Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

An Easy Way to Start Your Memoir Writing Habit

Neon light saying "We are all made of stories"

If you’re having a hard time getting into a writing habit to start your memoir, you may think you have to follow the broadly accepted advice to set aside a time each day—or at least each week—to force yourself to sit down and write. Even if all you write is a sentence, the thinking goes, you’re establishing a habit and soon the writing will flow.

Or it won’t.

A Different Jumpstart for the Writing Habit

If scheduling your writing isn’t working for you, try a different approach. Really, scheduling first is the tail wagging the dog. To be motivated to write, you have to want to get a story down so it won’t be forgotten. So instead of trying to come up with ideas when you decide to sit down and write, try reversing the process and sitting down to write when you have ideas.

We muse over our own life stories all the time, especially when we’re committed to, or even just considering, writing a full memoir. Since we carry around our phones, we always have a way to text ourselves or keep a notes app for things we want to remember. The next time an episode from your life crosses your mind, just take out your phone and write a few words as a reminder of what that story is.

You may find as you continue through your day that the story keeps returning to your mind. Then when you find yourself near your computer or a legal pad or however you want to write down everything, you’ll want to get that story down. It won’t feel like you’re forcing anything.

The Writing Habit Forms on Its Own

This doesn’t mean you have to write perfectly crafted text. It’s still a rough first draft of one story. But it’s something. Later you may feel like going back over the same story and giving it more texture or improving the writing if you can, or you can leave that story and start adding to it with more episodes in the same way you did the first one.

Talk about a habit! Once you start doing it this way, you could find yourself sneaking over to a corner during a party, pushing “pause” while you’re watching TV, stopping yourself in the middle of a conversation with a friend, taking a moment during work, or doing a talk-to-text while you’re driving.

Be careful not to edit yourself as these stories come to you. Write every story that comes to mind without mulling over whether it belongs in your memoir. Writing it gives you practice in telling about your life whether that story makes the final cut or not.

Decide Later Whether to Include Each Story

When you reach the next step—putting these stories into chapters and connecting them with transitions—you’ll make the decision, story by story, about whether each of them is relevant to the overall narrative you’re telling.

If you want to write a memoir, it’s because your life is full of stories you want to relate around a certain theme. The events are already in your mind. All you have to do is put them into publishable words. Try letting the stories come to mind first, and then do the writing second. You may find it easier than sitting down and staring at a blank screen.

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!