Ghost writer, editor, and writing teacher Kim Pearson posted a great blog entry yesterday about finding the WOW factor in writing: “If you want to wow your readers, your writing must be about them.” She says, “If you’re writing for yourself, you are journaling.”
Kim may be talking about writing for publication (including blog posts like this), but this is important advice for memoir writers, too, whether you intend to publish for others or just want to take your flash drive to Kinko’s for some simple spiral-bound copies. If you’re going to take the trouble to write down your stories, make them interesting for everyone. Hopefully you’ve got the grandkids in mind as you spin your tales onto paper. Imagine them at your knee. Imagine your own kids hanging onto your words, or your brother or sister laughing (or even crying) at the stories they know well, too. Think like a storyteller spinning yarns, adding anecdotes, describing scenes, wrapping a story up with a piece of reflection or a lesson learned. Sure your family wants to hear about you, but they want to be a part of your stories, too – to feel it, to learn from it, to have it speak to something within themselves. Maybe the best way to talk about your life is to imagine telling a bedtime story, “A long time ago, I….” Hey, that how my mother’s memoir begins! Cherry Blossoms in Twilight: Memories of a Japanese Girl.