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writing your first draft

5 Better Ways to Describe The People in Your Memoir 

Without other people, our lives and our memoirs risk becoming dull. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We are intrigued with who other people are and how they function. “Who’s that? What are they doing? Where did they come from?” These are question we want answered. To write a strong story, capitalize on this interest. [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.

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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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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support for writing your memoir

What would support for writing your memoir look like for you?

While some people succeed at writing an interesting and meaningful memoir on their own, the fact is many people need both more technical expertise than they now have and more emotional support for the long effort they are undertaking. Many find the task of writing a memoir—however urgent and compelling—to be somewhat daunting and, if […]

Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogs

Basic units of memoir writing

Vignettes, scenes, and dialogs are at the core of any memoir. Here are some ideas for writing them more quickly and elegantly.

1. Don’t worry about order.

Don’t stop to figure out how these snippets—vignettes, scenes, and dialogs—may eventually fit together into a story.

These bits and pieces will accumulate as you recall more and more and continue to write them down. Giving yourself permission to write in small, separate segments (vignettes, scenes, and dialogs, etc.) is a great way to start writing. Because there will always be your memory list of things to write about, you will never experience “writer’s block!” Fitting these pieces together to craft a polished story will come later, in the rewriting stage. Right now, it’s important to get text—any text—down on paper. [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

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 […]