Continuing in the 7 Tips to Help You Start Writing Your Memoir series, here is
Now that you have chosen a specific aspect of your life to write about, the next step is to choose a time frame. A time frame is the when of your memoir. When that chapter in your life (the divorce, addiction, spiritual journey, etc.) occurred. Did it occur in the 70s, 80s or the 90s? Word of caution: if you’re writing a healing memoir (if any type of abuse took place), make sure that you have healed before you begin writing. Sometimes, delving up memories can be painful. For instance, if you’re writing about something that occurred a few years ago, enough time may not have elapsed in your healing process. As the saying goes, it takes time to heal. However, if you feel that writing will help your healing process, try journaling first and see if you’re able to consistently write each day; because if writing is too painful, you may not feel like writing, which will defeat the purpose of writing a 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.
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.