Writing a memoir isn’t all about writing. Some powerful early steps actually don’t involve writing at all!
Here are three powerful ways you can get started:
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1. Pick Your End Date:
Okay, I know it sounds counter-intuitive to think about finishing a project when you’re just beginning, or maybe haven’t even started yet. Right?
But intentions are powerful things. Amazingly, just having a clear date in mind when you plan to finish can help motivate you to see your memoir project through. A deadline – even a self-imposed one – can also make the finished product seem more “real.”
So pick a date by which you’d like to have your memoir completed. Then put a note with that magic date on it someplace where you’ll see it every day. And let that inspiration begin to percolate!
2. Tackle One Simple Research Task:
What’s one small thing you need to research? Perhaps you’ve forgotten someone’s birth date. Maybe there’s a special photo that you need to dig out of the attic. Or perhaps you’d like to learn more about the town where your grandparents were born, or a battle a relative fought in.
One of the most common obstacles to memoir
writing is missing a small piece of the puzzle. It’s hard to dive in when all those pieces aren’t at hand.
So identify what you’re missing – then tackle one research task at a time, so it’s not overwhelming.
3. Tell one story to a friend.
Even if you’re not quite ready to start writing, you can begin to polish your story.
Pick one happy story or memory you’d like to recount in your memoir. Then ask a friend to just listen as you tell them the story. When you’re done, ask questions they have or what else they might like to know.
You might be surprised at the additional level of detail that can be generated through this simple exercise – detail you can incorporate later in your finished story.
Watching others enjoy hearing your tale can also motivate you to get those precious tales down on paper!
There you go — Hope these non-writing exercises help you get started on your memoir!