So now that the excitement is over and I can think again, let’s get back to business—the business of writing, that is.
Here are the three tips I promised you. I believe they will help you to do the hardest thing: get started:
- If you’re going to be interviewing sources, especially those in your own family, it’s best to be professional.
You don’t want to get stuck in an emotional morass before you even know what hit you.
By this, I mean it’s best to have a checklist or interview questions in front of you when you begin. That way you don’t get sidetracked, and you get the information you need.
Ask questions like, “How much do you remember about our childhood, say when you were about two to the age of five?” if you’re dealing with brothers or sisters.
Or perhaps, “Mom, remember that funny story you always told us about uncle Jake at the Thanksgiving feast? Would you tell me that story again so that I get it straight? I have trouble remembering all the details.”
That way, you can sort of ease into your memoir without letting on just yet what you’re doing. Sometimes, when you tell people you’re writing a memoir, they may tend to freeze up. You don’t want that.
2. Give them a choice.
Once you’re well launched on writing your memoir, it’s safer to let them in on what you’re doing.
Tell them you need to refresh your memory, and you’d like some help in writing about yourself and the family.
Ask them if they’d rather you talked to them in person, or if they would rather write some things down and give them to you; or would they rather you use a tape recorder to get the gist of their memories. That way, if you have a reluctant subject, he or she has a way out of a direct confrontation. Depending on the matter you are writing about, that may be a good thing.
3. Always be courteous and nonconfrontational.
You don’t want to get into an argument with someone about a remembered event. Just say, Oh thanks for that. It’s funny I remember it differently. I guess I’ll have to research it a little more. Thanks for the feedback.” And gracefully exit, stage left.
Because in the end, it’s your memories that count. It’s your memoir, after all, but you might mention somewhere in your manuscript or introduction or preface, that your sister or mother or father, say, remembers it differently.
In your writing, you must always know that individual memories are not infallible. Not even yours.
And there you have it. I hope this helps you to get started and best of all do you keep going, as discussed in a previous post, it’s hard to begin again once you’ve lost your momentum. Take it for me I’m a great procrastinator.
I hope you were able to watch my interview with Ray Lucia yesterday on the Ray Lucia Show, and can take advantage of the free offers on this website. I haven’t seen it myself yet, so I’m not sure if it’s worth a look. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll let you know.
Until next time, when we will discuss how to organize the actual writing of your memoir, ciao!