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fast start writing

9 Tips for a Fast Start Writing Your Memoir  

Ever wish you had the secret of generating a fast way to fast start writing your memoir—or most any other book?

A proven way to start writing is to follow a set of steps that will help you get into the writing habit. When I wrote and published A Sugary Frosting / A Memoir Of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage, I appreciated the efficiency and effectiveness of my writing process all the more. A Sugary Frosting is the story of the first 20 years of my deceased wife’s life. She had written a number of her stories but died before completing a memoir. When I took up the task, I followed what I consider to be “best practices” of memoir writing.

Below I offer them to you to help you get a fast start and to write more prolifically—and even bring it to a finish in the form of a published memoir.

Here are my nine “best practices” for memoir writing. They are tried and true and bear implementing today.

1. Set up a regular writing time. This will get you a fast start writing your memoir.

How long you write is perhaps not as important as how frequently you do so. Once you have set up a writing time, honor it as you would a medical appointment. Don’t allow others to usurp your time!

A schedule may be the tool you need to make a success of your writing. Don’t become another person who tried to write, who is thinking of writing.

What you need to write a memoir successfully is discipline not motivation. Motivation will likely get you only so far while discipline will see you to a completed memoir. A schedule flows naturally as a part of discipline.

2. Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft.

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writing process steps

Writing Process Steps—Linger With Your Story

One of the writing process steps is to linger with your story. Many, and perhaps most, people write too fast. I don’t mean that they end up with a text characterized by sloppy grammar, spelling problems and chronology issues—although that may be the case, of course.

No, what I mean is that they push through the process of writing their stories much too quickly. They end up with only a part of the story they could have written had they lingered.

So many times in my workshops, I have found it easy to tell those manuscripts that have been lingered over from those that have not. As somebody’s face reveals Irish ancestry or Italian heritage, a piece of writing reveals its past.

There is a quality to a piece that has been rushed that is easily discernible to anyone who has learned to write more slowly. So…learn to linger with your story.

One of the essential writing process steps

1. When you don’t take the time to linger with your story, you generally are unable to feel the full import of your memoir.

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22 Memoir-Writing Goals for the Second Half of 2022: Your Half Year Boost

DL: This post was originally published on December 29, 2021 and I have tweaked them to fit the second half of the year. How many of these goals have you accomplished in the first half of the year? These remain great goals. There’s still 6 months left in 2022 for you to succeed at these!

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Did you find yourself wandering along with your memoir writing in the first half of the 2022 year and not achieving your memoir-writing goals?  Do you have a sense that you might have accomplished a bit more writing than you have?

At the half year point, it is traditional to review how the past two quarters went for you and to create goals for yourself for the six months. (A goal is a wish with action steps and a timeline.) These goals need to be written and reviewed periodically.

Studies have shown that people who set goals in writing have a better outcome vis-à-vis accomplishing what they set out to do. Here’s a report on one such study. (The famous Harvard goal-setting study so many of us have heard of apparently never happened, but the concept of goal setting is clearly important and is explored in the linked article.)

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for 2022

Since this is a memoir writing blog, I thought it is appropriate for me to come up with goals that would further your writing success in 2022. And why not play with the year’s number—22?

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broader audience

How to Write a Memoir for a Broader Audience: 4 Tips

Would you like your memoir to attract a broader audience?  While family and friends are a worthy readership for your memoir, are you one of those many writers who aspires a larger public?

Writers will admit, if pushed, that they would enjoy a public response to their efforts. Your story can appeal to strangers—if you pay attention to these four tips—and may even move these strangers to new insights and motivations. And how knows—this broader audience may write you a fan letter.

My newest You Tube video offers you four easy-to-implement tips to help your story to appeal to a public beyond family and friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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theme-focused memoir

The Theme-focused Memoir

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir.

Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent to promote a point of view. This comes under many guises. Generally, of course, this point of view is called “theme.”

The theme-focused memoir is the most common model.

Writing a manuscript only of one’s experience—the dates, the facts, the activities—may often not enough to entice the reader—at least, it will not interest the reader who is not family and friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Memoir Coaching

Is a coach for the memoir you are writing really useful?

Working with a coach for the memoir you are writing provides you technical, informational and emotional support. Often writers—usually first-time and (perhaps) only-time writers—struggle as they recall, explore, and write their memories. If you are considering or already busy at turning your memories into memoirs, then memoir coaching is an option that will likely help […]

Become good at memoir writing

Become Good at Memoir Writing

Twice a week or so, the Memoir Writer’s Blog posts a new article. I write about a variety of topics and most of them are not in sequence with what I have written previously. My only logic is to help you become good at memoir writing —better and better with every post.

I write in the Memoir Writer’s Blog as fancy takes me. Most readers, as I am guessing, probably do not prefer to learn in a structured manner and have to wait for the next article in the sequence.  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.

There is a way of sequencing the articles to some extent.

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

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 period 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. 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…

Skill-specific posts in the categories help you become good at memoir writing

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 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 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 Memoir Writer’s Blog 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. You can become good at memoir writing.

Become good at memoir writing.

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. It’s not the way to become good at memoir writing.

We usually publish two 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. When you do, you will receive a notice of every new post.

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

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Become good at memoir writing

Learn Better Writing: how not to wander aimlessly in your memoir

DL: This is part of several posts of free products available to you to learn better writing.This is Part 1. — You know the scene. You’re in an unknown town—never been to before. You have some general directions: your location is in the north end of town: perhaps it’s on a side street; after a […]

scheduling memoir writing

Schedule Your Writing

Spontaneity can be exhilarating and bring zest to your writing, but if you are a new or an uncertain writer, you are well advised to schedule your writing.  Without a time set aside, it become to easy to “forget” or find an excuse—”I’m just too busy today.”

Discipline will produce results that spontaneity cannot keep up with.

Be ambitious. Set a great pace to working on your memoir. This can happen when you schedule your writing. 

Today is as good a time as any to begin the habit of writing every day whether you are seeking to do a rough draft or polish your text.

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