Monday, June 7, 2010

Five Ways to Get Started Writing Your Memoir

On Tuesday, June 12 and July 20 and August 24, we will hold classes for those who want to write creative non-fiction. (See Writing Classes on Home Page)
This genre includes memoir. Below I have a few tips for anyone who wants to write about her life, but has no idea where to begin.

List the events or dates that were turning points in your life, beginning with your birth
Examples: Birth, 1940; Elementary School 1946 -1950; Mom and Dad divorced;
University of GA – two years; Military years; Early Marriage, 1960 – 1970; Death of my Mother, 1975; My first job; Mary’s diagnosis; Don’s heart attack, 1987;


Label each File Folder with one of the life changing experiences or dates.

For each folder, make a list of things you remember that happened during this period of your life. Keep this list in the folder. Update the list as you remember more stories.

Research – Locate photographs, certificates, articles, letters, newspaper announcements, and diaries, anything that pertains to your memories. Stash these in proper folders.

For example, a photo of you at four would not go into your elementary school folder. A photo of your mom holding you as a baby would go into the Birth, 1940 folder.

Choose one folder with the most memorable events – Choose one memory from that folder that brings back images, smells, sounds, colors, or feelings you can express in your writing. Try to think about how you would tell that experience to your child or grandchild.

As you write your story, remember who you want to read your book. Is it for your family alone or do you want to publish it for a wider audience?
Remember, few of us write well enough or have a story of such magnitude, that New York Publishers will grab up our manuscript from the hundreds they receive every day. You can find many ways to self-publish your book without paying large sums of money, or you can pay a Print On Demand publisher.


On June 12, William V. Reynolds will lead a workshop on self-publishing at Writers Circle. You might want to take this class before you write your book.

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