Top Menu

Tag Archives | writing memoir

soul work

Writing As Soul Work

You can approach writing a memoir as soul work or you can approach writing as a depressing, meaningless struggle.

Like many readers of this blog, I myself struggle with the concept of what it means to me to be a writer.

Notice I have written “what it means to me.” I am not much concerned with how other people regard me as a writer. Don’t get me wrong: I want to be read and I want to sell my books. But, I am not concerned particularly with how other people view me personally. What I am concerned with is how I view myself.

Writing as soul work involves an evolving sense of self.

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

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

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.

2. Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft.

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

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

indian300x300

Franco-American History and The Lachine Massacre

Note from the Editor:

On Wednesday of last week, I posted a blog article on the LaChine Massacre of 1689. The post was drawn from my work in progress Here to Stay, a history of my 17th-century Canadian ancestors. The post was intended to be a piece of history – and in no way a derogatory comment on the Iroquois. Both sides had their share of cruelty and savagery.

While the Iroquois attack was brutal and devastating, I have written the same about my ancestors’ attacks on the English in New England: Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine.  These are just two sites that were savagely attacked by the French and their Algonquin allies.

It has recently been brought to my attention that my article was reprinted from our own blog, without my permission, to a race-baiting site.

I did not give them permission to use the post to attack Native Peoples and have requested that it be taken down. I do not endorse nor condone the racist tone of the site. And do not give permission to any race-based site to reprint our articles.

The LaChine Massacre of 1689 was another unfortunate incident in what can easily be labeled as a trade war between the Iroquois and the French. The French had disrupted the Iroquois trade patterns with superior French goods that was attracting the beaver fur trade away from the Iroquois.

Obviously, the French Iroquois conflict was more complicated than this—for instance, it involved the alliances the French made with the Hurons, traditional enemies of the Iroquois—but the trade war was a major factor in the antagonism.

By the time of the War of the Conquest, which American and English-Canadian texts call the French and Indian War, all the Northeastern Indians tribes (Including the Iroquois, save the Mohicans) had allied with the French—hence the name French and Indian War.

Thank you for your support in reading The Memoir Network blog and stay in the memoir conversation with us.

Sincerely, Denis Ledoux, The Memoir Network

DL: The Lachine Massacre happened 330 years ago today—August 5, 2019. This account of the tragedy is excerpted from Here To Stay, a 250-page as-yet- unpublished account of my 17th century Canadian ancestors, is the second most visited post on thememoirnetwork.com site. Who would have guessed? I am re-posting it for those of you who have an historical bent of mind or who might wonder how does a memoir writer write about the distant past. In this post, I refer to my francophone ancestors as Canadiens to distinguish them as a distinct group from anglophone Canadians who arrived with the Conquest in 1760.

In the evening of August 4, 1689, the night of before the Lachine massacre, a violent rainstorm hovered above the Saint Lawrence and the Island of Montréal. Lightning flashed repeatedly across the sky and deafening thunder resounded above the seventy-seven houses of the community of Lachine. As the Canadiens slept in their isolated farms, fifteen hundred Iroquois stepped ashore, undetected by the sentries who had sought shelter against the fierce storm. Hidden by the night, warriors fanned out in small bands and readied themselves to attack isolated farmhouses. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

memoir writer's experience

From the Memoir Writer’s Experience

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.

I recently had the opportunity to interview him about his experience writing his recent books, Running the Good Race and Through the Eyes of a Fisherman – DL

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. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

writing prompts

Instead of A Writing Prompt – Five Tips for Creating a Memory List

As people are writing a memoir they 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? Should I use writing prompts or is there something instead of a writing prompt?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.

Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).

Your Memory List is always a work in process because the more you remember and jot down, the more you’ll recall. You will return to and rework your list again and again as you write your life stories. In short, it will serve as an excellent writing prompt without being a writing prompt.

1. The Memory List consists of short memory notes (three to five words is sufficient) of people, events, relationships, thoughts, feelings, things—anything—from your past.

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

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

Pathway to memoir writing

Don’t De-value Your Characters by Using Cliches and Stereotypes

Cliches and Stereotypes

Don’t devalue your characters by using cliches and stereotypes. This will undermine the unique and personal feel of your memoir. Cliches and stereotypes place people in categories. As short-hand ways of writing and speaking, they reflect ready-made thoughts and adversely affect the ways we relate to our families and friends as unique individuals.

  • “She was a mother-hen; You know how mothers are!”
  • “My father had a heart of gold.”
  • “Those were beautiful days when we were happy.”

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

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

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. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

when you don't have the photos

When You Must Have The Photos You Don’t Have/How To Journal Without The Photos, Part II

What to Do When There Are No Photos

The Memory List that you completed when you first began writing your memoir is integral to the writing process. The Memory List will suggest topics to write about, but what follows is additional tips you can use when you don’t have the photos. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

regular writing practice

Regular Writing Practice: An Important Decision!

In this post, you will learn the many benefits of a regular writing practice.

Many people set off to write their memoirs with considerable enthusiasm. It’s a new project and it’s full of energy. This is going to be the greatest memoir the world has ever known!

How long can that last? Enthusiasm takes you only so far. Over the months and years it takes to complete a manuscript, the initial enthusiasm wanes and the memoir project that had seemed so interesting at its onset now begins to bore the writer. We begin to hear about the writer “trying to write a memoir.” Unless the writer changes attitude, the memoir will soon be abandoned.

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

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

not telling the truth in a memoir

Thinking About Memoir Writing

Our right thinking about memoir writing projects or our right talking about them can lead to success or failure. We can be very clever about our evasive tactics and disguise them as right thinking. Here are three examples that can pass for thoughtfulness rather than evasion.