Memoir Writing…Completion to Resources for Writing Your Memoir

I’ve finished doing a self-edit of my memoir.  I did it on a copy I had printed out and forgot page numbers…whoops…yes, those could be important.  🙂 After going back and fixing a few things I found, I have officially printed out my first good copy of my memoir.  It is done.  Feels good to say that for more than one reason.

My memoir is done because I feel the story is done being told.  Though I know I said I wasn’t worried about word count, and I’m not, I think it’s still neat to know it ended up 32, 317 words.  It is 94 pages long, but 98 if the extra pages are included.  The extras are a dedication page, resource page, and a couple of pages of poetry.

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

The next step, and I am taking baby steps, is to turn my baby lose cautiously.  I need to let a few other people read it to get some feedback.  I know I sound like I’m obsessing a bit calling it my baby, but it is.  This is the first book I’ve ever written and the story is a part of me.

The best thing about being done and the story being written is this wonderful feeling of release.  There is a freedom in having some of my most painful experiences in life out of me and into words.  For me it’s actually been easier to find the written words than it would have been trying to speak them.

We all have stories in us and I would highly recommend writing a memoir to anyone.  I think it can especially be part of the healing process if there is something difficult you are dealing with in your life.  Reading memoirs written by others is a good place to get started learning about writing stories from life.  Here are a few other books and a blog I’ve found helpful as I’ve learned more about memoir writing :

Latest Reads

The Love Letter

The Love Letter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you haven’t heard it before, I love used bookstores!  It’s an adventure perusing the shelves of books searching for treasures.  I have a wee bit of a love of books, which I have managed to tone down by being more selective in the books I bring home with me.  I just thought I’d take a moment and share some of the latest books I have discovered and read.

Among my finds, I was fortunate enough to run across another book by the author Samara O’Shea.  I read her book Note to Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits back in June and loved it.  This book, For the Love of Letters :  A 21st-Century Guide to The Art of Letter Writing, was another keeper.  As with her other book, she includes historic examples of letters as well as personal letters she herself has written.  She shares with such incredible heartfelt honesty.  This book has the conversational tone I like of a friend having a good talk with you and she has a wealth of suggestions to guide you in writing any type of letter imaginable from the simple thank you letter to the more passionate love letter.

Since I’m writing a memoir, I’ve been trying to read more memoirs and happened upon one that looked interesting.  The book is The House Where the Hardest Things Happened :  A Memoir About Belonging by Kate Young Caley.  The author shares genuine glimpses into her life from childhood into married adult life as she ventures along her journey to a deeper faith in God.  She asks questions I think many of us ask in life and she’s brave enough to try to seek out answers.  It was an enjoyable book and the only difficulty I had with it was the changing back and forth from things of adulthood back to childhood memories so often.

Of course, I had to pick up a book about writing, but only if it speaks to me(my heart).  I found a true treasure I love, The Writer’s Home Companion :  An Anthology of the World’s Best Writing Advice, from Keats to Kunitz.  It was edited and has the introduction by Joan Bolker, ED.D.  This book is such an incredible wealth of information.  If you read nothing else I would suggest my favorite from the book, which was an essay by the editor, “Not Just Writing, Really Writing”.  It contained incredible thoughts on honesty with ourselves and discovering our writer’s voice.  She also shared barriers, which sometimes keep women from speaking up.  It was a very freeing and powerfully written essay in my opinion.

This book includes many other things such as discovering ideas to write, tips for revising your work, and suggestions for considering your audience.  There is even a bit about writing poetry.  I even discovered a poem in the book I like, “One Art”, by Elizabeth Bishop.  It’s a poem about loss and is so sad, but so real.  It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read about writing so far.  

Hope you’ve found something you may want to dash off and read.  Now that I’ve finished these, I’ll have to be on the search for more.  I have a couple of books in my “to read” pile I’ll have to pull from for now.  The novel, The Binding Chair by Kathryn Harrison, looks interesting.  It’s about the lives of two women and set in Shanghai, China.  I have a bent towards novels about women’s lives and the historic.  A side note and talk about historic, I will be becoming a grandmother a bit prematurely in life.  My daughter is pregnant and will be welcoming a child into the world next year.

Any favorite reads you would like to share?  Thoughts?  Comments?…  🙂

Writing Our Stories

Broken Heart

Broken Heart (Photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti)

If you’ve read through some of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed I have a leaning towards personal types of writing.  I love essays, journaling, and memoirs.  Our lives are stories and everyone has a story to tell.  My life is so overflowing that right now this is where my heart can find release to pour things out.  I have to write it down.

As with any form of writing you choose to partake, it’s said one of the best steps to do is read the form of writing you want to write.  I’ve been working on a memoir, so I’ve been reading memoirs.  Two memoirs I really enjoyed reading were Falling Apart in One Piece by Stacy Morrison and Eat, Pray, and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The memoir I’m currently reading is The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming by Jennie Nash.  It is about her journey through breast cancer, which my step mother is currently having to face.

I’ll read anything if it strikes me right, but I tend to read memoirs written by women about their lives.  Either the book’s description or a brief flip through has to catch my eye with something I can relate to on some level.  I do have the book On Writing : A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King on my wish list to read.  I love reading about writers’ lives.  Another memoir I have read was Literary Life by Larry McMurtry.  Unfortunately, it did not top my list for enjoyable memoirs.  It seemed to have a bit much pomp and a little too over factual for my tastes, but that’s just me.

One of my absolute favorite bloggers is Kat Collins.  She has a wealth of writing information and resource links on her blog.  She is also doing something I had never heard of before, but is an interesting idea.  She is blogging a memoir book she is writing :  The Good Wife.  She has some guest blogs on the topic of blogging a book at her Kat Collins blog, then you can go to the other blog to read her book thus far.

If you’ve ever been hesitant to write, maybe you’ll decide the truth is easier than fiction.  I’ve found my life is so unreal at times it seems, it’s just easier to write about it than try to make things up.  You can start small.  Start keeping a journal about your life or choose to write one story or blog post till you have enough for a book.  Two good organizations to learn more about writing memoirs are National Association of Memoir Writers and Story Circle Network.  Happy writing… 🙂

P.S. – I forgot another memoir I recently finished and thought was well written was If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus.  Warning is it’s sad and a tragic story of abuse.  It’s a story I think many women need to read.