Writing Your Memoir

As a writer and editor, nothing intrigues me more than reading memoirs and personal histories. This past summer I attended a memoir writing workshop at the local library taught by a brilliant, insightful instructor, genuinely interested in the stories we wanted to learn to tell. You could see the pride and accomplishments experienced by the attendees over the course of the workshop.  Some had never written anything before; others had been published many times.  The span of experience broke down all barriers.  I hadn’t been to a writing workshop in years, and now kick myself for not joining up sooner. 

The instructor broke down the workshop in pieces so that we could practice different exercises for getting the words on the paper.  She introduced us to various ways of brainstorming about certain events and details in unconventional ways.  It was amazing to see different, and effective, styles of writing.  It proved, right then and there, that there is no right or wrong way to tell your story.   

I’ve had the pleasure, both in the distant past and as recently as a few months ago, of helping people record their stories in written form.  In the 90s, I worked with a Veteran who would come to my office every week and tell stories about times in his life where he felt a sixth sense.  I recorded those stories and printed out transcripts for him.   He called me several months after our project was finished — he’d since had one leg amputated and passed away shortly after our phone conversation.  I am hoping he left those stories for someone.  I edited and prepared for publication a book that another client of mine had written in longhand; she had travelled abroad as a teacher and developed an entire book about that one phase in her life.  She had it hardbound and gave it to everyone for the holidays that year.  (Even I have my cherished and signed copy.)  And, most recently, I prepared a book layout for a family who wanted to preserve an event that had taken place on a hunting trip.  As you can see, the story or memoir does not have to tell the tale from the very start of your life until current day.  Snippets and stories are good, and are a great way to just get started.

With the help of some family members who provided long hours of family geneology, I’m now working on my dad’s story and trying to record bits of my mom’s life.  I’d also love to hear about yours. 

Do you have memoir or a story to tell?  Maybe you have it written, and now need it typed up for publication.  Or, you don’t have anything yet.  I can work with you to transcribe your story, put it to paper and leave the legacy for your family, or launch that e-book or publication you’ve always wanted to complete.

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2 Comments »

  1. Katie Said:

    Wow, what a wonderful but daunting task this sounds like. Inspires me to really consider doing this as part of the “ethical will” I have created for my family.

    • tsblogin09 Said:

      not daunting at all if done in small pieces — using a series of questions and prompts will make sure all the key elements are in place. : )


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