Many people set off to write their memoirs with considerable enthusiasm. Frequently however over the months and years it takes to complete the manuscript, their enthusiasm wanes and the memoir project that had seemed so interesting now begins to bore the writer is soon abandoned. They need to remember the importance of a regular writing practice.
I don’t think there was ever a writer whose interest in a project has not taken a nosedive. What to do?
1. One big aid is to set up a regular writing time and mark it on your calendar. A schedule is a bit of professionalism brought to an experience most people want to maintain as something inspired. A memoir which is written over months and which adds up to hundreds of pages cannot be written only in inspired moments. It will necessarily include many moments when the muse is lamentably absent and the only support the writer can fall back on is a writing schedule. Why deny yourself the support of a regular writing practice?
2. How long you schedule your writing time is perhaps not as important as how frequently you do so. Frequency allows for you to maintain some contact with your work so that there is continuity from one section of the story to another. In addition, when writers know that they are writing at a given time, it seems that the unconscious-or call it the muse-then begins to open up more regularly at those moments-not always but frequently enough.
It is also true that, if you jot down ideas that occur to you, it is easier to take this note keeping seriously if you know you will use it soon at your scheduled writing time. (This is another aid in keeping your regular writing practice interesting to you.)
3. Regular writing practice almost always leads to greater production. How can this not be so when the writer spends longer time at the task. Ultimately, many people find it easier to rewrite than to face a blank page. More volume also leads to producing a manuscript more quickly and therefore possibly averts discouragement.
Once you have set up a writing time, honor it as you would a medical appointment. Don’t allow others to usurp your appointment with yourself! Your regular memoir-writing practice will reward you hugely.
After you have followed these suggestions for a while you will appreciate the importance of a regular writing practice.
If you don’t write about your mémère or your mother and father, how will people know about your Franco past?
You can write a memoir—with time, patience and expert guidance from a writing coach.
Read these excerpts from We Were Not Spoiled / A Franco-American Memoir. Then email us for a free consultation about saving your Franco stories from oblivion.