Advice for beginning writers abounds on the Internet—much of it quite good. Continuing the memoir writing theme roundup from last week, I’ve collected a few articles of encouragement and guidance for those of you who are endeavoring to write about your life.
By way of encouragement, Telling HerStories blogger, Sheila Bender, shares what she learned about writing craft, building a community of writers, and gaining confidence from her Beginnings As a Writer.
If you’re pondering your purposes for writing your stories or thinking that only publishable stories are important, I encourage you to read this excellent 2006 American Scholar article by William Zinsser, about writing personal stories and family histories. He writes, “There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is that it allows you to come to terms with your life narrative. It also allows you to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.”
What do you need to include and what should you leave out of your memoir? How do you keep readers turning pages? Here’s some first-rate advice by Wendy E.N. Thomas: So You Want to Write a Memoir?
Truth in a memoir is achieved not through a recital of actual events; it is achieved when the reader comes to believe that the writer is working hard to engage with the experience at hand. What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened. ~ Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story.