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writing a first draft

Writing a First Draft: Why They’re Called “First”

When you are writing a first draft: nothing can rightly be called a first unless there is a second. First grade implies second grade; first class implies second class; first book implies (we hope) second book, a first draft implies a second draft.

That is why first drafts are called first drafts. A writer must expect to write a second draft, and a third even. No one can sit down and churn out countless pages of prose that don’t need rewriting. Jack Kerouac claimed he did it with On the Road, but we know now that he was stretching the truth. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir pre-writing

Three Tips for Effective Memoir Pre-Writing

Before you begin to write your memoir, there are a number of non-writing tasks which you must undertake—this phase of compiling your lifestory is called memoir pre-writing, and it is essential to writing better stories. People often think of pre-writing as a waste of time, but it is not. It will get your stories written more quickly and more interestingly. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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finding the time to write a memoir

Do You Have a Foodoir in You?

The continuing popularity of books about food and cookery is well demonstrated by the vast range available—just look along the cookery and food shelves in any bookshop or at the long lists available online. Many are collections of recipes by well-known chefs and bakers, but there is also another genre which combines memoir writing with recipes or food-related experiences. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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quicker writing

4 Tips For Easier, Quicker Writing

You can benefit from easier and quicker writing by adapting appropriate habits of composition. Here are four habits for writing your first draft quickly. You would do well to put them into practice. They are easy to implement and the rewards are significant. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing your memoir

4 Tips For Making and Using a Core Memory List to Write More Efficiently

People who attend Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops 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?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of lifewriting successful.  That tool is the Memory List.  In this article, I will talk about the Core Memory List. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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compterinhand2

How to Make Writing Easier

Why is writing so hard? Why does what you want to write become so difficult the moment you sit down to write? Where are the words you need to convey the excitement or the dread or the anticipation. You are shocked to realize that what appears on the computer screen has no pizzazz! This is […]

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Organize Your Memoir: Life Phases

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

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is memoir writing important

Is Writing a Memoir Important?

Let’s start with a basic question: is writing a memoir important?

Okay, why do we tell so many stories? Stories fascinate us all our lives. As children, we loved to be told fairy tales and to hear, time after time, the tales our parents told us about what we did and said when we were babies, as well as the stories about their own childhoods. As soon as we were old enough, we told stories about ourselves for our parents and for our friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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action in a memoir

Do you need action in a memoir?

Action in a memoir is essential—even if internalized!

Action in a memoir usually happens in the usual place—outside the memoir narrator. That is easy to grasp: “The boy ran by.”

When you use flashback scenes in which you remember someone and what they did way back then—these are not interiorized actions, these are memories of actual actions.

What can be less easy to grasp is that action in a memoir can be internal to the character, happening in the character’s mind. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing about difficult times in a memoir

Writing About Difficult Times in a Memoir

Writing about difficult times in a memoir requires some fortitude.

Recently, in a store, I looked up to see a woman enter, a woman I had not seen in a few years. She was someone I knew from 40 years ago and, as we live in the same area, I continue to meet regularly . We spoke briefly, superficially as one does on meeting someone one has not seen in a while, and soon she asked me, “Do you know what happened to Ronnie (not her son’s real name)?” Well, I hadn’t, but her tone made me fearful. I sensed I was about to learn something bad.

“He died this summer. Of an aortic embolism.”

Ronnie was 44 and in apparent good health and one day he died!

Mary  and John (not their real names) had two children. This son who had just died and a daughter in frail health who lives in Arizona for its dry climate. They have no grandchildren.

What I remember vividly about Mary and John is that [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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