Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memoir 101

 -by Lauretta Hannon

Writing a memoir is a powerful, life-changing act, whether you ever publish it or not. This little missive presents advice and thoughts specific to writing your memoir.

-Write now. Worry later.
Your job is to get it on the page. You can address your fears and concerns later.

-Come out, come out wherever you are.
Find out what you’re hiding, “forgetting,” or not wanting to write about. Then write about it anyway. This will reveal important truths and insights. Grief, anger, sorrow, shame, and cruelty all make for compelling reading.

-It’s all about authenticity.
Be completely honest or find another hobby.  

-It must be deeper than a pie pan.
Dig deep or don’t fool with it. “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader,” says Robert Frost.

-Expect clarity, healing, and release.
“We write memoir not to remember, not to cling, but to honor and let go,” says Natalie Goldberg.

-No excuses. No whining. No pity parties.
Remember that you’re writing your memoir because you want to.

-The Final Gut-Check Question
The big question when it comes to memoir is this: do you have the courage to bring forth this work? If not, it is okay. If so, get ready to embark on a profound journey of the self.

Lauretta Hannon is the author of The Cracker Queen--A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life, named one of the Top 25 Books All Georgians Should Read. This article is taken from material covered in the Memoir Master Class offered through her Down Home Writing School. The school has finally found a real home with the June 25th opening of her new literary loft, THE HIVE. White lightnin' lemonade will be served, and you are invited! More info is available here:


Susan Cushman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Cushman said...

great post, Lauretta! Lots of point-on advice on memoir-writing. If you know any "emerging" writers who would like help with their memoirs-in-progress, please tell them about the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop, September 23-25:

Myra said...

Thank you, Queen!!! I will use all of these pointers in my Real Housewife of Douglasville blog. You are the B-E-S-T!

Karen Harrington said...

Very nice, Lauretta. I'm going to share this with a couple of my friends. It seems like it takes a special kind of fearlessness to do this. :)

Unknown said...

thank you! these are great motivators to jog me out of my reluctance to continue . . . the thing I hide is still hidden, but I'm searching for it - I have a feeling that at that moment the path will open. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great reminders Lauretta. Going deeper than the pie pan hasn't been easy but I am finding little jewels of authenticity that I didn't see before. It feels like I'm unwinding a huge ball of wire yarn and discovering the truth about my life. Whew! and Yay!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I appreciate the Natalie Goldberg quote. Very true.

comic books said...

Great post and got lots of motivation through this,
Love this post,

Denise said...

Thank you for being you.