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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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scheduling memoir writing

Schedule Your Writing

Spontaneity can be exhilarating and bring zest to your writing, but if you are a new or an uncertain writer, you are well advised to schedule your writing.  Without a time set aside, it become to easy to “forget” or find an excuse—”I’m just too busy today.”

Discipline will produce results that spontaneity cannot keep up with.

Be ambitious. Set a great pace to working on your memoir. This can happen when you schedule your writing. 

Today is as good a time as any to begin the habit of writing every day whether you are seeking to do a rough draft or polish your text.

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lightning bug words in memoir

Lightning Bug Words

Are You Using Lightning Bug Words? How do we write in lightning and not in lightning bugs? Using the right words when writing your memoir will illuminate and inform your readers.

share your writing

Dare to Share Your Writing

A critical steps to take as a developing writer is to share your writing with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members.

Sometimes you make your writing public by having an in-person audience or a virtual audience. Sometimes your first audience comes in the form of blog readers.

This post is geared to the novice writer and may not apply to a more experienced memoirist.

To Share Is To Grow

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write a significant memoir

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.

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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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Lachine Massacre

Franco-American History and The Lachine Massacre

The following post on the Lachine Massacre, drawn from my work in progress Here to Stay, a history of my 17th-century Canadian ancestors, has been republished on a racist, race-baiting site. I have asked them to take it down, but they have not done so.

I did not give them permission to use the post to attack Native Peoples. I do not endorse nor condone the racist tone of the site and do not give permission to any racist site to reprint our articles.

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

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memoir writer's experience

How to Write a Successful Memoir: One Memoir Writer’s Experience

Congratulations to author Dennis Blue who 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 was a pleasure to work with. He brought much thoughtfulness to bear on his task, and we are so proud to see his efforts rewarded. 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.  I am pleased to share his “One Memoir Writer’s Experience.” —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?

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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.

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