Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting Serious About Writing Part 2

My biggest problem with getting any writing done lately is time management. When I began this ridiculous task of writing a memoir (ridiculous because I don't know who would want to read it), I woke up each day excited to get back to it. Now I'm doubting everything from my opening line to the story line. I'm worried about embarrassing family members as well as myself. Doubt and worry has stopped me in my tracks.

One day, I started reading about the craft of writing which lead to reading about the business of writing, the demise of bookstores, using social media to build a platform, building a platform for your TV, and finally, that week's TV schedule. Before I knew it, it was time to make dinner. Every day after that for about a month, I would begin with the best of intentions but would allow myself to get side-tracked by the most mundane things.  Yes- my socks are organized by color, Yes- I know the lyrics to all my favorite theme songs, but No- I haven't written any new chapters. 

I managed to come to my senses and examined the ways I've been spending my day. I've been avoiding working on my memoir because it's too damned hard. That doesn't mean I'm ready to give up, though. While it's true that my story may not be riveting to anyone outside my family, getting it written is important to me. The fact that it's difficult makes me want to finish it even more.

I decided to tackle my daily schedule first- allotting time each and every day for writing, even if all I do is stare at a blank screen. Here are some great tips I got from the National Association of Memoir Writers holiday newsletter:

  • Set a writing schedule. Writing several thousand words a month--or a week!--gets you to the finish line of that first draft.
  • Journal regularly, freewriting memories and scenes that come to mind. This keeps you in the flow.
  • List ten significant moments in your life--and write each one. These turning points help you to focus your memoir. You can't write everything that has happened to you!
  • Think about your themes, the big picture of your story.
  • Write from the body--allow your hand to guide the pen through various writing topics and themes. Sometimes our body allows thoughts and ideas to come through that won't arise in the same way on the computer.
  • Research your story--on Google, looking at photos, talking with family. This feeds your imagination and memory.
  • Read, read, read. Read great fiction, memoir, poetry, and nonfiction. Learn your craft.
  • Commit to a critique group or workshop. Feedback, suggestions, and questions help get your work to the next level.
  • Write with joy, write with passion! Keep writing!

I'll let you know how it goes!


Cheryl Reif said...

So which of those suggestions are you commiting to for the new year? Boy, I hear you--it's so easy to let everything else come first, especially when the writing gets hard. Good luck finding a way to keep on track, and let us know what works for you!

Anonymous said...

Love your writing Caryl, interesting, funny and heartfelt. Helene

caryl said...

I just saw this Helene. thank you!