Tag Archives: memoir writing

Writing a memoir: what are the benefits?

Lyn Alderson

woman-41201_1280Should you write a memoir, and what are the benefits of such a project?

I’ve been thinking this through while ghost writing two very different memoirs for ladies who both have fascinating stories.

These women are inspirational characters who have given a lot to other people, and they both have great insights: the world needs to hear what they have to say.

So think about whether you have a great story that will benefit others when they read it. You don’t need to be famous or wealthy, although you might be. But you do need an eventful life story, one that involves overcoming challenges, or triumphing over adversity.

The best and the worst memoirs

In the best memoirs I’ve read, people have reflected on- and owned up to- their mistakes as human beings and found a positive way forward despite what life has thrown at them. The worst memoirs are the…

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Creative Writing as Therapy: How Can Writing Help?

Welcome to Writerly Online

creativetherapy

Therapy can take many forms, and creative types of therapy are growing in popularity. The Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada integrates Music Therapy and Art Therapy as essential parts of the healing experience for kids staying in the hospital, as do many other hospitals including the Children’s Hospital Colorado, Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, and the Boston Children’s Hospital.

You don’t need a therapist, an art teacher, or a writing coach to use writing as a form of therapy for yourself. For this type of self-healing, you are completely in control. You never have to share your writing with anyone – in fact, you can burn it when you’re finished if you like.

Writing, whether autobiographical or fictional, allows us to imagine how a scenario might play out. Truth is stranger than fiction, and scenes from our own lives can end up in the middle of our…

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Puzzles, Writing and the Human Mind

Pearl S. Buck Writing Center

By Anne K. Kaler

Puzzle DoneIt is finished. The puzzle, that is. The writing is never finished.

The writing is truly never finished, never polished enough, never edited sufficiently because the story never fully ends in my mind. The characters and events continue to exist in my internal universe. I am never satisfied because I feel as if I have abandoned my created children on an alien planet without a working spaceship.

That’s why I do puzzles when I write. I need the constant encouragement that there is an end in sight — that there actually is a last puzzle piece to plunk into place, the only place in the material universe that it will fit.

So why do I persist in both endeavors?

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Write Your Story: Even if you’re not the best writer

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

Dan1

By Danielle Bernock

September 29th, 2012, is the day I started. I sat down and started writing my story. It’s the story of my journey from lies to truth, trauma to healing, and bondage to freedom. Before that day, I‘d thought about writing many times but never did.

Why write?

Writing your own story is scary. Sharing your heart, your secrets, your pain and even your victories is scary. You ask yourself questions like: What if I sound stupid? What if no one cares? What if someone actually reads it and laughs?

Fear is the biggest wall a writer must scale to write.

While the What ifs intimidated my mind, another word encouraged me; the word a man once used to describe my writing. He called me a wordsmith. I’d never heard the word before. It sounded so beautiful. It arrested me. His comment was regarding an email –…

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Memoir: Your Story, My Story, Our Stories

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown

Memoir: Your Story, My Story, Our Story Two Drops of Ink

I’ve created a truth for myself over the years. There is nothing new under the sun; the experience wore my face one time, and yours another. In other words, there is someone somewhere who shares the experience and the way out. How might this approach prove invitational to someone struggling with an issue in their lives? By letting them know that others have overcome significant obstacles, made changes and now live better lives.

The memoir tells the story of the…

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Using Candy Land to Write Your Memoir

Live to Write - Write to Live

candy land 2

When you teach a writing class, you often get students who want to share their personal writing. I don’t mind a bit, in fact I encourage my students to share as much as they’d like to.

One of my students recently handed me a multi-chaptered piece that he was working on. It was a memoir of his life. Although there was a lot of good information, and even though he had a good voice in his writing, the piece was not going to go far without a major revision.

What memoir isn’t

First of all – a memoir is not a diary. It’s not about what you do on a day-to-day basis.

What a memoir is

A memoir is a story of how you got from here to there. In its rawest form it’s like a game of Candy Land.

“Here” is where a life changing event occurs. This life…

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Review of The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Writestogetitoffherchest

*This is a review of Mary Karr’s newest book, The Art of Memoir, originally written for a Goodreads review.*
I have been an avid reader of Mary Karr’s work for almost twenty years so I was very excited to get this ARC. I have to say she has spoiled me for beautiful memoirs. She is a master of the craft and this book is like a present she has wrapped up and given to her readers – and to all readers who love memoir.

The Art of Memoir is also a treasure trove of invaluable information for any writer, but as a reader, I felt like I’d just crashed the private party of every memoirist’s secret place. AOM made me feel privy to insider secrets and my appreciation of the genre went even deeper. She delves into some of her favorite memorist’s efforts and explains what she thought worked and…

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Writing About the Family: Family History, Secrets and Universal Truths in Creative Nonfiction

Reflections, Ruminations, Illuminations

In the chapter ‘Writing the Family’ in the book ‘Tell it Slant’, editors Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola closely examines why writing about the family is a crucial aspect of Creative Nonfiction writing and how that originates in the writer’s mind and how he/she gives shape to it in the course of the writing process. Family, they specify in the outset, is the first window of the child to the external world, “our first mirrors, our first definitions of who we are”. While the adult self assimilates into the external world with disparate individuals, cultures and experiences, the immediate family still remains at the core of his/her values/impulses, they still remain “the first objects of love, anger and loyalty”. It is thus, quite natural that writing about the family remains at the heart of memoir/creative nonfiction writing, keeping in mind so much of creative nonfiction works that revolve around the…

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Memoir Writing: Scene, Summary, and Musing

WordServe Water Cooler

Photo/KarenJordanWhat is a memoir? “I had to look up the definition of a memoir before I wrote my entry for this contest,” one writer confessed to me.

“Congratulations!” I responded, acknowledging her award.

This writer’s research paid off. Plus, she chose an inspiring, true story from her life, and she engaged her readers with a meaningful message using creative nonfiction techniques.

Being a judge of the contest entries, I also noticed that some of the other aspiring and experienced writers needed to do a little research before they wrote a memoir. So, I’m sharing here some of what I’ve learned as a memoirist.

My road to memoir writing started with enrolling in a class on writing for publication while in college. But I really didn’t hear the term “memoir” much until I took nonfiction writing classes a decade later.

One of my favorite professors at the University of Arkansas at…

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