Tag Archives: I am writing

Use all six senses to make your story come alive


Sometimes, I don’t like to read another author’s work while I’m writing, other times I do. Since I began writing my current manuscript, I’ve started and stopped several books. But last week I picked up Neil Gaiman’s American Godsand haven’t been able to put it down. I find myself asking, “How does he do it?”

American Gods is a wildly creative and beautiful story. What I love most is how the story is so otherworldly—people coming back from the dead, gods walking around among us—yet feels so absolutely real as if it were playing out in front of me.

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How Much Should I Write?

Okay, you know how you’re going to write your memoir, you’ve chosen a specific aspect of your life to write about, you know the time frame you’re writing in, and you have a daily designated time to write, let’s take a look at the next tip in our 7 Tips to Start You Writing Your Memoir series: 

Tip #5: Decide how much you’re going to write each time you sit down at your computer.

For instance, are you going to write 500 words a day, 1000 words a day or 1500 words a day? If you prefer to quantify your work in pages, are you going to write one page, two pages, three pages, or five pages each day? 500 words a day is a good starting point for most people; but, everyone is different, especially when it comes to writing. Most first drafts are somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 words. If you write 500 words a day (5 days a week), in about seven or eight months, you will have a 70,000 to 80,000 first draft.

The best thing to do, if you don’t have a clue about how much to write each day, is to sit down and write for one hour. At the end of the one hour, measure how much you have written, either in words or pages. However many words or pages you’ve written, this would be a good starting point for you. Of course, if you go over your word a day or page a day, this just means you’ll reach your goal that much faster, but what you don’t want to do is consistently not make your daily goal.

If, after a month or so, you notice that you’ve been consistently going over your count, simply change your marker.

That’s it for now.

Your Writing Routine

Now that you’ve one, decided how your’re going to write your memoir, two, chose a specific aspect of your life to write about, and three, know the time frame you’re working with, it’s time for the next step in our 7 Tips to Start You Writing Your Memoir series.

Tip #4

Set aside a time for your writing and honor it no matter what! This can be a little difficult (but not impossible) if you have small children. Let everyone know that you are writing a book. The key word here is consistency. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have and honor a writing routine. Writing is not whimsical (based on whether you feel like or not). Writing is a daily routine (at the very least five days a week).

If you write at the same time every day for 30 days, at the end of the 30 days, you will have established a writing routine. A writing routine is a must for completing a project as large as writing a book.

A Chapter of Your Life

This is the second post in the Seven Tips to Help You Start Writing Your Memoir series. Quick review: We know that a memoir is not a biography. The main difference is that a memoir only tells one aspect of your life, while a biography is about your entire life. Okay, now that we’re clear on what a memoir is.

Tip #2:

Decide what aspect of your life you want to write about. What part of your life are you going to tell? A memoir is only one chapter in your life. What chapter of your life are you going to write about? What has happened in your life that has completely changed your life? What aspect of your life are you going to write about, a relationship (marriage, divorce, a special person), an addiction, your travels, your spiritual journeys, a coming of age? Memoirs can be happy or sad. This is a lot to chew on. So, I’ll leave you to ponder these questions.

Start Writing Your Memoir

In our last post, we talked about the difference between a memoir and a biography. In this post, I am going to share the first of seven tips to help you start writing your memoir. Although this post is primarily for individuals who haven’t started writing their memoir, even if you have begun writing, you may still find this series of blog posts helpful. The goal of this series is to generate a first draft of your memoir.

Tip #1:

Decide how you’re going to write the first draft of your memoir. Are you going to type it using a word processing program such as Microsoft’s Word? Or, maybe you already have some experience writing and you would like to use a writing software such as Scrivener. I found Microsoft’s Word sufficient for my first draft of THAT WAS THEN. You can even format in Word using Styles. More about that later, after your first draft has gone through numerous rounds of edits and your manuscript is ready to be formatted.

If the thought of sitting at your computer for a couple of hours each day (some people can churn out several pages in just one hour) does not get your heart thumping with excitement, you may want to consider a dictation-type software such as Dragon. With this device, you can record your voice with a recorded audio device . After you transfer the files (recording) to your computer, Dragon will transcribe the file for you. Although you will need to install the software and set it up, which includes “training” the software to recognize your voice, for some people, this is a more feasible alternative to sitting in front of a computer for a couple of hours each day. You may even finish your first draft faster since most of us talk faster than we type.

Dragon is also a great alternative for individuals who are concerned about spelling and grammar. (You can run each document through the spellcheck once it has been transcribed and leave the editing to a good copy editor.) Keep in mind that there will probably be some clean up involved, as the software is not 100% accurate. (The more you use it, the better it will work for you.)

I found sitting at my computer each day helped me to establish a writing routine, which helped me to write my first draft in three months. That’s it for now.