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truth telling

Telling the Hard Truth in Your Memoir–Are You Holding Back?

Are You Holding Back the Hard Truth in Your Memoir?

Your memoir needs the hard truth about life—your life—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself, getting “naked.”

I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt…. we have to know all we can about each other and we have to be willing to go naked.

—May Sarton

Wow, going around naked! Gulp! (Better hit the gym!)

But, I guess you get the idea—psychologically and emotionally naked. Your memoir needs truth telling about life—yours—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself, getting “naked.”

I would like to change the metaphor a bit, to use a metaphor that is less startling but very graphic nonetheless. It is the metaphor of the kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl.

I love popcorn and enjoy eating it but there always comes a moment when I get to the bottom of the bowl and the plethora of corn kernels that have been popped into delightful puffy bites gives way to the hard half-popped or not-popped-at-all kernels. These are not fun to eat. Disappointed, I walk to the trash and throw the kernels away. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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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.

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

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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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 most 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.

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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DoucetteCover

Drug Addiction: An Excerpt From It Can Happen In Any Family

Note: Cindy Doucette’s daughter, Candice, was sure she could defy the odds and survive as she continued her drug addiction. This excerpt from Chapter 3 of Cindy’s memoir is a mother’s lament:

The shock I had first experienced at hearing of Candice’s death had given way to overwhelming sadness. I had lost my daughter, my daughter in whom I had placed so many hopes when she was a baby and a little girl. Then with time, that sadness gave way to anger. How could Candice have chosen to ignore all the good advice we had given her? Why didn’t she pay attention to the countless articles about the risks of drug addiction I had passed on to her to read? And how could she not learn from the death of her friend, Joey? I was angry, too, that she had thrown away the long life she might have had, thrown away her chance to become the singer she had said she wanted to become or the chance to use her drawing skills to become a graphic artist or a fashion designer. Her entire future had been thrown away—all for a few minutes of feeling high.

All of this was a waste because of senseless, stupid drug addiction.

How could he have missed her drug addiction?

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what a top editor does for you

Help to Write My Memoir: Here’s What a Top Editor Does for You

What a Top Editor Does For You

People often ask, “What sort of book editing input does a client receive from her/his Memoir Network editor?”

The answer, of course, varies according to the client. No two receive the same response. We always individualize.

You persist in asking, “Yes, yes, but what sort of manuscript input can I expect from a memoir editor that I begin to work with?”

“Ok, I get it—you want a sample communication.”

Here is one that went out to a new client who had sent us a manuscript and wanted us to read it through and make overall recommendations. This is an actual letter so, to protect the client, we have taken out all references that might point to the client and identify him or her or his or her story. We’ll show you the same respect.

What a top editor does for you is push you

Dear Editing Client,

I have read through about half the text you sent. So many good things to say about the memoir manuscript: [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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best memoir writing coach

The Best Memoir Writing Coach: How to Choose the Right One

Choosing the Right Memoir Writing Coach

How do you choose the best memoir writing coach for you and your book? Your relationship with 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 your core issues until the two of you have had some exploratory conversations and the counselor has gotten some bearing on your “stuff.” In a similar way, a writing coach has to get to know you before s/he can help you with your core writing issues.

A coach works with you in several areas including:

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Memoir Editing

A Memoir Coach or A Memoir Editor Gets You A Finished Memoir

We all wear many hats as we go through our days. In my case, I am a writer, a memoirist, a teacher, a memoir coach, a memoir editor, a co-author, a book publisher, and finally, a small business person. I wear those hats with pride and, I hope, some accomplishment.

Beyond these, I wear other hats as all of you do also. One is that of an athlete of sorts: there has been swimming, jogging, and weight lifting.

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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working with a writing coach

When Should You Start Working With a Writing Coach?

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. Writers will put off the coaching process because they may conclude that it is polished material they need to submit to a coach. This is akin to putting off going to the doctor until when you are feeling well or putting off getting cleaning help until you have straightened out the house.

Writer’s also get confused and mix up working with a coach and working with an editor.

What’s the difference between working with an editor and working with a writing coach?

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The Memoir Network Ghostwriting Services

Memoir Ghostwriting – How Much Does It Cost?

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.

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the best memoir writing book

Write A Better Memoir: 10 How-to Tips

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 job.

The following are my recommendations to boost the quality of your memoir writing. They are obvious tasks which form the substance of this post. Each tip below comes loaded with links. In some instances, the identical words are highlighted, but they lead to separate articles that develop a different angle of the topic. Do not omit to click a repeated word.

I know some impatient readers are going to see following links as a problem, but I hope that you will not and will understand that you are being offered an in-depth e-course on how to improve your memoir writing. This is university-level work I am making available to you.

Be patient and dig in. In fact, it may take you a few days to fully absorb this post—but it will be amply worth the effort in the improved quality of your memoir.

1. Make a Memory List.

If there is one thing I would qualify as a magic bullet in memoir writing it would be the Memory List. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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