Get it on the record

I write fiction and teach fiction and in my teaching I recommend planning novels, especially for first-time novelist. However, a lot of people ask me about memoir-writing, and the number one question I get?

How do I start?

The answer:

Change your mindset and your tools!

Trust me, the difficulty people face in taking those first steps towards writing frustrates me as much as it frustrates the would-be authors. There are so many stories I want to hear, stories that need to be told even just to show the world that there are is no single human experience and none more valuable than the other.

But writing is hard work, and its daunting, so how do you get beyond that and get started on your memoir?

You have to change your mindset and your tools.

Mindset changes:

  1. The writing does not have to be perfect. There is no “perfect” writing anyway, and you can fix or hire someone to fix grammar and organization issues, but if you don’t express the ideas there will be nothing to edit.
  2. You don’t have to start at the beginning. Start writing about the story that plagues you the most and let it take you where it will. The process of organizing is for another level. But again, if you don’t write, the organizing will never happen.

Tool changes: If blank paper or computer screens are daunting, try talking. Use the voice recording app on your smart phone to record your words and tell your story. It may feel odd at first, but with time you may relax and actually enjoy it. This is also a wonderful way to memoralize the stories of older generations (with their permission of course).

The downside is that the voice memos then have to be transcribed, which can be a daunting task. There are apps that do that, but if you are like me, those apps do not work. However, having the ideas recorded is better than not having them at all, and you may well find that once you begin recording that writing comes more naturally as well.

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