It happens. It’s so easy to get lost in the world of learning about memoir. All the wonderful books that teach you about writing. There are books that address every aspect of writing and specific genres. Books about dialog, plot, scene building, organizing your memories, finding your theme, getting your book published, finding an agent, marketing and selling your book, and so on…
Instructions are everywhere. You could read a book a day and not get through just the listings for memoir how-to’s on Amazon for almost two years! I think a lot of people are like me. You have an idea, you’ve narrowed it down to a specific time period of your life. You might even have an outline and a few scenes written. You’ve read tons of books about writing but you’re still having a hard time. Why?
In order to write a book or a story, you have to write. Period.
You have nothing to edit, show an agent or sell if you don’t write. Procrastination is a huge problem with would-be writers. I find myself in the middle of writing when I come to a stop. Instead of pushing through, I might pop over to check my email. That can result in a lost day of writing. The internet is a real problem for many of us. It’s so full of stories and information that it’s easy to get lost in reading rather than writing.
I always have a how-to book sitting near me it seems. That and a couple of pleasure reading books like James Patterson, Janet Evanovich or a memoir I am reading. It’s too easy to pick one up and get lost in the world of learning or someone elses life instead of facing what I should be doing — writing my own life.
Below are a couple of the ways I have learned to push through and continue writing. Maybe one of them will help other procrastinators — like me!
Stop the Procrastination and Start Writing
- As with most other people, writing memoir is not my job. I have a family to help take care of and money needs to be earned. I write online for several blogs and sites to earn an income. That means I have time to write my story but can be easily distracted by my home business. A friend of mine suggested a calendar to get and keep me organized. This has been a godsend.
I use a Weekly/Monthly Calendar format. It sits open to the current month on my desk right next to my laptop. I am able to schedule all the articles and posts I need to write for my job and also schedule time to write for me. Somehow, when it appears on a calendar, it seems official. I use highlighters to mark off finished tasks. I love seeing all the neon colors when I look back on a month. I get a sense of accomplishment and even pride. I did it!
That doesn’t mean what is scheduled for a certain day gets completed on that day. Just that at a glance, I know what I have done and what still needs to be done. I make time to do it all just get those “feel good” endorphans. Yup, my calendar is a godsend.
- I know, scheduling time to write seems, well scheduled, institutional or at the very least, not very creative or artistic. However, if I waited to write only when I felt creative or artistic, I would hardly ever write.The thing about writing for me is just starting. Once I get over that hurdle, things start to flow.
The first paragraph or page might be nothing I can use but as I continue to write — stretch and limber up those writing muscles in my brain — it gets better.
- When I am stuck and not sure where to go next with my writing, I think of a story or scene from my life. Long, short or whether it will be in the finished book — it doesn’t matter. I write it from beginning to end without stopping.
It’s therapy, practice and gets me in the right frame of mind to continue writing my book.
I’m not a teacher but a student of life and living. I share what I learn and hope to help others that might find themselves in the same situation. By sharing, we are helping each other on this road to writing memoir. Good luck to me and you!