life—your life—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself, getting “naked.”

I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt…. we have to know all we can about each other and we have to be willing to go naked.

—Mary Sarton

Wow, going around naked! Gulp! (Better hit the gym!)

But, I guess you get the idea—psychologically and emotionally naked. Your memoir needs truth telling about life—yours—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself, getting “naked.”

I would like to change the metaphor a bit, to use a metaphor that is less startling but very graphic nonetheless. It is the metaphor of the kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl.

I love popcorn and enjoy eating it but there always comes a moment when I get to the bottom of the bowl and the plethora of corn kernels that have been popped into delightful puffy bites gives way to the hard half-popped or not-popped-at-all kernels. These are not fun to eat. Disappointed, I walk to the trash and throw the kernels away. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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larger audience

Don’t Pass On Reaching A Larger Audience – 4 Tips   

Perhaps you’ve been writing a memoir for your family and friends. The composition started off easily enough. You jotted a few memories and passed the stories out. People started saying you ought to write a book, but you were doubtful no one else but family and friends would be interested. For a long while you were satisfied creating your book for a small audience and then it occurred to you you that you were writing with a theme that might interest a larger audience. Perhaps, you wondered, if there was something in your lifestory that could address a larger audience of strangers. Or…

Perhaps from the get-go, you had a sense that, while this story of yours is personal, there was something in it that certainly could interest a larger audience.

While family and friends are always a worthy readership for your memoir, it is possible to reach an even larger audience.

“But, how to do that?” you ask. “What’s the magic bullet?”

Well, I don’t have a magic bullet but I do have a few suggestions to help you reach beyond a small circle. Below are four suggestions to empower your story to appeal to a broader public. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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start writing

8 Tips for a Fast Way to Start Writing Your Memoir  

To help you to get a fast start writing and to write your memoirs more prolifically–and even bring them to a finish in the form of a published memoir–I offer these eight suggestions. They are tried and true tips that bear repeating and repeating.

writing process steps

Writing Process Steps–Linger With Your Story

One of the writing process steps is to linger with your story. Many, and perhaps most, people write too fast. I don’t mean that they end up with a text characterized by sloppy grammar, spelling problems and chronology issues—although that may be the case, of course.

No, what I mean is that they push through the process of writing their stories much too quickly. They end up with only a part of the story they could have written had they lingered. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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write memoir

How Is Learning to Write Memoir Like Learning to Swim?

When learning to write memoir, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable as you learn the process, just like learning to swim. We often see people who are not comfortable swimming flail about in the water, their heads reaching up high, desperately, to catch a breath of air. This awkward gesture soon tires them. Try as they might there is not enough air for them as they constrict their ribs, twist their heads, contort their jaws. Soon enough, considering that they had set out to enjoy the water, these people quit and return to the shore. Swimming is over for the day. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Complete Your Book Manuscript

Write to the End: Complete Your Book Manuscript

A Suggestion on How to Complete Your Book Manuscript

May I present a surprise blocking solution to complete your book manuscript: don’t write just now.

learn how to continue writing to the end.

Learn how to continue writing to the end.

Here is an example of what I mean: one summer when I was serious about gardening, I went away on a late June trip. It was a fun vacation with my family, but the trip fell at a time when the garden seriously needed daily weeding, hoeing, and watering. As you can imagine, when I returned home, I found my garden overrun with weeds. The vegetables that I had so carefully planted were just about choked out, so I was, to say the least, challenged seeing the overgrown mess of weeds.

Rather than tackle the job immediately, however, which would certainly have been reasonable, I made a counter-intuitive decision: I spent time across several days just sitting on the edge of the garden, envisioning how I wanted the various parts to look once my work of cleaning up was done, imagining the lovely vegetables I would have.

Action will come.

After three days of on-again, off-again scrutinizing and visualizing, my time for action had come.

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

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formal research

You Need Formal Research

Interviewing family members and friends is clearly a form of research, but interviews alone are usually not enough to give your stories the depth they require. For that, you need formal research.

memoir writing deadline

Memoir Writing Deadline: How To Set Yours

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. ]

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distance learning

Distance Learning: A Precious Opportunity

For most emerging writers, enrolling in a distance learning program is an exciting experience. At long last, for a period of time that is long enough to make a difference, you give yourself the opportunity to immerse yourself in learning the “best practices” of the writing craft that you has been so wanting to learn for a long time. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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time sequencing and flashbacks

Before Sending a Manuscript To An Editor Part 3–Time Sequencing and Flashbacks

Note from the Editor: This third installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around time sequencing and flashbacks. For Part 1: Self-Editing Techniques Click here. For Part 2: Use of Time  Click here.

A writer can effect these tips to bring a manuscript to a higher level of finish before sending the piece off to a professional editor. In this section, I write about use of time: specifically, cause and effect time sequencing and flashbacks. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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A gift for you...
...because you need to get your memoir written. This little book will focus you to complete your memoir.
  • Your memoir deserves to be written. We help people get their story down—right!
  • Writing a memoir or want to improve one you're working on? Download Memoir Writing 101: How to Craft a Compelling Memoir or Lifestory / 10 Steps and a Bonus.
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  • If you are already a member of The Memoir Network, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.