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How to Read The Memoir Writer's Blog

Twice a week or so, I create a new Memoir Writer’s Blog post. I write about a variety of topics and most of them are not in sequence with what I have written previously.

I write in the Memoir Writer’s Blog as fancy takes me. Most readers do not prefer to learn in a structured manner.  What I write today may very well be the very topic s/he needs to keep going even if the memoir writer had not known that before reading the post on The Memoir Writer’s Blog.

Is there a best way to read The Memoir Writer’s Blog?

How to Wtie Your Memoirs so Everyone Will Want to Read Them

from Bottomline Magazine

Read The Memoir Writer’s Blog as a way to create a context for you to delve into your memoir on a given day—today perhaps. Any one of the many posts can serve you as an entry point into the day’s creation.

Perhaps it is early in the morning (or at least it is time for you to write so you are early in your writing for the day). You turn your computer on, sip your coffee or tea, wonder about your day and about what you might write. You know you are going to write a portion of your memoir—or perhaps it is a memoir you are writing of one of your parents or of your spouse. Soon your RSS feed informs you there is a new post from The Memoir Writer’s Blog. You are not quite ready to start writing so you dawdle a bit and read the post. It is about technique—perhaps on beginning a section or perhaps about creating vivid character. Well, it makes sense and you decide to implement the suggestion. Or…

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed. You have been at this writing so long! Is it really worth continuing? You begin reading today’s post and it is a piece of memoir, the piece about when my mother’s aunt left to go back to Canada and suddenly you realize how much you want to tell the story of your aunt who died when you were twelve and how you loved her and you begin to write that. It is out of sequence but you know you can connect it later to the rest of the story. Or perhaps, before you set in to write, you turn to more of the stories of my mother—and are pleased to find so many excerpts from her memoir.  You want to see how I have handled her story or perhaps simply to live for a while in another era before you begin to write about your aunt. Or…

Perhaps you have been questioning whether you have enough skill in presenting action effectively and you turn to the categories of the blog and, sure enough, you find there a category labeled “action” under technique and you click on it. You discover several articles on how to create more effective action. In fact, you are reminded that action is not synonymous with “interesting” but that action like character and setting has to be better crafted. Or…

Perhaps it is not motivation or craft that is stopping you but the process itself. You have been having trouble with the pre-writing function and you check the blog categories and find several excellent articles on pre-writing and, before you do anything today, you read (or re-read) these articles on The Memoir Writer’s Blog. They ground you, and you move on to the writing you wish to accomplish today.

It is now clear to you that this blog, The Memoir Writer’s Blog, is an effective tool for you to learn to be a much better memoir writer. You turn to your spouse or perhaps your friend and say, “I’m getting a writing education from The Memoir Network’s blog. That’s why I turn to it whenever I commence to write.”

Then you forward a link to The Memoir Writer’s Blog to someone you know who is writing. You know the post you are alerting your friend to it will have the same effect on him/her it had on you.

So that’s how I hope you read The Memoir Writer’s Blog.

What’s in the reading for you?

1. Regular, even daily, inspiration and motivation to write.

2. Education in both craft and process that will permit you to write the best memoir you are capable of.

I hope you won’t do this.

You can, of course, read The Memoir Writer’s Blog for entertainment, as a way of making a diversion for yourself so you don’t have to do the work that is the focus of The Memoir Writer’s Blog, but I hope you won’t do this.

We publish two—sometimes three—posts per week on a variety of topics in The Memoir Writer’s Blog. Keep coming and keep checking the categories and tags for topics that will help you to succeed. Subscribe via the FOLLOW at the bottom right of the page where you find this entry. You will receive a notice of every new entry.

Keep writing. Let this be the year you write and publish your memoir.

place photos in your memoir book

Photos in Your Memoir Book Layout

Where you place photos in your memoir book layout is important.

While it may seem obvious, it bears repeating that where you place photos in your memoir book layout is important.

It will influence how readers appreciate your story. The only way I can grasp that makes sense is to place photos chronologically within the text. Why?

A bit of book-writing talk

There is in reading and writing a phenomenon called “suspension of disbelief.” If I as the reader am constantly saying “This is only a book. This isn’t really happening as I read,” then it is impossible for that reader to get “lost in the story.”

On the other hand, if the reader agrees not to challenge the story—to make as if the story is actually happening as s/he is reading—then there is a good chance the reader will enter the story and experience it as if it were unfolding before his/her eyes.

Now the reader is only one partner of the agreement. The other partner is the writer.  The writer MUST NOT do anything that forces the reader to suspend disbelief.

A famous gaffe [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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share your writing

Dare to Share Your Writing

A critical steps to take as a developing writer is to share your writing with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members.

Sometimes you make your writing public by having an in-person audience or a virtual audience. Sometimes your first audience comes in the form of blog readers.

This post is geared to the novice writer and may not apply to a more experienced memoirist.

To Share Is To Grow

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Point of View in a Memoir

The Wrong Point of View in a Memoir Can Throw the Story

In 1996 and 1997, I composed about 200 pages of a memoir of my high school years and then it wasn’t going anywhere more than where it had been—mired in facts and details with no spirit. What I didn’t know was it had a wrong point of view problem

I merely stored it in various computers for years.

In the fall of 2013, I completed my mother’s memoir (We Were Not Spoiled). Because I was looking for a writing project I might devote myself to next, I picked up the high-school memoir again.

(Lest you think that I went to a high school like yours, let me assure you that I did not. I attended a Catholic high-school seminary. No, I’m not writing about sexual shenanigans—there was none of that whatsoever. I am writing about my life there between 1960 and 1964 and how it shaped me. This theme of identity is usual stuff for a memoir, but the setting is exotic in many ways and not at all usual. Almost none of you who are reading this have “been there”—trust me.)

Suddenly, after more than a decade and a half, the memoir spoke to me again!

“Write me! Write me!” it shouted. The text seemed “alive” again. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Memoir Has A Powerful Impact

Cindy Doucette’s Self-Published Memoir Has A Powerful Impact.

Cindy Doucette (Berwick Maine) has seen her poignant story depicted in It Can Happen To Any Family used by the juvenile correctional system of York County, Maine, to effect turn arounds in young people.   Below is a testimonial written by a young person who was in the correctional system and who is testifying to the […]

publishing independently

My first publication story: publishing independently

Let me share the independent publication story of my first book, What Became of Them. It is a collection of short stories that I had written over a number of years in the 1980s. In 1987, I decided it was time to send the collection out into the world, but I was not ready yet to do publishing independently.I learn to support myself in the creative life.

Taking stock of myself, I knew I had no need to be approved by someone, to have my writing found to be worthy.  I know many writers want to have a “real book,” and by this, they probably mean they want their book to be canonized by someone—the larger the reputation and the more famous, the better.

This sort of approval was not important to me. I was looking for a way to reach my audience which I  knew both existed and would want my book.

I also wanted to earn some income from my writing. I understood that my income would come both from sales of the book and from speaking and teaching from the podium my book would allow me to step up on.

Where to send my manuscript?

I gleaned names and addresses I researched in the library and bookstore. After selecting a few of the more promising—they championed topics which I thought would attract my audience and encompassed a territory where my audience lived.

I sent the book out—and then I waited and waited.

I totally understood how a book has to fit into a publisher’s catalog. (A fruit distributor doesn’t, after all, take on a chicken farmer as a client!) A new book must support the company’s mission and complement books that have already been successful.

In addition, a book must promise to earn the company some income (preferably a large one) from its audience.

A losing proposition

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What motivates me to write

What Motivates Me to Write?

The simplest answer to what motivates me to write is that I’ve always loved to write, and lacking the creativity to write fiction or the tenacity to research subjects for non-fiction, I write about what I know, my life. I love memoir.

If I look beyond my lack of creativity, I see writing memoir feeds a certain voyeurism.  I’ve always been fascinated by letters and the glimpse they provide into other people’s lives. I’ve never been able to resist an epistolary book, fiction or non-, and I’ve come to realize that many of the memoir pieces I’ve written are basically letters to myself, or to the family that comes after me.  I love reading letters, so I write them. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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last chapter of a memoir

How to write a last chapter of a memoir

“How do I write the last chapter of a memoir?” coaching and editing clients will sometimes ask me. It is a good question because the last chapter of a memoir is your final shot at affirming your theme and at creating a satisfying ending to the story the reader has been engaged in for perhaps […]

why I'm motivated to write

Why I’m Motivated to Write My Memoir? This is how I process life.

I’ve been reflecting on why I’m motivated to write my memoir and realize that I come back to my writing every day because I cannot stay away. It is how I process life. Writing helps me understand what has happened and how I feel about it. My dad’s Norwegian stoicism and our family’s isolation caused by his alcoholism prevented much communication with anybody, in or out of the family. I turned to writing to “talk” to someone. I wrote letters to any relatives and pen pals who would write back, and who I felt were my friends.

As I now write my memoirs, every memory I write about teaches me something new about myself and how I’ve become the person I am. When I started my memoir, I began to forgive myself for self-defeating behaviors I could not overcome. Re-living events buried for years has brought tears, but it has helped me let go and be a less fearful, ashamed, and workaholic person. Writing is the best thing I do for myself.

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memoir writing tips

Five Memoir Writing Tips Nancy Pelosi Ought to Know Before She Pens A Memoir

When Nancy Pelosi sits down to write her memoirs what ought she to do to make the writing interesting? Hint: fame and power in themselves are not enough to intrigue a reader. Here are five memoir writing tips to know.

Writing her memories of her years in Washington will be challenging to Nancy Pelosi but not as hard as some people think. If she is willing to follow the five simple steps I will outline below, she can succeed at writing an interesting and meaningful autobiography. (More and more people—in fact, many who at first think they couldn’t—are succeeding at exploring and honoring their pasts in this way.)

These five memoir writing tips to know are among the most powerful—and easiest—to implement in personal and family history writing.

Good luck—to Nancy Pelosi and to you!

1) Make a Memory List.

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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.