Memoir writing holds our hand to the flame.
It is a funhouse mirror when we start, things are all distorted and stretched and squished, almost unrecognizable. But clarity does come after the umpteenth draft.
Writing memoir is our chance to relive moments that were incomprehensible and find meaning in them.
Sometimes you find just the seasoning you need to be a better writer. That’s my story.
I am comfortable making mistakes. Bloopers. Oopses. Des erreurs. Fumbles. You get the idea
In fact, I’m getting pretty damned good at falling on my face, scrambling with nothing resembling grace like an idiot for the ball before it is lost forever.
I tell myself that I had to get resilient, that I had to learn to fall and get back up, to set an example for my boys. If I lost my s#@! then A and J would too.
Writing about the more ‘rustic’ twists on my path enabled me to embrace (mostly) my flounders. They supply me with something a wise-guy friend told me I was lacking when I gave up my senior level government job to write full time. “You can’t write yet, you’re too young and you haven’t got enough angst.” Let’s just say, it wouldn’t turn out well for my pal Wil if I saw him today. I blame everything on his statement even two memoirs, some ghostwrites and eight years later. I also credit him with throwing down the gauntlet to make me a better writer.
I’m doing this writing thing just fine (which means sloppy as heck), but angst? I’ve had plenty these years of labouring at the desk.
But the writing is richer and deeper because I was able to turn over the sod and take a look at it.
The lines that carry through my work are weighted with the sage advice I’ve given myself.
Memoir writing is a deep dive into the places you’ve already been. They never seem as difficult the second time, I promise.
My free Memoir Cheat Sheet will help get you started. Download here.