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Finishing a Memoir—How Do People Get Snagged?

Finishing a memoir is not easy.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who seek us out at The Memoir Network are not beginners at memoir writing. Many have already composed 5, 10, 15 or more stories or vignettes. These writers have been working on their memoir for a significant length of time but they are spinning their wheels. They are not moving forward and seem to have gotten off what once seemed like a clear path to finishing their memoirs. They are writing a few stand-alone pieces, which is not a bad goal to have really, but writing a series of stand-alone pieces is just not what they want to do.

What they want is to write a polished memoir, a memoir that reads and looks like a real book. They want to make a statement about their lives not just record interesting, unique, or weird events that may have happened to them.

There are many reasons people stop finishing a memoir.

  • Sometimes people aren’t finishing a memoir simply because they don’t put in enough work. They are, in other words, couch potatoes who would like their memoirs to finish themselves. As I have written many times, “No one ever said that writing a memoir was going to be easy!” This sort of person makes many excuses but produces little text. But, this may not be you…
  • There is another category of people to whom a lot of life has happened quickly. Finishing a memoir has had to take a back seat. Progress becomes impossible or at least improbable—given all else that has to be done. This can be due to many reasons: a new job with a steep learning curve, the birth of a child, the illness of a family member, a move from one apartment or house to another. For these or other reasons unrelated to being a couch potato, these writers find themselves, a number of months later, not having written for a long time. The memoir is at a standstill. But, one wonders if there were not half hours here and there that might have added up after a while to a chunk of memoir writing.
  • Still another category of writers have insufficient skills to write a memoir—let alone think of finishing  memoir. Those people could benefit from coaching,  from books and MP3s on writing in general and memoir writing in particular. But something stops them. Is it pride or is it lack of confidence that even theses services have entry levels beyond where they are now?
  • Lastly, some writers don’t have their subject yet and have been writing about the wrong life experiences or writing them from the wrong point of view. These are sincere hard-working writers who are not making progress finishing a memoir.

Writers become non-writers and do not know how to re-connect to the writing life.

Writers who have stopped writing may want to write again, to tackle finishing a memoir but, alas and alack, what has happened is that the train of thought, the feeling, the sensibility that went into the creation of those stories they have has now been lost. They are no longer in that realm where writing a memoir is something that they can do easily. The source of their inspiration has dried up.

Follow a proven lead to pick up your writing again!

The Memoir Network’s My Memoir Education is full of helpful tools for those of you who are at a standstill or seriously slowed down and want to attempt finishing a memoir again. Ebooks, MP3s, newsletter, interviews, and more.  Join today. It’s free and it’s a jumpstart to success at writing your memoir.

My book, Write to the End, offers eight strategies that will help you pick up your memoir again…and finish writing it with diligence and confidence. Click here to order at just $2.99.

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