Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writing A Memoir

Are you working on a memoir? We can move our projects along with these simple strategies:

1) Get focused. Being clear on your concept and purpose is a large part of the battle. If you aren’t sure of your focus, jot down the first thing that comes to mind and get started. It’s okay if it evolves as you proceed.

2) Set a schedule and deadline. You don’t have to write every day, or finish one hundred pages a month. If you can only devote an hour on Sunday afternoons to your writing, make that sacred time and stick to it. Making a personal commitment to having something to show people by a specific date, like your birthday next year, can speed things along. Especially if you tell them about it.

3) Blast through a draft. This may be the hardest thing for most people to do. Just write. Don’t look back. Don’t even think of rereading or editing until you’ve written at least twenty more pages. Otherwise, you could die with seven pages that you wrote seventy times.

4) Get help. You may not be able to hire a high profile ghost writer, but you can find a writing group, take a class, or read books on writing. You may be able to afford a few coaching sessions, or help from a reasonably priced editor.
Follow these guidelines and you can follow the example of Paul Ohrman, who wrote his 286 page autobiography, Living to Serve, in just under two years. His second volume, a World War II memoir, took even less time.

Write now: set aside an hour and write a purpose statement for your project, and set up a writing schedule. If you already have a purpose statement and schedule, spend the hour writing. If you are still searching for a concept, do some freewriting to uncover one.

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