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Perspective in Memoir

As a memoir coach I read a lot of memoirs.  And  a lot of people ask me when is the time to write a memoir?  I think there are a few elements to consider before taking on the task of putting memories to paper.

Many of you are familiar with Cheryl Strayed the author of Wild, which was later released into a movie.

Cheryl took her hike in the summer of 1995, and her book just released in 2012. When asked in an interview why she had waited so long to write the book, Cheryl said:

“For a number of reasons. It took me years of apprenticing myself to the craft before I could write a book…. I don’t write about something unless I feel a stirring inside of me to do so and it wasn’t until 2008 that I felt that in relation to my experience on the PCT. I think the years between my hike and writing about it made for a better book. I gained perspective that I wouldn’t have had if I’d written about it immediately.”

I love two things about what she said:

1) “Years of apprenticing myself to the craft.”

2) “I gained perspective.”

I believe these two elements are what made this such an excellent memoir. Think about this when considering whether it’s the right time for your memoir.

→ In order to tell your story effectively so that it has the maximum impact, you’ll probably need to spend years apprenticing yourself to the craft; that is, actively studying, learning and improving as a writer.

→ And in order for your story to resonate with deeper truth, you should have enough distance from it that you’ve gained perspective. When you’re still too close to it, you won’t be able to write it well.

 

1 Comment to “Perspective in Memoir”

  1. I live in Palm Desert. Need help in moving forward with my book. Currently have approx 300 ph. 310-500-5791 please let me know how to be in touch if you’re interested. Thank you

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.


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