Thanks to everyone who dialed in to today’s chat. I hope you enjoyed it!
Below I’ve posted some notes and a useful ‘Where-am-I-Now?’ worksheet that you can print and complete to get you closer to your goals.
Writing Your Memoir – Three Essential Tips
1. Writing Dates – either with yourself, a date and time blocked out in your calendar at least three times a week (or every day – even better) or, if that doesn’t work for you, make a date with another writer to meet up, either physically or virtually, and write.
2. Write what matters. The beauty of writing memoir is that we’ve all had significant experiences – fantastic or horrendous – that can be crafted into a compelling story. The characters, situation and details are all at your fingertips. All you need to get going is your writing dates…
3. Revision beyond what seems necessary: one of the biggest surprises to me in my writing life has been how detailed and lengthy this process is – way beyond what I wish was necessary! The fact is, your finished story will only be as good as the process of revision you subject it to. Have each story read by at least three writers, if possible, but probably no more than five. That old cliche, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is true. The more accomplished these writers are, the better your finished story most likely will be.
Publishing Your Memoir – Three Essential Tips
1. You’ll groan (this makes me roll my eyes) but, if you think your story is finished, there’s still one more thing to do: read it aloud, every word, and yes, edit it one last time. Reading aloud is the only way to tell for sure if your words are ringing true.
2. Have a calendar for submitting your work – literally a specific day and time. It takes some research to decide where to submit, and it’s easier to get together regularly with a small group and make a party of it. Each person can pick a few places to submit to, print their submission guidelines, swap the information with the others and then everyone can get together once a month over coffee or wine to stuff envelopes and/or submit online. You can use websites like tellitslant.com and submishmash.com (which require small payments) or submit free to places like eChook Digital’s SHOWCASE.
3. Post an inspirational quote somewhere you can’t miss it. I wrote my own and it’s this: “I don’t care how many times I’m rejected, or by whom. I will do my best to incorporate any comments and improve what I can, but I commit to taking the next step no matter what anybody says.”
Okay, I don’t truly feel this way in the evenings when I’m tired but every morning I do, and that’s good enough for me. If you’re getting rejections, you’re in the game, and that’s where you want to be!
And finally, whenever possible, have fun! This isn’t easy if what you’re writing is very dark, but most pieces of writing need both light and dark, otherwise the reader’s experience will be all one tone and that can be unsatisfying, so remember to take note of – and revel in – the writing that delights you in between those darker dramatic moments.
WHERE AM I NOW WORKSHEET?
How many words or hours are you writing each week?
How many do you want to do?
How can you make this change?
When will you start?
Are there life experiences you’d like to write about?
Which ones matter the most to you?
To determine that, write a list of 3 – 5 topics such as, The Day I knew X Loved me (or, The Day I knew I No Longer Loved X), or whatever works…
Give each topic a rating out of 10. 10/10 is the most meaningful, 1/10 is the least.
What vehicle for revision do you have currently?
How could it be improved?
Who might be most helpful to work with?
Have you got writing languishing in a drawer that needs submitting (or re-submitting)?
Where do you want to be published?
Is this writing suitable for those markets?
How will you go about submitting?
When (day and time)?
Have you got a quote about perseverance posted where you can see it? (Just Google ‘quotes on perseverance’ to find some).
Can you commit with a friend to hold each other accountable?
And finally, what other things could help you have a blast on your journey as a writer? New beliefs, new classes or new writer friends?
Writing. What a wonderful way of life!
Happy writing, and good luck!