Why do you want to write a memoir? Many people write their memoir as a legacy for their children and grandchildren. Others write about their life, or a segment of it, because they think their story may be an inspiration to others. Think about why you are thinking of writing.
Hold the image before you of your grandchildren reading this, or of someone facing challenges being strengthened by knowing your story.
Where do I begin? That’s what most people wonder. If this is your life story for your descendants, it may start at your birth or before. Key to the story may be your grandfather’s journey here from the Azores. Your story may start on the boat that brought him here, or the village that was too small for him. However, you don’t have to start your writing project at the beginning.
Start with the part that’s bursting out of you, demanding to be told. The
rest will shape itself around that.
What to include? Absolutely every event in your life? The fifth grade
report card you recently found in your mother’s attic? The memory of your
first date? The moment you proposed to your sweetie, now your wife of 45
years? Your pride in serving in the Marines or marching on Washington?
Don’t edit too early. Put it all down. There will be time later to edit
out parts you’d rather not go down in history.
When am I going to do all this writing? You may be asking yourself that as
you survey your packed calendar and endless “to do” list. Look at your
week and see if there’s some little spot that can be carved out for
writing. Is there a TV show you can give up? A time you relax at a coffee
shop with the newspaper? Maybe your laptop can take the place of the
newspaper once a week.
Pick a time and put it on the calendar. In ink. Treat it as an
appointment. Keep the appointment.
If you’re having difficulty keeping this appointment with yourself, you
may find it helpful to enlist a friend to act as an accountability
partner. The most helpful partner will be someone who is also working on a
project. You can meet at the coffee shop every Sunday morning. Your friend
can have her project in tow and you can have yours. Knowing she’s waiting
for you will spur you to get out the door and, once you’re at the coffee
shop, to actually work on your memoir. You will feel foolish just sitting
there with your friend deep in her work. And what about being an
inspiration for her?
Enlist a partner to help you stay on track.
If this still seems like a daunting project and you need a little or a lot
of help launching your memoir writing project, keeping it going, or
finishing it, call me for a free 30-minute consultation to explore whether
I can be of help to you.