As the cheerleaders used to say…READY? OKAY!
(To start your memoir that is).
(Image: Edward Hopper painting on cover for latest Redwood Writers’ Anthology-available on Amazon)
Let’s Get Started:
- MIND MAPS. The easiest way for me to organize my thoughts is with a mind map. This is a free-form record of the thought processes for constructing your memoir that you can add to or subtract from easily.
- To begin, find yourself a large sheet of drawing paper and place your main thought in the center. For instance, let’s call it “My Memoir” for now.
- Draw a circle around your title/main thought.
- Next, draw lines that look like the spokes of a wheel, out from your main circle. Not too long. Leave room between them, because you are going to write down your thoughts about your memoir along these lines. Whatever comes to you.
- Then, see if you can think of a few other thoughts on each subject. Draw branches for these secondary thoughts, and then branch from them, just like the branches of a tree. Don’t overthink it at this point, just write down whatever comes to your mind. One thought or subject will lead organically to another.
- Pretty soon you’ll see something resembling a spider web or tree. Have fun with it. Add color and unique shapes. Play.
- Now on a separate piece of paper, make a few notes on each subject you’ve been able to identify. And so on.This technique works best for right-brain dominant folks (artists and flower children, perhaps). Now let’s look at how to begin your memoir if you’re a left-brain type (say a mathematician or an engineer):
2. OUTLINE (you remember how to do this from high school, don’t you?) It goes like this:
- Me-(during the period defined by the memoir—not your whole life, that’s an autobiography)
- My Family
- How they affected my life, etc.
a. strong memories about them
c. funny stories
…and so on. I guess you can sorta tell into which camp I fall.
The most important thing, remember, is to “just do it!”
No more excuses.
Until next time…