Memoir Writers: Go Through Your Stuff!

Memoir Writers: Go Through Your Stuff!
A recent newspaper story about former Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg ends with the information that the octegenarian is working on her memoirs. She was quoted in the Chicago Tribune article as saying that to “aspire to write a book at my age is really kind of insane.”
Here at WriteMyMemoirs we certainly would not consider the endeavor “insane.” At 85, Weisberg is still active and able. Until last year she was working full-time, and now she finally can reflect upon her long career and her family life with four children. As part of former Mayor Daley’s inner circle, she very likely has a lot of juicy tidbits to share. But, just like your memoir, Weisberg’s story won’t write itself. She told the reporter that she attacks it every morning for a few hours, writing in longhand on a legal pad.
“Go through your old boxes,” Weisberg advises people in the process of writing a memoir but having trouble coming up with chapters and topics. “You might find something interesting.” I would add this: go through your email. Even if you didn’t keep old letters, the electronic version of mail may provide more of a record than you think—at least for the past five or ten years. Don’t forget to ask friends and family members whether they’ve saved letters and emails, too. You may not have correspondence from the Daleys, but surely you exchanged notes with people who’ve made an impact on your life.

A recent newspaper story about former Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg ends with the information that the octegenarian is working on her memoirs. She was quoted in the Chicago Tribune article as saying that to “aspire to write a book at my age is really kind of insane.”

Here at WriteMyMemoirs we certainly would not consider the endeavor “insane.” At 85, Weisberg is still active and able. Until last year she was working full-time, and now she finally can reflect upon her long career and her family life with four children. As part of former Mayor Daley’s inner circle, she very likely has a lot of juicy tidbits to share. But, just like your memoir, Weisberg’s story won’t write itself. She told the reporter that she attacks it every morning for a few hours, writing in longhand on a legal pad.

“Go through your old boxes,” Weisberg advises people in the process of writing a memoir but having trouble coming up with chapters and topics. “You might find something interesting.” You may have saved ticket stubs, cheap souvenirs from trips and, of course, letters. Also, go through your email. It may provide more of a record than you think—at least for the past five or ten years. Don’t forget to ask friends and family members whether they’ve saved letters and emails, too. You may not have correspondence from the Daleys, but surely you exchanged notes with people who’ve made an impact on your life.