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 […]
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Memoir ghostwriting is a viable option if you choose not to write your memoir yourself. There are many reasons you would choose not to write a memoir by yourself and most of them are good.
Understandably, people want to know how much memoir ghostwriting will cost. Depending on the length of your memoir, it may take months and even years to complete your book. Here are a few considerations for you to ponder over as you assess how much a co-author might cost.
1. Asking “How much will it cost to have my memoir ghostwritten?” is like asking “How long will it take to cross the Atlantic Ocean?”
Many factors will affect the time required for a crossing: the wind, the distance between the ports of departure and the arrival you choose, the design of the boat itself, the number of people and the amount of materials and supplies on the boat, whether or not you wish to cross directly or whether you would like to make a few forays along the way—say, visit Iceland before landing in Portugal.
Writers ask me what they can do the most easily to write a better memoir. While I can understand the wish to write more quickly and easily, I’m going to share with you that writing a better memoir needs to be done slowly and thoughtfully. A rushed job is probably going to be a botched […]
Note from the Editor: This third installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around time sequencing and flashbacks. For Part 1: Self-Editing Techniques Click here. For Part 2: Use of Time Click here.
A writer can effect these tips to bring a manuscript to a higher level of finish before sending the piece off to a professional editor. In this section, I write about use of time: specifically, cause and effect time sequencing and flashbacks. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
People who are writing a memoir will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details. Is there any way I can get them back? Should I use writing prompts?”
There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.
Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).
Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft. Write pages and pages in which you describe the who, the what, the where and the when of the story. Later, as you rework the piece, the why will be written in.
If you are one of those memoir writers who is not otherwise a writer and who will perhaps never write anything else, know that you need to be kind to yourself. In the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops, I am often surprised—and dismayed—at how demanding writers are on themselves at an early stage of the process. There are even times when a writer will not turn in a piece of writing because it was not “good enough”—and that in spite of my having told the group that the writing they would submit would still be in its first draft stage.
Think of the first draft of writing as “fixing” the story in the same way that in days when photographs were fixed by chemicals that stage was important if the image was not to be lost. Your first draft is the stage when you “fix” your story, keep it from being lost rather than make it into a masterpiece.
Don’t reward yourself for being a perfectionist!
Show Don’t Tell Rules the Day!
How many times have you heard “Show your story rather than tell it!”
And, how many times have you gone right on and did a lot of telling! I know I have.
“Showing” is one technique that will always improve your writing. I admit that there is some great writing that makes a precedent for “tell,” but as a rule “show” is more effective.
Here are three “show don’t tell” ideas to improve your story—every time. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
How Useful Is A Memoir Timeline?
Have you ever wondered, “How long should it take to write a memoir?”
One answer, of course, is that it takes as long as it takes. While so true, this answer is not useful to those writers who are trying to get their duckies in line—looking at where the time is in their schedules to write, knowing what support to ask from their life partners, etc. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Why not continue to write your memoir today?
—Phil Cousineau in Stoking the Creative Fires
The Phil Cousineau quote above ought to be for all of us a stirring call to continue—or to begin if that is where we are at—the writing we may have procrastinated about for so long. We fill our days with lesser tasks when we know that what we ought to be doing is writing a memoir.
It is later than you think. In the twenty-five plus years I have been doing this work, I have seen people die without writing their memoir and I have seen people grow old and lose the energy to write their memoir.
In both cases, a lifestory has been lost.
[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Why let writer’s block stop you?
“What can I do about writer’s block?” I am asked regularly by stumped writers.
“Pretty much the same as a plumber does with a plumber’s block,” I’ll respond.
People twitter at this reply. Perhaps it’s because they take my response to their writer’s block question for a joke and they’re anticipating a good punch line.
But, this is no joke. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]