Until I launch my program, Your Legacy, Your Way, in September, I want to recommend a few resources to help you jumpstart writing, or recording, and sharing your story.
Please Do Not Lose Our Stories
Please do not lose our stories.
It is more important now than ever. The Covid-19 Pandemic has taken tens of thousand of stories from us. Our history, our culture, our knowledge is stolen from us when death steals our stories from us.
Maybe what will be lost is your story, or maybe your family’s story, or the details of your community. You do not have to write a book for publication by some New York Publishing House. Just tell your story in whatever way is easiest for you. Don’t make it hard. It does not have to be difficult.
The Best Article on Writing Memoir
The first resource I want to share with you is a 2006 essay from American Scholar by William Zinsser. How to Write a Memoir. The essence of what he imparts comes through when he speaks of his father’s writing of his memoir.
When my father finished writing his histories he had them typed, mimeographed, and bound in a plastic cover. He gave a copy, personally inscribed, to each of his three daughters, to their husbands, to me, to my wife, and to his 15 grandchildren, some of whom couldn’t yet read.William Zinsser. How to Write a Memoir – The American Scholar. (2015). The American Scholar. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from https://theamericanscholar.org/how-to-write-a-memoir/#.Xr15lRPYrykWi
This is just a snippet and there are far more precise guidance given in the article, but it is Zinsser, the master writer, author of On Writing Well. He talks to the reader. Learn from him.
Disengage, Breathe Calmly, and Jot a Few Things Down
It is imperative that people, women in particular, preserve human stories, human voices so we do not lose our analog thoughts to massive files of data compiled by our digital competitors.
So much has changed in the recent past, the pace and amount of information accumulation and creation boggles the mind with its explosive acceleration.
If You Can Only Read One How to Write Memoir Book
I listen to sections of the audiobook version of Rachel Herron’s book, Fast Draft Your Memoir, over-and-over, for inspiration.
Rachel Herron stresses a that memoir is a narrative framing of one aspect of your story. She entertains us with story of one of her memoirs that chronicles her life through the sweaters she knitted as she did other things. The focal point of narration is revealed to be an essential connector as you unfold your unique view of a subject. Herron captures how breaking off crumbs to savor can give you a better sense of the whole loaf than cutting it up into slices.
Learning About Memoir through Social Media
I am amazed by all I have learned by following one editor and publisher of memoir’s Facebook page. I heard Brooke Warner speak at the Tucson Festival of Books and spent some time at her booth there too a few years ago and was impressed by her enthusiasm and knowledge. So I started reading her posts on her Facebook page at Warner Coaching.
Find Your Inspiration and Write
Through short, well-crafted posts, she gets me thinking about the process of wring about personal history. Sometimes she asks a question. Sometimes she posts encouragement, or answers a common question asked of her, or shares quotes. I find her short posts inspiring and thought-provoking.
These three bit of how-to writing I have listed are intended to prompt you to find a motivating nudge from someone who has been where you are, at the beginning of a great story.
So take your pen and paper or laptop and just begin. Then take a moment to mark the Autumnal Equinox, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, on your calendar to check back here for the launch of my program to help you put it all together.
Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski
I’ve thought about doing it but was always afraid there were too many embarrassing things in my past I wouldn’t want people to know about, especially my kids. I hope to get braver one day. This has inspired me.
Go for it. Edit out or in whatever you want. It is your story. You are in charge!