In my Memoir Mastery course and Mastermind workshop group, we’ve spent the past month talking about structure. There’s the craft and technique of writing memoir and then there’s the pulling together of all the pieces. That can be daunting with a book length project. It can be easy to fall into overwhelm.
Memoir Writing Tips
Today I’d like to invite you to bring curiosity to your project. To approach your memoir with inquiry instead of overwhelm.
Instead of shutting down into “I don’t know how,” try opening into inquiry: “How can I?”
This can be a powerful reframe, helping us write from an open and expansive place vs. a stressed and constricted one.
Here’s an example of how this played out for me this week:
For the past month or so, I’ve been circling around a structural problem with my current memoir. Forcing it didn’t work, so I decided to take a step back and approach the project with curiosity. I asked, “How can I rekindle my excitement around this project? How can I allow this project to inspire or move me forward?”
I also kept showing up for my writing sessions, revisiting and refining my intention for this book (otherwise known as my mission statement) and trusting that I would find my way.
A few days ago, I stumbled across this article about Joan Didion. I was mid-way through the piece (#6: Collage Technique), when I had my aha.
Of course! Using a collage-type structure (i.e.: putting the scenes on index cards and moving them around to find a structure that calls to you) is my preferred technique for writing. And yet, I’d been forcing myself to write chronologically for this particular piece, which felt constrictive and not very exciting.
The funny thing is that I teach this very technique!
Ironic, right? Sometimes we need to hear something multiple times before it sinks in. Perhaps it’s an issue of timing, or hearing it from someone new.
Either way, it was the shift I needed. The next time I sat down to write, I was excited to explore these new possibilities and had so much more fun.
That’s the power of staying curious. Inviting in possibility, and seeing where the story wants to take you.
So stay open, my dear. Stay curious. And have a wonderful writing week!
P.S. If you’re looking for accountability, community and support, it’s not too late to join us for the October-December session of the Writer’s Circle. Use our weekly accountability check-ins, monthly teaching calls and two group online writing sessions per month to move the needle forward on your memoir—all for only $250.