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journal writing for the memoir writer

Journal Writing for the Memoir Writer

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Journal writing is an effective practice for the memoir writer. It is a spontaneous and generally free-flowing activity and so can be very helpful to you in loosening up both your thinking and your writing type (the two usually go together). Your journal is an opportunity to bypass the familiar rules that govern much of […]

Journal Writing for the Memoir Writer

Journal writing is an effective practice for the memoir writer. It is a spontaneous and generally free-flowing activity and so can be very helpful to you in loosening up both your thinking and your writing type (the two usually go together). Your journal is an opportunity to bypass the familiar rules that govern much of the other forms of writing—especially the essay form. In the journal, whatever you write and however you write is ok. You don’t have to worry about form. For many writers—especially for new writers who are still caught in “the way it’s supposed to be written,” this is a great freedom!

help writing memoir

Your journal is by definition, as most people would agree, a book that is not public, a manuscript that will only be read by you. Because of this, in your journal, you can safely explore the personal issue(s) that you may be otherwise avoid facing—for fear of exposing yourself to public judgement.

How to best explore your issues in journals? There are many good books available for you to explore techniques for doing so. Read a few for their many suggestions. Among some of the techniques you can explore in your writing journal are:

  • describe events with as much emotion as you wish. Be blaming, accusing, melodramatic. Then assess how another person might have written about the events
  • write “letters” (that will not be sent) to people in your past to ask them to interpret their actions and words and then write their responses back to you.
  • rewrite the outcomes of past events so that you get the results you wished from them. Explore how it feels to have these outcomes rather than the actual ones.
  • recreate dialog the way you wish the dialog had transpired

All of these and many more exercises you will find in other books will help you to come to an emotional comfort with difficult material that you may be—at worse—hiding from your memoir 0r—at best—writing in such circumspect ways so that neither you nor your reader are “getting it.” If writing a memoir is to be healing, then the material needing healing needs to be explored.

Your journal is the place to begin this exploration.

TheMemoirNetwork.com

Making your story bigger! will help you to create context for your memoir.

For more on journaling for the memoir writer, listen to Journals and Memoirs, an MP3, which is part of our new collection of MP3s, Making the Story Bigger, Second Draft Work.

 

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