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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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listening to grief

Listening to Grief: The Boys Laugh Again

The following story is written by Edwina Carr-Jangarathis a memoir professional who has done considerable writing. We had the pleasure of publishing her book In Their Own Words. We hope you benefit from reading Listening to Grief: The Boys Laugh Again.

TIMKYLEEyes squeezed tightly shut, I listen for the laughter of my two grandsons as I drift on my rubber raft. I’m certain if I’m silent and try hard enough I’ll hear the laughter of the boys again. Glimpses of summer days when we laughed together flash through my mind. One day, we linked our three rafts so they bumped over the small ocean waves one after the other. Not as content as I was to sit and ride, Kyle dove down under the blue surface that seemed so deep to me, fearful as I am. Where is he? I began to worry. Then, I felt something tugging at my feet and I saw him reappeared near the edge of my rubber raft. It shook fearfully and threatened to tip. Tim came to help him “torture” me. Seeing my reaction, they laughed and pulled all the more at my raft. Splashing them in self-defense, I laughed and shouted “You can’t treat your grandmother this way.” They splashed back, giggling and kicking their feet behind them. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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mining memoir depths

Mining Memoir Depths: Spelunking of the Mind

I enjoy many forms of physical exercise, from climbing mountains, to backpacking along trails, to bicycling, and even swimming. But mostly nowadays I just go hiking, sometimes with my grandchildren and partner, but often alone. Working the muscles of my body is good for me and helps keep my joints working. I feel better after a long walk. Can the same be said of mining memoir depths?

Well, my mental muscles do feel better after a good writing workout. I’ve been writing diaries since I was very young, and I keep boxes of them wherever I’m living at the moment. I draw on them a great deal in my memoir writing. They offer a panoramic view of my life.

I’ve been scribbling “Morning Pages” ever since Julia Cameron’s Sound of Paper came out. Every day along with my morning writing I include entries in my gratitude journal as well as ideas for my recovery blog. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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history and memoir writing

History And Memoir Writing

I live in the area (Lewiston, Maine) where my great-grandparents, my grandparents and parents—and now me—spent their lives, and I am also an amateur historian of this region. When I was asked to speak at a library lunchtime program several years ago about history and memoir writing, I chose as my topic : “Lewiston’s Buildings Tell Our Stories.” The following is a brief overview of what I shared with my audience—which now includes become you!

Exploring History and Memoir Writing

This was an industrial city in the 19th century with a Protestant Anglo-American ruling/mill ownership class and an underclass of Catholic Franco-Canadian-American and Irish-American mill workers. I asked the library audience if they had noticed how the older funeral homes in town were in large, distinguished houses. Of course, they had, but most people had not asked themselves what was the history of these homes was. What did homes of such stature on the edges of the tenement district imply/signify? [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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truth telling

Courgeous Truth Telling — A Revolutionary Act

One of the most transformative statements an individual can make is courageous truth telling and objectivity. In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with subtle—and not so subtle—messages about who we ought to be, it is a bold statement to take a stand for personal authenticity.

“The telling of your stories is a revolutionary act.” — Sam Keen, writer

At its best, this is what a memoir is — a statement that declares “this is who I am, who I think of myself as being.”

Lest you think that courageous truth telling is only about revealing scandals and unmasking sexual abuse, let me assure you that it is more often about smaller issues. The issues more within the realm of the everyday experience. Perhaps you were never ambitious of worldly success. This has embarrassed you but you would like to make a statement for another set of values other than financial success. Or, perhaps you have been attracted to people of your own gender and would like to bear witness to that but still fear repercussions. Or, perhaps you were a parent but, if the truth be told, you and your children might have been better off if you had not parented. As you can see, “courageous telling the truth” need not be earth shattering, but it is about incredibly essential features of ourselves. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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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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begin a memoir

How to Begin a Memoir

Many writers agonize about just where to start a life story, where to begin a memoir. There are, of course, many places where a story can be launched.

1. The place in the story at which you begin a memoir writing manuscript is almost never the place at which readers will begin to read your story in its book form.

A writer begins someplace because beginning someplace is the way it is done. It is only much later that the writer will know where to place this initial piece of writing — at the beginning or elsewhere in the memoir.

2. The first paragraphs in a story may be only a warm up and not worth preserving.

The real beginning of your story can sometimes occur in a later paragraph. Move the paragraph that ought to serve as your lead to the beginning of your story and consign your warm-up paragraphs where they belong — in the wastebasket! You’ll be glad you didn’t hide your true lead under unnecessary false starts.

3. Once you know the crisis point of your story, the place where the action is at its most intense, where a turn around has to occur, you then know what in your memoir has to be built up to.

Sometimes people know this crisis before they begin to write; sometimes they have to write a while before they know what it is. Either way, knowing the crisis will be essential. Choose scenes that lead up to the crisis. The first of these scenes is perhaps your beginning.

4. To begin a memoir, choose a moment that is the zenith or the nadir of your story for the opening chapter.

The last sentence in the introductory chapter is something like: “How did I get to this point — zenith or nadir?” Chapter Two and the rest of the book then answer this question.

In conclusion

Good luck writing as you begin your memoir. Let me know what your experience has been.

If you are looking for printed material to add to your library, visit our bookstore or Smashwords.

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Don't let writer's blok stop you

Facts Are Important in Memoir Writing

Facts are important in memoir writing. The inclusion of dates, addresses, names, and relationships, are one of its special features. Memoir writing cannot, without deleting from its value, omit dates and specific identification of locales, names of individuals and their relationships to one another. Memoir writing is factual writing: hence the importance of facts. A […]