Inspiration for Writers

How Can I Finish My Memoir by the End of the Year? Three plans for right now

How Can I Finish My Memoir by the End of the Year? Three plans for right now

Many of you have begun your memoir. Many of you are almost done with your memoir. And some of you are still thinking about it and writing it in your head. Here are three strategies for the Return to School spirit you feel in September […]

Memoir Writing: Avoid the Fiery Issues of the Day, or Take Sides?

Memoir Writing: Avoid the Fiery Issues of the Day, or Take Sides?

We live in a time of intense political debate. Siloed in our separate value and belief systems we find it hard to talk with strangers because we do not know what they believe, so we side-step controversy and avoid topics that might upset them. But […]

How Long Does It Take to Write a Memoir?

How Long Does It Take to Write a Memoir?

When you sit down to write a memoir you may wonder how long it’s going to take to finish the thing. The fact it, there’s no standard time frame. I have encountered several writers who say they worked for fifteen years to get it right—to […]

Is It Okay to Begin Writing a Memoir and then Turn It Into a Novel?

Is It Okay to Begin Writing a Memoir and then Turn It Into a Novel?

Sometimes the story we begin writing outgrows the boundaries of memoir and branches away from the task of reconstructing real people and lived events and leaps imaginatively into invention—first, invention of little this’s and that’s, and then (oops!) into the invention of bigger this’s and […]

What’s the Biggest Challenge for the Memoirist Today?

What’s the Biggest Challenge for the Memoirist Today?

The biggest challenge facing today’s aspiring memoirist is little different than the biggest challenge facing the memoirist of twenty years ago when memoir underwent its contemporary resurgence: Distraction. The only thing that’s different is the form of distraction. Once it was television, videos, TiVO, DVDs—in […]

Memoir, Biography, Narrative Nonfiction—What Are They?

Memoir, Biography, Narrative Nonfiction—What Are They?

Here we are in February, the time of year when we throw ourselves back into writing and asking fundamental questions: What is a memoir? How is it different from biography, and how are both related to that thing called narrative nonfiction? Memoir is a story […]

Is Memoir Always About Someone’s Deep and Unconscious Pain?

Is Memoir Always About Someone’s Deep and Unconscious Pain?

The answer is: No. No. And no. But some people do come to the process of writing to sort out life experience, and most people are less likely to do that when things are soaring than when they have hit a bump. Hence, the common […]

How to Avoid Mid-Story Memoir Sag

How to Avoid Mid-Story Memoir Sag

  You are in good company if you’re battling mid-story sag. Nearly all memoir writers hit a point where they ask: What is this thing about? Where did I think I was going with this story? The rush of insight and excitement that drove their […]

Why Your Memoir Needs a Story Question

Why Your Memoir Needs a Story Question

In today’s marketplace, a memoir that attracts the attention of an agent pursues some story question. Without a story question, your memoir runs the risk of falling into family history, which may be deeply important to you, but not so interesting to anyone else. A […]

Three tips for staying motivated to finish your memoir

Three tips for staying motivated to finish your memoir

September is America’s traditional back-to-school month, and with it come renewed desires to finish that memoir you’ve been working on. Writers always ask: How can I stay motivated to finish my memoir? Here are three tips: First, you must have a heart-to-heart with yourself about […]