Your relationship to your memoir-writing coach is likely to be a long one. There is no other way to make it effective. Coaching is like counseling in a way. Counseling requires an introductory, getting-to-know-you phase before both of you can move on to a productive phase. You can’t expect a counselor to help you with […]
Tag Archives | coaching
Memoir writers can achieve much alone. But, it is also true that working with a memoir professional can cut down the time it takes to produce a book of memoirs and can significantly jack up the quality.
When is the best time to start working with a writing coach? The obvious answer is when you feel the need to, but “the need to” is not always obvious. Many times, writers will decide that they need to submit polished material to a coach and so will put off the coaching process. This is […]
There’s often only a permeable line between memoir coaching and editing. In practice, as we writers at the Memoir Network work with a writer, we find myself slipping from coaching a memoir writer to editing the manuscript we are working with and back to coaching. That’s how organically close coaching and editing really are. Depending on the state of your manuscript, coaching or editing or both are called for. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Coaching almost always proves a great pick-up experience for a person whose memoir is floundering. Your writing coach can help you access process and technique and point of view more rapidly than most people can on their own. But, a coach—even a great one—can only do so much for you. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Organize Your Memoir with Life Phases
Life phases are one way in which you can organize your memoir. Life phases are the emotional and psychological cycles or phases that have marked your life.
Every life proceeds in irregular and unpredictable phases. We can go along with our lives for a long time without much change, thinking that we have arrived at a resolution of the great “who am I?” question, and then unpredictably and perhaps quickly find ourselves dealing with totally different emotional and psychological challenges. Often, it is only in looking back on our lives that we are aware of these life phases.
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A writing prompt seems like a good idea—but is it really?
You are given a writing based on a writing prompt—let’s say, “Write about something physical you were afraid of as a child?”—and you instantly start to write about the water slide at Camp Algonquin you were sent to as an eight-year old. You are not sure why you are so moved to write this story but you do not hesitate. You write about standing at the top of the slide and about Martha Cocciardi in back of you on the ladder, shouting “Get going, Patty. I want to slide, too” and, at that moment, you realized there was nothing to be done but to throw yourself at the mercy of fate and hope you survive to enter the fourth grade. You write with some humor and emotional distance suggesting “Oh, silly me! Oh, what little problems we have as children!” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Our right thinking about memoir writing projects or our right talking about them can lead to success or failure. We can be very clever about our evasive tactics and disguise them as right thinking. Here are three examples that can pass for thoughtfulness rather than evasion.
Our lives are composed not only of facts and dates but also of dreams, expectations–realized or denied–and hopes. You are not alone in having lived an inner life. Others too have experienced much of what you felt and dreamed for yourself and are likely to identify with some, or even much, of what you say. […]
It’s time to commit to creating an effective writing schedule.
You’ve already taken several steps in lifewriting. You have begun to write your stories and memories. Perhaps the summer got in the way of your perseverance or perhaps it was something else—an illness, a temporary job, travel. Now you need to recommit to memoir writing by creating an effective writing schedule for yourself.
Rather than think in the general terms of “I’ll write as much as I can” (who are we kidding here!), base your writing schedule on a specific time or a page quota.