Start with what’s easy. Start with the big story, and get the burst of energy that being productive on the page gives you. Tell your tale. Start there.

Here is one way to get yourself writing today. Let me walk you through the way you can build up to telling your big story.

Chances are that one particular story is the kernel of magic that everyone reacts to.

You know the one…

that story that gets people saying the “wow”s and “You should really write a book”s…

It might be exceptional, like:

you discovered your birth family after twenty two years…

you grew up living rustic in the Canadian north…

Or far too common, which means a gagillion people will relate to it:

you survived X…

you’re still surviving Y…

your way of looking at loss is incredible inspiration to others…

Start right there.

Write the story the way people hear you, when you aren’t overthinking how you tell it. Try this scenario with me. I’ll write about me, and you write about you.

Imagine you are having a glass of wine with a really nice couple from Maine, who you met in a hotel lobby in Reykjavik (yes, it happened to me).

You get to talking about the travel experience, the hotel, why you are there and they ask about you…

You start with a few minutes of description about your life.


“I never thought growing up that I would do anything very exceptional with my life. I was an average kid, in a backwater town, who couldn’t wait to bust out of there to get to the Big City.”

Then you go on to tell more of the story about how your situation was a result of cumulative choices and events. This is where you can go on a long time.

“I enrolled in the first program that seemed interesting.”

“My school happened to have a hospital on campus.”

“I’d had trouble with my knees for years.”

“Everyone said it was my imagination or it would pass if I just exercised more.”

Next, write about how that all felt. What kind of emotions were you having about this? What were you inspired to do? What action did you take? What was the result of your angst, despair, fear or frustration?

It was the third doctor who diagnosed me, when he….”

OR

I knew I might never get another chance, so…

OR

I wasn’t going to be held back by my parent’s idea of what I should be, so…”

Then going into vivid detail, using all the details of the scenes in your life, the multi-sensory experience of each crucial moment.

What was the room like?

What kind of day was it?

Who were you in dialogue with?

What was running through your head?

Try a few paragraphs today, using the bits and bobs from your story, told to the lovely couple from Maine, and leave me a comment…or pop over to the private Facebook group where anyone can share their writing. Click here to join the group.

Come back and look for blogs about next steps in memoir writing…

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