To help you to get a fast start writing and to write your memoirs more prolifically–and even bring them to a finish in the form of a published memoir–I offer these eight suggestions. They are tried and true tips that bear repeating and repeating.
Tag Archives | writing memoirs
People who attend Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops 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?”
There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of lifewriting successful. That tool is the Memory List. In this article, I will talk about the Core Memory List. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Organize Your Memoir with Life Phases
Life phases are one way in which you can organize your memoir. Life phases are the emotional and psychological cycles or phases that have marked your life.
Every life proceeds in irregular and unpredictable phases. We can go along with our lives for a long time without much change, thinking that we have arrived at a resolution of the great “who am I?” question, and then unpredictably and perhaps quickly find ourselves dealing with totally different emotional and psychological challenges. Often, it is only in looking back on our lives that we are aware of these life phases.
[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Writing about difficult times in a memoir requires some fortitude.
Recently, in a store, I looked up to see a woman enter, a woman I had not seen in a few years. She was someone I knew from 40 years ago and, as we live in the same area, I continue to meet regularly . We spoke briefly, superficially as one does on meeting someone one has not seen in a while, and soon she asked me, “Do you know what happened to Ronnie (not her son’s real name)?” Well, I hadn’t, but her tone made me fearful. I sensed I was about to learn something bad.
“He died this summer. Of an aortic embolism.”
Ronnie was 44 and in apparent good health and one day he died!
Mary and John (not their real names) had two children. This son who had just died and a daughter in frail health who lives in Arizona for its dry climate. They have no grandchildren.
What I remember vividly about Mary and John is that [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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.
All writers face the atrophy of motivation to complete a memoir that seems to come with writing a long literary work over months and months and even over a period of years.
Let’s face it: writing can be hard and discouraging. The most interesting of topics [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
I read professional journals. Poets and Writers from cover to cover. I receive the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance e-newsletter weekly. It’s a membership newsletter and comes chock full of news about what other writers are doing, readings schedules, and announcements of book publications. Do you have…
Our lives are composed not only of facts and dates but also of dreams, expectations–realized or denied–and hopes. You are not alone in having lived an inner life. Others too have experienced much of what you felt and dreamed for yourself and are likely to identify with some, or even much, of what you say. […]
Writing a memoir is a long-term project. Like all long-term projects, it has its ups and downs. Get your memoir going again.
Some people successfully use the notion of writer’s block to convince friends and family that, while they’re real writers, they just happen not to be producing–but a person can do this only for a while. Remember: you can never successfully use writer’s block to get your stories written!