Working on my memoir…

I’ve just returned from a weekend in a cabin on the Lake Superior shore, alternating work on my memoir with walks in the snowy woods. Each morning began with coffee and scribbling on a legal pad in front of the wood stove, filling pages and pages with memories, ideas on how to organize the piece I wanted to write, and notes toward research needed.

As I hiked, I fingered thoughts like smooth stones in a pocket, coming back with more ideas, more insights, to bring to the work in progress. A little more work with the legal pad and a glass of wine in front of the wood stove before starting supper got the day’s insights captured and ready for the next morning’s work.

If you want to write, I recommend this way to go at it.

The particular episode I’m writing about, a branching point from my mid-teens in the mid-70s, requires stretching for understanding of the emotional subtexts. I’m not great with that sort of thing, so I’m digging to discover what I know but don’t know I know.

Here’s a technique for that–Try writing from the point of view of another person. To get started, simply imagine you’re interviewing that person. Ask, “so, what do you remember about [episode]?” Follow up with, “That’s interesting. Tell me more,” or “How did that make you feel?” Write down whatever that person says in response. You will feel him or her taking over your pen. What comes out will leave you amazed.

Latitude, 46.45. Longitude, -90.15.
Elevation, roughly 500 ft. above Lake Superior shoreline.

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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3 Responses to Working on my memoir…

  1. Kay Wiesholz says:

    Love the picture. Enjoying looking at the snow from my patio at 88F . Kay Casa Grand, AZ


  2. My most creative and productive writing comes when I can get away from my home, my office, and my desk into an entirely new environment, as you so beautifully describe here. There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to open our minds and hearts to new ideas and get the creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, living in Southern California, I have no nearby woods, but a walk on the beach is a pretty good substitute.


  3. Francie King says:

    Sarah, what a little gem this was! And didn’t you have the ultimate writing place too … I always pictured myself working in a solitary cottage somewhere (but not in the snow!), writing and writing. But you didn’t just picture it. You did it. Envy! Hope the experience opened up a new vein …. fbk


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