Writers: “The Custodians of Memory”

Writers: “The Custodians of Memory”
We’re spending the early summer here discussing an essay on memoir writing by On Writing Well author William Zinsser. Last time, I shared the end of his essay, where he gave advice on how to and start writing your life story. Today, let’s look at the very beginning of his essay:
“One of the saddest sentences I know is ‘I wish I had asked my mother about that.’ Or my father. Or my grandmother. Or my grandfather. As every parent knows, our children are not as fascinated by our fascinating lives as we are. Only when they have children of their own—and feel the first twinges of their own advancing age—do they suddenly want to know more about their family heritage and all its accretions of anecdote and lore. ‘What exactly were those stories my dad used to tell about coming to America?’ ‘Where exactly was that farm in the Midwest where my mother grew up?’ Writers are the custodians of memory, and that’s what you must become if you want to leave some kind of record of your life and of the family you were born into.”
That’s a very powerful argument in support of writing a memoir. While you may not feel a burning desire to write an autobiography, it’s a service to your entire family to document your life’s various stories. Your memories stretch beyond your own experiences, back to the tales you heard your parents and grandparents tell. Your children and grandchildren may someday be very interested in all of that, even if right now they do not ask you about yourself.
http://theamericanscholar.org/how-to-write-a-memoir/#.UaTLItKsjTo
https://writemymemoirs.com/blog/meet-william-zinsser/

We’re spending the early summer here discussing an essay on memoir writing by On Writing Well author William Zinsser. Last time, I shared the end of his essay, where he gave advice on how to start writing your life story. Today, let’s look at the very beginning of his essay:

“One of the saddest sentences I know is ‘I wish I had asked my mother about that.’ Or my father. Or my grandmother. Or my grandfather. As every parent knows, our children are not as fascinated by our fascinating lives as we are. Only when they have children of their own—and feel the first twinges of their own advancing age—do they suddenly want to know more about their family heritage and all its accretions of anecdote and lore. ‘What exactly were those stories my dad used to tell about coming to America?’ ‘Where exactly was that farm in the Midwest where my mother grew up?’ Writers are the custodians of memory, and that’s what you must become if you want to leave some kind of record of your life and of the family you were born into.”

That’s a very powerful argument in support of writing a memoir. While you may not feel a burning desire to write an autobiography, it’s a service and a kindness to your entire family to document your life’s various stories. Your memories stretch beyond your own experiences, back to the tales you heard your parents and grandparents tell. Your children and grandchildren may someday be very interested in all of that, even if right now they do not ask you about yourself.

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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 that extra 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. SCHEDULE A CALL TODAY if you’d like to talk about what’s right for you. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!