National Novel Writing Month is now! But, instead of writing fiction, feel free to challenge yourself to work hard on your memoir. Write anything, just write, and write every day. The point is to get something down on paper – figure out later how it all fits together, edit later. I gave this advice at a recent talk on memoir writing and marketing.
If you are like me, you want to edit everything immediately. That can really hold you back, particularly in memoir when you have to grab wisps of the past as they happen to float by in your brain – before you forget. Keep a little writers notebook if memories come to you at inconvenient times or in odd places, like when you’re trying to go to sleep or are at the grocery store. Flesh them out and let your thoughts and impressions come to you more fully later. I also think this is good practice on how to loosen up and not be so obsessed with little details – at least not in the first couple drafts.
Unlike other participating writers, memoir writers doing their version of NaNoWriMo should not worry about the interruption of Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are a great source of old memories and a way to validate (or not) what you remember. While your memories are the apparent truths that have affected your life and you should generally stick with them, it doesn’t hurt to consider other people’s perspectives on the same story or situation. You may have an “aha” moment or discover more details to give readers a fuller picture.
Update on Battlefield Doc: It is live on Amazon and B&N in print (Kindle e-book coming) and boxes of books are on their way! Anyone who likes military stories and is interested in reading a pdf file to write an (honest) Amazon review, message me with your email address. Warning: not for the highly sensitive as while the stories are gently told, battlefield scenes can cause emotional distress. Also, you may want to keep a tissue nearby.