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. ]
Tag Archives | memoir writing
Editor’s Note: The Personal Memoir: Keep the “Me” in your MEmoir was originally published on Bookbaby Blog and is used with the permission of the author. This piece was originally published on this blog in 20017. Comments are still being accepted. Without the “me” in your memoir – the fragile and imperfect person who lived the […]
Denis Ledoux: I had the pleasure of working with Susan Yerburgh for several years as she articulated her message in Shadows & Light: A Journey of Healing and Empowerment and used it to continue her own healing journey. Because of the significance of her writing and life experience, I am delighted she agreed to do […]
When writing about non-events, it can seem like they don’t belong in a memoir. But, often, non-events can have been more difficult than the “events” that do challenge us.
What are Non-Events?
While having coffee in a restaurant recently, I saw a man and a 14- or 15-year-old boy whom I took to be his son walk in together and order. Then, carrying their trays, they sat at a table near me. At first, they were both silent, and then the boy began to speak. He spoke quite a bit. I couldn’t hear the words, but he seemed to be talking about something that had happened to him. The man occasionally nodded his head in response, but I heard him talk only once. The boy kept speaking. His head and arms were involved. He evidently expected responses which, other than via a nod, were not forthcoming.
Perhaps I fantasized elements of my own life, but I imagined the boy wanting his father to answer, to engage in an exchange with him but nothing of the sort happened. At one point, as the boy was speaking, his father got up and went to the trash basket and dumped the contents of his tray in and waited for the boy to come do the same. Seeming to understand that the meal was over from the father’s point of view, the boy got up and dumped his things into the trash also and the two walked out together.
Mechanics of Writing a Memoir: It’s not all Inspiration
Note: This is the 2nd article in a series of 4 on the writing process of A Sugary Frosting published in 2016.
The mechanics of writing a memoir involve the work of writing a story and how life can insert delays & provide contemplative times, yet leave time left to write.
I started to write the memoir seriously in May of 2015. Since I continued to be active in the daily running of my business, The Memoir Network, I could commit myself only to writing 30 minutes a day—but, and this is important, to show up every day for the writing. 30 minutes a day may not seem like much, but it adds up to 3 1/2 hours a week.
It is not just 3 1/2 hours. It adds up to more than that because, as I went about my days—writing emails, taking notes for a coaching session, walking along the lovely river trail in our town—knowing that I would be writing the next day, my imagination would create text. When it came time to sit at my computer the subsequent day, I often had much of what I wanted to write already composed in my mind. In that way, I was able to create text more quickly in the allotted half hour then I might have otherwise had I sat down and written for 3 1/2 hours straight—not knowing what I would be composing that day.
Life Happened Even As I Wrote
Perhaps you’ve been writing a memoir for your family and friends. The composition started off easily enough. You jotted a few memories and passed the stories out. People started saying you ought to write a book, but you were doubtful no one else but family and friends would be interested. For a long while you were satisfied creating your book for a small audience and then it occurred to you you that you were writing with a theme that might interest a larger audience. Perhaps, you wondered, if there was something in your lifestory that could address a larger audience of strangers. Or…
Perhaps from the get-go, you had a sense that, while this story of yours is personal, there was something in it that certainly could interest a larger audience.
While family and friends are always a worthy readership for your memoir, it is possible to reach an even larger audience.
“But, how to do that?” you ask. “What’s the magic bullet?”
Well, I don’t have a magic bullet but I do have a few suggestions to help you reach beyond a small circle. Below are four suggestions to empower your story to appeal to a broader public. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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.
The military would never tell servicemen where we were going during World War 2, but it was a fairly easy bet that we were headed for Hawaii as a first leg to the Japanese front. The night before we were to board our ship, I had supper in San Francisco with the girlfriend of one of my friends. It would be the last time in a long while that I would have a home-cooked meal.
In the morning, my buddy and I headed out to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where the ship we were to head out on had undergone some repairs. Like many other ships used by the Americans, this one was a foreign ship that had been more or less stranded far from its homeland and was now helping in the anti-Axis war effort. We were to board it at the yard and begin our trip from there. We reported in and then, hoisting our duffle bags onto our shoulders, took our place to board. There was a long line of men, thousands of men. The line moved slowly, the duffle bags grew heavy. It seemed that when finally we put them down to rest, the line moved again and we’d lug the bags once more. Eventually, we reached a narrow gangplank and walked up it to the ship’s deck. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Congratulations to author Dennis Blue! He has received the 2019 Christian Indie Award in the business category for Through the Eyes of a Fisherman. Dennis is truly one of those authors who is a pleasure to work with. He brought much thoughtfulness to bear on his task and we are so proud to see his efforts rewarded. His memoir writer’s experience is something I would like to share.
Talking with Dennis Blue about his writing
Denis Ledoux: Can you tell our readers what your book is about and why you were impelled to write your book? What was driving you to spend the time, energy and money to get this book out into the world?
Dennis Blue: My first book, Running the Good Race, is about growing up on a farm and learning religious values, my thirty years with Ford Motor Company, fourteen of which were living overseas and flying as a missionary pilot. My second book, Through the Eyes of a Fisherman, recounts my twenty-eight years as a charter captain, guiding fishing expeditions throughout the US and Central and South American while using my charter business as a ministry to witness to others about Christ.
DL: Can you tell us how long it took from the time you conceived the book to the time you had it published? How many years did you spend in active writing? Were there long breaks in between active writing periods? If so, what happened to get you writing again? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
DL: While this post is geared to those individuals who are writing memoir for family and friends, if truth be told, this post will also be of great help to those who are writing memoir for a larger audience. Core Focus for Writing Memoir is about basics.
Five Tips for Focus for Writing Memoir!
Is your family one of the many whose history is at risk for getting lost to future generations because no one has written it down?
Writing your lifestories—even just a few—is a great way to memorialize your family and to keep the experience of your life—and theirs—from being forgotten. The details you take for granted or consider obvious will most likely be lost to the next generation unless you make the effort to record them in writing.
Writing down a memory and sharing it with others is a way to celebrate your life and your family. Writing a memoir is not as hard as some people think—anyone who is willing to follow the few simple steps I will outline below will be off to a great start at writing autobiography or family history, but ou must focus for writing a memoir. More and more people—in fact, many who, at first, think they can’t—are succeeding at exploring, honoring and preserving their pasts in this way.
Follow these five tips for remembering and writing a pleasing and meaningful lifestory that will honor both your family and yourself and create a legacy for your children—or even the world.