Notes on Writing Memoir!

Write with purpose.
Memoir requires me to tell the truth. To feel.
It has consequences. I have always known that writing the truth has consequences.
If you tell the truth, you will feel.
Write about what I feel.
I am going to remember the small moments of life, moments of intuition, places where I have failed, where I have succeeded and where I have changed. Writing honestly should bring about feelings.
Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survives childhood has enough to write about for the rest of their life.
Again, write with purpose! Everything that is part of my life doesn’t belong in a story.
I am going into a memory and taking from it what I need to tell the story. I don’t need every detail. I need to use only what is needed to move the story forward.
Look at all the areas of my life. Consider them and then see how they fit together to tell my stories as I see them and remember how they made/make me feel.
Ernest Hemingway taught us that what we leave out of a story is more important than what we put in.
Remember the details of what happened, not just what happened.
This will work for me if I write consistently, perhaps five days a week for a specified amount of time, not just occasionally. Occasionally, I will not then be invested in my work.
I have a good well lit place to write that is free of other work and distractions.
I can carry small notebooks or index cards to write notes as I move about the day.
Record interesting words, comments, interactions, details to help me to remember later. This can include memories as well as what is happening now.
I write lists. I write all kinds of lists. Lists of my garden plants, the seeds I am about to buy, lists of spices, lists of whatever. Maybe these will be useful.
Record feelings that develop when I hear certain sounds, music, etc.
What do I remember from scents, perfumes, odours and things that stink?
Tell my truth. Write truth the way I remember it. What I remember will be different from what someone else remembers from the same event or memory. How does it made me feel? Even if someone else’s memory of an event is different from mine, record my truthful memory only.
I am writing my truth with my voice.
Link all my ideas together carefully so they are understood. Make the ideas and events flow. I know my story but everyone else needs to be able to follow it too.
Open an idea and close an idea before moving on to the next idea.
It is a story about what? Illustrated by what?
How does this gain some universal appeal so someone will want to read it?
So, use my personal experience to demonstrate a universal theme.
It is ok to write about the small stuff to demonstrate a universal theme.

Author: Karen Monteith

Karen is a writer, needle artist, nature lover and gardener who loves to share such information and to encourage the needle arts.