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For many new writers, the excitement of conceiving a memoir—you are excited by the thought of how good this memoir is going to be—is followed by the challenge of actually getting started with the writing.

A let down sets in. You’ve never written a memoir before. Where do you start writing a memoir and how do you keep going?

In this section, we offer you some conceptual and hands-on suggestions for you to start writing a memoir well so that you keep writing to the end.

Many people just like you have succeeded at what you propose to do. You, too, can succeed at getting started writing an interesting and meaningful memoir.

writing your memoir

Writing Your Memoir One Story at a Time—It Adds Up

Make Writing Your Memoir Less Daunting

Writing your memoir does not have to be an intimidating task. Envisioning your autobiography as a series of stories makes the sizable task of writing the stories of a lifetime tolerable and ultimately enjoyable. Lifestories, written singly just as they are told, one by one, add up—sometimes effortlessly—to a memoir.

Whenever I have written a book, I have written it several pages at a time. Were I to ask a beginning writer, “can you produce a 140-page story for me?” most would blanch and then protest, “I can’t write that much!” When I ask people if they can write a 3-, 4-, 5- or even 7-page story, most will answer, “Sure I can do that.” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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my first memoir draft

Guest Blogger: MY FIRST MEMOIR DRAFT WAS DAUNTING

At age 54, I wrote the first 56,500 words of my first memoir draft of my book, Showbiz Survival Memoir.

It was cathartic getting the first memoir draft up and out of me. Honestly, it was a bit grueling though, — emotionally and even physically — to relive some of the most painful times in my life. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing a first draft

Writing a First Draft: Why They’re Called “First”

When you are writing a first draft: nothing can rightly be called a first unless there is a second. First grade implies second grade; first class implies second class; first book implies (we hope) second book, a first draft implies a second draft.

That is why first drafts are called first drafts. A writer must expect to write a second draft, and a third even. No one can sit down and churn out countless pages of prose that don’t need rewriting. Jack Kerouac claimed he did it with On the Road, but we know now that he was stretching the truth. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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jog your memory

(More) Better than Prompts: Five Tips to Help You “Jog Your Memory”

When starting on a memoir, it can be difficult to remember all the stories and memories you would like to include. You naturally want to jog your memory.

When you are intent on writing “from the inside out” as we at The Memoir Network hope you will, there are some useful techniques you can use—to add to compiling your Memory List and perhaps even to stimulate it.
[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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sharing your memoir

How to Get the Most Out of Sharing Your Memoir In-Progress

How sharing your memoir will help

A critical step for a brand-new writer is sharing your memoir writing in progress with others. There is nothing like a reader to help you develop a healthy critical sense of your work. This article is especially for the writer who cringes at the thought of sharing his/her writing.

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

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conquer perfectionism

Conquer perfectionism when writing your memoir

Note from the Editor: The following post is taken from Writer’s Time: Management That Works. This program functions with an open enrollment. Registrations are being accepted now.

It may seem unusual in a program called Writer’s Time: Management that Works to include a module labeled Conquering Perfectionism, but it isn’t. If you want to write your memoir, you will need to conquer perfectionism.

Perfectionism is a big waste of time.

If you want to write your memoir, you will need to conquer perfectionism.

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

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are you procrastinating

Are you procrastinating? Time management tips for writers

Note from the Editor: The following post is taken from Writer’s Time: Management That Works. This program functions with an open enrollment, and it will be launching on July 13. Discounted registrations are being accepted now.

Are you procrastinating? Putting off today’s writing until tomorrow is not an effective process if your goal is to produce a memoir in the foreseeable future.

Why do people opt to procrastinate? I suppose we can’t really say they “opt” as in they make an active decision. As with other addictions, people generally “slip” into procrastination as their thoughtless reaction—“thoughtless” as in “no thought given to it.”x

Are you “lingering”? Or are you “procrastinating”? 

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

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prioritize your memoir writing time

Prioritize your memoir writing time

Note from the Editor: The following post is taken from Writer’s Time: Management That Works. This program functions with an open enrollment, and it will be launching on July 13. Discounted registrations are being accepted now.

How do you prioritize your memoir writing time? Time management calls for understanding how you think of yourself and what you are willing to consider as important in your life. It entails becoming conscious of your priorities.

Prioritize your memoir writing time

While you cannot say “first priority”—prior means first in Latin and there cannot be a “first first”—you can have a number of things that are in first rank in your life: [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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commit to writing your memoir

Commit to writing your memoir with a time management strategy

Note from the Editor: The following post is taken from Writer’s Time: Management That Works. This program functions with an open enrollment, and it will be launching on July 13. Discounted registrations are being accepted now.

The first step to maximize your writing time is to commit to writing your memoir—really commit. More than other choice, committing to write will focus you and make every other decision easier—and even sometimes unnecessary.

“But I already want to write my memoir!” I can hear some hypothetical writer protesting. “I am very interested.”

How “committed” manages time and how “interested in” does not

No, commitment is not about wanting to write a memoir, not about trying to write one, and not about being interested in writing one… [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir writing program

Six Reasons to Join a Long Distance Memoir Writing Program

Six Reasons You Should Join a Memoir Writing Program

Many of the biggest challenges facing memoir writers can be alleviated by joining a memoir writing program.

Memoir writers—as all writers—work in isolation. There are many times when a memoir writer would like to have a contact with someone who could help her/him to resolve a writing issue—whether it’s  a question of grammar, style, or structure.

If you were not a plumber, would you do the plumbing to your house without first learning as much as you could about plumbing?

Of course, you would want to inform yourself.

You might peruse YouTube, buy some how-to books on plumbing, give a call to a person who is a plumber to ask your questions.

Here’s how you as a new writer can follow the same process to write your first memoir draft. [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.
  • Memoir Writing 101 comes with The Lifewriter's Guides, a biweekly "workshop in an email.".
  • If you are already a member of The Memoir Network, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.