Blogtalk: A Roundup of Memoir Writing Tips 4


WRITING A MEMOIR, whether it’s your first go-round or your tenth, is a daunting and sometimes discouraging undertaking. It requires a certain amount of grit, determination, and courage. It can also be helpful to read how others have done it and gain wisdom from their experiences.

So this week, I’ve rounded up a few memoir writing articles. Some of these are older, some newer, but all worth checking out.

How to Write a Memoir by LJ Charleston — has some good ideas for ways to get started and things to write about. I disagree with the author when she writes, “Writing your memoir is easier than you think.” No, no, no — writing a memoir is much, much harder than you think. And you should know that going in. But don’t let that stop you from writing. Charleston and I both agree that “Everyone has a unique life journey and there is no reason to believe that your life journey is not as interesting as another person’s.”

Another Huffpost article, 6 Tips for Writing a Life-Changing Memoir, by M. Shannon Hernandez — has some solid advice for writing memoir. Particularly check out her sections on putting your readers in your shoes and creating an emotional journey.

Read this 2013 article by Kristina Katz, titled How To Get Your Story On The Page, full of good tips — particularly about structuring and getting professional feedback — for those who are interested in writing a memoir for publication.

First, write. Then look for the connections. Click To Tweet

My experience with shaping my memoir, Not the Mother I Remember, was very similar to Pamela Jane’s experience as outlined in Shaping Your Narrative: What to Leave in and What to Take Out of Your Memoir. Memoir writing is a messy process, there’s no doubt about it. And whether it takes you one or twenty-two years to write it, the first thing to do is write. Then look for the connections.

Last but not least, here’s an article I can personally relate to by Virginia Simpson that talks about the benefits of writing about those who have passed on. Her final words are poignant and I found these to be true in my own writing process: “I had to write about her to be able to pull away the mask of judgments so that I could finally know this person I thought I knew so well.”

You can also read more articles about writing memoir here on my blog.

What are your favorite memoir writing tips?


 


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4 thoughts on “Blogtalk: A Roundup of Memoir Writing Tips

  • patsy ann taylor

    Your memoir, Not the Mother I Remember, is an excellent example of putting the truth in a readable form.
    Most of us have “mother” stories we’ve shared orally, but once on the page, it’s there forever.
    My best tip is to let the story rest for a bit, reread and rethink, before pushing the send or print button.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Thank you, Patsy. And I agree — it’s good to give our writing a rest several times along the revision path. Then we come back to it with a little distance (allowing us to be more objective) and fresh eyes (allowing us to be more creative).

  • Barbara Toboni

    Thanks for the info, Amber. My tip is I use pictures to jog my memory. I would have never wrote my little poetry book about growing up in Guam if we had not gone there for a visit in 2010, and I saw the house that my family lived in.