How does memoir coaching improve your manuscript? “What does ‘My family was poor mean,” I asked a memoir writing client in a recent coaching session. “Poor?” he asked at the other end of the phone line. “What do you mean what does poor mean? Poor means poor!” “Does poor mean you didn’t have enough to […]
Our memoir writing exercises are different from those found on other sites. We do not like to provide ready-made prompts. Instead we advocate writing exercises that are likely to lead to a deepening of your insight rather than to a titillation for your entertainment — which is what we think of most writing exercises.
Read the posts below to see for yourself how what we suggest is better than any writing prompt that asks you to write about something like “It’s the year 2500 and you are…”
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. ]
Is there a problem with writing prompts? This is my issue with writing prompts: they tend to lead to isolated stories, stories that are searching for humor, searching to be shared with a group that is perhaps looking for entertainment. They are not, by and large, searching for meaning lost in the morass of your […]
There are ways to rework your stories so that you can minimize “telling” and maximize “showing.” The biggest “telling” offense is perhaps…
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.
Memoir interviewing is an integral piece of research. Although you may assume you can depend on your memory when you write your lifestories—memory isn’t always as reliable as you want it to be. Interviews with relevant family members and friends can supplement your memory and broaden the perspective of your memoir. How To Prepare For […]
Telling the Truth About your Life
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with subtle—and not so subtle—messages about who we ought to be, it is a bold statement to take a stand for personal truth and authenticity.
The telling of your stories is a revolutionary act.—Sam Keen, Writer
One of the most transformative statements an individual can make is to tell his/her story with honesty and objectivity. At its best, this is what a memoir is—a statement that declares “this is who I am, who I think of myself as being.”
Lest you think that telling the truth is only about revealing scandals and unmasking abuses, let me assure you that it is more often about smaller issues, issues more within the realm of the everyday experience. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
One of the critical steps you can take as a writer is to find ways to share your work with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members. Don’t let your hard work sit in a drawer unread. Writing is meant to be read. We write down […]
When writing memoir the project typically starts with a burst of energy. “This is going to be a good piece of writing! Help to keep you writing your memoir.
Choose A Voice To Write From Choosing a voice is imperative. This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. In fact, it is a very serious question that will determine-or at least greatly influence-the tone and the theme of your narrative. “But, I’m writing my memoirs!” you might answer. Yes, of course. It’s you! […]