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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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Memoir-Writing Support

How Long Does It Take to Write a Memoir?

Sometimes, years after I’ve heard from someone that he is writing a memoir, I will hear from the writer again. Perhaps it’s three or four or five years later, but the writer is working on the same memoir and is not close to finishing. I don’t get it. How long does it take to write a memoir? So I ask politely, “What has snagged your memoir?” In short…

It seems to have taken that writer too long to write his memoir!

So, how long does it take to write a memoir?

Well, I don’t actually know the answer to “how long does it take to write a memoir?” What I know is a memoir needn’t take so long to compose as many people take. People do get bogged down in writing. A memoir—an interesting and meaningful one under 200 pages—can be written in as short a time as 12 to 24 months.

If that’s so, then why do some memoirs drag on and on and risk never getting completed?

Sometimes, years after I’ve heard from someone that he is writing a memoir, I will connect with the writer again. Perhaps it’s three or four or five years later, but the writer is working on the same memoir. I don’t get it. So I ask politely, “What has snagged the memoir?” In short…

I has taken that writer too long to write his memoir!

How long does it take to write a memoir?

Well, I don’t actually know the answer  to “how long does it take to write a memoir?” What I know is a memoir needn’t take so long to compose. A memoir—and interesting and meaningful one—can be written in 12 to 24 months.

If that’s so, then why do some memoirs drag on? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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set-goals-brainstorming-2398562_1920

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!

____

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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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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truth in memoir

“Making Nice” Will Trip You Up

We all have family stories that we have heard over and over again. When they are told in family gatherings, no one expects any contradiction. After all, the stories are the “truth” about someone in the family but “making nice”—not telling the truth in memoir—will trip you up.

How do you write truth in memoir writing?

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Don't let writer's blok stop you

Don’t Let Writer’s Block Stop You

Don’t let writer’s block stop you from producing a great memoir!

“What can I do about writer’s block?” I am asked regularly by stumped writers.

“Pretty much the same as plumber does with a plumber’s block,” I’ll respond.

People twitter at this reply. Perhaps it’s because they take my response for a joke and they’re anticipating a good punch line.

Do what you have to do if you don’t let writer’s block stop you.

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the best memoir writing book

Should You Create an Outline or a Memory List for your Memoir?

DL: An outline or a Memory List? This is a perennial favorite with the search engines. I consider it to be a foundational post whose info can guide you to success. I hope you enjoy it.

A Memory List is far superior to an outline!

For some writers, there comes a moment in writing a memoir when the audacity of the undertaking hits them. Perhaps they think doorslammers like: “This can take forever.” “Writing a memoir will never pay for itself.” “I can’t afford to do this!” They reach for certainty. And that certainly if often a reversion to essay and report writing. They want an outline to assure the task gets done right. So, an outline or a Memory List?

The following is a comment to someone who asked in the Memoir Forum if she should create an outline and how to know when the page and chapters were the right length.

1. Do not write a memoir from an outline.

I do not write from an outline. Instead, I create a Memory List as outlined in Chapter 2 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs. The Memory List helps you to follow the promptings of the unconscious rather than the dictates of the conscious mind as happens with an outline. (An outline is great for an essay—”The Three Causes of the American Civil War”— but it is the death of an exploratory memoir.) So…

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