Writing a memoir

My friend Shirin asked how one goes about writing a memoir. So I said to her do you want the short answer or the long one? She said give me the short one for now, I don’t think my brain’s up to long yet. Just as well, I said, because that one is going to take some time.

So the short answer: obviously something has prompted you to ask that question at this time. Something, some memory, has crossed your mind and made an impression unlike normal everyday run-of-the-mill memories. There’s something about this one that you want to capture, to express, to share. Something significant to you. So that’s where you start.

You take hold of that memory and you describe what you see, what you hear, what you feel. You tell a story in your own words as if you were talking to your best friend. You start with whatever words you can find that work; you start and you don’t worry about direction or finishing. It’s just a little snippet, after all, not a major production. If you can do one, you can do another, so you do. And that’s the short answer to how you start writing a memoir.

And as for the long answer, you’d better get a coffee and make yourself comfortable. I have a feeling we’re going to be knocking this one about for awhile.

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